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.