25 January 2013

Sharing Berlayar Creek with Shell

Spent a lovely evening at Berlayar Creek mangroves with a team from Shell led by Ramon Martinez!
It was also a treat to have Debby Ng of the Hantu Bloggers at the walk. Thanks to the sharp-eyed visitors, we saw mudskippers, monitor lizards, fishes, spiders and more!

Just as we started the walk, we saw a small Malayan water monitor lizard in the stream! We saw another slightly bigger one later on.
The monitor lizard disturbed a Giant mudskipper that was so well camouflaged that I didn't see him beforehand! Is the mudskipper a frog, a lizard or a fish? An amazing creature of the mudflats indeed! There were many other tinier mudskippers along the way. There are many interesting mangrove trees here too.
We spot two young lady Golden orb web spiders. These are the spiders that produce strong webs, studied for various applications like bullet-proof vests. None of the ladies had a boyfriend yet. We also saw a St. Andrew's Cross spider and another kind of spider, as well as a leaf hopper.
There's all kinds of other creatures in the undergrowth. From a Plantain squirrel, a Changeable lizard to little bugs. On the other side of the path is a grassy area where Debby spotted a Kestrel and a Chinese pond heron.
The most ewsome find was a nest made by Weaver ants, who employ child labour to create their marvelous homes out of living leaves. We wonder how they know to fold and 'glue' leaves that are so much larger than themselves without blueprints?
At one of the platforms, Debby points out a White-breasted water hen. We also spot many halfbeaks (chopstick-shaped fishes) in the stream, as well as some Archerfishes and mullets too! It's kind of a pity that the tide was low so there wasn't much water. Otherwise, we might have seen more fishes! Alas, we didn't see any crabs at all. And it was a little too early for snakes which tend to be more active at night.
This tiny slice of mangroves is home to a surprising variety of plants and animals, and it's just next to Labrador MRT station near the heart of the city! NParks has a DIY walking trail guide that you can download (pdf) to explore the Creek on your own. The trail can be combined with a walk all around the Southern Ridges too! I didn't get to take many photos as I was babbling too much as usual. Here's a photo by Debby of  us at the end of the trip.
Photo by Debby Ng
Along the way, we also spot a slick of oil in one small part of the stream. This is one of the pressures on this shore. Other issues include litter, we saw a suitcase on the shore. As well as one crab trap. The Creek is next to Keppel Golf Club and there was a golf ball on the boardwalk! In the past, I've seen lots of golf balls on the shore near the mouth of the Creek.
Photo by Debby Ng
Fortunately, TeamSeagrass monitors Berlayar Creek so we can keep a watch of how the shores are coping with these pressures. Here's a view of the seagrasses near the boardwalk when I last monitored the shore in April 2012.
My next scheduled monitoring trip is next month. Alas, I wish there were more low spring tide dates to cover all our shores more regularly.

We ended at sunset and moonrise, over the stunning skyline with the heritage house on Bukit Cermin. On the way back, Debby spots bats starting to feed on the mangrove flowers and fruits. Bats are important pollinators of our favourite fruits such as durians. And it is flowering mangroves that support populations of these important animals!
Thanks to Ramon and friends at Shell for a lovely evening, for spotting so many interesting animals, and putting up with my long endless stories about plants. Thanks also to Debby for coming despite her absolutely busy schedule of back-to-back talks all week (her next talk is tomorrow!). And to Vanessa for the delicious cookies!

Looking forward to meeting everyone again on our walks, perhaps at the Naked Hermit Crab's monthly free guided walks at Chek Jawa? Or join Debby to dive with the Hantu Bloggers! Lots of other nature happenings are listed on wildsingapore!


Related Posts with Thumbnails