Sungei Buloh Nature Walk :)

This was an amazing experience at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve with a dedicated and knowledgeable tour guide accompanying us to share his knowledge on the flora and fauna found here. For once, I could be “one with nature”, away from the usual skyscraper-filled, highly modernized city landscape in Singapore. Not only did I get to see many new animals, I could spend my Saturday morning with a group of friends who were just as enthusiastic! Here are just some of the notes I took during this walk…

Animals spotted: White bellied sea eagle, Malayan water monitor, changeable lizard (does ‘push-ups’ to attract female), collared kingfisher, little egret, great egret (intermediate egrets exist too but we did not see any), little heron, horseshoe crab (2 edible types, 1 toxic type), fiddler crab (one big claw to attract females/intimidate, one small claw to eat), grey heron, batik golden orb spider (females are around 100x bigger than male), giant mud skipper, blue spotted mud skipper, red weaver ants (bites, swivels around, and drops a drop of acid into wound, hence very pain), tree climbing crab, mangrove shield bug, squirrel, small snails – nerites, stray dogs (they maw monitor lizards, otters, harass birds etc :((), signaler crab, Javanese grasshoppers, caterpillars, common fruit bats (help to disperse fruit seeds, pollinate)

  • Predators indicate strong prey base —> good ecosystem present
  • Marine trash sucks 😦
  • Mangroves: habitats, nurseries for many animals, can live in salt water (very uncommon), secretes the salt through leaves /only take in water and not salt. Has breathing roots to take in air, spread roots to stabilize and not collapse in unstable mud. Mangrove wood can be used as charcoal
  • Crows mobbing white bellied sea eagle (small birds can swarm and harass the bigger birds as a warning/chase them away)
  • Stakes put up around mangroves area to prevent large items (like sofa ) from being washed in
  • Nature parks ‘shield’ nature reserve from people due to nature reserves being more sensitive to people and changes
  • Mud skipper: makes it’s own burrow up to 1 meter, has gill pouches with water chambers ‘brings water tanks to land’ + can gulp in air through mouth + breathe through skin —> can live on land. Cannot swim well but can jump using their tail and curving their body into a s-shape. Usually move on land using pectoral fins.
  • Mud in mangroves smell bad and is black due to the mud being very compact with no air pockets. Anaerobic organisms inside the mud break down organic matter and release hydrogen sulfide which smells bad and stains mud black
  • Small spiders can release silk and catch the wind, ‘ballooning’ and flying away in the wind (prevent overcrowding and excessive competition)
  • Mud lobsters: shy and burrow to eat food, forming mud mounds which can become habitats for others. Pushes fresh mud to the surface which is rich in nutrients so plants can grow better. Oxygen can go down into the mud better too, creating air pockets
  • Male cicadas call during the day to attract females, male crickets call at night
  • Signaler crabs have really bright orange pincers with a brown body – signals to other crabs to mate. Makes itself very obvious and vulnerable to predators but is a trade off in order to get a mate to reproduce
  • Ducks have fully webbed feet – can paddle in water but waddle on land
  • Plovers and sandpipers have semi-webbed feet – can walk/hop in mud/shallow water to find food

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