07 March 2011

Fishy day at Admiralty, with Sungei Cina

There's slivers of mangroves at Admiralty Park which slide over to Sungei Cina.
Today, I had a long slow look at them. And encountered lots of mangrove fishies!

I finally see some of the fishes listed in the awesome Guide to the Mangroves of Singapore. The streams were teeming with these little fishes.
Here's a closer look at one of them. Are they the Whitespot (Aplocheilus panchax)?
There were also well camouflaged gobies which remained motionless while the other little fishes skittered around. So of course, I only notice them when I processed the photos.
I did notice this little goby. Is it the Common mullet goby (Hemigobius hoevenii)?
There were also tiny half beaks!
And several of these spotted gobies. I think they are the Grey knight goby (Stigmatogobius sadanundio), the first time I've actually seen them!
But the most delightful fishy encounter were with several tiny fat Mangrove bumblebee gobies (Brachygobius kabiliensis).
Here's some of the others that I saw. They are cute but tiny and rather skittish and hard to photograph!
Besides fishes, there were also all kinds of dragonflies flitting about near the water. Looking at Tang Hung Bun's amazing Guide to the Dragonflies of Singapore, I think it's the Varigated green skimmer (Orthetrum sabina), which the guide says is very common and widespread. Check out his Dragonflies and Damselflies of Singapore website for more photos!
I'm not sure what this one is. There were several of them with these 'rusty' looking wings.
Something I've seen before, a 'layer' of well spaced, tiny moths lurking under a mangrove leaf. There's all kinds of moths that can be seen in the mangroves and here's some from the Guide to the mangroves of Singapore. Of course, there were other kinds of dragonflies (and butterflies) but I couldn't photograph them.
One of the abundant plants in this mangrove that I don't see often in other mangroves are humungous rattans. These climbing palms line the mangroves at Admiralty Park.
They are seriously armed with spines everywhere. From the stems to the long leaf tips which swing about in the wind and like grappling hooks, allow the climber to haul itself up trees.
One of the special mangrove trees here is Intsia bijuga, which Raem pointed out to me during the Mega Marine Survey at this mangrove recently. The tree is very tall, so it's hard to photograph the details. I think there are buds on the tree, and I saw large opened fruit pods.
Another abundant mangrove plant here are tall stands of Nipah palm (Nypa fruiticans). One had a bunch of freshly blooming 'flowers'. The male flowers form a long sausage like shape, while the female flowers form a ball shape.
There were clouds of tiny flies on the male flowers. According to Tomlinson, two kinds of insects visit the flowers "in significant numbers": small bees of the genus Trigona and small flies of the Family Drosophilidae. Bees may not be important pollinators as they only visit the male flowers and not the female flowers. The small flies, however, visit both kinds of flowers and appear to complete their lifecycle in the branches of the male inflorescence.
There are lots of common mangrove trees here. With many large Tumu (Bruguiera gymnorrhiza) and large old Bakau trees (Rhizophora sp.). These are draped in curtains of climbing Wax plants (Hoya sp.) but they were not flowering today.

The mangroves at Admiralty Park are connected to Sungei Cina. The tide was incoming fast and high today!
Today I managed to struggle to the little inlet where a few mangrove trees valiantly survive. Here, I saw the other Intsia bijuga that Raem told me about. It's much bigger and taller than the one at Admiralty Park!
With the incoming tide, I couldn't go back out the seaward side and struggled through thickets to get back to the main road. Here's a view of the mangroves from the undergrowth.
Sungei China drains out to the new Woodlands Waterfront Park. So I had a quick look at it. 
How nice to see that wild plants have been allowed to grow on the seaward side of the Park! Various common seashore plants were growing well here.
Here's a map of the Park, I've added labels for Sungei Cina and the Admiralty Park mangroves.
Alas, as usual, I encounter trash in the mangroves at Sungei Cina. Dumped on the high shore were two large things that look like refrigerators or insulated boxes. Inexplicably, with two motorcycle helmets on them.
The mouth of Sungei Cina had a fine net across it, and several crab traps were being laid down into the water.
The nets sure trapped a lot of incoming trash!
In fact, the entire shoreline in front of Woodlands Waterfront Park was dotted with trash.
I heard that otters had been sighted at Admiralty Park. But I didn't see any today. I hope that net across Sungei Cina won't harm them! Strangely, I also didn't see the monkeys at the Park today.


  1. Hi Ria,

    Your pic of the rusty wing dragonfly looks interesting. It might be a rare one. See Tang's book page 181. Can you email me more pics?

  2. Wow, Robin! Sure, I'll email you the photos, but they are very bad shots...sorry.

  3. Thanks for the interesting post. Coincidentally, I visited Sungei Cina the evening after you did. As it was low tide, I didn't get see many fishes (besides the Giant Mudskipper & Archer Fish), but I think we ran into the same persistently-voracious cloud of flies on the male inflorescences of the Nipah Palm.

    There was a flowering Caesalpinia crista beside the Cerbera odollam overlooking the final bridge in the park.

  4. Wow, what a pity we missed one another Pat! Yes, lovely yellow flowers on the nice Pong pong tree! Our mangroves are awesome!



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