Saturday, September 30, 2006

Surprise visit to Buloh

This morning was a hectic yet productive 4 hours spent at the museum preparing for the recruitment drive at the NUSSU SAVE's Green Carnival @ Central Forum with Otterman and Whoapa. With the getaway car, we zipped from place to place, finally ending up at Sungei Buloh to drop Otterman off. As usual, Whoapa and the monkey got sucked into hanging around to provide transport for Otterman with the enticing incentive of the use of his lumix camera and the mangroves inhabitants of Buloh at our mercy! Muhahaha

Ready to go
"Let's go!" Whoapa ready to get going.

I must say that the initial getting use to the camera was difficult but the trip turned out more rewarding with every step deeper into the reserve. The rain cloud was upon us and the wind made it relaxing and enjoyable. Perfect weather for this monkey.

Tiger Shrike

The first exciting encounter we had was with a juvenile tiger shrike (identified later by Linda our friendly NPark officer at Buloh whom I worked with before). This must be one of the best photos I have ever taken of a bird. Mostly because I never had a camera with 12x optical zoom before!

Spotted dove

Just a hop away we met a spotted dove zebra dove/peaceful dove who was much more shy than the shrike. But surely these monitor lizards we see all over the reserve must be actors or robots installed by NParks to pose idlely at the same spot everytime a visitor walk by!

Monitor Lizard

We also saw 3 squirrels at play but no monkeys in sight. Guess there are no wetlands monkey. Some butterflies were kind enough to stop to let monkey admire their pretty colours.

Having attended Joe Lai's talk on insects of the forest this last thursday, I was able to appreciate the insects very much more! For example, we spotted the cotton stainers and many a spider (not an insect, i know!) like the St Andrews Cross Spider with all its stabilizers and the Golden Orb Spider which are both common sightings in mangrove areas and Pulau Ubin. We also saw many colonies of weaver ants, one on a noni tree and another possibly on a sea hibiscus if my failing memory serves me well. Stalking them was surely an unnerving affair with recollections of Uncle Joe mentioning bites by these fiercesome creatures as an experience I would not want to have! There was also the mysterious bubbles that Uncle Joe mentioned could be some egg protection and hydration mechanism by some insects... or that somebody has been doing their washings at Buloh!

Weaver Ants

Seeing how this monkey has lost touch with her trees, there were many a tree that went unidentified. Better do some reading up!

Unfortunately we didnt manage to meet Uncle Bob or as duck called him, Mr Bob. I prefer the name Bob the Buaya personally. Maybe he took offense and decided not to grace me a view of his elusive snout. Sadly I also did not manage to meet any otters of Buloh. Maybe it's only a sign that I'm meant more to be a rabid monkey than a rabid otter!

Uncle Bob the bobbing buaya. Photo by Duck

Definitely the experience of the day was when a rather boisterous crowd came up to us and said "hey you guys are taking photos right? There's a crocodile ahead!"

Excited about meeting Bob, we hurried over to be met with an empty scene. Thinking that they must be some experienced eyes, I asked where it might be.


Then I saw it. It was so incredible I was speechless.

"That is not a crocodile..." Monkey stammered. "It's... It's...."

"It's not? How do you know?"

"It's a monitor lizard! And a juvenile one as well"

I wonder if Bob would take offense to being mistaken for his lesser reptilian cousins.

Monitor Lizard
Who me?

See more photos of my visit.


budak said...

rabid monkey!!:O

Hai~Ren said...

It's sad how people so easily mistake monitor lizards for crocodiles.

And I thought calling monitor lizards 'Komodo dragons' or calling changeable lizards 'iguanas' or 'chameleons' was bad enough.

And not to nitpick, but that looks like a Peaceful Dove (Geopelia striata) to me...

Monkey said...

thanks for the correction
i really dont know
thats what Linda told us
I'm not much of a birder at all