Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wild boars and madcap mudskippers at Chek Jawa, 27/7/08

We had a huge turnout of visitors today. 55 folks! Wow! Thank you for making that skip-hop-jump journey to Chek Jawa.
The groups were quite large, many of you may not have heard all the commentaries. Thank you for your patience. Chek Jawa with its varied ecosystems will always be full of little surprises. From the lovely guestbook drawings that you did, it looks like you had a great time and enjoyed seeing many of the creatures first-hand.

"Madcap Mudskippers"? Yes, that's what one of our young visitors called the mudskippers. I totally agree. The little mudskippers were so alive today. They were literally skipping and flipping somersaults. I guess it's not easy being a mudskipper living at the water's edge, and not quite sure whether it wants to be a land creature or a sea creature. Haha! Perhaps we are witnessing a tiny slice of the evolution process when sea creatures grow legs, shed their gills and begin to walk on land.

Gaytri's group managed to see the Cotton-stainer bugs on the sea hibiscus trees while LK's group missed them totally. Here is the bug with the beautiful white cross on its back.
The fruit trees were full of ripe fruits in Chek Jawa. Look at the rambutans on this tree! Some of us tasted the rambutans and declared that the fruits were really sweet. Because Chek Jawa was a fishing village in the past, there are lots of fruit trees such as starfruits and durians in the area. Well, if you are thinking of going to Ubin for durians, I'm sorry, durian season is over in Ubin! Come back next July. As usual, many of our visitors were tickled when told that the nipah palm is the source of their "attap chee". What is life without plenty of "attap chee" in our ice kacang? Similar what is life like without our precious mangroves which home to the nipah palm. Think about it!

Besides the little creatures, did we see larger animals in Chek Jawa? but of course! Here's the proof!

A family of wild boars, with piglets, were seen running across the fruit tree path by Marcus' group. We think the wild boars are out in larger numbers foraging in the forests for fallen fruits. That's the competition going after fallen durians. We managed to catch a photo of the fleeing wild boars.

And our visitors also drew a baby wild boar on our guestbook.
Almost on cue, the White-bellied Sea Eagle soared above House #1 at 5 pm. It was a magnificent sight for those who saw it, and it is ample compensation for not seeing the Oriental-Pied Hornbill today.
We have 2 lovely drawings of the Jejawi Tower too, presenting 2 different perspectives. The tower has been quite a highlight on our walks because it offers a vantage point to view the ecosystems and to gain a better understanding of the size of the Chek Jawa environs.
More drawings from our visitors expressing their wish to visit Chek Jawa again at low tide and to be able to walk on the mud flats and sand bars.

House #1 is also a favourite. Chek Jawa offers so much for the casual visitor. There is wildlife, birds, ecosystems, architecture, rare plants and scenic views. It makes life in Singapore so much more interesting. We are thankful that Chek Jawa is preserved and Singaporeans are able to enjoy some nature that is left in our country.

After the walk was over, the Crabs made their way to Pekan Quarry to enjoy the setting sun, and to view the return of the birds to their nests. The Gray Herons were everywhere, and as we sat and watched the birds, we felt the peace and beauty of the quarry and were grateful for the privilege.
Many thanks to Marcus, Gaytri, Vyna, LK for guiding today. Anuj came to help and also to learn. Credits to Xun for the lovely photos. And lastly, credits to Transition Optical for sponsoring this walk so that it is free for all visitors.
That's the Magpie Robin spotted near Butterfly Hill.
We wish everyone a great week ahead! - the Crabs.

Here's more blog entries about our trip

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