Sunday, April 28, 2013

Earth Day at Pasir Ris Park mangrove boardwalk

Last weekend, Singapore's nature community was buzzing with activities to celebrate Earth Day. This year Earth Day falls on the 22nd April 2013, which is a Monday.

The Naked Hermit Crabs did not forget about celebration Earth Day too. We held a free public guided walk at Pasir Ris Park mangrove boardwalk for 15 visitors. We saw many interesting things we usually did not get to spot thanks to other kind park users.

A very special find for both the guides and the visitor was the Buffy fish owl. It was the first time seeing the owl for many of us. Thanks to Ivan's friend, Ho Yong Tze, for showing it to us.
Buffy fish owl
[Photo by Sean Yap]
What a great way to allow the only children visitor enjoy this beautiful bird by using binoculars and position it at the correct angle on the boardwalk to allow her to see too. Not just did the child saw the owl, a few adult visitors used the same setup to view the bird.

At the start of the walk, we had a pair of Plantain squirrels welcoming us to the boardwalk. It looks like they found some food to nibble.
Plantain squirrel
[Photo by Ria]
With the small number of visitors, we combined into a big group, with Ria leading at the front while some of us helped with the slower visitors and also help to spot animals.
Guides and visitors
Wow! How lucky we were. The cicadas were calling out very close to us. If you only use your ears, you will be able to spot them easily. Pei Yan found one cicada our visitors.
Cicada, side view
Cicada, dorsal view
Sean found a large gathering of Cotton stainer bugs on one of the Sea hibiscus tree. One of the groups of cotton stainer bugs can be seen easily at eye level. The adult bug has a white cross on its back while the nymph looks like a red dot. We did not see any nymphs around.
Gathering of Cotton stainer bug
Adult cotton stainer bug
One of our sharp eyed visitors spotted a few of these large snails feeding on the drier grounds in the mangrove. These are the Belongkeng snails and they are probably grazing on the algae on the ground. In the photo, you can actually see the snail. Many people would usually pass these badly covered shells as empty shells but on a more careful look, the shell might contain a snail.

Some of our visitors were treated to this special visitor, a very small leaf insect on the boardwalk. It probably fell off from a nearby tree.

Opps! It looks like we intruded the privacy of this two crabs. It was the only children in the group who mentioned to me she spotted a crab that took my attention. From the boardwalk, the crab looks unusual and different. My big camera with macro lens caught sight what this unusual crab position looked like.

Oh, a pretty inch worm on the boardwalk.
It reminded me about the inchworm song by Tony Bennet but on youtube, but I found the version sung by Charles Aznavour the Muppet show.

At the end of the walk, we stopped at a tree be intrigued by this young Malayan water monitor lizard staying in a cavity of the tree truck. This is not my first time seeing such behaviour. We wonder how it gets in and out. The lizard does not seemed disturbed by our presence.

Our visitors ended their walk with the beautiful view of Sungei Tampines and the different type of birds  flying by while they work on their guestsheets.

Hu Youxuan, the only children for this walk, did an excellent job in her drawing of Pasir Ris mangrove. It can with mud mounds, crabs, trees, mudskipper, water and different birds!

Sean joined the Naked Hermit Crab group for this session to observe how we conduct our guided walks and he did a wonderful drawing of the Buffy fish owl.

Thanks to the guides for this trip: Ria, Ley Kun, Ivan, Pei Yan and Sean.
Oh... Some of Pei Yan's students were also with us for this session but they are still rather shy to interact with the visitors - Cheryl, Kristine and Claudia.

There will be no guided walks for Pasir Ris mangrove from May till July. The crabs are busy with many biodiversity events occurring during this period. Guided walks at Chek Jawa will still be available.
Do visit our blog again for more updates.

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