Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Owl, snakes and spiders at Pasir Ris Mangrove Boardwalk

It was a great trip with the Naked Hermit Crabs at Pasir Ris Mangrove Boardwalk. After a long break from Pasir Ris, the guided decided to conduct a free guided walk during this September school holidays. Despite a small group everyone saw amazing animals in this short 1 hour walk.

Located with a short walk for Pasir Ris Park Carpark C is a patch of replanted mangrove that has flourished along the banks of Sungei Tampines, and even on the coastline near the river mouth.

The visitors were looking forward to spotting animals as they entered the nearest entrance to the mangrove boardwalk. Little did they know that an golden orb spider is looming just above their parents' head.
Golden orb spider
I pointed out this rather large spider and almost gave everyone a fright. Alyce shared with the group that the supporting silk by the sides are not sticky and requires the least amount of energy from the spider to be produced. She also show us how taut the silk is and you can actually gently feel how firm the silk thread is.

Even before the walk started, the visitors has a warm up treat of seeing a flying lizard on the tree trunk next to the meeting point.
Flying lizard
Along the boardwalk, it was the first time for many of our visitors seeing a cicada. Many people often confuse the sound cicadas produce with crickets. The cicada was within comfortable eye viewing for the adults while the children needed a hand to get a good look at it.
On another branch, there were clusters of mealy bug.
Mealy bug - white and fluffy
Not sure what these insects next to the mealy bugs are. Sean did mention something about them being matured form of the mealy bug? Looks like they are carrying a sap like bubble.
Matured mealy bug?
Then Sean, our ladybird expert, spots a 'white cow' ladybird which has yet to be identified. He has created A Picture Guide to Ladybird Beetles of Singapore with amazing drawings and great photos.
'White cow' ladybird
Earlier before the walk, I came early to check out the mangrove and this spider that I saw before the walk was still at the same location. I showed it to the visitors who were interested about spiders.
After the walk, I check the same tree trunk and it was still there! Sean took photos of it only find that it is a mama spider as she is now guarding her newly hatched baby spiders. (Sorry, by that time I had kept my camera.)

Sean and I spotted a few of these insects and he thinks that they are some kind of fly. We managed to see them at different angles.
Side profile
It was rather tricky to lean against the boardwalk railing today. The weaver ants were running around along the railing. These ants can inflict a nasty pain when they bite and they do not easily let go.
Weaver ant
How can I forget about the mangrove animals when doing a guided walk on the mangrove boardwalk?
Squirrels are not true mangrove animals but they do forage in the mangrove for food. The children are excellent at spotting squirrels and are very excited about them.
Squirrel feeding
The giant mudskippers (Periophthalmodon schlosseri) looked less lively today and there were fewer of them seen. What has happened? However our visitors were still very excited to see the giant mudskippers moving around in the mangrove. A few of them were seen in pairs. Possible mates?
Giant mudskipper
Toward the end of the walk, we spotted two dog-faced watersnake (Cerberus rynchops) at the water's edge. They look slightly bigger than a juvenile size. It a good sign for Pasir Ris mangrove.
Dog-faced watersnake 1
Dog-faced watersnake 2
Suddenly, a large flying animal caught my attention as it landed on a tree branch. It was an owl, the Buffy fish owl. This shy bird stayed long enough for everyone to admire it.
Buffy fish owl turning its head to have a look.
As we end our walk at the lookout hut to Sungei Tampines, one of our alert mummies spotted a juvenile water monitor lizard and... we finally witnessed how the water monitor appeared in the hole of the tree trunk. For the many trip we have done we always encounter the juvenile water monitor lizard's head taking a peek from the tree trunk's hole.
Moving to the hole.
Checking out the hole first
First half of lizard in
Almost there...
Just a bit more
Now to move the tail in
Sean has a wonderful video of the lizard moving into the hole and listen to the interesting comments in the background.

As we head back to the starting point with the setting sun, the guides got to witness a bit more action along the boardwalk.

I pointed out an interesting spider on a tree trunk that I spotted before the walk that is still at the same spot. Then Sean commented that the spider now seems to be guarding her babies that looked recently hatched. I only managed to take pictures of the mother spider.
Taken before the walk.
Taken after the walk.
At the orb spider's web, we were treated to some prey catching action as a dragonfly flew into the orb spider's web. Sean managed to capture it on video.

The Pasir Ris Park mangrove boardwalk is opened all day and it is very interested to visit the mangrove after sunset. 

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