Sunday, May 13, 2007

Discovery @ Ubin on 12 May 2007

Fourth Discovery Posting:

(Entry @ 14 May 2007: managed to ID the blue flower and did an ID correction for the banana tree)

Another clear Saturday morning sky which started a day of outdoors and discovery (picture below).
On this morning, we were gathered at Ubin for a slow walk from the jetty to kekek quarry.

But before we even set off, all of us were attracted by the different things we saw around the area near the jetty, flowers, birds, etc. and the toilet, :P

First 'discovery' was around that area, this might be tropical Chinese hibiscus or called the China rose, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (picture below),
Discovery Note (after research):
1. Hibiscus is the name given to more than 250 species of herbs, shrubs, and trees of the Malvaceae family.

2. Hibiscus is renowned for its beauty as well as its medicinal uses, and gardeners cultivate the plant for its showy flowers.

3. The China Rose is known to be used to treat respiratory problems, skin disorders or even treat fevers.

Second 'discovery', i forgot to check with everyone on the name of this plant (picture below), would anyone care to help me ID this flower, thanks =)
(Entry @ 14 May 2007: Thanks to Chay Hoon, i managed to ID this plant, it's blue pea)

Discovery Note (according to Luan Keng):
1. This flower is used to help in the making of Nonya Kueks.

Do correct me if i'm wrong, anyone. thanks =)

As you can see, it was indeed a slow walk, as everyone was looking up, down, right and left to explore the flora and fauna of Ubin (picture below). Someone was commenting if we maintained this speed throughout the walk, we might only reach the quarry in the evening.. haha.

Third 'discovery' was a papaya tree at the side of the path (picture below),
Discovery Note (after research):
1. Papaya is actually a native plant from the North America.
2. Papaya is also known as papoya in Japan.

Here is Samson doing his exploration along the path (picture below), i couldn't resist this shot as the rays of the morning sun was positioned beautifully behind him. =)
Fourth 'discovery' was a banana tree which was just not far away from the papaya tree (picture below),
(Entry @ 14 May 2007, This is a banana plant not tree,
because it does not have branches like a tree but has only just a trunk with compact overlapping leaf base. Thanks to Chay Hoon again for pointing this out.)
Discovery Note (after research):
The fruit bunch of the banana tree requires 75–150 days to mature and must be removed from the plant to ripen properly.
2. Ripe Bananas are high in carbohydrates (mainly sugar), potassium, and vitamins C and A, and it is low in protein and fat.

Fifth 'discovery' was a changeable tree lizard basking in the sun to warm itself up before it starts its day (picture below),
Discovery Note (after research):
These lizards can change their colours, quite rapidly, but not as rapidly as chameleons.
2. Changeable Lizards eat mainly insects and small vertebrates, including rodents and other lizards. Although they have teeth, these are designed for gripping prey and not tearing it up. So prey is swallowed whole, after it is stunned by shaking it about.
3. Sometimes, young inexperienced Changeable Lizards may choke on prey which are too large.

4. The lizards were introduced to Singapore from Malaysia and Thailand in the 1980s.

Fifth 'discovery' was a hole within a termite nest (picture below). According to Luan Keng, this is a nest for the blue-collared kingfisher.
I've excluded the discovery note for the kingfisher as i couldn't get a picture of it. =>

Sixth 'd
iscovery' was a golden orb web spider (picture below),
Discovery Note (after research):
1. It gets its name from the golden colour of its silk.
2. The Golden Orb Web Spider is not the largest spider, but it makes the largest and strongest web.
3. The silk is so strong that it can trap small birds and almost as strong as Kelvar, the strongest man-made material which is drawn from concentrated sulphuric acid.

4.Unlike other spider webs, the Golden Orb Web Spider's web is not dismantled often and can last several years.

5. The male is many times smaller than the female, some are 1,000 smaller!

Seventh 'discovery' was a fish-tail palm (picture below),
Discovery Note (according to Luan Keng):
1. The fruits of this palm will start grow from the top of the palm towards the bottom of the palm.
2. When the fruits at the most bottom of the palm dies, the palm also dies, but another new sprout of the same palm will grow at the side of the palm. An amazing way on how life continues.

Eight 'discovery' was made by Chay Hoon, a cicada's nymph's moulded shell (picture below),
Discovery Note (after research):
1. Cicadas make one of the loudest sounds in the forests.
2. Only males cicadas make the distinctive sound, they make the sound to attract female cicadas to mate with them.

As we walked along the path, we came to the 'famous' signboard everyone sees along the way.
Side note: Is this Singlish at its 'best'? haha

We were talking to the owner of the place about the different plants found around his house when he told us of an interesting phenomenon which occurred recently, and this would become my ninth 'discovery' of the day (picture below),
Discovery note:
1. Does the stone/granite figure you see amongst the trees look like the Guan Ying (Godness of Mercy) to you? Wow!
2. This is located at the Ubin quarry (if my map reading skills are correct).

Another angle of shot at the serene Ubin quarry (picture below),
As we left the Ubin quarry and walked on, we soon chanced upon this Altas moth caterpillar (picture below), Tenth 'discovery' !
Discovery Note (after research):
1. The wingspan of the atlas moth is about 20 cm! They are one of the largest moth found in Singapore.
2. The caterpillars of the atlas moth eat leaves from the Jamaican cherry tree, soursop, cinnamon, rambutan, guava, and citrus.
3. In Taiwan, cocoons are used as pocket purses and in northern India, to make Fagara silk.

And soon after that interesting find, a surprise in store for some of us. As some of us were ahead of the group and waiting for the rest, a rustle was heard amongst the trees above us, and when we raised our heads, we saw the
Oriental Pied Hornbill on a branch above us.

Eleventh 'discovery'!
Discovery Note (after research):
The Oriental pied-hornbills on Pulau Ubin are the only truly wild hornbills found on Singapore.
2. The hornbill's trademark is its large, long bill. The bill, however, is not as heavy as it appears. It is not made of solid bone but of a honeycombed tissue.
Their call is harsh and penetrating and has been described as a loud, staccato cackling; or a yak-yak-yak; and even as the cackling of a witch on a broomstick!
4. The Oriental pied-hornbill plays an important role in the health of the forest as it disperses seeds that are too big for smaller birds to eat.

After a trekking journey of about 3 hours, we finally reached our destination, Kekek Quarry!
Looking at the lovely picture (picture below), i had a conclusion that the journey was definitely worth. =)
The fresh water in the quarry was looking clear and cooling that Ron and Robert couldn't resist a foot dip in the waters (picture below).
As we gathered near the edge of the waters, terrapins and fishes started to appear, we were wondering if Ron and Robert's legs were attracting them or was it the flower that we threw into the water. :P

But nevertheless, this is my thirteenth 'discovery' (picture below), a terrapin.
Special Discovery Note (after research):
How to tell turtles, tortoises and terrapins apart.
1. Turtles have webbed feet for swimming. They live mostly in the water.
2. Tortoises feet are round and stumpy for walking on land. They live on the land.
3. Terrapins have clawed feet. They live both on land and in water.

The word terrapin comes from an Indian word meaning " a little turtle".

As we walked back towards the temple for the taxt ride back to the jetty, we spotted a shield bug. fourteenth 'discovery' (picture below),
Discovery Note (after research):
1. Its name comes from its appearance like a shield. Don't you think so too? :)
Shield bugs have glands in their thorax between the first and second pair of legs which produce a foul smelling liquid. This liquid is used defensively to deter potential predators and is sometimes released when the bugs are handled carelessly.

When we reached the jetty, the tide was coming down and all of us being interested in inter-tidal life was drawn towards the sides of the jetty as we walked to the jetty.

Sightings include plenty of fiddler crabs, a horseshoe crab and some 'onchs'.

Discoverers may also read Samson's blog, Ron's blog, Chay Hoon's Blog for more information/ pictures and Helen's pictures of the trip. =)

So this concludes our Ubin trip for the day, like to take this chance again to thank Luan Keng for organising this trip, and all others who made the trip informative, interesting and entertaining for everyone along the trip :-)



Hi July,

the Second discovery is the flower of the Blue Pea plant.

Hee...btw, it's a Banana plant. Not a Banana tree. Cos it does not have branches like a tree but just a trunk with compact overlapping leaf base.


DreamerJuly said...

Thanks CH!

I've updated my Blog as accordingly.


ria said...

What a great blog July!

I love your field notes. I think it would be wonderful to share with other nature lovers.

Can I share your blog on wildsingapore?

DreamerJuly said...

Hi Ria,


Yap, won't mind sharing my 'discoveries' with others =)


ria said...

Thanks July!

koksheng said...

Hi! The blue pea plant is also called Clitoria.

I remembered it cos my secondary school bio teacher taught b4 :)

Yes, can make nonya kueh from the blue coloring hehe