Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Rainy Day at Chek Jawa

Today was a special day at Chek Jawa for the volunteers, as we were able to bring our friends to visit this unique nature spot! And with me today were 5 students from Temasek Poly and 4 friends.

Unfortunately, it started pouring when we were on the boat going to Ubin. OH NO!!! Will we be able to proceed with the walk?

Adelle decided to get the visitors to watch a video clip first, and luckily for us, the rain finally stopped around 4pm and we were able to go ahead.

We saw many interesting things today, and I'll just highlight some of them. Pardon the poor quality of the photos, as when I'm guiding, I had to just take quick shots and had no time to frame my photos properly :P

One of my friends asked me if giant mudskippers like those in Sungei Buloh can be found at Chek Jawa. And sure enough, after walking for a short while on the mangrove boardwalk, we saw one.

And here's a sandfish sea cucumber!

And this was probably the first sea star that most of my friends saw in the wild in Singapore. In fact, I think most of the things we saw today were "first sightings" for many of them.

The carpet anemone is actually an animal, not a plant. It has sticky tentacles to trap other animals that got too close to it.

A cute striped hermit crab in a noble volute shell.

And everyone was happy to see healthy ball sea cucumbers among the seaweed. I could still remember seeing hundreds, if not thousands of dead ball sea cucumbers during the mass death that happened early this year.

Some how we seemed to have more sand dollars on the sand bar these days after the mass death.

Here's a little horseshoe crab. Mind you, horseshoe crabs are not crabs actually, but are more closely related to spiders and scorpions.

A sand sifting sea star!!! I was overjoyed to see it! Otherwise also called the common sea star, this sea star used to be really common on Singapore shores, and we also had a healthy population of them before the mass death. Unfortunately, you can hardly find them on mainland Singapore now, and we haven't seen them for the past 10 months after the mass death. Alyce told me that they saw one last Friday, but I just have to see one with my own eyes. And now, FINALLY, we found one at near the sand bar!

There were lots of peacock anemones on the seaward side of the sand bar too.

Adelle found this cute little nudibranch. Can't remember the species though. Pai seh, getting a bit late, so won't search through sea slug forum for the ID. Will see if I can find time tomorrow. (Update: Have gone through Sea Slug forum, and thought it looks like a Hoplodoris armata.)

And yet another special find of the day - a seahorse!

There were quite a few brittle stars stranded on the sand too.

On our way back to House No 1, we saw this pretty soft coral just under the boardwalk.

And here's a photo of the gang who were with me today.

We were really lucky that it didn't rain again when we were out on the sand bar!

After the walk, D and Agnes stayed back and we had dinner one of the Ubin restaurants. The fried calamari still tasted heavenly as per always.

Can't wait to go back to Ubin again, for the lovely Chek Jawa, and the wonderful fried calamari :P


juanicths said...

The nudi looks like one of the Discodoris....

How big was the seahorse? Really cute! Plus is the first time I see a reddish one some more...

QED said...

Thank you for the enjoyable and informative guide at Chek Jawa yesterday, Ron. The rain did not dampen us and I have truly learned alot about the creatures of the tide.

If not for the rain, I would not have watched the video and therefore not know of the trememdous effort and sacrifice put in by the volunteers to conserve this unique environment. I am deeply moved by the commitment and resilience of these people.

Jimmy (Linda's bro)

Unknown said...

WOW! The common seastar is back! Time for a celebration

Ron Yeo said...

Hi Jun, don't think it's a discodoris actually. Thought it resembles Hoplodoris armata the most. The seahorse is about 10cm long in the curled up position you see in the photo, so I'll assume when fully extended about 15cm. This is the second time I've seen this colouration. Thought it's like a transition between yellow and brown, which were both quite commonly seen colours of this seahorse :P

Hi Jimmy, glad that you enjoyed the trip. Hope to see on again on some other shore trips, perhaps as a volunteer? :)

Yes Kok Sheng, FINALLY!!! It doesn't look all that healthy with parts of its arms missing though...

Unknown said...

if there is one, most likely there's more :-) hope the others are doing healthy.

I have used ur photo on my CJ blog. Hope you don't mind

Ron Yeo said...

Sure, no problem :)