06 November 2009

Unexpectedly high at Changi

We were looking forward to a good low tide and headed out for our favourite shore at Changi.
But even after slacking off for a while to wait for the rain to ease up, the tide was still NOT low when we got to the shore!

While waiting to see if the tide would oblige, we had a quick look around. Marcus finds a tiny sand star (in a pool of water), and a very funny looking sea star too!
Sorry for the blurry Sneaky Cam photo. The bigger sea star turned out to be a plastic toy! Sigh. But we are all very impressed with the neat rain coat that Marcus has for his camera.
We gave up after a while and headed out for another part of Changi that we seldom visit. And joy! There's quite a stretch exposed even at this non-compliant tide height.
Today our special guest is Rainbo who is here visiting Rob. She is a seaweed expert while Rob studies crabs.
Rainbo notices this strange rock at the high shore that reminds her of a dugong. Indeed it does!
This sandy shore at Changi was desolate when I last visited it many years ago. Today, with the incessant rain driving the animals deeper into the sand, it was a challenge to find interesting marine life.

The most abundant animal that I saw were little Peachia sea anemones (Peachia sp.). Mostly all blobbed up probably due to the rain.
There was also one Tiger sea anemone!
There were also a lot of hermit crabs, although they were really tiny.
Every shell seemed to have one, even the broken ones!
The hermit crabs here look slightly different from the ones I see elsewhere. Or maybe I just never looked carefully at them, distracted by bigger animals.
This hermit crab took up residence in a long and narrow object that looked like it was a shell, but could be plastic debris. I'm not sure.
Other burrowing animals seen include the Ball sea cucumber (Phyllophorus sp.).
And there was a stretch with several Cake sand dollars (Arachnoides placenta) too! But alas, no special snails that hunt them.
In fact, it was odd not to see the snails we commonly see on similar shores. Such as moon snails and olive snails. Other stretches of shores nearby are so rich, so this is strange. Could it be pollution from the canal that drains onto this shore?

We also saw several Ghost crabs (Ocypode ceratophthalmus). And Rob of course found more crabs like a tiny Moon crab (Asthoret lunaris).
Marcus and James also saw other interesting animals.

Stranded on a bit of debris was this Cockroach at Sea. This is a Real Cockroach like the kind in our kitchen. I have no idea how this one ended up in the seawater. But this is probably how ships bring in all kinds of introduced pests onto pristine shores and islands.
The non-compliant tide was a bit perplexing. When I got home later that evening, I heard from other people who were out yesterday and also experienced this elsewhere on our shores.

Is it due to the tidal predictions going awry? Or worse, it is due to the heavy rainfall that we've been seeing recently? In early 2007, there was massive flooding in Johor and thus increased freshwater flowing down the Johor River that drains onto our Northern shores. At that time, there were mass deaths on Chek Jawa, which is the subject of Kok Sheng's study and blog Chek Jawa Mortality and Recruitment Project.

It was a wet and cold trip. And when I got home, the little bat was already in the house. It was soggy too and was licking itself dry! How cute!

Other posts about this trip

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