Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sightings today~

It was raining and thunder was heard in the distance as we started our guided tour this morning. Today we were fortunate to have guides Faridah, Alan, Bari and Mark to help out.
Jacky, KC Auyeong and myself waited for a group that failed to turn up until 9.45am, 105 minutes late! The tide rose as we waited for them.

The management had agreed earlier on that in future, we would not wait for any groups that is late for more than 30 minutes. And their payment would not be returned to them.

The sun start to shine over Chek Jawa as the groups walked down and Faridah's group was lucky to spot a beautiful rainbow over the forest of CJ.

Today we had some great finds!
Jacky found a Keyhole Sand Dollar at the northern sandbar! I've worked here for 4 years and this is the first time I'm seeing it. Cool right?

Anyway, I'm guessing you've heard enough of my story of the day. =)
So let us now enjoy the photos taken by volunteer KC Auyeong.

Other than the Sand dollars, they found a tiger moonsnail too. Cool right? Hope someone took photos to share.

Till then~.....

Monday, April 07, 2008

Otter Sightings

4th April - Rangers Mark & Bari saw otters at Sensory Trail area! Here's their recount of the sighting.

"This morning, at around 8.30am, Mark Lim spotted some otters( est. 5 ) at the pond along Jln Ubin(opp House 363B). Mark Lim called me (Paul Parusuraman) to witness the sighting. We could not take shots of the otters as they were moving around pretty fast. The second sighting was witnessed at the mangroves adjacent the sluice gate area.(Sensory trail - boat berthing point ). We heard calls from within the mangroves before two large otters(est. 1 metre) swam past the sluice gate about 10 metres away before diving down. All this activity lasted about an hour. The below pic was the best we could take due to the otters' rapid movements."

Actually for the last few weeks, a few of us, Mark, Paul, Lioe, volunteers, visitors and security guards have spotted the Otters at Chek Jawa, Jelutong and now even Jln Ubin. The security guards at CJ reported seeing the otters swim near to the floating pontoon on quiet days during high tides.

Personally I think the sightings are normally

1) highest tide of the day (like in this case of 4th April)

2) early morning; low tide before or after rain.

Next time, do log your sightings at the Information Kiosks sightings book if you do see them yeh~

Friday, March 14, 2008

13th March Thurs

On the 13th March, we had our first very early CJ public walk at 8am. Having to pull ourselves out of bed so early in the morning had it rewards too.
A few of us felt more refreshed having to come out before dawn breaks. The others were just surprised at what Chek Jawa had in store for us...

Today, Terry, Leykun were asked to guide a group each while Jane, Jacky, Xiuli hunter seek.
Alyce, Wenpin and I were waiting to guide 3 groups who were late. While Wenpin helped to hunter seek, I slowly head to the floating pontoon to stand guard there.

Along the footpath to the boardwalk, the Calophyllum soulattri was flowering. Beautiful white and yellow flowers donned the tree.

As I walked along the boardwalk, a male jungle fowl appeared at the rocky shores with his 2 female counterparts. Can you spot the female in this photo? They were undisturbed by me and just walked slowly along the rocks.

The tide was still receding when I reached the beginning of the floating pontoon. There were about 10 other visitors there by then. As I looked around for things for them to see, there were about 8 other female / juvenile jungle fowls walking on the rocks behind the boardwalk shelter! This is the 4th time this year I've seen junglefowls in a group at CJ during a guided tour day. What a good year! How true when we often jokes that the jungle fowls only come out to party when we are not surveying them.

As some of the visitors marvelled at the wonderful sight of the fowls. Another surprise beholded us - Out on the seagrass about 80 metres away, there were 5 figures running inland. These figures looked unmistakening familiar and I yelled to the hunter seeker.... "OTTERS!"......These smooth coated otters which appeared larger than the small clawed otters were running inland. Those who ran faster stopped a while appearing to wait for the slower ones. They were heading to RDC area and even hanged around the entrance to RDC before disappearing into the forest.

That's a good 45 minutes that the hunter seekers went down before we spotted them. The otters could had been hanging around the seagrass lagoon during that period. Or came in from the sea from the northern sandbar. A visitor took a video clip while Jacky and Jane took photos. Although the photos were taken too far away, one could see the shape of the otters on the video and photo.

Come think of it. Next time we should follow their trail and take some photos of their footprints also.

What a day! Now everyone is looking forward to morning walks. And dont forget to credit the great work of the hunter seekers...they found a 20cm long sole fish, seahares, horseshoe crab and other common finds. Great work!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

24th Jan

Quiet weekday in Ubin when we had to wait for at least 30minutes to get a boat. Everything was peaceful till lunch time at Ah Lian's restaurant.

Marc Creamades (hornbill project) and Mark Lim was shouting at me. "Adelle! Come quickly!"

Abandoning my food and running over, I was just in time to spot 3 otters swimming in the waters!
The tide was high and they were swimming and surfacing and disappearing into the waters quickly. They were swimming away, around the corner of Jelutong campsite.

This is the second time I spotted otters. The first time was around Christmas 07 at Chek Jawa when my guided group and I saw 2 otters running across the northern sandbar towards the sea through Margie Hall's binoculous.

Encounters like these often happens when I do not have a camera good enough to zoom that far. Although we did'nt managed to take any photos, it is always heart warming to know that this small island is home to many wonderful animals that were once so abundance in numbers.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

22nd January

Today's the first session of our forest patrol to patrol the forest and watch out for potential hazard and wildlife traps. Despite being a weekday activity, we managed to get 8 volunteers and 6 staff to help out.

After a briefing by Choon Beng, we were divided into 2 groups and ferried by the pickup and landrover to our destination.

Some of us armed ourselves with makeshift hiking sticks to complete our patrolling look.

Other than patrolling the deep forest, we took time to enjoy the nature.

There were countless cotton stainers seeking shade under the Sea hibiscus leaves. These cotton stainers are adults but it seems that the mating season's not here yet as we did'nt spot any that's in action.

Knema globularia (Seashore nutmeg tree) is fruiting in the forest too. The shape of the leaves resembles that of a durian but does'nt have a copper underside like the latter.
These fruits are eaten by the hornbills that helps to disperse the seeds.

Snake found along the roadside....No idea what's the name but will find out. He's alive and motionless until we touched it. Opps..

With Angie in the group, how can we forgo of a chance to ask her more about plants? She's always happy to share her knowledge with us.

Walked pass a hole filled with fresh water reflecting the greens from the foliage of the nearby trees. Someone tasted it and confirmed that its indeed fresh water. =)

The other team that patrol the other area did'nt have time to enjoy nature as they found 3 traps - 1 wild boar trap and 2 smaller traps.

Brenda and James was the ones who found the wildboar trap. Along with How, Joyce and Robert Heigermoser, the five of them successfully dismantled the trap. Heros of the man man!

After a morning of work, nothing beats lunch and coffee at the local restaurant...

During lunch, we tried the fruits of the cocoa tree. There is a unforgetable fragrance emitted from the pulp that no other perfumes could match. We were advised not to have too many as it is known to cause a floating sensation.

3.30pm - CJ walk
The sun continued to shine bright and fearlessly. Despite being told that there were only 2 guided groups from Ngee Ann Poly expected, Robert Heigermoser, KS Wong, Teck Chye, KC Hah, KC Auyong, Angie, Alyce, decided to stay on braving the weather hoping to find pleasant surprises in CJ. Alan joined us and lead one of the group later on.

Last January we lost our carpet anemones, sea cucumber, common seastars to the flood that caused a drop in sanility.
One year later, most of the animals are recovering.

Carpet Anemone are recovering in the seagrass lagoon and coral rubble area. Although they are not as abundance as before, we are still glad to see them recovering.

Sandfish Sea Cucumber

Blue spotted Nudibranch found at the coral rubbles. Hope there's enough sponges growing for this guy to feed on.

Adult horseshoe crab found in the sandbar area

And Common Sea stars~ Am so glad to find one which looks healthy. Think Ron found another 2 near the area the first one was spotted.

We thought our day could'nt be any better when we were heading home.
Alyce spotted a pair of hornbills near the Ubin main jetty. Then to our surprise, a few more pairs flew down. We were counting and realised that for the first time, 15 hornbills were partying at the same area!
Pardon me for the lousy photo but somehow if you look, you would see that there are 8 hornbills here. There were a few more pairs around that area and flew down occaionally.
The rest of the volunteers could testify that there were 15 hornbills. Cool man!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

First Weekend Walk of the Year at Chek Jawa

Have not blogged on this blog for quite a while, so when Adelle asked me to help out, I gladly took it up :)

I've already put up an entry on my other blog actually, so will just highlight some of the special finds and also those that I did not talk about in my other blog.

One of the first few plants that caught my attention was the fruiting rattan above. Came a few weeks ago and it was flowering like nobody's business. So, this is how the fruits look like!

Yet another plant that caught my eye was this sea almond tree. Seems like it's getting ready to shed its leaves, as all of them had turned orange or red. Well, you don't need to go to the temperature countries to see colourful leaves, you know?

There were plenty of sand dollars on the sand bar, and the visitors were delighted to make personal contacts with nature.

The hairy sea hares were in season too! We saw lots of them as well almost exactly about one year ago. Could this mean that they follow a yearly reproduction cycle?

And yes! We do have seahorses in Singapore! They are usually very well-camouflaged though, and it takes really sharp eyes sometimes to spot them.

And here's a juvenile cake sea star...

...and its underside. The mouth is in the middle, and it has lots of little tube feet in the five grooves radiating out from the centre.

We also found a flower crab covered with algae and several goose barnacles. The two back legs of the flower crab are paddle-shaped, which allow it to swim around.

Lunar New Year is coming, and coincidentally we also saw one of the "New Year fish" - the rabbitfish. Called 'peh toh' in Hokkien, the rabbitfish breeds around this time, and the Chinese simply love its roe.

There were a few brittle stars too. This one tried to burrow into the sand, but fortunately, we managed to take a good look of it before it disappeared totally.

After the intertidal walk, we went to the rescue tank at House No. 1 to take a look at some of the fishes they rescued recently from one of the restaurants. The 3 in the middle are kite butterflyfish, and if you look carefully, you will find a copperbanded butterflyfish at the top-right corner.

They even have 2 blue ring angelfish!

Soon, it's time to go, but even at the entrance to Chek Jawa Wetlands, we had the privilege to spot a flying dragon! Also called the gilding lizard, it can spread out folds of skin attached its ribs and uses them like "wings" to glide from one tree to another.

All in all, it's been a good trip. Hopefully all the visitors enjoyed the trip as much as the guides do! :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

19th Jan - Orientation

Conducted a orientation for new volunteers today to know more about the island and discuss volunteering opportunities. Was supposed to have 13 pax coming but some could'nt make it last minute.

When I was on the bumboat, I just couldnt resist the beautiful fluffy clouds that form a horizon over Ubin. Was imagining how it would felt if I could touch the clouds. Haha...

As we found out that everyone was not in a rush to end at 3pm today, we decided to end our orientation at 5pm instead.

Here's the great company for the day....

and here's some souvenir from CJ.....Bites from vicious mosquitoes along the mangrove boardwalk...

We then had lunch at Sisters' Restaurant before heading to Ketam Bike Park, visit the large Ficus casiramea (collared fig).

It started drizzling at 4pm and we went to visit Uncle Leong Kiat at his "Why you so like that" stall.
He made us some tea with Singapore Holly leaves mixed with another weed he gathered.
Here we are, eager to learn about the great uses of the herbs that he sells.

The day ended and some of us hitched a ride from Wenpin who forgot to place parking coupons and got summoned $30. Poor thing! Next time just park at Civil Service Club lah...

Looking forward to tmw's Chek Jawa walk. This week is the mark of the 1 year anniversary since the massive death at CJ on 18th January. Hope there would be pleasant surprises.