Saturday, April 14, 2012

Baby wild boars, nesting hornbills and grey herons at Chek Jawa

It's my first Naked Hermit Crabs guiding trip for the year at Chek Jawa.
Due to school commitments, I couldn't volunteer for the guiding sessions in February and March. The crabs took a CNY break in January.

It was unusually crowded today at Changi Point Ferry Terminal.
There were groups and cyclists going to Pengerang on one side, and crowds of NPCC students and Ubin  visitors on the other. The Ubin bumboat extend their queue line to cater for the large crowd.

People queuing up for bumboats to Ubin

The queue extends in a "L" shaped manner

The bumboat ride

We meet up with 2 visitors at the ferry terminal and off we go to Pulau Ubin.
Upon arrival at Pulau Ubin, you can take the van service to Chek Jawa. Alternatively there are cheap bicycle rental shop for you to cycle to Chek Jawa or you can hike there.

At the entrance of Chek Jawa, Ley Kun was showing our two visitors the map of Pulau Ubin (old map rather) and we saw the rubber tapping next to the shelter. They have shifted the rubber tapping "exhibit" to a new tree. The original tree got too used. I must remember to take picture of the rubber tapping "exhibit" during the next guided walk trip.

Looking at the map of Pulau Ubin

Look! NParks has new signs placed at Chek Jawa.

"No Feeding of Wild Animals: Squirrels, monkeys(the macaques rather) and wild boars."

Today's I had free and easy guiding session.
There were only two groups so the men took over the guiding.
The ladies were free to roam around.
Ria went off first to stalk the mosquito oilers from NEA. (More stories about this when Ria posts it up). Ley Kun and I waited for the last group of 5.While waiting at the information kiosk, there is this cute sculpture made of rocks:

"Rock Concert"

They are made from rocks and a drink can

At the counter, there are information sheets about the wildlife found at Chek Jawa. One of them is about birds:

The group of 5 did not turn up. Ley Kun and I went to check out the grey herons feeding at the lagoon. It was low tide. At the lagoon boardwalk, the fiddler crabs were out in full force. Male fiddler crabs have one large pincer, which they use it to battle with other males or to attract female partners. The female fiddler crabs only has two small pincers.

From the boardwalk, we can see different birds feeding at different parts of the shore.
Pardon the lousy images. They are taken using compact camera through binoculars (it was good to bring my bino along).

This bird is far out from the boardwalk, along the sandbar.

A grey heron hunting between the sandbar and the boardwalk.

In the far distance is Johor. The distinct structure is an oil rig. In the foreground are devices used for seagrass studies. Ria was out helping yesterday. More about Ria's post can be found here.

At the spot where I was observing the grey herons feeding, I found a flower crab just below the boardwalk.

The flower crab does not look alive. Neither does not look like a molt. hmm....
After checking out the shore area, I joined Daniel's group and moved on to the coastal forest for the hornbill's nest. The nesting box was created by Jurong Bird Park and one of such box was placed at Chek Jawa, directly facing human traffic. It is amazing that a pair of hornbills have selected this box for nesting as hornbills are very sensitive to disturbance.

Nesting box for hornbills

I went ahead to check out the "nesting-in-progress' nesting box. When I reached the location, some shuffling on the ground diverted my attention away. It's Mama Wild Boar and her piglets!
I got so excited and this is the highlight for my trip today.

Mama wild boar

According to Ria, Mama wild boar has 7 piglets plus 2 young adults.

Piglet sprinter

Being new borns, they are rather afraid of humans. So they hide and fled at sight of you looking at them.

The piglets stay very close to mama wild boar

Wild boar piglets have distinct watermelon strips on their bodies. They look so cute!

Shortly after I took this picture, Mama wild boar went deeper into the forest and her piglets followed. Daniel's group came after that to check out the hornbill's nesting box. Through my binoculars, I was able to see mama hornbill moving around in her nest. Occasionally, she will peep through the hole in the seal to look at us.

As usual, the Naked Hermit Crabs guided walk ended at House No. 1 and our visitors were invited to contribute to our guestbook in the form of writings or drawings.

While we were waiting for our van at the shelter, Daniel spotted the young adult wild boars behind a waiting van. It seems that the mama wild boar has more important tasks to do (her 7 piglets) and kind of left her older children to roam about.

Lunch was served at the two sisters restaurant with our usual dishes: Stir-fried kangkong, fu yong omelette, 2 black pepper crabs and today-it-felt-neglected fried squid.
The threatening dark clouds forces us to move quickly to the jetty and back to mainland.

It was a great trip.
The next guided walk at Chek Jawa by Naked Hermit Crabs will be on 12 May 2012.


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