Sunday, September 15, 2013

Family fun exploring Pasir Ris mangroves

There's so much to see and discover at Pasir Ris mangroves, just minutes from the MRT station. Bugs literally show up on our hand, as Ian shows.
Although we had only a small group of families (it's exam period?), they were most enthusiastic and great spotters. So we saw the owl, snakes, flying lizard and lots of other interesting animals.

Even before we began the walk, we had a treat. A flying lizard was spotted on a tree near the meeting point. By not getting too close, we managed to observe it for some time. Sean shares a video of the lizard gobbling ants, on facebook.
The lizard blends right into the tree trunk. We were waiting for it to extend its throat flap which is more obvious looking at the lizard from the side. But it didn't do this. The lizard glides on flaps of skin between its limbs, but it doesn't actually fly like a bird or bat.
Strange but beautiful wild orchids have been planted by NParks on the trees. Some were blooming. They remind me of fireworks!
Pei Yan and Alyce have found a cicada!
These super well camouflaged bugs make the high pitched whine of the forest. These are songs of male cicadas calling for girlfriends.
Oh, an inchworm ended up on the back of Pei Yan's leg. The kids have a close look at it. And Pei Yan sings us the inchworm song!
I forgot how cute the song is! With a deep message. Here it is...brings back childhood memories

Sean uses his camera to show the visitors what to look for.
Oh, a squirrel! The kids spotted several!
Pei Yan found an interesting spider, it's so well camouflaged!
There were lots of Giant mudskippers, many in pairs. As well as crabs, clams and other muddy critters.
Alyce shares lots of stories while Sean explains more about the many strange insects we see on the boardwalk.
Sean is our ladybird beetle expert and he was very glad to see the 'white cow' ladybird today. It's identity is still unknown! Check out Sean's awesome guide to Singapore's ladybird beetles. There were many Red ants all along the boardwalk and they were carrying all kinds of prey. Alyce shared how she ate a seasoning made of these ants. But we couldn't bring ourselves to kill an ant to see how it tastes.  Sean also spotted a cute green critter, and a mama spider with her spiderlings.
Photos by Sean Yap on facebook.
Wow, Pei Yan spotted the Buffy fish owl! The kids were great! They kept very quiet as we snuck in to take a closer look. So the bird stayed put and everyone could have a good look at this beautiful bird.
Here's my bad shot of the rather large but well camouflaged bird.
Here's a great video clip of the Buffy fish owl by Andy, who joined us just in time for this special sighting.
buffy fish owl @ pasir ris mangroves 14Sep2013 from SgBeachBum on Vimeo.

Hurray! We saw snakes! Two dog-faced water snakes were seen on this trip. Finally, after many snake-less months.
All too soon we ended the walk at the little jetty over Sungei Tampines. Here's we had a look at various kinds of kingfishers, swifts and in the water, lots of 'chopstick' fishes.
The herons have 'moved house' further downstream closer to the sea. I had come earlier to have a look there and there are lots of happy heron homes here.
In the shelter at the jetty, some of the kids spot critters on under the roof. These turned out to be little wasps making homes out of chewed up plant fibres. That's why they are called paperwasps.
Here's where we also have a great time drawing what we saw during the walk. Thanks to Wei Gene for this lovely shot of Jayden and the rest of the kids at work.
Photo by Wei Gene on facebook.
The drawing session was interrupted when someone spotted a Malayan water monitor resting on the tree overhanging the jetty!
Later, the lizard crept down the tree and started to squeeze into a little hole in the tree.
Here's the lizard, with the hole just under his chin. It took a while but it managed to squeeze into the hole! Sean shared an awesome video of this seemingly impossible feat, on facebook with hilarious commentary from kids, parents and guides.
Thanks once again to the kids for these fabulous drawings that nature inspired. Zhi Bing is a repeat customer and has a super keen eye to spot lots of things us adults would otherwise just walk by. And today, he is armed with a Snake App!
It's teeming with life out there!
Birds, lizards, crabs, fishies!
Lots of excitement in this drawing!
As we were walking back after the walk, the guides spotted the huge Golden orb web spider killing and wrapping up a dragonfly that just flew into its web. Sean shared a video clip of this on facebook.
Photo by Sean Yap on facebook.
When I got home after the walk, Peter Loh shared this photo on facebook! It was one of a pair of otters that Peter's brother saw at Pasir Ris in the morning. Aargh, we missed it. OK, by many hours so we don't feel so bad. But it's amazing what we can see at Pasir Ris.
Photo by Peter Loh's brother on facebook.
Thanks to Alyce, Pei Yan and Sean for guiding, and Andy for joining us later. The walk would not have been possible without the marvelous families who came and brought so much joy on the trip, and the kids who found all these wonderful animals!

Pasir Ris mangroves are special not only because there are so many awesome creatures to discover here, but also because it is the only mangrove boardwalk that is open 24/7. A night trip to here can be quite amazing.

The next FREE Naked Hermit Crab walk is at Chek Jawa! More details here.

Posts by others on this trip

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