Sunday, August 29, 2010

Semakau Guided Walk With SOTA

Is has been a while since I last guided at Semakau! It was still raining very heavy when I left my house to Marina South Pier to catch the ferry to Semakau. However, it was all clear when I reach the pier.

After reaching Semakau, I give a short briefing on the history of Semakau and the landfill operation on the island. After the briefing, we walk to the entry point and stop short while for the participants to apply insect repellent and change their footwear to prepare for the inter-tidal walk. I have a group of 9 very sweet students from SOTA for the guided walk today. This is their first inter-tidal walk!
We need to walk through a forest to reach the inter-tidal area and the trail is famous with the 'Kamakaze' mosquitoes! It is recommended to apply insect repellent on all exposed area of the body.
After insect repellent, follow by sun-block lotion!
Since our group is named after crab, I make sure I introduce crab first. :)
Snapping shrimp is the next animal that we saw. The enlarge pincer of the snapping shrimp that give the snapping sound and it was use to stunt their prey as well as to deter their predator!
Common sea star have a very unique way of eating! The send their stomach to the food instead of sending food to mouth. Although they are called Common sea-star, they are now only common and can be found at off-shore island.
While crossing the sea grass area, we saw a dead cat fish some part have been eaten by crabs.
The participants can;t help but stop to look at how the swimming crab enjoying this big fish breakfast!
Next was this 'any money' - Anemones.
What a big surprise to see this cushion star that usually at the deeper water.
Is not easy to spot the hairy crab be it in or out of water! The participants take a closer look at this master of camouflage!
This shrimp burrow into the sands in less than a second!
This beautiful fan shape thing is not plant but worm - Fan worm
The participants is having fun with the empty crabs moult. Now they understand how the crabs moult and grow bigger and how the soft-shell crabs are prepared.

The fan shape thing is the feeding tentacles of the Synaptic sea-cucumber.
A beautiful big sea star with knobs on the back - Knobbly Sea Star!Since this big Knobbly sea star can not be found on the main land, the participants took a group photo with the Knobbly sea star.
It was a real wonderful trip! Thanks to the participants - you 'crabs' Rock!!! :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Unlucky Day at SBWR

It was a quiet Friday evening at the Main Bridge of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. There's nothing better than just sit back and watch the kingfisher dive down with a very high speed from the tree branch to the river to hunt for fish.

I saw this Stork-billed kingfisher perched on a tree branch so I just sit back and wait for the kingfisher to hunt for food. I waited for 2 minutes before the kingfisher start hunting for food. The kingfisher dive down with a very high speed towards the river below from the tree branch. The kingfisher just touches the water surface and make a U turn back to the tree branch. I guess the kingfisher didn't managed to catch any fish.
The kingfisher just make a U-turn and back to the tree branch without any prey caught.The kingfisher just perch on the tree branch and looking for best time to make another try. The kingfisher strike again in less than 2 minutes and this time round it dive into the river directly.It must be the unlucky day for this kingfisher, the fish got away again for the 2nd time!
The kingfisher failed for the 2nd time in less than 3 minutes.
The kingfisher just make a U turn and back to the tree branch without and fish.
Desperate for food just before sun set, the kingfisher strike again in less than 2 minutes. In just a split of a second, the kingfisher dive into the river for the third time.
Yes! The kingfisher finally caught a fish! The kingfisher strikes 3 times in less than 5 minutes!
With the fish in the bill, the kingfisher flew back to the tree branch to enjoy his dinner. Based on this statistic, the success rate is only 33% which I think is rather low. I'm not sure if this is normal for Stork-billed Kingfisher.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games

No birding or any nature trip for me last week end as I was at the first ever Youth Olympic Games, Singapore 2010!
One of the event that I watched was diving! This is also the first time that diving competition was conducted at night outdoor! Just as the spirit of the YOG, Friendship, Excellence & Respect. I got to know quite a few new friends throughout the YOG. Mr Heinz-Joseph Lenz all the way from USA is among one of my new friends. He and his family flew here to support their daughter - Annika Lenz who represent USA for the Aquatics Diving.
Annika Lenz before the competition.
These are some action shots of Annika and hope Lenz and his family have a wonderful stay at Singapore!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Brittlestars Heaven

The inter-tidal area at Bali is known to be very rich in biodiversity. Last year, I spent 3 days there and only managed to explore a fraction of the entire inter-tidal area. The same thing happened this year, I couldn't cover the entire area and never will I expects that I will be trapped by thousand of brittlestars!!

They are every where and I have to basically watch every of my step so that I don't step on them!

I took a short clip with my mobile.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Birding, Bali??

Birding at Bali?? Few years back the answer is no but situation are changing. One significant improvements will be the missing of cage bird trade from the market. Few years ago, wild birds are openly sold at market despite the ban.

I was at Bali last week and my guide told me that wild birds trade in market have been banned and no longer allowed. This explained why I couldn't find any stall that use to sell all kinds of wild birds in the market. With this improvements, the wild birds population will sure to increase.

However, while I was on the way to Mt Batur from Ubud for birding, I saw this small shop that still sell wild birds! Not sure the owner obtain the necessary approval.
Saw this Pied Bushchat at Mt Batur.

Spotted dove was very common and can be seen even in the hotel that we stayed.
Another common bird in the garden, Olive-backed sunbird.

Scaly-breasted munia is also very common and saw lots of nestling too.
Yellow-vented bulbul

Sooty-headed bulbul

Java munia

At Petulu, lots of cattle egret and herons are nestling.
Red junglefowl is also very common in remote area.

According to the villagers that I spoke to, cock fighting is history now. The fighting cock is now only as their pet.

With the enforcement from the Authority, Bali is sure on the way to become another birding area.