Sunday, January 27, 2008

Butterfly Watching @ Alexandra Hospital

Is Sunday again.... have not been going to Alexandra Hospital for a while. The last time I went was about a year ago for a workshop although I passby AH almost everyday on the way to my work place.

I arrived about 8am and there are aleady about 15 people ready with their camera and all kind of gadgets chasing butterfly. Although the park is under a major upgrading, it did not stop the butterflies from coming here to breed and embrace the park.
This is a beautiful Glassy Tiger. However, I'm not sure if this is a Blue Glassy or Dark Glassy.
Glassy Tiger usually seen on a slow graceful and unhurried flight, I can't help but to take more shots.
Ha ha...again, I can't tell which is 3 rings or which is 5 rings. I'm totally new about butterflies... 'paiseh'
This black butterfly (Blue Helen) looks like a 'wau' a kind of kite in Malaysia. Understand that this is a migrant species. Mmmm.... no wonder the shape really looks like a wau.
Could this be a Malayan Bush Brown?
Another 2 that I don't know their id.....
Been waited for hours.... this butterfly just don't stay still :-( I end up took this picture while she is flying. Is either a Common Rose or a Great Helen.
Managed to capture this beautiful butterfly that normally stay around the tree canopy.... a Painted Jezebel.
Well, you will not just lok at the butterfly... this skink wanted to have some exposures too.
This grasshopper is about 9cm in length! Wow...
Terrapin swimming gracefully in this pond..
This poster list down all the birds that been sighted here in the hospital's compound.
Well, this probably is one of the only hospital in Singapore that host so many different kind of animals.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Changi Beach Afterdark

I head straight to Changi after leaving my office on Friday, not to catch a flight but to visit the shore that I finds it always so attractive. Not because of the F&B outlets (in fact there is none) but the animals that lives there and most of them can't be found at any other part of Singapore anymore.
While waiting for the rest, I take a walk at the newly constructed bicycle/jogging track along the Nicoll Drive. There are lots of milipede crawling on the track . Millipedes will curl up when threatened, and they thrive on vegetation.
We saw lots of sea stars the minutes we stepped onto the shore.
There are lots of sand star of all sizes! Some of them measured only about 2cm wide.
Another 2 cute little star, probably cake or biscuit (just in time for Chinese New Year?? ;-) ) sea star.
And the green sea star too. Among the sea grass, there are also lots of tiny pipe fish and spider crabs.
We also saw this horseshoe crab that measured 45cm from head to tail!!

There are several bristle worms and ball sea cucumber on the sandy area.
Not forgetting this sand bubbler crab too.Another tiny animals in the Mini Series..... a scorpion fish.Where are all the adults??...
Sea urchin
Believe this 2 molluscs have been fighting for some time. The white clam will eventually become the meal of the drills(family Muricidae) which is smaller in size. Drills can bore holes in the shells of their prey and it may take up to half a day just to drill through the shell of 2mm thick.This smooth body worm like animal is in fact a sea cucumber(family Caudinidae)
A hairy seahare (Bursatella leachi)
And the best find so far is this beautiful sea horse! The tide was coming in so we head back to the shore.
The pink sea cucumber is everywhere when we head back to the shore area. Changi is still as charming....

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nature vs Urban Life

I received this in my In-box and I have no idea who the original author was. Whoever it is, this article indeed gave us a very good way to re-look at ourselves, nature and today's urban life.


TO ALL THOSE WHO WERE BORN IN THE 40's, 50's and early 60's

First, we survived with mothers who had no maids . They cooked /cleaned while taking care of us all at the same time.

They took aspirin, candy floss, fizzy drinks, shaved ice with syrup and diabetes was rare. Salt added to Pepsi or Coke was remedy for fever.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets.

As children, we would ride with our parents on bicycles/ motorcycles for 2 or 3(this we still see insome towns in Malaysia & elswhere). Richer ones in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a private taxi was a special treat.

We drank water from the well & tap and NOT from a bottle.

We would spend hours on the fields under bright sunlight flying our kites, without worrying about UV rays which never seem to affect us.

We go into the jungle to catch spiders without worries of Aedes mosquitoes.

With a mere 5 pebbles (stones), it was an endless game. With a rubber ball (tennis ball best) we boys would run like crazy for hours (game called choppin).

We caught guppy in drains / canals at low tide and when it rained we swam there.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one glass bottle and NO ONE actually worry about being unhygenic.

At that time we were not rich and 10 cents per day as pocket money was a BONUS!

We ate salty, very sweet & oily food, candies,bread and real butter and drank very sweet soft drinks, sweet coffee/ tea, ice kachang, but we weren't overweight because......


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, till streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K. (except when we got home, to face the music from our parents)

We would spend hours repairing our old bicycles and wooden scooters out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem .

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, multiple channels on cable TV, DVD movies, no surround sound, no phones, no personal computers, no Internet.WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and we still continued the stunts.

We never had birthday parties till we were 21,

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and just yelled(sometimes we had special whistle sounds to identify us) for them!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

Yet this generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned



And YOU are one of them!


You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the government regulated our lives for our own good.

and while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.


To all my friends that like to kill their times in nature…. Another good reason for you to support your family or people that matters to you to enjoy nature!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Long Walk from CNR to Bishan Park

We have a unusual route and a really long walk from Lower Pierce Boardwalk all the way to Herbal Garden of Bishan Park. We started our walk from 6.30am and end at 3.30pm. We have lots of surprises along the way and have a good mix of flora & fauna from both nature and urban nature. By the time we finished in the afternoon, most of us have depleated our memory cards and batteries.

We meet at Casurina and start our walk from the Lower Pierce Boardwalk hope to see some nocturnal animals.... sad to say that luck is not on our side, we therefore proceed to Venus Drive. We saw this green crested lizard near the entrance to the tree-top walk.
The beautiful and deadly (to smaller insect & animals) have a very bold name - Assassin Bugs. As with most assassin bugs of the Reduviidae family, they hunt smaller insect or animals and suck their juices dry. Most Assassin Bugs will give a very painful bite, so don't touch them.
As usual, there are lots of grasshopper
and crickets too.
We also saw this damselfly (Argiocnemis rubescens) near the stream.
Another beautiful fly that I have no clue of the id.
This snail was about the size of a 50 cents coin.
This pretty forest flatworm was found crawling on the trail.
After a short break for breakfast, we head to Bishan Park for our next part of exploration.The pond skaters cover almost the entire surface of the pond near the edges.Group of terrapins resting and taking sun bath on this small island right at the center of the pond.A Sand piper was seen resting on another 'unclaimed' island.

There are few different species of birds that we saw living happily together on another bigger island.A white breasted waterhen and her chick.
A bittern that non stop hunting for fishA bubulWhite throated kingfisher. Apparently, without using any net as the no casting of net sign says, doesn't affect the birds ability to catch their own food. While watching the birds hunting their food, I also took this believed to be the smallest butterfly in the region if not the world. The body is only as big as the grass as seen on photo.Hmmm.... tiDE cHAsER chasing tide again here in Bishan Park?... he hide behind the lamp post that is only half his height just to get close to this beautiful Little HeronThere are also lots of different dragonfly over at Bishan Park.
Variegated Green Dragonfly (Orthetrum sabina)

This is one of the Singapore lagest dragonfly Ictinoghompus decoratus

We saw another pair of dragonfly preparing for their next generation.

There are quite a number of flying dragons in the park too. They are like any lizard but with the ability to glide from tree to tree using folds of skin attached to its movable ribs to form "wings".

This is also one of the photo that I was trying to take - a real Cicada. So far been taking only their moult. The loud noise that we hear in the forest are actually made by male cicadas to lure females.

A suppose to be easy 3 hours walk turn out to be 9 hours. Ha ha, never under estimate what you can see or find in the manmade urban nature. With this satisfied walk, we are sure to visit more neighbourhood park in the future.

Also with me on todays walk, read more at The Tide Chaser and blooooooooooo blog.