14 February 2009

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve quickly

I was at the Reserve for a Master Plan feedback session and took the opportunity for a quick look at the marvellous mangroves there. After weeks of trudging through mud to look at mangrove trees, it's a luxury to have a close look at them from the comfort of trails and a boardwalk!
The rare Cassine viburnifolia tree right next to the Mangrove Boardwalk was blooming! This tree is listed as Critically Endangered in the Singapore Red Data Book. I remember when the Boardwalk was being built, it had a big white tape around it to make sure it was not accidentally cut down during the construction. It's nice to see it doing well.

From Tomlinson, this tree occurs in wet coastal communities, mangroves and tidal rivers. It is found from the Andaman Islands through Peninsular Malaysia to northern Sumatra, Borneo and Sulawesi. According to Hsuan Keng, it was found on our sandy beaches in Kranji, Katong and Pulau Brani.

Other mangrove trees were blooming too. I saw this rather oddly structured Rhizophora flower (I think it's a Rhizophora mucronata tree). Perhaps it hasn't bloomed fully yet?
The flowers usually look like this.It has been very hot and dry recently. The pond near the Visitor Centre was completely dry.And on the mangrove trees that secrete salt on their leaves, you can see salt crystals!
But life still goes on in the Reserve. There were lots of Golden orb web spiders out in the mangroves today.Here's a rather smallish young female with pretty coloured knees (so she's probably Nephila maculata). Her teeny little boyfriend is the red speck in the upper left corner. He looks like a smaller version of the female. There are other little red spiders that are rounder in the web. There are probably Argyrodes species which live in her web and sometimes even steal her food.Further along, another young lady has caught lunch!Is it some kind of bee?

A special thrill was finding this trilling Cicada very close to eye level!It's hard to spot one as it's well camouflaged. And even though it was calling, so loudly that it was painful to the ears. The only way to find one, I realise, is to close your eyes and use your ears to triangulate to the spot. Only the male Cicadas call. Of course, to attract females!

I met David and Brandon and Brandon showed me another Mangrove pitviper (Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus) that was curled up in a tree!
Sungei Buloh is a great place to spot furry animals!It was Robert who spotted this Plantain Squirrel (Callosciurus notatus). It was eating out of what looks like a coconut prepared for human eating. Here's a closer look at the cute little creature. Callosciurus means 'Beautiful Squirrels' and the genus includes some of the most colourful mammals. The Plantain squirrel is a lovely greyish brown, with a chestnut belly and a black-and-white line between the two.

After the Master Plan meeting, while we were having a drink at the Cafe, a troop of Long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) quietly visited the pool nearby. One was having a drink from the pool, while others were snacking on the fruits of the Singapore rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum).
Long-tailed macaques are native to Singapore and their original habitat was mangroves. In fact, they are sometimes also called Crab-eating macaques.
It's so nice to see these wild monkeys behaving naturally. Going about their own business and not begging for food from people.

When people feed wild monkeys it disrupts the natural balance. Monkeys which are used to being fed no longer eat their wild natural food, which is often important in the dispersal of these plants. And instead become aggressive towards humans and start entering human spaces for food. These monkeys are then considered a nuisance and often have to be put down. More about why we should not feed the monkeys on the wildsingapore website.

More about the Reserve on the Reserve website and wildsingapore website.

1 comment:

  1. otterman has on several occasions on twitter mentioned these macaques! you are right about seeing monkeys behaving naturally in the wild! how nice!! :D *happy*



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