Monday, April 23, 2007

Fun with Colugos on 21 April 07

Second discovery posting:

Late posting for Fun with Nature event.

On Saturday evening at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR), Fun with Colugos was held at the BTNR visitor center.

Norman Lim who authored a book on Colugos recently was there to share with the kids more about Colugos.

Before the event start, Andrew and some others managed to spot a colugo just nearby the visitor center. A lucky early sighting of the 'star' of the event.

After the sharing session, kids were brought into BTNR
in small groups for a short walk hoping to spot more colugos. And as i waited near the second shelter up the path of BTNR, Dr Vilma came over and said a kid spotted one more colugo back down the track and she left her name tag near the spot hoping that the colugo will be still there when we returned to the spot.

It was truly a lucky evening, as the colugo was still there when we went to the spot.

This time round, i managed to capture a photo of it (picture below)
Discovery Note:
1. Colugos are mammals (just like us!).
2. Although they are also called 'Flying Lemurs' although they are not exactly closely related to the lemurs of Madagascar and they don't fly, they are able to glide though.
3. Its ability to glide
is due to the thin membrane that stretches from the ends of the tail to each limb.
3. Colugos are mostly nocturnal (like bats!).
4. Colugos are able to hang upside down due to their strong and sharp claws (like bats!) but they don't do that always.
5. Colugos sleep by
clinging to trunks (as seen in picture) or hiding in tree holes.
6. Colugos is known to eat
mostly leaves, shoots, flowers and sap, and probably fruit as well.

After this sighting, the event ended soon afterwards as BTNR was closing soon and all of us were sort of rushing out before the NParks staff closed the gates. Goodbye BTNR~

For more information on Fun with Nature events, please check the wildsingapore or NSS website for details.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Semakau Inter-tidal Walk on 21 Apr 07

First discovery posting:

(Entry @ 26 Apr: Discoverers, please take note of the change of information at the third and ninth 'discovery'. =>)

Today was my second time doing hunter-seeker for the Semakau inter-tidal walk.
Small Note: Basically my job is to be the front runner and seek marine life forms which are interesting and "flag" them as visiting points for guides and visitors to the inter-tidal walk.

The tide was really low today, Samson said that the forecast gave a level of around +/- 0.2m. And judging from the area of exposed reefs we saw, that figure was more towards a - 0.2 m level.

A view of the exposed reefs in picture below:

Some sightings according to order of 'discovery',

First 'discovery' was by luck. I was commenting to Luan Keng that i couldn't spot anything today and right there just near my foot was a polka-dot nudibranch (picture below).
Discovery Notes:
1. Nudibranch is pronounced as 'noo-dee-brank' to rhyme with 'bank'.
2. They are called 'nudibranch' because they have naked gills and many of them have flowery-like external gills on their backs.
3. They contain and can secrete toxins. So don't touch them with your naked hands!

Second object i 'discovered' was a scallop (picture below), doesn't it look like a logo for a company? =P

Third 'discovery' was a peacock anemone (picture below)
(Entry @ 26 Apr: Picture below doesn't show a peacock anemone, but an anemone i cannot identify. Thanks to Ron for pointing this out.)
I have removed the discovery note for the peacock anemone as the picture above doesn't show a peacock anemone.

Fourth 'discovery' was just a few steps away from the third (picture below).
After a discussion, we came to a conclusion that this could be the egg capsules of a marine animal, which one though, we are not completely sure.

Fifth 'discovery' was a hairy crab (picture below),
Underside of the hairy crab (picture below),
Discovery Note:
1. The hairs of the hairy crab traps sediment so it blends 'almost' perfectly with its surroundings.
2. The hairy crab eats seaweeds and poisonous zoanthids, which makes the crab mildly poisonous too!

Sixth 'discovery' was found by Luan Keng. A Flatworm (picture below)
Discovery Note:
1. Flatworms has both male and female reproductive systems, so when two flatworms mate. They may fertilise each other.
2. Flatworms may be mistaken for nudibranches. So look out, as flatworms don't have external flower-like gills on their backs.

From here on, i kinda-of stopped my duties, as all the flags was used up. And thanks to Luan Keng (chief hunter-seeker..,) for finding more things and planting the flags for them. I could walk over to check out what Luan Keng had discovered.

Seventh 'discovery', the highlight of the trip. The Knobbly Sea Star (picture below)
Discovery Note:
1. The knobbly sea stars you see in the picture has a diameter of about 25 to 30cm!
2. Sea Stars get stressed when out of water. So please don't take them out of water for too long. =)

Eighth 'discovery', a Sea slug, which is a sap-sucker (picture below). This was found by Samson. and i was really puzzled how did he managed to spot something of about 3mm in thickness and 2 cm in length. Hmm...

Ninth 'discovery' was a pustoluse phyllid nudibranch (picture below).
(Entry @ 26 Apr: Picture below is actually a black phyllid nudibranch. Thanks to Ron again for pointing it out to me. )
Discovery note:
1. This is one of the most venomous nudibranch. One of this would cause your whole aquarium's fishes to be poisoned to death. So don't buy nudibranches for your aquariums!

Tenth 'discovery' was spotted when i went over to Robert's group. He told me that a 'big' sea urchin was found (picture below). The size of this urchin was about a forearm's length, about 40plus cm.
Discovery note:
1. Sea urchins have sharp spines that deter most predators and us from touching them.
2. The spines are moveable and may be used for walking.

Eleventh 'discovery' was an upside down jellyfish. This was found after Luan Keng commented we couldn't find any jellyfish due to maybe the season is over, then there this was just right there near my foot.

the upside down jellyfish, truly upside down (picture below)
the upside down jellyfish, flipped over (picture below)
Discovery note:
1. This jellyfish has symbiotic algae, mostly in its tentacles, which photosynthesises better with it being upside-down. Some of the food made by the algae will leak and get absorbed by the jellyfish. So this is why this jellyfish is upside down when we found it, it's feeding time!

More 'discoveries', pictures of corals and one sea anemone:

Staghorn coral, hard coral (picture below)
Hard coral (picture below)

Soft coral (picture below), doesn't this remind you of a certain character of a movie which Johnny Depp plays Captain Jack Sparrow.
sea anemone (picture below)

That was about all the pictures i took during the walk this time.

After the inter-tidal walk, i was kinda of arrowed to do the land fill tour for the second time. But this time, i was quite confused over the right and left directions when informing the visitors of the things around the island, so it was really a bit embarrassing for me.

During the debrief for guides, Luan Keng was telling me that i was to be 'demoted' from a hunter-seeker to help guide at least in one station the next time i come.

Well, until then, i hope i don't forget the things i need to remember. Or else... back to the books again.. =P

The first chapter of Discovery

Every story has an opening chapter or an introduction.

Every journey starts with a first step.

A record of my discovery of nature begins here...

Picture (below) from Kathib Bongsu (14 Apr 2007)