15 February 2012

Beautiful Sungei Buloh

Sungei Buloh is otterly delightful! It is one of the few places where ordinary people have a good chance of spotting these marvelous creatures.
I recently made several hurried visits to the Reserve to try to get better photos of the beautiful mangroves here. And saw lots of interesting wildlife too!

During my trip today, Iskandar pointed out to me this combination of beautiful Stork-billed kingfisher next to a pair of playful otters! They were right at the pond next to the Visitor Centre! Thanks Iskandar!
Here's my least bad photo of the large and beautiful bird. I love the 'Stabilo Bos' bright luminous feet and the clashing colour combinations!
The otters are so used to visitors that they just ignore us and go about their daily business. After rolling around a while in their 'sandbox', they went for a dip in the pond.
One of the otters dived deep and came up with something that he started to nibble at then discarded. When I got home and took a closer look, it seems to be some kind of turtle. I think the turtle was left unharmed by the otter, I hope.
A Pied Oriental hornbill stopped by on a tree! It pecked at something then flew away.
There was a little Plantain squirrel that spent a long time nibbling at this branch. I'm not too sure what it was eating.
The Shore pit viper that I saw more than a week ago was still in the same spot!
At Platform 2 a lovely view of Pulau Buloh with the morning sun behind me making a nice pattern on the water. Haha, I'm not so good attempting 'artistic' shots.
It's much more fun looking at the mudflats here, where huge mudskippers are busy skipping about.
One of the mudskippers was busy digging out his 'swimming pool'. He would swirl around in the bottom, then go to the side to spit out a mouthful of mud. In this way, slowly, he creates a pool at the entrance of tunnel for his eggs and young.
This mudskipper seems to have finished building his pool. See the deeper hole at the base of the pool? It's probably the entrance to the J-shaped burrow underground where the eggs are laid and the young fish raised.
Although it has been very dry lately, there are still lots of big spiders in the mangroves. The Golden orb web spider builds a huge strong web often across trees. Here's one valiant mama.
It's a Batik orb web spider and she is surrounded by many little spiders who also live in her web. I think only the one nearest to her is her boyfriend. He is much much smaller than her.
The other little spiders look like thieving spiders from another species that just squat in her web and steal her food.
Sungei Buloh has awesome examples of mangrove trees! These are so easy to view from the boardwalk. On my Sunday trip, I was lucky to meet Tham Pui San seen here in the photo. Pui San conducts the wonderful programme Paint Along with Pui San to introduce ordinary people to art and nature. Read more about his work on his blog.
As Pui San settled at this shelter to paint, I went further along to take this photo. Mangrove can look quite enchanting don't you think?!
On Sunday I also bumped into Dr Chua Ee Kiam, author of the latest book on Sungei Buloh! He takes really awesome photos! He got amazing shots of a little Crimson sunbird as we were just standing there.
I walked all the way to Aerie Tower for a lovely view all around the Reserve. I'm trying to take photos of mangroves with signs of urbanisation nearby. The tall building at Johor Baru town peek out behind the mangrove trees.
Another look at Johor Baru town through the tall looping stilt roots at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
I see that the effort to the correct the massive erosion at Sungei Buloh Besar has already been completed. There's a nice rock wall now supporting the trees there. The tall buildings at Johor Baru are on the horizon.
There's also work going on to deal with erosion at Pulau Buloh. They are working very carefully to make sure this gets done without too much impact on the surroundings.
A special treat today, I met two wonderful ladies from France who really love nature and Sungei Buloh. I learnt from them, a French phrase "Touch only with your eyes", their version of "Leave only footprints". I like the French version better! They are really good at spotting all kinds of birds, insects and lizards and spiders and more!
I used to visit Sungei Buloh every weekend and miss it very much since my work now takes me to other shores. It's a glorious place to be with nature and much beloved by many people.

More about the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on the wildsingapore website and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve website.

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