Saturday, October 17, 2015

Great day at Chek Jawa on a somewhat hazy day

46 visitors had a wonderful day out at Chek Jawa Wetlands with the Crabs last Saturday (October 10). There was a small window of relatively low-haze conditions, and so we all decided to carry on with the outdoor activity. We had to cancel the September walk due to bad haze conditions. Just for the record, the 3-hour PSI reading from NEA on October 10 was 93 at 11 am, while the hourly AQI reading for PM2.5 was an amber 139.

Families with young children in tow came. Everyone was determined to have a great day spent outdoors amidst the natural surroundings of Chek Jawa on Pulau Ubin.

The wild boar greeted us when we arrived. We were lucky to see them up close. The wild boar were hunting for morsels of edible roots, shoots and seeds from the forest floor using their snouts.

If we keep a safe distance and make little noise, there is no problem for us to observe the wild boar in their natural environment.

More about the mangroves! The giant mudskippers were out and about. Look at their bulging eyes at the top of their heads. This little guy was busy digging his burrow. You can see the fresh mud spit on the rim of the puddle of water.

A sharp-eyed visitor saw a small crab hiding under a root.

The seashore pandan (related to our fragrant pandan plants) has a big fruit. We wonder if the fruit is edible.

The tide was at 2.6m, relatively high tide. Look at the cute little mudskipper perched on the root. What kind of fish is this that prefers dry space to the water! It's true!

Once we spotted the first mudskipper on the root, it became much easier to see more mudskippers out of water. This one is holding tight to the rock surface using its pectoral fins.

The nerite snails are getting out of the water too. Lovely spirals on the shell.

We always end our walk with a drawing session for the kids as well as the adults who want to express their thoughts about Chek Jawa. This little boy drew a praying mantis entirely from memory! The kids are so precocious!

In this drawing, we can see the memories that the child has of the lovely day - sun, boat, aeroplane, house (the English Cottage), trees, a long boardwalk, bird, creatures in the mangrove next to the boardwalk, and a drawing of herself in the middle of it all. With a smile :)

Another lovely drawing of a healthy sea with lots of creatures in it. The child sees crabs, fishes, coral, octopus and snails or barnacles on a rock.

The wild boar did leave quite an impression on the kids.

More about the English Cottage, fishes, seastar, wild boar and a boat ride to Pulau Ubin.

This is the sad scene that greeted us on our way back to Ubin town after the walk. Unfortunately, a team of volunteers who came for a corporate event in Ubin left a large trash bag of plastic cups and Milo packets next to the trash bin. They ought to have known better than to leave trash in the open in a place like Pulau Ubin where there is wildlife around. The right way is to stuff the trash bag into the bin.

The wild boar with their amazing sense of smell have quickly sniffed out the food in the trash bag. They began to tear the trash apart, and started a feeding frenzy. We could see the piglets crunching on the plastic cups, and very likely have ingested the plastic and styrofoam. Trash does harm wildlife.

Lesson to learn: Please dispose of waste in a safe and considerate manner whether you are at home, out and about in the city, and especially in a natural place.

Thanks go out to our guides who volunteered for this walk - Ria, Ian and LK.

A big "Thank You" to the 2 lovely ladies who gave us a donation. The money goes to paying for the boat and van rides. Thank you!

Ria has also written a post about this walk at her wildshores blog: Kids day out at Chek Jawa

The Naked Hermit Crabs run a monthly walk at Chek Jawa Boardwalk. The next walk is on 21 November, Saturday. Registration will open shortly. Do come and join us for a wild day out at Chek Jawa!

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