Biodiversity Survey, Western Singapore, 14 August 2007

Western Catchment is the area at the western part of Singapore. It's one of our major terestrial sites for biodiversity survey. We did a bird count at the early moning, survey dragonfly and spider at afternoon, almost finished at 8pm. Here posted are some photos taken by my Nikon camera and the 70-300 zoom lens.

Mimosa-like yellow flower
This was taken after a drizzle rain at the early morning.

Trithemis pallidinervis
Trithemis pallidinervis, an uncommon species dragonfly in Singapore

Oxyopes birmaniscus
Oxyopes birmaniscus, a common lnyx spider.

Phintella vittata
Jumping spider Phintella vittata, a common species.

Crab spider (Boliscus tuberculata)
Crab spider, Boliscus tuberculata, not so easy to find in Singapore

Purple heron (Ardea purpurea)
The take off of the Purple heron, Ardea purpurea.

Daving Trip to Pulau Tioman, 9-12 August 2007

9 August 2007

Went with my diving friends The Hardy_tadpole Family to Pulau Tioman for diving. Many of my friends have their family going along...

We left Singapore at about 7:30am, arrived Mursing at 10:30am. The diving boat came a bit late to pick us, so we left Mursing for our first diving site at 12:30pm.

Got to know some more diving friends..

Lester, a colleague of Lloyd, who is also a Diving Instructor.

Ah Bob, another dive instructor of Lloyd's friends, and his girlfriend

We have our first dive at a reef located at the middle distance between Pulau Tioman and Mursing. The water is very clear, and there were quite a number of fishes there. Other than that, there are not much can be remenbered. Arrived Kampung Genting at about 5pm and after a short rest, four of us went to conduct a night dive to Pulau Reggis. I was diving with Lloyd and we were moving very slowly to find quite a number of sleeping fishes, shrimps and crabs...

10 August 2007

At breakfast, chidren were enjoying their food before we move to our diving site, Pulau Chebeh, a little island quite far away (aout one hour boat ridde) from Tioman




After the dive, we move to Pulau Tulai for another dive and then have a rest. Here, all those non-divers were happily snorkelling or went to the sandy beach play around with water and sand...

The leader of the trip, Lloyd, our diving instructor

Ah Goh and his son...

Ah Goh's daughter happily enjoy her first swimming at the sea...

Hobin'son was so happy to find a shell. Don't know where he got it...

Erin's daught found herself well recobered from a flu and enjoy the water very much...

At evening, we move to Pulau Soyak to do have the third dive.

Dinner was quite enjoyable, and many of them were doing nothings but relaxing by watching TV and chatting...

Lloyd and Edmond watching TV...

"I am spiderman"--Gigi, the spiderboy.

11 August 2007

We went to the famous diving site Tiger Reef, which is a deep water site in pulau Tioman. Current here is always very strong and only experiened diver can fully enjoy it. Because the current is too strong at the morning, so we move a the little island just next to it, Pulau Labas for the first dive. This is rather nice diving site. I took quite a number of fishes, includin a moray eel, and a tiger cowry.

Tiger Cowry

At the dive interval, while the other resting for the next dive, I was busily shooting birds, which were so abundance there. Those bird photos are
really nice as beyond my own's target during this trip. I was just to test the lenses and the camera and then the result come out quite unexpected! Like the
black-naped tern, when I took it, I didn't realize that it was biting a fish with it's beak.
Christmas Frigatebird
Christmas Frigatebird

Black-naped tern (Sterna sumatrana)
The black-naped tern with its prey...

Little tern (Sterna albifrons)
Little tern

When we conducted our second dive for the Tiger reef, I was very unlucky as the descending rope that I was holding got cut by the propeller of our boat :( Then I got no choice but have to give up, as many of other divers have already descended. I am so eager to dive this site as I have dived it before but in limited time. Sigh...

At afterroom, we moved to Pulau Tomok to have another dive. Before the dive, I saw a group of black-naped tern happily enjoyed their dinner there...

Black-naped tern (Sterna sumatrana)

All of us went back to the Island Reef Resort after this dive, but only Ah Bob and myself went out again for the night dive at Genting Jetty. On our way back, I saw this Pacific swallow sittingat the cable and grab this opportunity to closely shot it...

Pacific swallow (Hirundo tahitica)

Pacific swallow (Hirundo tahitica)

Pacific swallow (Hirundo tahitica)

Both Ah Bob and myself are all enjoy night very much and we have been dive buddy for night dive before. We moved very very slowly to find a lot of crustaceans, seashell and many others which are very offen to be neglected by other divers...

Dinner was BBQ, and followed by a series of fun on drink and game...


Several people were virtually drunk...



Here all the divers and the families for the trip

12 August 2007

We left at about 9:30 as the boat need to travel 4 hours to reach Mursing. At Mursing, I took Ah Lin's car back to Singapore...

It's a so enjoyable diving trip...

Terrestrial recce, Pulau Semakau, Singapore, 4th August 2007

Much has been known for Semakau's intertidal fauna and flora through the joint efforts by various parties, which concern about the biodiversity of the landfill island in the recent years, species of the terrestrial component are rarely reported. Species list of forest plants and birds have been listed, while that of invertebrates and other mammals almost remains unknown. As an attempt to fill this gap, Hung Kei, Hung Bun and myself form a volunteer survey team to recce the site, and to conduct a "quick and dirty" first hand data collection.

Starting point of the forest trail

To access coral reef beach of the island, everyone has to pass a forest trail. For those have been there, the density and the strength of mosquito bite are surely the unforgetable experiences. In many a time, people will just covered themselves with whatever means, or/and running through it so as to get less bites. But for us, we are aiming to survey this place, back and forth slowly looking for various kinds of insect and spiders. Those mosquitoes were happily enjoying their unexpected food source.

The recce trip is rewarded quite well with a list of of spider species, and some of insects which have been spotted....

Species list of spiders

1.Argiope cf perforata
2.Cyrtophora unicolor
3.Tylorida striata
4.Achaearanea mundula
5.Achaearanea t-notata
6. Theridon sp (green)
7.Scytodes fusca
8.Oxyopes birmanicus
9.Tapponia sp
10.Pardosa sp
11.Epeus flavobilineatus
12.Thiania bhamoensis
13.Thorelliola ensifera
14.Cocalus murinus
15.Myrmarachne maxillosa
16.?Thianitara sp
17. sp1 (dog-faced jumper)
18. sp2 (long-tailed jumper)
19.Desis cf martensi
20.Clubiona sp1
21.Clubiona sp2 (elongated abdomen)
22.Clubiona sp3 (rounded abdomen, green)
23.Thomisus sp
24.Tmarus pulchripes
25.Amyciaea lineatipes
26.Thelccticopis sp

List of Insects

Leave beetle
Paired beetles
Black fly
Red-eyed fly
Micropezid fly
Weaver ants
Twig wilters
Leaf beetle
Common Grass Yellow Butterfly
Two species of Long legged fly
Two small moths
Squash bug and nymph
Praying mantis
Plataspid bug




Koh, K. H. 1989. A guide to common Singapore Spiders. Singapore Science Centre, Singapore, pp 1-160.

Murphy, F. & J. Murphy, 2000. An introduction to the spiders of South East Asia, with notes on all the genera. Malaysian Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, pp 1-625, plates. 1-32.

Sime Road, Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Singapore 15th July 2007

This is the second time that I joined Kim Seng for the bird census. On 25th March this year, during the Annual Bird Census, I did learn a lot from him by coming along for the 3 hour walk. This year I even learnt more as we were lucky enough to sight a very good spot which is created by several naturally fallen trees. During about 20 minute stop there, we found more than 10 species of forest birds actively moving around and singing, including some that I have never seen before, namely the Asian Fairy-Bluebird, Red-Crowed Barbet, Chestnut-Bellied Malkoha and Red-Eyed Bulbul, etc. Kim Seng explained to me and Paul, the other assistant for the census, the various songs and their responsible singers. It's really a very nice experience that you hear a bird song and see the bird at the same time! In total, we encountered 35 species, with 184 individuals of birds. There are two black-naped oriole and several Yellow-vented Bulbul there also, which according to Kim Seng, is not a good sign for the habitat. Both species are normally found at open country area.

DSCF12_Blue Malayan Coral Snake (Maticora bivirgata) DSCF0003_Blue Malayan Coral Snake (Maticora bivirgata)

During the census, we came across a Blue Malayan Coral Snake. It was slowly moving from one side of the trail to the other. That gave me a sufficent time to take photos for it. But as it is so famous for its venomous bite, I dare not to go too close to it for a closeup. We also saw quite a number of dragonfly and damselfly species. So after the census, I spend another 2 hours walked again along the same trail to survey the dragonfly and damselfly. I tried to take photography records for most of the species. But several species were in limited number and located at some distance beyond my camera's reach. A painted bronzeback snake and a comon Sun Skink were also recorded. The following list is based on direct observation and photographs consulted with the guidebooks by Orr (2003, 2005).

Painted Bronzeback Common Sun Skink

Odonata species list for the day

1. Ceriagrion cerinorubellum (Brauer, 1865), common

2. Vestalis amoena (Hagen, 1853), common

3. Aciosoma panorpoides Rambur, 1842, common

4. Ictinogomphus decoratus melaenops (Selys, 1858), common

5. Neurothemis fluctuans (Fabricius, 1793), common

6. Orchithemis pulcherrima Brauer, 1878, blue morph, common

7. Brachydiplax chalybea Brauer, 1868, common

8. Orthetrum sabina (Drury, 1773), common

9. Orthetrum chrysis (Selys, 1891) male, commom

10. Rhyothemis phyllis (Sulzer, 1776), common

11. Rhyothemis triangularis Kirby, 1889, uncommon

12. Rhyothemis cf obsolescens Kirby, 1889, uncommon

13. Trithemis aurora (Burmeister, 1839), common

14. Tyriobapta torrida Kirby, 1889, common

DSCF0145_Pantala flavescens
Orchithemis pulcherrima, orange form

DSCF0142_Orchithemis pulcherrima
Orchithemis pulcherrima, dark form

DSCF0148_Acisoma panorpoides_male
Acisoma panorpoide, male

DSCF0134_Tyriobapta torrida

Tyriobapta torrida

Orchithemis pruinans

DSCF0074_Vestalis amoena
Vestalis amoena


Lim, K. K P & F. L. K. Lim, 1992. A guide to the amphibians and reptiles of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre, Singapore, pp1-160.

Lim, K. S. & Gardner, D. C., 1997. Bird, an Illustrated field guide to the birds of Singapore. Sun Tree Publishing, Singapore, pp 1-210.

Orr, A. G., 2005. Dragonflies of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Natural History Publications (Borneo), Kata Kinabalu, pp. 1-125.

Orr, A. G., 2003. A guide to the dragonflies of Borneo, their identification and biology. Natural History Publications (Borneo), Kota Kinabalu, pp. 1-195.

Cheong, L. F., Checklist of Odonata in Singapore. (unpublished)

Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin, Singapore 7th July 2007

The Chek Jawa Wetland was officially launched this morning. From now on, all visitors can come to visit Chek Jawa from 8am to 6pm, seven days a week, on their own. It's a raining day, and the launch have to be started at 8:30am due to the restricted tidal timing, as there will be a guided natural walk after the launch. Still, there was a large number of people, include government officers, volunteers and public visitors turn up. Singaporean are getting more and more enthusiastic and concern of the conservation of their nature and biodiversity. As to promote the visit of Chek Jawa Wetland, A 1.1 km boardwalk has been built along the coast. A gallery was set up on the previous British Colony House No.1 in Pulau Ubin to dispaly the diversity of life in Chek Jawa.

Moving along the boardwalk, visitors will be able to observe the variety of creatures underneath or next to it.
Compare to directly walking into the wet, you may feel that you are not so close to those marine creature. But on the other hand, you will be able to see these animals' behaviour in their nature way from such a boardwalk.

Start from the gallery, along the boardwalk, you will be able to see all kind of habitats that Chek Jawa provides. The rocky shore at the first half of the boardwalk, is probably the longest continue rocky habitat in Singapore.

Outside the boardwalk is an extensive sandy habitats, which holds a large patch of seagrass and its inhabitants. At the middle of the board walk, there is a floating board walk (like a pontoon) extending toward the sand bar. It will bring the visitor down a bit when the tide is lower, and hence provided a better view for the intertidal fauna and flora . The second half of the boardwalk is dominated by mangrove habitats. Here, mangrove fauna is not so rich as compared to Sungei Buloh and many of other mangrove sites in Singapore. But still, we were able to see and hear several species of birds during the one hour walk, namely straw-headed bulbul, common tailorbird, ashy tailorbird, common Iora, olive-backed sunbird, pied fantail and oriental magpie-robin. We even saw a large size of banded kraits (snake) moving slowly at the back mangrove. According to Lim and Lim (1992), "The kraits have seldom been encourtered in Singapore". Between the sand bar and mangrove, there is a sanddy-mudflat. Here, numerous fiddle crabs (Uca sp), sand bubbler crab (Scopimera sp) include several different species moving, waving, and fighting (or playing). Many individuals of a small mud-skipper caught visitor's eyes as they display a bizarre behavior. The fish keeps continuously jumping up and down to a distance about twice of its body length in a vertical position. No sure what they were doing, probably some kind of territorial display.
After the walk, I followed the local mangrove expert, Dr. Jean Yong and his students, together with Ali from Pulau Ubin station to other mangrove areas in Pulau Ubin to continue our adventure. One of locally endangered species of mangrove tree, currently has only very limited individuals in Singapore, and half of them are growing in the Pulau Ubin. Jean wanted to check the current situation of those trees. We penetrated slowly into a dense back mangrove forest, back and forth several times.

We could not located our target plants eventually as Jean and Ali did not remember well the exact location. So we may come another day to search it again. All of us end up very dirty and exhausted. I saw this passion fruit when we were searching in the forest. We also came across a young wild boar in distance.

We then have our late lunch at about 2:30pm. And during the lunch, while having the fruit, I saw a tiny spider moving on the surface of a ranbutan...


Lim, K. K P & F. L. K. Lim, 1992. A guide to the amphibians and reptiles of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre, Singapore, pp1-160.

Lim, K. S. & D. Gardner, 1990. Birds, an illustrated field guide to the birds of Singapore. Suntree, Singapore, pp 1-210.