Saturday, June 23, 2012

Chek Jawa Boardwalk outing on the eve of Father's Day

The Crabs had a wonderful outing to Chek Jawa Boardwalk last Saturday (16 June) on the eve of Father's Day. We are totally delighted that so many families joined us for the outing. In fact, look out for the fathers as you scroll through the photos. Bravo Dads, and happy belated Father's Day!

What plants and animals did we see along the boardwalk? Lots! Let me share some of the sightings.

At the start of the walk, Ivan spotted a huntsman spider next to the Information Kiosk. He managed to coax it into a leaf, and showed it to the kids. The huntsman spider is a common spider but rather difficult to spot as it blends with the colour of wood and mud of its habitat.

The nipah palms are glowing with the male and female flowers! Look at the golden colour! Do you know that nipah palms give us our favourite chewy "attap chee" seeds, a wonderful ingredient in ice kacang, a local dessert. Nipah palms are commonly found in mangroves and along river banks all over Southeast Asia. Besides "attap chee", nipah palms have numerous other uses including leaves for thatching of attap huts, sap to make gula melaka and fermented toddy.

We spotted a male White-rumped Shama flying through the forest. The shama is rare in Singapore forests, so we are happy to see this species still surviving in Chek Jawa. The White-rumped Shama has a wonderful song and as a result it has been hunted to its critically endangered status now.
(Photo by KS)
Some of the visitors were able to spot the Gold-spotted Mudskipper in the mangroves too. I don't see them as often as I'd like to; it's good to know they are still around.
(Photo by Ivan)

The Jejawi Tower was closed and the visitors could not climb to the top, although Ivan's group later found the barrier removed when his group came to the Jejawi Tower. They found some nasty graffiti drawn on the signboards. Acts of vandalism! More about it in the Lazy Lizard's Tales.

Acts of vandalism.
Sightings of the larger animals in Chek Jawa ....

The super-star sighting was made by KS's group. They saw a pair of Smooth Otters swimming near the beacon area! Just a week ago, a few of the Crabs spotted a pair of otters playing on the beach during a low tide outing. We were hoping that the otters make an appearance and they did! One thing is for sure, the Crabs are thrilled to see otters doing well in Chek Jawa.

The Oriental Pied Hornbill made its appearance near the English Cottage. The visitors are delighted to see this charismatic species. The Oriental Pied Hornbill is thriving in Singapore due to a conservation plan to provide it with man-made nesting boxes mounted on tall trees. The birds are breeding quite well in Ubin as while as on Singapore island. They have been sighted in Changi, Bukit Timah, Kent Ridge Hill, Bidahari, Bukit Brown and Eng Neo area.

The wild boars are out and about too. Here's a picture of mama wild boar having a lie down while her 7 piglets are busy feeding. This particular sow had a litter of piglets a few months ago, and now she has given birth to yet another litter. Her older piglets still hang around her. The littlest ones still have their watermelon stripes.

Earlier in the morning, the guides saw the seven piglets feeding on food thrown by the van drivers. We DO NOT encourage you to feed the wild boars. The same goes for feeding the long-tailed macaques. The general rule is that people should not feed animals in the wild. When you feed the animals, you have unwittingly helped them develop a preference for our food, and that is why sometimes we hear of human and animal conflicts. For instance, the long-tailed macaques will go after our bags because they have learnt to associate bags with yummy food. Get the drift?

Here are the 2 group photos that we took of the visitors.
First group
Second group

Some statistics for the record:
Date: 16 June 2012 (Saturday)
Number of visitors: 76
Number of kids: 38
Number of volunteer guides: 5 (PeiYan, KokSheng, LeyKun, Ivan and Ria) - thanks, guys!

And we have several other blog posts made about this walk!
- Ria with a great summary of the walk.
- Kok Sheng blogged about the wonderful sighting of otters.
- Ivan blogged about vandalism as well as the birds on the Singapore bird series of currency notes.
- PeiYan wrote about wild boars, otters, hornbills and snake

- and a blog post by a visitor.... with awesome photos of Chek Jawa and Ubin vistas ....

The Naked Hermit Crabs run the Chek Jawa Boardwalk outings every second Saturday of the month. Click here for the online signup form.

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