Sunday, June 29, 2008

Chek Jawa Public Walk, 29 June 2008

Once again, it's the last Sunday of the month, and some of the Naked Hermit Crabs were back at Chek Jawa to do some guiding along the boardwalk!

A long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) was hanging around the trees at Punai Hut, as if waiting to welcome us to Chek Jawa. Unfortunately, this was the only decent photo I managed to take. The monkeys on Pulau Ubin are extremely shy compared to those that can be found in areas such as Bukit Timah and Sentosa. Feeding monkeys might seem cute, and make them more tame and less afraid of people, but it encourages them to resort to harassing people and stealing food.

When we arrived at the Information Kiosk, we were amazed at the huge crowd that had gathered, all waiting for us! In total, we had 40 visitors today! It was a little overwhelming initially, but we quickly formed our groups and headed off to lead our visitors on a tour.

Durian season is here! In fact, if you happen to be standing beneath the trees, you might be able to catch a whiff of the durian scent.

We managed to catch a good view of the fiddler crabs (Uca spp.) before the tide came in.

And shared a bit about the sea hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus) and the partnership it forms with various species of ants. The plant secretes a sweet liquid from the base of its leaves, which attract ants that then help keep away herbivorous insects.

The mudskippers (Periophthalmus and Periophthalmodon spp.) and tree-climbing crabs (Episesarma spp.) in the mangroves really captured our visitors' attention.

As did the nipah palms and their various uses.

It's been a while since we've seen common palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) dung on the boardwalk; do you know the story about the world's most expensive coffee?

Today was a great day for spotting the white-bellied sea eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster) soaring above. While we were waiting to board the taxis to Chek Jawa, we already saw a pair resting on top of the radio towers.

At Chek Jawa, we saw them repeatedly while on the boardwalk and also from the top of Jejawi Tower. To our disappointment, the Oriental pied hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris) decided not to make an appearance today. Oh well, better luck next time.

Gaytri's group pauses for a group photo on top of the Jejawi Tower.

At one point, a red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) hen ran across the trail as Ivan's group was walking down towards the coastal boardwalk! And further down, near the floating pontoon, a great-billed heron (Ardea sumatrana) flew past, just a few metres away from the boardwalk! Too bad both birds did not stop to pose for photos.

We seem to be having really great luck with the weather lately; once again, it was really hot at first, but later on, it got very cloudy and it seemed that rain was imminent. Thankfully, we remained dry, and could take a nice scenic stroll down the coastal boardwalk while enjoying the sea breeze, without getting sunburnt.

The visitors were delighted by the huge shoals of small fish that were swimming below the boardwalk. At one point, several of these fish were leaping out of the water. Maybe a larger fish was attacking them from below? Jerald says his group saw two large fish in the water later on.

Gaytri's group spotted a few cocoons, at the same spot where we saw the freshly emerging atlas moths (Attacus atlas) at the beginning of this month. Hopefully the atlas moths will be out and about the next time we're around.

This is one of the Atlas moths we saw on 1st June.

Of course, no walk is complete without our visitors writing their thoughts and comments in our guestbook.

To end the walk on a high note, it's time for a group photo!

Thanks to LK, Ivan, Jerald and Gaytri for coming down, and a big shout-out to all our wonderful visitors! We hope to see you all again soon!

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