Sunday, March 18, 2012

Families enjoying day out on Chek Jawa Boardwalk

The Crabs went out to Chek Jawa Boardwalk on 10th March 2012 with about 26 visitors. We had a wonderful time exploring the mangroves and coastal area with the families. Our visitors are ever so enthusiastic with all that they saw. In fact, I am quite impressed by the moms and dads in this group as they appear to be adventurous and their kids had loads of fun. Kudos to the Lee, Tan, Heng and Tay families for being a real sport!

When we arrive at Chek Jawa, we were able to show the kids how rubber tapping works. Rubber used to be an important cash crop in the past (until natural rubber was replaced by synthetic rubber), and there were a number of rubber estates in Pulau Ubin. The rubber estates are no longer in operation, but the rubber trees are left to grow wild all over the island, gradually turning into secondary forests. LK explained to the kids how the rubber tree is "tapped" and the sticky sap collected from the trees is called latex which coagulates on exposure to air. The kids were able to stretch the ribbons of latex.

Ria's group of visitors saw the male Oriental Pied Hornbill feeding on fruits. They were so excited with the sighting as can be expected because the hornbill is indeed a magnificent beauty of our forests. The kids and adults made the tedious climb to the top of Jejawi Tower and were rewarded with yet another wonderful sighting, this time of a White-Bellied Sea-Eagle, soaring above their heads. Yup! This is a typical day out to Chek Jawa, a treasure trove of biodiversity in Singapore!

And here's a photo shot of Chay Hoon's group, comprising the Tay family and a group of friends led by Joyce, on top of the Jejawi Tower.

And the view looking down on the boardwalk from the tower.

The sightings for the day captured on photographs:
Telecopium snails (also called 'Rodong' in Malay)
Telecopium snails (Telecopium telescopium) are commonly found in our mangroves. These snails feed on algae and detritus. If you want to see these snails, do drop by at the Pasir Ris Mangroves where you could easily observe them from the boardwalk. The Malay name for these snails is 'Rodong'. These snails are edible, although we do not see them on sale in our markets any more.

Red eyed fiddler crab
There are plenty of crabs found in the Chek Jawa mangroves too. We spotted lots of small little ones scuttling about. As I brought my tele-lenses, I managed to capture this little fellow with red stalk-eyes feeding on the mud. It was no no larger than 2 cm long. This is possibly the red eyed fiddler crab, commonly found in the back mangroves.

It sure was teeming with people on the boardwalk today. Singaporeans continue to flock to Chek Jawa to view its natural beauty. And if you're lucky enough to have a nature guide accompany your group, you will find the trip educational.

Blue-spotted mudskipper
Our visitors got to see at least 2 species of mudskippers. At the back mangroves area (further inland), they could see the Blue-Spotted Mudskipper (Boleophthalmus boddarti). Some visitors may mistake mudskippers for amphibians. Well, they are not amphibians; they are fishes! Yes, fishes that live halfway between land and water. Look closely at their unusual bulging eyes, large gill pouches and fins that almost function like flipper-legs.
Gold-spotted mudskipper
At the outer mangroves area (nearer to the sea), we could find the Gold-Spotted Mudskippers (Periophthalmus chrysospilos). True to written accounts, these fishes were observed to move around in groups. They are delightful to observe because they move incessantly, and occasionally you could see one or two mudskippers flare its dorsal fin.
It sure was busy on the boardwalk today!

We stopped at the coastal shelter and the kids had a short rest, including a feeding time! Thse kids are adorable!

Sadly, some parts of Chek Jawa, especially the hard-to-reach areas near the coastal forest, show signs of marine litter. This is the area where the jungle fowl are often seen foraging at. In fact, Ria's group was fortunate enough to sight the male jungle fowl at the edge of the coastal forest. One of the papas in the group managed to capture a photo and had posted it on his blog.

Common Sandpiper

As we turned round the curve of the coastal boardwalk, one of the boys, Denver, spotted a bird on a rock. This is the Common Sandpiper, a migratory bird from the far northern reaches of the Eurasian continent. It is a common winter visitor to this part of the world.

When we ended the tour at the English Cottage, we let the kids (and grownups too) express whatever they want about the trip.

Drawing by Phoebe, one of the mums in the group

Joyce and friends left some encouraging words too!
When we ended the walk at Punai Hut, we had Mama Wild Boar and her 2 piglets drop by to say "Hi!". Needless to say, all the city folks were thrilled and began to whip out their cameras to capture photographs of them. (Note from the Crabs: Do always remember these wild boars are wild animals, so their behaviour can be unpredictable. Keep a safe distance from them. And ..... do not feed them!)

Finally, here's the photo of the papa Oriental Pied Hornbill that I promised to put up for the visitors.

Thanks go out to Chay Hoon, Ria and Ley Kun for guiding.

And here are the links of blog posts made of this trip:

- Ria's wildshores blog
- The Heng Family Travel Blog, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3
- Andy's Sengkangbabies blog
- more photos from SengkangBabies fb album
- more photos from Phoebe's fb album

IF you want to join us on our monthly outing to Chek Jawa Boardwalk, check this blog post. We run this free tour every second Saturday of the month, and we welcome family and friend groups.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for hosting us.
    Kids really enjoy their outdoor lesson :)