25 October 2010

Chek Jawa with the Naked Hermit Crabs

Last Saturday we had another great trip out to Chek Jawa for the monthly free guided walk by the Naked Hermit Crabs.
It was great to be joined by cheerful visitors and also some would-be guides. Hurray!

On the way to Pulau Ubin, we saw this enormous floating crane. The waters between the mainland and Pulau Ubin is a major shipping lane to places such as Sembawang Shipyard in Singapore and Pasir Gudang in Johor.
It was a very hazy morning and we could hardly see Chek Jawa from the Ubin Jetty.
Soon enough we arrive at Chek Jawa and Ley Kun shares about rubber tapping with some of the visitors who had arrived early.
At Chek Jawa Information Kiosk, what do we see?
Ooo, it's a baby Wild boar! It wasn't very shy and didn't run away even though lots of people crowded around to have a closer look.
In fact, the cute little thing came right up to the visitors. It was rather skinny, and we heard later that it might have lost its mama. Poor thing.
The enthusiastic family who came with me were fascinated with all kinds of things. A well is something we don't often see on the mainland. The kids are so sharp-eyed, they even pointed out the second well as we were leaving! They sure learn fast.
Here's our traditional happy group photo at the top of Jejawi Tower.
Uh oh. While everyone is distracted taking photos, someone is stealing food from a babe.
The mangrove boardwalk is a great place to spot all kinds of critters. Although we often have to peer hard to find them.
It helps if dad gives a helping hand and points them out. There sure were a lot of Tree climbing crabs out and about.
We saw a Malayan water monitor. It's still small but seems a little bigger than the ones we saw last month. Perhaps the tiny monitors that we have been seeing are growing up?
One of the sharp-eyed visitors spots the Blue-spotted mudskipper! I love this mudskipper. It's hard to find elsewhere. There were two of them too! And they were have a vigorous conversation with their dorsal fins, raising them up like flags.
The tide is really high today and even rushes into the back mangroves where we were. I so rarely see this! How exciting! Probably because of this, we saw lots of Giant mudskippers! More than ten of them! Usually we only see one or two. In the in-rushing water there were lots of little fishes in small groups busy nibbling on the ground, probably grazing on whatever stuff is growing there.
And what do we have here? Stuck on the little mangrove plants as the waters rush in?
It's a whole cluster of snails! They have climbed high up, probably to get away from nasty snail-eaters which might be coming with the tide. Snails are truly amazing. They seem to be able to predict how high the tide will be and thus how far up they have to climb. Awesome!
Elsewhere among in the mangrove forest, there are lots of little animals. Like this well camouflaged katydid. We also saw one tailorbird close up and heard many tweeting in the forest. And also saw a woodpecker!
It's great to give kids a camera to use. They seem to observe more as they take pictures.
Wow, the tide is really high today. The water is nearly up to the boardwalk at as it skirts the seaward edge of the mangroves.
Another fascinating find, something is hanging literally by a thread from a mangrove tree.
It's a caterpillar being attacked by red ants. The caterpillar jerked vigorously around and managed to shake off a few ants. But one continued to hang on tenaciously.
As we head out to the Coastal Boardwalk, it is hot even though it's hazy. How nice of the little ones to shade their mum with an umbrella. Out in the high waters, we saw shadows of large fishes who eagerly feed in this rare opportunity to check out the higher shores.
We have a short stop at the looping video at House No. 1 showing Eric's great award-winning film "Remember Chek Jawa" about the efforts for Chek Jawa before deferment of reclamation.
It was good to get back after a muggy and humid walk. The kids as usual happily share their thoughts in gorgeous drawings. Check out the Naked Hermit Crab blog for their drawings.
As distant rumbles drew closer and the sky darkened, we quickly wrapped up the walk and headed home. As we got into the van, we noticed a bigger Wild boar approaching visitors.
The tide is still high as we left Ubin, just in time to avoid the rain.
What a great walk, made special by the lovely visitors who are so enthusiastic and patient with my lame jokes! Thank you!

More about Chek Jawa, how to get there and what to see and do.

Join the Naked Hermit Crabs for a free guided tour of the boardwalk every month!

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