Sunday, August 09, 2009

Colugo and Dipterocarps at Bukit Timah

It's mast fruiting season in Singapore, which is basically the intermittent and synchronous production of large fruits by a population of plants at long intervals.

Since this occurs like only once every 2-11 years, I had been running down to the various primary forest patch in Singapore for the past few weeks to get some photos of the various dipterocarp fruits. The dipterocarps are giant trees that live for hundreds of years, many reaching heights above 40m.

Malayan Colugo (Cynocephalus variegatus)
My most recent stop was Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on last Thursday, and during this trip, I was rather lucky to have spotted a Malayan Colugo (Cynocephalus variegatus)! Had not seen one during my past few trips here. In fact, the last time I saw one was like a year ago.

Malayan Colugo (Cynocephalus variegatus)
Here's the colugo again after it glided to another tree.

Anyway, I started at Southview Path and the first fruiting tree I saw was this unidentified tree.

Keruing (Dipterocarpus caudatus)
As I entered Keruing Path, I was really excited to see lots of Keruing (Dipterocarpus caudatus) fruits on the forest floor beneath the giant Keruing trees! This emergent tree can grow up to 50m tall.

Keruing (Dipterocarpus caudatus)
Most of the fruits had 2 wings which caused them to spin and slow down the speed of them dropping onto the ground, increasing the chance of being dispersed by wind. Some of them, however, have 3 wings, like the one above.

Cheng Tng (Scaphium macropodum)
Along the Keruing Path, I also saw lots of Cheng Tng (Scaphium macropodum) fruits on the ground.

I couldn't identify most of the other fruits though, such as the black ones above.

Found these fruits that look like little bugs along the main road.

Eventually, just next to the main road, I found more dipterocarp fruits, probably a Shorea sp.

These fruits look different from the one above, but I think there were a Shorea species too.

Long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis)
A troupe of Long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis) suddenly appeared and started playing around.

Long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis)
Some of them formed a line on the road, looking at the people walking by. A few of them even harassed some of the people, including this girl which kept saying "don't come to me, don't come to me" as she moved closer to the monkeys to take photos. Duh...

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus)
One monkey decided to climb after this Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus), which appeared to have lost its "racket tails". Not sure if its nest was nearby, as it just kept flying from branch to branch, and never flew away.

As I entered Jungle Fall Path, I saw more dipterocarp fruits. Not sure of the species though.

Along Seraya Loop, I passed by a little stream with a few toads.

There was a skink on the vegetation by the edge of the water too.

Along Seraya Trail, I saw quite a lot of fruits on the forest floor. Probably some Shorea sp.

Seraya (Shorea curtisii)
Are these the fruits of the Seraya (Shorea curtisii)?

The Seraya is the dominant primary forest tree in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, thus the primary dryland forests in the reserve are classified as Seraya-ridge forests, a sub-type of hill dipterocarp forest type.

After spending more than 4 hours in Bukit Timah, I finally took all the necessary photos. As I left the reserve, I saw this tree near the visitor centre with persimmon-like fruits, which I think was a Butterfruit (Diospyros discolor).

It was a very tiring day, but certainly a very fruitful one!


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