Jun 4, 2007

Hydroid garden at Changi

Early this morning we checked out Changi near the boardwalk. And what a fabulous sight! The pillars were festooned with colourful hydroids, like shaggy socks. While bunches grew on submerged rocks and other hard surfaces.Although they look like plants, hydroids are animals! Here you can see the tiny white polyps of a hydroid.Alas, many of the usual lifeforms I've encountered on Changi in the past were 'missing' today. The thickets of sea fans were not visible (perhaps the tide wasn't low enough? Hopefully it isn't because they were removed by collectors!). And the usual colourful encrustation of sponges on the large boulders were lacking too. And with them, the many different kinds of slugs we used to find.

Much of the shore was covered in a thick 'carpet' of these tiny mussels that trap a soft bed of silt by creating a nest of byssus threads.
Previously, this area of the shore was thick with colonial anemones. And there was also one visit when I saw the pillars coated with green mussels where the hydroids were today. Perhaps this is seasonal? Or are these indicators of impact from freshwater inflow or other situations? There's much we still need to learn.

But still we saw some peacock anemones (which were huge!).And one rather sorry looking black sea urchin. Previously, groups of these sea urchins were seen gathered together, but not today.

The water was rather clear today (for Changi) and we spotted mudskippers, half-beaks, a small sweetlips and other fishes.

In the shallow pools were little gobies, snapping shrimps and this very VERY small hairy seahare (Bursatella leachi). At first, I thought it was a cowrie!

It was another glorious sunrise as the tide turned. The large boulders on Changi are quite scenic especially at sunrise and sunset.
And walking back, we nearly missed the very well camouflaged monitor lizard catching the first rays of the warm sun!
The boardwalk allows us to enjoy this shore at all tides. In fact, a white (creamish) squirrel was spotted! Wow! But it couldn't possibly be the extinct Giant cream squirrel, right? Possibly an escapee?
Public facilities, however, are not always properly appreciated.
There was a deep burn on this bench situated nicely for a scenic view of Ubin and the Changi shore. This has been spoilt by a thoughtlessly placed barbecue.

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