03 March 2013

First Naked walk at Chek Jawa for 2013

Many firsts on the Naked Hermit Crabs' first free monthly guided tour of the boardwalk of the year!
We meet the first batch of tiny piglets of the year! They were probably born just weeks ago to Young mama wild boar. It's possible to interact safely with wild animals if we stay calm and don't alarm them.

On this trip, we were joined by four enthusiastic young ladies, Pei Yan's students from CHIJ Katong Convent. Ca Lin, Isabel, Sarah Ooi and Vindhya would like to be nature guides! Hurray!
The weather is great as we approach Pulau Ubin!
As soon as we arrived, we spotted an Oriental pied hornbill at the mangrove tree near the jetty. Leykun saw it trying to eat some of the fruits of the tree!
About 50 mamas, papas and kids have gathered early in the morning for the free guided walk on the Chek Jawa boardwalk. It's so heartening to know that there are many parents who take the time and trouble to bring their families to see Chek Jawa.
I was glad to guide Chris and his friends and families on this trip. Here we are at the top of Jejawi Tower where we saw a fish eagle soar and swoop down to catch a fish!
We have a quick look at the route we are taking this morning on the handy maps found throughout the boardwalk.
The kids are great at spotting wildlife!
There were lots of cute mudskippers large and small!
There were also lots of little crabs, some look just like mud, others were colourful little jewels. There were many spiders too!
The special find of the day was a living Mud lobster slowly moving around in the water! Chris spotted it and it's the first time in a long while that I've seen a live mud lobster on Chek Jawa. Mud lobsters play a critical role in the back mangroves, creating a special habitat that many other plants and animals depend upon.
Mud lobsters burrow in the mud, filtering edible bits from the mud. In the process, they create volcano-like mounds in the mangroves. These mounds are taken over by many other small mangrove creatures and plants grow better on them. These mud lobster 'condo's come complete with swimming pools. The pools created among the mounds provide shelter for many small swimming creatures.
Dad spots a spider among the leaves. We also saw many butterflies and even a stink bug.
The young ladies help out with the guides and I'm glad for Ca Lin's help. She spots critters for the kids.
She is great with the little ones, chatting with them on the trip.
Prahub from India was also in our group. He spotted lots of interesting birds and also showed us lots of photos of what he has seen.
We checked out the artificial hornbill nest box (it's not occupied) and on the way back spotted a lively Sharma.
Back at the Visitor Centre, everyone has fun sharing what they had seen and what Chek Jawa means to them. Their precious thoughts shows what Chek Jawa means to ordinary people. Hopefully, their voices will help protect Chek Jawa for all children now and in the future.
At the end of the walk, the guides had our traditional lunch at the Two Sisters' restaurant which has lots of interesting historical photos of Pulau Ubin. Pei Yan shares more about these photos with her students.
More photos and stories about this trip by other guides: Pei Yan and participants: Jonathan Tan on facebook.

I saw a fisherman laying a driftnet just off Chek Jawa. Earlier this month, we saw a fisherman lay a net well within the Chek Jawa lagoon. I sent the photo with the boat number to NParks and they had forwarded the photo to the Police Coast Guard. Since 2007, the waters around Chek Jawa has been officially designated as an area off limits to boaters, water recreational activities including fishing and swimming. Fishing goes on all the time on all our shores. On the way to Pulau Ubin, I saw a fisherman laying a driftnet near Changi Beach, while another was using a castnet in shallow water.
The 2030 Land Use plan released earlier this month shows plans for a road link (black line) from the mainland jumping off at Punggol, crossing to Pulau Ubin through Chek Jawa to jump off to Pulau Tekong before circling back to the mainland on Changi East. Proposed reclamation (in yellow) will bury Pasir Ris shores, Pulau Sekudu and Chek Jawa as well as a large amount of shore at Changi Beach.
Click on images for larger view.

Come see Chek Jawa for yourself! Here's some ways to do so:

Any walks to other shores that I can join?

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