Saturday, November 28, 2009

Shitting Colugo

Met up with Ruixiang and Jiayi to go Bukit Timah earlier today. It started pouring when we reached our meeting point at a nearby bus stop though. We ended up having some snacks at a small eatery before the rain finally stopped about an hour later.

I was a little worried that the colugos will be hiding due to the rain, and indeed, we did not managed to spot any colugo after walking for about 2 hours in the reserve. In fact, towards the end of the trip I was thinking, that this was probably going to be the first time for the past half a year that I did not spot any colugo during a Bukit Timah trip. I decided to check with the ranger before we left the reserve, and even he did not see one today. Then all of a sudden, Ruixiang shouted my name and starting running towards the carpark.

Malayan Colugo (Cynocephalus variegatus)
He actually saw this Malayan Colugo (Cynocephalus variegatus) gliding to this tree! It was almost at my eye level on this tree! We all got really excited, and I just starting snapping away with my camera.

Malayan Colugo (Cynocephalus variegatus)
Then suddenly, the colugo had this rather constipated look. I was wondering what's wrong.

Malayan Colugo (Cynocephalus variegatus)
It then flipped it's tail and side flaps over its back, and started shitting! You can actually see some string-like thing stuck to its anus.

Malayan Colugo (Cynocephalus variegatus)
And finally, all is done.

Unfortunately at this point, a big group of people walk by and started talking loudly and shouting, and some even attempted to walk nearer to it. The colugo immediately climbed all the up to the canopy and we eventually lost sight of it among the thick foliage...

Friday, November 27, 2009

2 Crocs at Sungei Buloh

Another long overdued entry. Went to Sungei Buloh last Sunday, and were really lucky to see 2 crocodiles!

Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)
Bumped into Dr Chua, who pointed out this little Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) at the far side of a disused prawn pond.

Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)
As we were about to leave the reserve on the main bridge, I saw another crocodile!

Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)
After a while, it opened its mouth.

Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)
All of the sudden, it snapped its mouth, and bit on this api-api root next to its head.

Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)
The root didn't break though, and remain in its mouth, poking the upper jaw. Thought it would feel rather uncomfortable. But even as we were leaving after taking photos for quite a while, the root remained inside...

Green Crested Lizard (Bronchocela cristatella)
Anyway, other animals we saw during the trip include this Green Crested Lizard (Bronchocela cristatella), which has caught an insect.

Shield Bugs (Calliphara nobilis)
Along the boardwalk, we saw lots of Shield Bugs (Calliphara nobilis) behind a leaf.

Giant Mudskipper (Periophthalmodon schlosseri)
As usual, we saw a number of Giant Mudskipper (Periophthalmodon schlosseri).

Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris)
There were also a few Collared Kingfishers (Todiramphus chloris).

Saw these bugs behind a leaf. Looks like the nymph of some kind of cotton stainer to me. I think I have seen them on Ubin before, also on the leaves of Mangrove Tit-berry (Allophylus cobbe).

Malayan Water Monitor Lizards (Varanus salvator)
There were a few Malayan Water Monitors (Varanus salvator) sun tanning by the pond.

Malayan Water Monitor Lizards (Varanus salvator)
It appeared as if the one on the right noticed that it was facing the wrong direction.

Malayan Water Monitor Lizards (Varanus salvator)
And decided to turn over... Haha

Four-lined Tree Frog (Polypedates leucomystax)
Been finding this Four-lined Tree Frog (Polypedates leucomystax) around the same area for the past few trips.

Common Greenback Frog (Hylarana erythraea)
There were several Common Greenbacks (Hylarana erythraea) in the pond.

Crab-eating Frog (Fejervarya cancrivora)
Looks like a Crab-eating Frog (Fejervarya cancrivora) to me.

There were lots of halfbeaks in Sungei Buloh Besar.

Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta)
There were many Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta) and other waders in the various ponds.

More waders...

A mixture of different egrets in the prawn pond.

Well, it was a great day! Guess I will be back here more often... hope to get closer shots of the croc :P

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tanjung Piai on 21 Nov 2009

A rather long-overdued entry.

Went with a few other nature volunteers to Tanjung Piai in Johor last Sunday, 21 Nov 2009. How I wish that Singapore will also has such nice and extensive mangroves!

Found this hawkmoth in the toilet when we stop by the petrol station. Thought the wings were really interestingly shaped.

Blue-spotted mudskipper (Boleophthalmus boddarti)
When we reached Tanjung Piai, there was a little stream with several blue-spotted mudskipper (Boleophthalmus boddarti). They were really cute, and kept turning their head left and right while feeding on the algae.

Tanjung Piai
Tanjung Piai has a really huge mangrove forest with lots of mature mangrove trees. Don't think we can find this in Singapore any more.

Long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis)
Mother long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) with baby.

Juvenile shore pit-viper (Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus)
Looks like a juvenile shore pit-viper (Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus) to me.

Mangrove skink (Emoia atrocostata)
I was really excited to see several mangrove skinks (Emoia atrocostata) here. We hardly see them back in Singapore!

The area nearer to the sea had lots of rubbish... Probably washed up during high tide...

Juvenile Malayan monitor lizard (Varanus salvator)
We saw this juvenile Malayan monitor lizard (Varanus salvator). Looks like it's moulting.

Lenggadai (Bruguiera parviflora)
There were lots of Lenggadai (Bruguiera parviflora). Here's its flower.

Thespesia firebug (Dysdercus simon)
We found a few thespesia firebugs (Dysdercus simon) on a sea hibiscus! There was a portia tree just next to the sea hibiscus though.

Cotton stainer bugs (Dysdercus decussatus)
On the same tree, a few cotton stainer bugs (Dysdercus decussatus) were happily mating.

Teruntum bunga puteh (Lumnitzera racemosa)
Several of the teruntum bunga puteh (Lumnitzera racemosa) were flowering.

Tanjung Piai
There were quite a few camp sites there on the boardwalk! Thought this was really a very interesting concept.

This was a rather blur photo, but I decided to post it since we saw this snake (probably a bronzeback) with a frog in its mouth! The poor frog was squeaking very loudly.

All in all, it was a very interesting with lots of nice sightings :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chek Jawa Walk on 17 Nov 2009

Have not guided any Chek Jawa intertidal walks for the past 3 months, and thus I was really glad that I could squeeze out some time to guide on 17 Nov.

Wild Boar (Sus scrofa)
The guides met up first and we took Mr Yeo's van to get to Chek Jawa. At the entrance, we were pleasantly surprised to find a Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) there! This was probably the same rather tamed wild boar that I had been seeing for my past few trips here.

Soon, my participants arrived, and I took them around the mangrove boardwalk before heading down to the intertidal area.

The hunter-seekers found us quite a few Orange Striped Hermit Crabs (Clibanarius infraspinatus). These little animals are not true crabs, and have a very soft abdomen which they need to hide in a shell for protection.

This Swimming Crab (Thalamita sp.), however, is a true crab covered with a hard exoskeleton. It has paddle-like back legs which allow it to swim very well.

We found lots of Green Mussels (Perna viridis) on and near the floating pontoon.

There were 3 juvenile Kite Butterflyfish (Parachaetodon ocellatus). I have seen this species of butterflyfish feeding on sea anemones.

The Mantis Shrimp (Harpiosquilla sp.) is a fierce predator of small fishes and prawns. It has sharp spines on its front claws, which it uses to hunt.

The Window Pane Shell (Placuna sp.) is collected in some areas in the region and made into lampshades and window panes, hence the common name.

On the sandy shore, there were lots of Sand Dollars (Arachnoides placenta).

I was rather surprised to find 3 adult Noble Volutes (Cymbiola nobilis) at the sandy shore. Most of the time we could only find 1 or at most 2 of them. This pretty snail feeds on smaller snails and clams.

There was a also a sea cucumber on the sand. Not exactly sure if the ID though.

The hunter-seekers also found us a Seamoth (probably Pegasus volitans).

The participants were all excited to see their first sea star of the trip - a Sand Star (Astropecten sp.). This sea star can burrow into the sand and feeds on small snails and clams.

Another sea star we saw was this Sand-sifting Sea Star (Archaster typicus). It can also burrow into the sand, but instead of snails and clams, it feeds mostly on tiny organic particles and micro-organisms.

These 2 pink sea cucumbers may look similar, but are in fact 2 different species. Do you know that sea cucumbers breathe with their anus?

There were stories saying that if you were pinched by a Thunder Crab (Myomenippe hardwickii), it would only let go when it heard a clap of thunder. This is certainly not true, as it will normally release when placed in water.

The Ovum Cowrie (Cypraea ovum) can commonly be found under rocks at Chek Jawa.

There were certainly more Haddon's Carpet Anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni) compared to my last trip here, but I think it will take a long time for it to return to the time before the mass death, when there were easily hundreds of them on the sand bar.

I found this Sandfish Sea Cucumber (Holothuria scabra) burrowing out of the sand in a pool of water. This is the species commonly found in the market, but note that they must be processed to remove the toxin before they can be consumed.

And the star of the day must be this Knobbly Sea Star (Protoreaster nodosus)! This was still a juvenile though - only about 15cm wide. The biggest I have seen so far was about 36cm wide!

Our hunter-seekers also found us a Peanut Worm. Hard to believe that they actually make this into a jelly to be served as a delicacy in China.

There was also this Leaf-porter Crab, which usually carried a leaf on its back to camouflage itself. This one was holding a broken shell initially though, but dropped it when I turned it over.

And the last animal we saw before we left the intertidal area was this Biscuit Sea Star (Goniodiscaster scaber).

It started to rain soon after we left the intertidal area, but fortunately my participants brought their rain gear with them, and thus we managed to reached the visitor centre somewhat dry.

This was certainly a very fulfilling trip again with a group of wonderful participants who were really nature-lovers.