Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tanah Merah: Hanging on and going strong

Marine life at our Tanah Merah shore is indeed resilient and they are slowly but surely recovering from the massive oil spill that happened last year during May. 

It was definitely a surprise for us to see this colourful nudibranch that I've only seen at our northern shores.

Great day out at Chek Jawa boardwalk

It's our monthly Naked Hermit Crabs guided walk again and this time in December we had lots of people joining us to explore Chek Jawa boardwalk!

Such a joy to see so many people on a fantastic Saturday morning with great weather. We had 80+ participants that day! Joining us are also 4 of my student councillors from Dunman High School!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lunar Eclipse 10th Dec 2011

Yesterday evening was one of the rare moments where you can see a total eclipse during a decent timing and with a clear night sky! Below are five photos that I've took from my home.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Feather stars and commensals at Little Sisters

One of the reasons that make me look forward to visiting Little Sisters Island is definitely the numerous feather stars that can be found on their reef.

I visited the smaller of the two Sisters Islands about two weeks ago and had a great time looking at the different kinds of feather stars.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sunny day out at Beting Bronok

It's our first time visiting Beting Bronok under bright daylight! All of my previous trips to this remote northern reef were during the predawn tides.

Blessed with perfect weather despite of the recent rainy season, we had a picturesque view of the reefs of BB with Johor in the background.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Back to the lost coast!

Last Friday we were back at the vast shores of the Lost Coast and we decided to at a look at another stretch which we didn't had to chance to visit previously.

On this shore are numerous sand dollars that are virtually everywhere! What amuses me is this disused orange container with the $ sign written on it. I think someone was trying to get some dollars from the bank by collecting them with this container (sand dollars on sand bank... get it?). Haha!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Creatures found on the sandy shore of Changi

Last Monday, Ria and I had a look at one of the sandy shores along the long stretch of Changi Beach. To many people, these shores may seem dead or lifeless from a brief glimpse but if you do take effort to observe, there are many living creatures out there waiting for you to discover!

Exploring the shore in the dark probably help as many of the marine life are more active without the strong solar radiation.

It is rather typical to find sand dollars on a sandy shore and what a delight to find many juvenile ones on this shore. I have not seen them here previously.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Slugs galore at Pulau Sekudu

Yesterday was the first time I visited Pulau Sekudu during an evening low tide! Just like BB, visiting Sekudu is an annual event which I would always look forward to.

Though this northern island just off Pulau Ubin is very small, Sekudu has many fascinating rock formations surrounded by a small stretch of sand bar and a large expanse of intertidal shore.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Marvellous finds from Lost Coast!

We are back at the Lost Coast after close to two years! This is one trip that I have been really waiting for because our previous trip here during a not-so-low tide reveals that this is a special sandy shore. Special thanks to Travis, Ria, Alex and Jumari for making this trip possible.

We saw many rare creatures during the trip but none can compare to this large Astropecten sand star (Astropecten sp.) which I have never seen before! It is a beauty!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Semakau guided walk with SJI

I spent my Deepavali holiday guiding a group of students from St Joseph's Institution at our fabulous shore of Pulau Semakau!

Though they are currently working on marine-related school projects, it is their first time exploring our natural shores looking at seagrasses and corals. It was great to be able to share with them our marine biodiversity without having to swim or dive!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Civets aka musang of Siglap

I have heard so much about the Common or Asian palm civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) at Siglap and finally found a night out with Ron and James to see them with my own eyes.

We were quite fortunate to see about 3-4 of them within a short period at dusk. Many of these civets move rather fast so we usually could see them more with our eyes than we could photograph them.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cute variable squirrels of Bidadari Cemetery

I'm back after 2.5 weeks of NS reservist training! Itching for some nature photography, I cycled to Bidadari Cemetery yesterday afternoon as I kind of missed the cute variable squirrels.

And wow, I managed to spot three of them during my 1.5 hours there and captured several nice cute shots of them.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Back to underwater garden of Tuas

It has been two years since I have visited the pretty and colourful shores of Tuas. And I was glad to be back here with Sheryl and Ria who are monitoring the seagrasses. Bee Yan was here to survey the crabs at the small stretch of mangroves.

I headed out to the Merawang Beacon to have a look at how the reef is doing and was glad to find several beautiful hard corals and sea fans. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

A night at Bukit Brown Cemetery

Last Friday Night, we were on a "mission" to try and find the sambar deers that have been previously sighted at and near Bukit Brown Cemetery. It is my second time visiting this cemetery. The first was during an unexpected Outdoor Activities Club night walk and overnight stay back in my JC days. The memories of that still lingers!

Though the location is a cemetery, there are more living creatures than dead creatures. We saw a number of fruit bats such as this one which is hanging on a branch.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chek Jawa September Walk with NHC

Last Saturday I was out guiding at Chek Jawa Boardwalk with Naked Hermit Crabs again!

It was great to be able to guide a family of different generations on a cool morning. And the guiding was much more easier for as I was not alone doing all the explanations. The grandpa and grandma of the family shared even more about their knowledge of nature's treasure trove and their experience with the wild in the past. I have learnt much from them too!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Baby stonefish at Sentosa

Chay Hoon spotted a juvenile Hollow-cheeked stonefish (Synanceia horrida) on our trip to Sentosa shore last Saturday!

Though stonefish are scary looking and horrible to be stepped on (since they can inject venom into you with their sharp spines), this young fish looks quite cute on the contrary. Haha!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Last morning trip of 2011: Cyrene Reef

Just before the low spring tide switches to evening tides, my last morning trip was to visit none other than the ever fabulous Cyrene Reef.

Several pressures surround this amazing reef that is situated right in the middle of a busy shipping lane and also surrounded by the industrialized Pasir Panjang Terminal, Jurong Island and Pulau Bukom. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Exciting vertebrate night at Central Catchment

I have always wanted to go out for mammals or vertebrate hunt with Ron after hearing many of his wonderful finds. Finally finding a night that both of us were free, I went to Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) last night in hope to find some special animals in the dark.

And wow! Just at the outskirts of CCNR right at the beginning of our hunt, Ron spotted a Lesser Mouse Deer (Tragulus kanchil)! My first time seeing a wild mouse deer and it is super cute!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Paper published!: Diet and Feeding in the sea star Astropecten indicus

Finally part of my final year honours research project has been published in The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology! :-)

I studied on the behaviour and ecology of the Plain sand stars (Astropecten indicus) which is one of the most common sea star species in Singapore.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fishy day at Tanah Merah

I'm back on the Tanah Merah shore that was hit by the oil spill slightly more than a year ago. Together with Ron and Alyce, we had a look at how the marine life here is doing during one of the last morning low spring tides of the year.

Tanah Merah is one of the best places in Singapore to look at marine fish especially during the morning low tides. But we have to constantly be alert not to step on this Mr Stonefish!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Finally! Galloping sea star at Semakau!

After a long time of trying to search this elusive sea star, James fulfilled my wish by finding this Galloping sea star (Stellaster equistris) last Sunday during our trip to Semakau.

This is the special sea star that I've always wanted to see. It has been sighted at Sentosa twice before but I always fail to find it there. Haha!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chek Jawa August Walk with NHC

I'm back at Chek Jawa boardwalk with the Naked Hermit Crabs (NHC) for the August walks! This time with two of my student councillors for their environmental exposure programme!

Joining me for the morning was a group of enthusiastic participants comprising of old friends and their children. As usual, we love to take group photos on top of the tall Jejawi tower with the wonderful good weather.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back to the Great Reef: Terumbu Raya

What a GREAT way to start a GREAT day at the GREAT reef, Terumbu Raya!

Raya means great in malay. Terumbu Raya is a submerged reef off Pulau Semakau and it never fails to amaze me. This is my third trip here.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Octopuses mating at Terumbu Bemban?

Last Sunday, we had a 6am trip to Terumbu Bemban, a submerged reef off Pulau Semakau. As the trip started while the sky was dark and the weather is cool, many creatures can still be seen in action on the shore.

I came across a pair of octopuses with one individual stretching its only one of its arm towards another octopus (quite well camouflaged in this photo)!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Colugo at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

If you have visited Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and read the information signboards, you should be aware that Malayan Colugos (Cynocephalus variegatus) can be found here.

As the title of this signboard suggests, one has to stop several times and stare into the wood to find the colugos. They are extremely well camouflaged!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Underwater garden of Sentosa at Serapong

For my first time, a team of us get to visit another of Sentosa's natural reef off Serapong.

This shore is very much alive and colourful, just like an underwater garden!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A walk around Lazarus Island

My first proper trip to check out the natural shores of Lazarus Island was in Feburary this year.

One of the areas that we visited previously would be the lagoon where there are quite a good number of corals and other reef creatures. The water here is quite clear too on a outgoing tide. Today, we were back and were treated to a beautiful sunrise.

Anemone hunt at Seringat-Kias

It's the weekend and I'm out on the shores again with our sea anemone expert Dr Dahpne and the anemone army. Instead of looking for sea anemones on a natural shore, we headed for the reclaimed sandy shore of Seringat Kias. You are so wrong if you think that reclaimed shores are dead as life does creep back!

Indeed, we found quite a number of burrowing sea anemones in the sand! For identification purposes, we tagged the sea anemones with labels when photographing them. This will great help matching of photos with specimens back in the lab.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wild dolphins of Lovina, Bali

It's my first time seeing so many wild dolphins frolicking in the sea. This was one of the highlights of my Bali trip earlier this month.

This is one of my best shots of the pods of dolphins at Lovina, north of Bali. Lovina actually means I love Indonesia. And I love Lovina because of these magnificient but yet gentle dolphins.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Echinoderm haven at Sanur shore of Bali

Earlier this month, I was at Bali for my first time and one of the most anticipated itinerary event would be the self exploratory walk on the intertidal shores of Sanur. I was inspired to take a look at this huge shore after reading Ron's blog post and knowing that this place is an echinoderm haven!

The seagrasses on this shore is really lush and cover a huge expanse of the intertidal area. There are many kinds of sea stars found here such as this Pentaceraster sea star (Pentaceraster sp.).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Semakau walks with teachers and students

My seven consecutive days of fruitful low tide field trips (and unfortunately also sleep deprivation) ended with two days of guiding at Semakau!

On Monday, I guided an enthusiastic group of West cluster teachers and they were such a great bunch of audience despite the quote which says that teachers are the worst students. (All group photos can be downloaded in large sizes by clicking on them)

For a change, my Tuesday group consist of Biology students that I am currently teaching from my school. Joining us are two other Bio teachers. Here we are doing a traditional seagrass meadow group shot! Just like the seagrass of the Halophila genus, these people are saying a hearty "Halo!" to all of you!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Virgin trip to Terumbu Selegi

Terumbu Selegi is the last submerged reef in Singapore waters that we have never visited. This is excluding the rest within the live firing area and restricted zones. It is apparently in the middle of nowhere. Unaware of the currents and other elements around this reef, we decided to leave the most challenging to the end.

We were early and arrived slightly before sunrise. The red beacon did helped us locate this mysterious submerged reef. We were greeted with nice cloud patterns at the background. You can also see Pulau Tekukor on the left and St John's Island on the right.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tanah Merah- Still the best mainland coral garden!

Can you imagine that a reclaimed shore is probably the best place in mainland Singapore to find a garden full of corals?

This place is none other than just in front of Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. Yes, it is the terminal where people will depart to or arrive from Bintan and other places. Having explored so many shores of mainland Singapore over the years, I have not found another place that has a better growth of corals.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Seahorse surprises at Punggol shore

Mei Lin and I checked out the tiny shore at Punggol end this morning. It is my first time on this shore on a super low tide and I wanted to see if the lower zone of the intertidal area is different from the mid zone that we have previously explored. Apparently, they are about the same!

Nevertheless, the morning low tides are great because lots of creatures are out in the dark. And we found FOUR seahorses! This is something that we can only expect on a good day at Changi beach.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

East Coast shore is still alive!

Yes, the shore at East Coast Park is still alive!

Today at 3am, I decided to go ahead and cycle to East Coast hoping that the incoming thunderstorm clouds from the northwest would go away. I enjoyed a rain-free ride to ECP and just less than 5 minutes of looking at the shore among gusty winds, the huge rain poured.

I waited for more than an hour, alone and cold at the shelter. The weather map does not show signs of the rain easing out. I thought I will be entitling today's blog as "Miserable at East Coast" as I hardly saw anything on the shore yet.

As the rain did not showed signs of stopping, I took out my trusty umbrella and risked my DSLR on the shore for a short while when the rain was not so heavy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Predawn to Changi Beach

The long series of super low tides are here again! This time I am going to embrace 7 consecutive days of morning trips. The first trip was our visit to Changi Beach this morning. We started and ended the trip before sunrise!

Our main objective of the day was to check out for anemones as Dr Daphne is around for the Sea anemone workshop.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Great day guiding at Chek Jawa Boardwalk

It's the June Holidays! And we have nearly 70 participants signing up for our Naked Hermit Crabs walk at Chek Jawa this morning!

For the first time, I guided a huge group of 18 participants. However, I did not fluster at all as they were very interested and attentive throughout the walk. In fact, it was an enjoyable time exploring the mangroves and shore with them! Here is a group photo of them at the peak of Jejawi tower.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Anemone hunt at Pulau Hantu

Today we were at Pulau Hantu with Dr Daphne Fautin to look for sea anemones!

Unlike yesterday at Cyrene Reef, the weather was very kind to us today and we began the nem hunt by looking for the Edwardsid-looking anemone that we have been seeing at Hantu's high shores.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Anemone hunt at Cyrene Reef

Today is Teamseagrass monitoring day! We had a wet morning which settled down to drizzles. This allowed us to land at Cyrene Reef to conduct our regular monitoring surveys on seagrass.

We were fortunate that Dr Daphne, world expert on sea anemones, could join us on this trip and we went on an anemone hunt after finishing our seagrass transects.

I was happy to be able to find this weird-looking sea anemone which we have never seen before!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Knobblies at Beting Bemban Besar

It's been more than a year since I've visited this gigantic submerged reef. This time, I was looking foward to have a look at the colony of Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) that Ria found on her last trip.

It was a really long walk from our alighting point and it took me a while to locate these huge stars because they are congregated at a small area in high density. In this photo are three of the knobblies!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dugong feeding trails at Southern Semakau

Last Saturday, I joined the Project Semakau team as they surveyed the southern half of the Semakau shore.

As Ron and I were conducting our survey of the biodiversity within our zone, we came across several long "botak" patches of seagrasses. We were thrilled because these really look like dugong feeding trails!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Changi Beach- Just so much to discover!

Changi Beach has hidden its gems and secrets beneath the murky waters. But once the tides gave way during a super low spring tide, a huge pasture of seagrass and seaweed meadow that is full of life will be revealed!

I love visiting Changi during predawn trips for various reasons. One of which will be the spectacular sunrise which creates a lovely backdrop to soak in the beauty of nature.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Changi shore is packed with life!

We are back at our all-time favourite Changi shore on a super low tide before sunrise. It sure was worth the waking up during wee hours because the shore is crowded and packed with marine life!

The tide was so low that the sea fans were exposed at the water edge. And living on the bright orange sea fan is a pretty little brittle star!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pretty creatures of Beting Bronok

It's my 5th time back at Beting Bronok and I have been visiting this reef annually since 2007. This northern shore is very special because there's always lots of special and pretty creatures that we can look forward to encounter.

This stunning nudibranch topped my wish list for the day. And indeed we saw quite a number of them at Beting Bronok!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

First visit to Terumbu Pempang Tengah

The super lows are here! For the 1st of my 6-days consecutive field trip series, we visited Terumbu Pempang Tengah at an unearthly hour where we set off at 2 plus am.

This is a photo of the reef taken at the end of the trip during sunrise. Terumbu Pempang Tengah is one of the three submerged reefs off Hantu. It is situated in the middle of Terumbu Pempang Darat and Terumbu Pempang Laut. At the background is Pulau Bukom, where the oil refineries are situated.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lovely surprises from Cyrene Reef

After a very long and tiring Saturday, I was glad to be rewarded with lots of wonderful sightings from Cyrene Reef on Sunday morning!

It is always a joy to visit Cyrene Reef because it is full of life!

Monday, May 2, 2011

First look at Lorong Halus Wetland

On a Labour Day holiday, I was waiting throughout the day for the drizzling to stop, but to no avail. Therefore I decided to go ahead to cycle up Punggol to the new Lorong Halus Wetland in the drizzle.

I've heard quite a bit of this new wetlands from blogs and news articles. A bridge connects Lorong Halus with Punggol across the Serangoon Reservoir.

Chek Jawa on a hot scorching morning

After more than one year, I finally stepped on the shores of Chek Jawa again! This time with the Teamseagrass volunteers.

It was a really hot morning but it also provided a great setting to take nice photos of the lush meadow of seagrassses at Chek Jawa.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

First visit to Terumbu Pempang Laut

Last year I missed all the opportunities to visit any of the 3 submerged reefs off Pulau Hantu. I finally visited the largest one last Saturday: Terumbu Pempang Laut.

According to Jeff's compilation on meanings of island/reef names, "Terumbu" describes a reef that is visible at low tide; the meaning of "pempang" is not known, perhaps it is a corruption of the malay word "bemban" meaning fish traps; the 3 reefs were further distinguished from each depending on their relative position to land (ie "darat" near shore, "tengah" the middle reef, and "laut" the reef nearest the open sea).

We arrived to this largest and also furthest of the 3 reefs away from Pulau Hantu during sunrise. At the background is Pulau Bukom where the oil refineries are situated.

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