Oh no....late for my first guiding trip! That's how it started for me this afternoon. Excited and nervous as I was to guide for the first time, I reached Chek Jawa only at 3:10pm - about 10 minutes late. More surprises! Wow - I was to take 15 visitors -a rather large group for the first time. Moreover there were no kids in my group so in a way it was even more challenging [I think it is harder to impress adults...well just kidding]
I was so engrossed in guiding that I forgot to take any pictures so the pictures in this post are either contributed by LK and Ivan or are from my previous visits to the shore.
This time there were quite a few cotton stainer bugs gracing the Sea Hibiscus accompanied with a stick insect around the mud lobster's territory.
Mud lobster is a darn big creature. Since it is a nocturnal creature it is pretty hard to spot during the day. My only encounter with it was during the International Coastal Cleanup 2008. Here it was - posing for a photo shoot!
Mud skippers as always are abundant around the mangrove area so this is the time for the guide to relax a bit and let the visitors explore. This one was particularly big and well camouflaged.
We also spotted a large mud crab before it was about to hide in its burrow.
Visitors were delighted to see that their 'Attap-chee' dessert comes from the fruit of the Nipah palm tree. There was also a suggestion to pluck some of the fruits since they are anyway going to fall on the ground and get wasted. This brought about the important lesson that nothing should be taken away from the forest- unknowingly we might be depriving an organism of food or shelther.
After a steady climb to the top of the Jejawi tower, the visitors were refreshed with an aerial view of the landscape. It was time to introduce the six ecosystems at Chek Jawa and to establish that each one of them is important yet fragile. Thus there is a need for us to protect each and every part of Chek Jawa as it is.
Barring two visitors who were still panting, here was my group that seemed to have enjoyed the walk so far. What a confidence booster that was for me!
It is always fun bird-watching here at Chek Jawa. Just before stepping down the tower, we were thrilled to see the majestic white-bellied sea eagle that flew past the Jejawi tree. Later LK spotted two grey herons probably out there hunting for dinner. Walking past the Tongkat Ali shrub, one can always expect a glimpse of a pair of oriental pied hornbills checking out the NParks' experimental hornbill nest. This time again LK was lucky enough to capture the event in her camera.
It is very satisfying to read what visitors have to say about the walk. Here is a creative visitor leaving her comments in our guest book.
Last but not least, LK's group posed for a group photo at House No. 1 - a great way to say Good Bye!
Soon a few visitors from Ivan's group followed.
Finally before leaving, some of my group visitors thanked me for the informative and the enriching session. "Thank God - I didn't mess up my first guiding trip " - I said to myself.
Do join us next month for a memorable afternoon and more surprises.