18 April 2009

Mangroves of Admiralty Park

There's no low tide so it's perhaps time to visit Admiralty Park, as I've been meaning to do for a long time.Officially opened in Oct 07, with a second phase launched in Oct 08, the Park has meandering paths through grassland habitats next to streams, some narrow forested areas and a tiny patch of mangroves.

There is a 2-km nature trail next to, with two bridges across, a little stream called Sungei Cina. The stream edges are thick with lush grasslands full of wildflowers and bugs and butterflies.I'm really bad with photographing anything that flies. I'm more used to shooting things in water. So it was nice to get a chance at these little insects. I have no idea what they are. There were quite a few of the yellow butterflies. They are really annoying to shoot as they have a seemingly random way of flying about. I'm in awe at how the Butterfly Circle folks can shoot these animals.
The path meanders through several large clumps of Nipah palms (Nypa fruticans) and some were blooming! I've done a separate post on the fascinating insects attracted to these blossoms.

Right along this open path, I came across the biggest Putat sungei (Barringtonia racemosa) that I've ever seen! It's huge and appears old and well grown. Perhaps it was there since before the Park? It's good to know it was incorporated into the Park.This tree is listed as 'Critically Endangered' on the Red List of threatened plants of Singapore. It has pretty pink puff-ball flowers that appear on a long trailing stalk. I only noticed today, that the leaves have a toothed edge. Wow! What a great, unexpected find.

Among the other interesting plants I saw along the way was a Wax plant (Hoya sp.) but it wasn't flowering, and a very tall Noni (Morinda citrifolia) tree.
At the top of a little rise, in the open areas, I notice lots of little saplings. They are probably propagated special trees. I recognise the Sea teak (Podocarpus polystachyus) among them. This is quite exciting!The trail then loops into a narrow forested area, under tall Rhu trees (Casuarina equisetifolia) and secondary forest plants.Finally, the trail leads to a short bridge over a canal that leads into the mangroves! Although touted as a boardwalk through the mangrove, it's really just a bridge and doesn't bring visitors to walk amongst the trees. Not like the boardwalks at Chek Jawa or Sungei Buloh.But the mangroves do look interesting. With at least two Bruguiera gymnorrhiza with their bright red flowers near the bridge. As well as tall Avicennia and other trees.
It was nice to come across a rather well grown Yellow-eyed pong pong tree (Cerbera odollam).
What was interesting for me to see was the rattans looping around the trees near the mangroves and over the streams. This is my first time seeing such large fat rattans near a mangrove.

Rattans are actually palms, like the more familiar Coconut palm and Nipah palm. But unlike these palms, rattans don't invest in a sturdy trunk. Instead, they are climbers and clamber over other trees, using them as support to reach the sun.To climb, they have spines all over the place. On the leaves, on the stems, and the tips of the leaves are lined with grappling hooks (top little photo insert). A rattan is not a pleasant plant to have a quarrel with.

According to Tomlinson and Giesen, Calamus erinaceus is a rattan that is associated with mangroves. The Malay name is 'Rotan bakau'. I'm not sure if this is the one I saw at the Park today.

I also saw some replanting going on in the forested area. I recognised some as Putat laut (Barringtonia asiatica) and Penaga laut (Calophyllum inophyllum) trees.

It seems that the mangrove area is still connected to the sea, as the map of the Park shows.
This is great to know. And with the replanting going on, the Park may eventually be home to some of our rare and endangered shore plants.
Unfortunately, there was someone deep in the mangroves with a bucket and a back pack. The bicycle chained to the bridge probably belongs to him. I'm not sure what he was up to, he disappeared shortly among the trees.The forested area was full of birds and other creatures. Like this Plantain squirrel (Callosciurus notatus). There were also lots of signs telling people not to feed the monkeys, so perhaps there are monkeys in the area. But I didn't see any today.And this little Ashy Tailorbird (Orthotomus ruficeps) took off just as I tried to take a picture of him.

The Park is interesting, and I might try to take a closer look at the mangroves another time.

Status and threats to Admiralty Park

Admiralty Park includes a 20-hectare nature area, "the biggest nature area within a park in Singapore" according to the NParks website.
And here's the Nature Area (marked NA in green) within the Park, from the Master Plan 2008 page on the URA website.

Being located in the middle of an industrial area, the mangroves are vulnerable to industrial accidents. A factory fire in Jun 08 resulted in pollution of the waters in the area.

The coastline that leads to Sungei Cina and the mangroves in the Park are also going to be developed into a 'waterfront oasis'. This is probably the area with the green cross-hatched lines in the map above.

More about Admiralty Park

The park has also WiFi Hotspots at strategic locations. The Sakura restaurant is located at the West Entrance of the park (it was offering a buffet when I was there).

Republic Polytechnic is right next to the Park and they have collaborated with NParks to produce an Admiralty Park e-guide.

There is a guided nature walk at this Park every second Saturday of the month. From the NParks website: "Experience the nature area filled with rich biodiversity of flora and fauna. Appreciate the beauty of the river at different water levels. Venture through both the secondary Rain-forest and the mangrove forest, and seize the opportunity to observe the various plants and animals. Registration ends 3 days before the event. To register, please email Dorothy at dorothy_lim@nparks.gov.sg"

Time: 8.30-10.30am
Venue: Admiralty Park, amphitheatre
Website: http://www.nparks.gov.sg/
Contact: Dorothy at dorothy_lim@nparks.gov.sg

You can also volunteer at the Park on the last Friday of the month on a bi-monthly basis. The next event is on 24 April (Fri) at 08.30-9.30am. To register, email dorothy_lim@nparks.gov.sg .

More links


  1. Hi,

    Admiralty park is located about 10mins walk from my block.I was thrilled when i heard that NEA was goingt to build a park next to RP..all this while the place was a forest..a heaven's for wild monkeys.I usually go there over on early Sunday morning with my wife & my 2yr+ lil girl.This type of places are not in abundance in Singapore & also its a good learning oppurtunity for my lil gerl to love & learn nature.My advice to whoever plans to go there..don't go there alone.

    The monkeys that roam the area are not the timids one that scurry away when seeing people..they will..I say they will rush down the tress & approach people.Also among the smaller ones I've caught sight of a single big male (slightly bigger than my gerl)sitting not far from where I was standing.Also before the park was built, there have been people inclusive a few of them which i known seeing a large python (YES LARGE) at the mangrove.I don't know if its still the residence of the park since the area had been revamped.

    Lastly the person that you saw in the pic, could be FW (foreign workers) the Thais especially.Its a hotbed location for them since the stretch of that forested area & also the one beside RP (Along Woodlands Ave 9) is a den for illegal activities (Gambling & prostituion).There have been many incidence before the place was developed into a park, people saw naked womens having a splash during the day at the mangrove ponds when its high tide.I never seen them myself (though i would love too..LOL).

    But just take my words of advice never2 go there alone...You Have Been Warned!

  2. Thanks Riz for sharing those wonderful details about Admiralty Park's wildlife. Monkeys and giant phython! Wow! I do think it's quite an interesting Park that is different from others in Singapore.

    And thanks also for the advice about going to the mangroves alone. It is much appreciated!



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