Mar 7, 2008

Exploring a new shore with new friends

This afternoon, Gaytri and I accepted the kind invitation to look at shores that few of us have seen.Our new friends were keen to find out more about the marinelife on theses shores and to further integrate these with their work in raising environmental awareness.

We spent a leisurely afternoon over cake sharing ideas as we waited for the moderate low tide to start.

We then first explored a swampy area nearby. It was hard to see through the undergrowth but we got glimpses of fascinating trees and plants in a tranquil pool of still brackish water. There was one Rhizophora tree that looked quite intriguing. We shared about mud lobsters and weaver ants and tailorbirds. We also saw archerfishes, giant mudskippers and lots of other little fishes. It would be wonderful to find a way to introduce this area into their programme!

Then we headed out to the shore. As usual, what seems to be a boring shore is very much alive!The pools were full of hermit crabs, busy whelks with anemones on their shells and leaping Gong-gong snails!
Our enthusiastic friends were really thrilled by these energetic snails. And we saw so many of them, in different stages of development.The young Gong-gong doesn't have such a well developed 'wing', which only gets thicker in older snails. The snails have really cute eyes on stalks!

We also saw a brittle star, a sand star, lots of little banded bead anemones, tubeworms and heard snapping shrimps. We looked at crabs moults, and little porcelain crabs. On the rocks there were nerites with their sturdy doors (aka operculum), busy drills working on barnacles and tiny green mussels, large oysters, elegant egg cases of the spiral melongena, and even a valiant little onch slug in the hot sun. The rocks closer to the water was covered with various sponges. Wow, a great possibility of octopus and nudibranchs during a night walk!

The little sand collars found on the sand suggested the presence of moon snails. And indeed we found a rather less commonly encountered Tiger moon snail!The large Moon snail was diligently trying to keep up with a panicky whelk, steadily following in the whelk's trail. Moon snails eat other snails you see!

And as we turned around the big rocks, a huge expanse of seagrass meadows! Full of spoon seagrass and large carpet anemones, just like Chek Jawa!In the distance were a mama wild boar and her babies who quickly trotted off. As well as lots of egrets feeding on the rich shore.

A seahorse is spotted!! Other sighting on the shore by diligent eyes were a tiny black sea urchin, the shell of a horseshore crab, and lots of stone crabs hiding in natural holes in a rock. On the soft mud there were lots of window-pane shells and a big bunch of non-stinging hydroids.

On the high shore were several Pong-Pong trees that looked like they were our native kind as the centre was of a different colour.And this strange tree that I've never seen before! It had beautiful flowers arranged like drops, and amazing blue berries!Does anyone know what this is? (Thanks to Joseph Lai for identifying the tree! Here's more about the tree)

Alas, all too soon we had to go home.
Some of the footwear didn't survive well in the mud. This is why we don't recommend sandals for shore exploration :-)

We took the forest trail back and looked at wonderful lianas entwined around the tall trees in the forest, and marvelled at a spider spinning her web. While I shared stories about spider romance.

We sadly said goodbye.But hope to be back to check out the rest of these amazing shores!


SJ said...

Cool! Haven't been there for a long time. At least now OBS have an idea of what can be offered. Regretted not contacting the two instructors i met during the NYC bash, but well, it doesn't matter now. Looking forward to OBS's activities with Nature! =D

Monkey said...

those rocks in the last photo... those were landmarks of ubin till they were estranged from the rest. as famous or even more famous than the rhino i would think but almost forgotten. Hopefully we would be able to bring together the 2 halves of the island together again :)

Redsagaseed said...

Heartening to hear OBS friends are intrigued by the shore life in their own backyard. They will be wonderful guardians of this shore! :)

SGM said...

just one site we explored..and there's already so much life teeming there:)The trails we took and the finds we made-Ria and I sure did enjoy our day:)Thanks to our lively bunch of OBS friends too!

Joseph Lai Tuck Kwong said...

The tree with blue-coloured fruits is Elaeocarpus pedunculatus : )