Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mud Lobster sighting on first outing in 2013

On Saturday, 2nd March, 50 visitors of all ages joined us at an outing to Chek Jawa Boardwalk in Pulau Ubin. This marks the first of our monthly free nature walks to Chek Jawa in 2013, and all of us, visitors and guides, had a great time exploring the mangroves and coastal areas together. Here are some photographs and drawings from the trip. Enjoy!

Mud Lobster (photo credit: PY)
The best sighting for the day was the Mud Lobster! Visitors in Ria and PY's groups managed to see it in the water down at the boardwalk. What a rare treat it was! Why? Because most of the time, we are only able to TALK about the mud mounds made by the mud lobsters, and 99% of the time, we will NOT be able to SEE the shy creature itself.
Giant Mudskipper
There were several giant mudskippers in the back mangroves. The Giant mudskippers are doing well in the Chek Jawa mangrove habitats. Sometimes, it is hard to spot them as they seem to camouflage so well with the mud and vegetation. The kids love to see the mudskippers blink their eyes!

We also spotted this unusual blue crab in the mangroves. Not a great photo, but you can see just how bright the blue colour is! Match that with red beady eyes, and you get a very handsome crab indeed!

And here's another tiny crab with beady red eyes.

Mud Crab
Then we saw a much larger crab - a mud crab hiding in a hole under the roots! Yes, the edible mud crab that lives in mangroves. It was good for the visitors to see the natural habitat in which a mud crab lives, giving them a better understanding of where our food comes from. The mangroves remain a very important food source for human beings, so we hope people understand the importance of preserving these natural habitats.

We don't get to see many dragonflies in Chek Jawa, but here's a little fellow that stood quite still for us to capture a decent photo. A few of the kids took some good shots of the dragonfly. Nice.

juvenile water monitor lizard
Further down the boardwalk, we spied a young Malayan Water Monitor sunning itself. It wasn't very active yet, so the kids managed to get a good view.
Fiddler crabs
Where the mangrove boardwalk joins the coastal boardwalk, we could see lots of fiddler crabs on the sandy area. The male fiddler crabs have a large pincer and a small one. We could see them feeding themselves using the smaller claw. What a strange but fascinating animal!

Our monthly Chek Jawa Boardwalk trips are wonderful opportunities for families to bond in the midst of a natural surrounding. Do join us on a walk if you could take some time from your busy schedule.

Lots of families sign up for our walks. We warmly welcome you too if you sign up with your friends!
Oriental Pied Hornbill (male)
I promised to show the kids ..... here's a photograph of a male Oriental Pied Hornbill that the guides encountered at Ubin jetty. It was feeding on the fruits of the perepat tree (Sonneratia alba). It's a beautiful bird. We are delighted that the hornbills are thriving on Pulau Ubin. Bravo to the birds!


I feel it is important for all of us to remember NOT to feed the wild boars in Chek Jawa. So allow me to talk a little about this issue.

This is the scene that greeted us when we arrived at Punai Hut at 9 am. Piglets born to Mama Wild Boar in the Chek Jawa area! The babies still had their characteristic 'water-melon' stripes on them and were probably just a few days old.

Unfortunately, someone had started to feed the wild boars with a very large loaf of white bread. This calls for an impromptu pep talk to the visitors and bystanders who had gathered around the wild boars about the need to leave wild animals alone, and not to feed them with our food. The wild boars, when left on their own, would forage for fruits, seeds, roots and shoots in the forest, and even on the intertidal areas when the tide goes down. Sadly, when humans feed the wild boars with our kind of food, we are conditioning them to seek our kind of food, thus changing the animals' natural behaviour, and adversely affecting their interaction with us.

A gentle reminder that NParks have put up signboards in Chek Jawa that say:

Wild boars have been seen in
the area.

If you encounter a wild boar,
move calmly away from it.

Do not use flash photography
as it may upset the animal.

Do not feed it as it is illegal to
feed wild animals.

Hope you remember this little message when you encounter other wild boars during your nature outings around Singapore.

Our volunteer guides on 2nd March are CH, JL, PY, Ria and LK. And we had 4 students from KC who came to learn nature guiding with us. Thank you, everyone!

Other posts written of the same outing:
First Naked walk at Chek Jawa in 2013 by Wild Shores of Singapore
Mud Lobster Sighting and 8 new wild boar piglets at Chek Jawa by Peiyan Photography


Sharing a few of the drawings done by our visitors:

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