14 February 2011

Vast meadows of rare seagrasses at Kranji

There is a vast meadow of the Critically Endangered Beccari's seagrass (Halophila beccarii) at the end of yet another stretch of Kranji shore!
A green carpet of Beccari's seagrass with Mandai mangroves
and the Johor Baru skyline in the background.
This is probably the meadow that Andy Dinesh first highlighted in Dec 10. It certainly seems much much bigger than the meadows I saw at Kranji Nature Trail.

The seagrass meadow was dotted with lots of egrets! And in the far distance, a man is also on the shore with the mangroves of Mandai behind him.
The egrets are quite plentiful and just standing in the shallow water. Behind them is the skyline of Johor Baru. Birds are good for seagrasses! In particular, their poop.
The seagrass here is thick and luscious! I only had a brief glimpse of the meadows on the Kranji side of Sungei Mandai Besar. They were at the end of my trip to explore Kranji.
It was a blue-sky day, and I decided to explore the rest of Kranji between Kranji Dam and Sungei Mandai Besar on Sunday. There were lots of healthy young mangrove trees forming a narrow fringe along the Kranji shore that is edged with industrial sites.
Most of the trees on this shore were Api-api putih (Avicennia alba). The next most common mangrove tree is Perepat (Sonneratia alba). There were also a few Api-api bulu (Avicennia rumphiana), some Bakau putih (Bruguiera cylindrica), Bakau minyak (Bruguiera apiculata). The upper shore was thick with Sea hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus).
Although most of the mangrove trees were young, there were a few huge large trees including a magnificent Api-api bulu (Avicennia rumphiana) and a large gnarly Bakau kurap (Rhizophora mucronata).
Like the other side of Kranji I visited recently, this stretch is also heavily trashed. A Sumo wrestler grimaces over a huge pile of trash at the entrance to the shore.
Some parts of the shore only have a light accumulation of marine debris.
Some parts of the shore is thick with litter. I noticed this situation tends to appear under what seems to be 'residential' areas.
Here's one of the most heavily littered stretches.
Some of the heavily trashed areas are found behind the narrow line of mangrove trees (on the right of the photo).
A large assembly of blue drums on some kind of orange platform sits behind a rather thick stand of young mangrove trees. Large trash were probably dumped from the landward side as they are unlikely to have floated past the trees.
Some of the debris is huge, like this plastic tank. There were also large blocks of concrete, huge pieces of timber.
There was even a damaged boat.
There were TWO of these enormously long yellow plastic booms wrapped around the tall old mangrove trees.
The rest of the booms. There is second boom behind the one in the foreground in this photo.
It's amazing that there are still mangrove trees among all the debris. A whole bunch of saplings are sprouting among this dead TV.
Here's a pile of bricks. What happened?
Nearby, another wall with stacks of bricks and tiles. Perhaps this is how the many tiles and stones ended up on the other part of Kranji flanking the industrial areas here?
There are a few structures built over the shore, on top of mangrove trees.
On the low shore, a series of what looks like wheel parts. There are also lots of pieces of wood and other trash.
Then at the end of the Kranji shore, I stumbled on the vast meadows of Halophila beccarii! Now, I must visit the Mandai mangroves to see what is there!
On the way back, I spotted a little eel on the mudflat.
I'm not too sure, but it might be the Estuarine moray eel (Gymnothorax tile). We found one of these fishes during the Mega Marine Survey at Sungei Buloh too. So perhaps these eels are commonly found in mangroves? Wow!
On the rocky spit that sticks out near the entrance, there were several men busy collecting stuff from the shore.
The other side of the shore towards Kranji Dam seems clear of debris.
What is this? A space ship?!!
No, it seems to be a kind of escape pod/boat. There was a whole line of these orange vessels along the road to the shore.
It was an interesting trip and motivates me to next explore the Mandai mangroves.

More about Mandai mangroves in N. Sivasothi's Mandai mangroves and mudflats,
Western Johor Straits, Singapore

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