Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Exploring Seletar Mangrove on 9 Aug 2011

Today is Singapore's National Day, and I decided to celebrate by going to a mangrove that I had never been to.

Looking at the photo above, many people might think that it's taken on Pulau Ubin. I was rather surprised to see this on mainland Singapore as well. I had always wanted to visit the mangrove forest at Seletar, but I didn't really expect to see stilt houses there! Reminded me of the good old days when my grandma was still living in Punggol!

There was some kind of a bridge leading from mainland to the stilt houses in the middle of the mangrove forest, and I decided to try it out.

It certainly didn't look too sturdy, but looks could be deceiving - I saw an old (and fat) uncle carry a huge box of fish walking on it. So guess it shouldn't have problem taking my weight.

And I was certainly glad that I visited this little kampong!

Finally, I found a fruiting Ipil (Intsia bijuga) with fruits low enough for me to take nice photos with my camera! This plant is critically endangered in Singapore.

And here are more fruits! I have seen the Ipil in various places, such as Mandai, Sungei Buloh, Pulau Ubin, Admiralty, Singapore Botanic Gardens etc, but this was the first time the fruits were nice and low! The one at Mandai didn't really count, as the fruit was somewhat deformed with a hole...

There were several Kalak Kambing (Finlaysonia obovata), also critically endangered in Singapore, and I saw this pair of fruits rather high up - it's a climber after all.

And there were 2 Nyireh Batu (Xylocarpus moluccensis) trees right next to each other. This plant is also critically endangered in Singapore.

Closely related to the Nyireh Batu but more common was the Nyireh Bunga (Xylocarpus granatum), and it was fruiting! Both species were called Mangrove Cannonball Trees, and it's not hard to see why from the shape of the fruits!

The other usual suspects of our mangrove forest could also be found here, such as the 3 more common Api-api species (Avicennia spp.). The above is Avicennia alba, with its sharply pointed fruits.

And this is Avicennia rumphiana, with its somewhat crumpled-looking fruits. I also saw many Avicennia officinalis, but unfortunately there were hardly any fruits, and the few photos I took didn't turn out well.

Two Bruguiera species could be found here, including the very common Bakau Putih (Bruguiera cylindrica).

The Tumu (Bruguiera gymnorhiza) was another common Bruguiera species found in most of our mangrove forests, and hence I wasn't surprise to find it here too.

The Bakau Minyak (Rhizophora apiculata) is another common mangrove plant. It has many long seedlings hanging from the branches. The seeds germinated while the fruits were still attached to the tree, and hence the long and green stuff were actually seedlings.

This Bakau Kurap (Rhizophora mucronata) seedling had a really strange shape. I wondered what happened to it...

Nearer to the back mangrove, I saw several patches of Nipah Palm (Nypa fruticans). There were a few Blind-your-eyes (Excoecaria agallocha) too.

I saw a Portia Tree (Thespesia populnea) too, and many Sea Hibiscus (Talipariti tiliaceum).

I didn't really spend much time looking for animals, but still managed to spot a few along the way. The above looks like a Straited Heron (Butorides striata).

There were many Orange Signaller Crabs (Metaplax elegans) on the mudflat.

And many different types of mudskippers too, including the Blue-spotted mudskipper (Boleophthalmus boddarti) above, which feeds on algae on the mud surface.

While taking photos of the Ipil, I also saw this Spotted Dove (Spilopelia chinensis) on a nearby branch.

I was already rather tired after exploring for about 3 hours under the hot sun, but still decided to check out another patch of mangrove forest on the other side of the old Sungei Seletar. Since I was alone and this area looked a lot more deserted, I only explored a small area nearest to Lower Seletar Reservoir. And even during this short 20 min walk, I found this Gedabu (Sonneratia ovata). Guess I should go back again another day to check it out more thoroughly :)

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