24 March 2012

Pasir Ris in the rain with the Naked Hermit Crabs

It was thundery and lightning filled start to the Naked Hermit Crab walk this evening. But after a long wait for safer weather, a small group headed out to check out the mangroves at Pasir Ris.
What special creatures can we find in such wet weather?

Sadly, before we could start the walk, lightning started firing off very close to us. We hurried to take shelter in the public toilet. Fortunately, while we waited out the weather, we could do a mini-nature tour even at the public toilet!
A pair of little sunbirds had built a nest right infront of the ladies toilet! Pei Yan spotted it!
Here's a closer look at the well built nest, with a little 'roof' over the opening. One of the parents was in the nest! Probably incubating eggs laid there. We tried not to disturb it too much and it seems quite calm. This situation reminded me of the amazing post in the Bird Ecology Study Group blog of sunbirds nesting in underwear!
A fluff of kapok wafted by, and Chay Hoon and Ley Kun showed us how it is different from regular cotton wool. Kapok comes from the kapok tree and is the fluffy part helps to disperse the seeds by wind.
Chay Hoon also had some butterfly cocoons which had already hatched.
The kids are fascinated by them. Alas, the weather failed to improve and many of the families could not wait as they had other activities scheduled for the evening.
A few visitors continued to wait with the Crabs for the lightning to ease up. It started to rain heavily! But only for a short while.
When the rain became less heavy and lightning stopped, the remaining brave visitors headed out to the boardwalk, armed with umbrellas that Ley Kun magicked out of her car.
There are lots and lots of Tree-climbing crabs out on the mudlobster mounds! Can you spot them in this photo? Many of the crabs had already started climbing trees. There were also many Giant mudskippers out and about.
It was lovely walking in the cool light rain among the tall mangrove trees after the humid weather.
Sankar takes a closer look at some bugs on a mangrove tree. We're still not quite sure what they are exactly.
We are so lucky to have Peter with us today. He is very familiar with Pasir Ris and shared how he had seen Barn owls, Bronzeback snakes and other awesome creatures here. Here he is sharing more about the herons that nest at Pasir Ris.
At the jetty, a young bridal couple were bravely taking photos in the wet weather. I hope we didn't disturb them too much.
It seems the young birds in the nearby heron's nest have fledged and flown off. But new nests are being built across the stream.
Oh OH! There's a hornbill up there! Pei Yan points it out to all of us. I've never seen an Oriental pied hornbill at Pasir Ris before. Ley Kun has great photos of it and some of the other animals we saw. She'll add them to the post on the Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs blog soon.
Peter spotted a Malayan water monitor lizard resting on a dead tree. Pei Yan tells us more about it.
Peter also spots a Dog-faced watersnake in the water! Hurray!
On the way back, it got dark very quickly as we ended much later than expected. Chay Hoon spotted a huge gecko on the boardwalk. There were also strange spiders lurking here.
It's amazing what we can see at Pasir Ris regardless of the weather. We're so sorry though, that we had to disappoint the families who turned up but had to leave. We hope they can join us another day?

The Naked Hermit Crabs will be having this walk again on 21 Apr (Sat) and 28 Apr (Sat). Here's more details. Hope to see you at Pasir Ris!

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