12 April 2014

Nights at Pasir Ris mangroves are wild!

Pasir Ris mangrove boardwalk is the only one open to the public at night. I had great fun exploring it last night with the awesome people from CPG.
And I visited it again this evening with the Naked Hermit Crabs' free guided walk for families.

What an enthusiastic turnout from CPG. I'm so touched. Everyone was so keen and asked many interesting questions and helped find all kinds of interesting critters. Thanks to Tracy and Nina for organising the trip, and Khew Sin Khoon for the opportunity to speak with and share Pasir Ris with the staff of CPG.

I was very grateful for the help from my friends Shufen and Kevin and their son Ethan. Shufen is among Singapore's key mangrove experts and has been involved in exciting projects such as the Tekong mangrove restoration. She really helped with the tough sciency questions about mangroves. I was also very grateful for Andy's help. Andy takes great videos of our wildlife including this one of otters teasing a crocodile at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and is great at finding stuff. Andy spotted this little Dog-faced water snake. Which hid its head under a leaf by the time I got the camera out.
Andy also spotted a Fishing spider. This spider can 'walk' on water, actually have furry legs that spread out its body weight and allows it avoid breaking the water's surface tension. Here, it lurks in wait for fishes.
There were of course, lots of humungous Tree-climbing crabs. At low tide, many forage on the ground.
And at night, there are plenty of small crabs on up in the trees among the leaves. Very easy to look at them from the boardwalk.
This is not a crab, it's a spider! Spotted by an eagle-eyed visitor. At night, it is easier to see many spiders of all kinds building all kinds of webs from the boardwalk.
At night, the Giant mudskipper wears 'pajamas' and has a pattern of bars.
Here's what the Giant mudskipper looks like during the day.
This evening I was back with the Naked Hermit Crabs to guide lots of families along the boardwalk before sunset. So there was daylight to observe things like the giant Golden orb web spider that had built a huge web between two trees! This is the group led by Ley Kun and Sean.
It's fun to explore our mangroves safely and easily from the boardwalk.
I was so grateful that Kai was with me today to help guide. Here he is sharing with the visitors about the intriguing Sea holly.
Pei Yan is checking out the Giant mudskippers with her group. There's so much to see from the boardwalk.
We came across the moult of a cicada, the little creature that makes the huge ringing sound in our forests and mangroves. Other sounds we heard were the mocking cries of kingfishers.
We also saw strange birds, a monitor lizard, lots of crabs and snails. At the jetty, we enjoyed views of herons of all kinds. On the way back, I was shown this onch slug that had crawled very very high up a tree! Wow!
Pasir Ris is a small but fascinating mangrove, within walking distance of Pasir Ris MRT and Downtown East. And yet, it is full of wildlife!

The Naked Hermit Crabs conduct free guided tours of the Chek Jawa boardwalk every month. Our next one is on 26 April.

For more nature activities for families or ordinary people, see the wildsingapore happenings blog. You can subscribe to alerts, ONE email every Monday for the nature events in the week ahead.

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