10 March 2012

School's out with kids at Chek Jawa!

It's the school holidays and the Naked Hermit Crabs are glad to share Chek Jawa with families.
I had great fun with this enthusiastic group of keen-eyed kids! We saw lots of birds today: hornbills, eagles, jungle fowl and more!

We met up with them at Ubin Town and took the same van. So Ley Kun could explain more about rubber trees when we arrived at Chek Jawa. One of the drivers used to be a rubber tapper and kindly taps a tree every day so visitors can see how rubber is tapped in the past.
The kids started spotting all kinds of wildlife even before we got to the Information Kiosk. There was a tiny spider hiding in a leaf in the middle of its tangled tent-shaped web.
And as we started the walk, they spotted the Hornbill!
It was busy picking off fruits from a tree and didn't mind us watching closely but quietly.
While we usually look at the route map before we get on the boardwalk, today we are distracted by tiny termites building a nest at the base of the map. During our quick look from Jejawi Tower, the kids spotted a big eagle flying towards us!
On the boardwalk, we saw lots of tiny colourful fiddler crabs, some small fishes and small mudskippers. Strangely, there were few tree climbing crabs today.
Where's the crab? There!! Exclaim the kids! They are very good at spotting stuff.
On the main boardwalk, a very long stretch was infested with fire ants! We had to stay away from the railings. This made it a little difficult to spot the mudskippers.
Although the tide was high and rising when we got to the Coastal boardwalk, we managed to spot a Wild junglefowl at the water's edge.
This is not an escaped domesticated chicken. It is a true wild bird and the ancestor of our domesticated chickens. It is identified by the white feathers at the cheeks and the base of the tail. A little further along, a shorebird was also spotted by the kids.
Ley Kun caught up with us to show us the awesome photo she took of the Papa Hornbill feeding Mama and her chicks in the artificial nest box placed up in a tree. This programme by NParks has helped boost the population of hornbills on Pulau Ubin.
We then quietly had a look at the nest box on the tree. Unlike other birds that build nests out of sticks, hornbills usually nest inside a hole in a tree. The mother bird will seal herself up in the hole, with the help of the father bird, leaving only a narrow gap for her to stick out her huge bill. While papa feeds her, mama stays in the nest to lay eggs and raise her young. The seal is only broken when the babies are ready to fly.
One of the dads also noticed this pretty plant with blue fruits!
After the walk, the kids had a great time sharing what they felt about the trip. So did the visitors that Chay Hoon guided. We also met up with Tham Pui San at the Visitor Centre and he told us his group had a brief glimpse of an otter! Otters have been seen at Chek Jawa and Pulau Ubin in the past too.
And just before we left Chek Jawa, we met with Mama wild boar and her two piglets, which have grown quite large!
Here's a last look at Mama and her family before we left.
We had a brief stop to look at the beautiful water-filled quarry nearby. Before ending with another great home-cooked lunch at Ubin Town!
On the way to Chek Jawa, I noticed two people in sampans retrieving driftnets just off Changi shore.
The FREE Chek Jawa boardwalk tours are held every second Saturday of the month. These walks are specially focused on families and kids, and I always look forward to doing them. Do join us if you can. Visit the Naked Hermit Crabs blog for updates!

Phoebe and Andy shared more great photos of our trip on facebook! And Lee Peng shares on her blog.


  1. Thanks for the guided tour! The children had loads of fun and it was a great exposure to the nature! ^_^ We look forward to another guided tour in June!

  2. Wow, that's fast commenting! Thanks for dropping by the blog, and special thanks for bringing the kids to see Chek Jawa! I'm sure they will have a great time on the intertidal walk in June!

  3. hi Ria,
    nice to finally meet the author behind WildSingapore :)
    You can trust us to share our FUN with more families, but your team will be come more busy :)
    andy (SengkangBabies)

  4. Dear Andy, it was a delight to meet you and your family. Thank you for making the trip so much fun! We love this kind of 'busy'! I love taking kids out to see our shores! Hope to catch up with you soon.

  5. Hi Ria,

    Just completed part 1 of the broadwalk tour on my blog. Love to share with you! Thank you once again! :)


  6. What an awesome post! Thank you for bringing the kids and sharing our adventure on your blog!



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