This bright blue morning I was at Chek Jawa once again, with enthusiastic visitors for the free boardwalk tour by the Naked Hermit Crabs!
It's the school holidays so lots of families and kids signed up for the walk! Hurray!
We had 50 visitors in total. Wow! So besides the usual regular guides, Alan from NParks was also helping us to guide today.
One of our first stops is at the well, fascinating how in the old days we get water out of a hole in the ground!
Many of the mangrove animals are well camouflaged against the mud. But everyone quickly starts to find them as we take a closer and more careful look.
Besides plenty of mud-coloured tree climbing crabs, there were lots of colourful fiddler crabs, although some were very VERY tiny!
We observed this colourful little crab carefully drag a mangrove leaf into its burrow. Where it can safely and slowly eat it, away from prying eyes.
Here's the lizard! The sharp-eyed visitors as usual spot all the good stuff.
It's a baby Malayan water monitor with a yellow and black banded tail. At first it disappeared among the dead leaves. But we stayed quietly for a while and it soon came out again!
Also well camouflaged are grasshoppers, spiders and other critters among the mangrove tree leaves.
Sometimes, it's easier to find the animal through a camera. Strange but true.
Oooo, what's those weird insects hiding in the hole in the tree?
As usual, everyone is fascinated by the Nipah palm which produces such delicious things such as 'attap-chee' and the big leaves are used to make 'attap' or roofing. The palms were blooming and fruiting furiously today. We managed to see the flowers as well as big balls of fruits, and little growing fruits on the mud.
The not-so-common Lenggadai mangrove tree is blooming!
It got scorching as we made our way back on the boardwalk. I was hurrying along the kids to the next shelter. And missed the otter sighting! Ivan and some of the other visitors saw two little round heads bobbing in the water near the dead Perepat tree. When he looked through the binoculars, they were otters! Wow! Wild otters have been seen on many of our shores including Changi, Pasir Ris and of course more famously, at Sungei Buloh.
On the way back, we had a quick stop to look at the hornbill nest box set up to encourage the hornbills to breed. Other visitors also spotted wild boar, and we saw one Long-tailed macaque before the walk started. So there sure is lots to see at Chek Jawa regardless of the tide!
Oh dear, the father and grandfather of this group of visitors had gone down to the shore. The grandfather was digging about in the sand and the father was tossing a stick. But after a quiet word, they moved back to the boardwalk. Staying on the boardwalk means less damage to the shore, so that everyone can enjoy viewing the marine life.
Finally we are back from the walk. Now it's time to draw our experiences on the walk! What fun!
Indeed, this young sharp-eyed explorer had spotted the Giant mudskippers on our walk!
And here's a lovely drawing with a shark who has enormous jaws!! Ley Kun will soon post all these wonderful art works on the Naked Hermit Crab blog.
Before we leave House No. 1, Alan shows us a rather odd toad that has been facing the wall in a corner. Oh dear.
Before we head for lunch, Alan leads us to have a look at the framed paintings done by volunteers under the tutelage of Master artist Pui San who runs the Paint Along with Pui San sessions at Sungei Buloh and the Pulai Ubin art group at Ubin. Ley Kun holds her amazing painting of the marvellous Melo melo or Bailer volute. A rare large snail that we sometimes see on our shores.
While Chay Hoon has her painting of a pair of seahorses!
Ley Kun holds a lovely sketch by the Master Pui San himself, while Alan holds an awesome painting by Leo while pointing out that there's an even more marvellous painting by Leo in the other room! Wow, what great talent we have at Ubin!
It was a lovely walk even though I missed seeing the otters. We had a great lunch as usual. And surprisingly energised instead of going into a 'food coma' as Ivan so well describes, we next headed for Pasir Ris to have a look at the herons nesting there. More on that in this post.
More about Chek Jawa, how to get there and what to see and do.
Join the Naked Hermit Crabs for a free guided tour of the boardwalk every month!