Pasir Ris Mangrove is ALIVE!

Joined the Naked Hermit Crabs for their guided walk at Pasir Ris Mangroves today!

The group size was apparently smaller compared the the march hols period, which was to be expected. But the participants were really friendly and genuinely curious and interested, asking many good questions! A joy to guide 🙂

Ley Kun, with Peiyan and her student guides.

The moment we entered the mangroves, we were greeted by the loud-as-ever calls of numerous cicadas! Cicadas are insects I usually hear but not see, but today we sighted many of them. Peiyan spotted the first one, and everyone started finding their own cicadas! Ria shared that sometimes, especially for incredibly audible animals like cicadas, relying more on your ears rather than your eyes may better help you in location.

Cicada

Cicada

(My) Cicada

Of course, many other insects were present today 😀

The nymphs of some mantises and phasmids mimic ants, perhaps to decrease the likelihood of becoming prey.

The nymphs of some mantises and phasmids mimic ants, perhaps to decrease the likelihood of becoming prey.

Viewed from the front, it's true mantis nature becomes more obvious

Viewed from the front, it’s true mantis nature becomes more obvious

There were many of these little guys today, saw at least three on one plant.

Cotton Stainer bug swarms are not uncommon sights

Cotton Stainer bug swarms are not uncommon sights.

Ria informed us that these bugs are known as cotton stainers as they belong in the same family as bugs which are notorious for staining cotton in production, rendering them unfit for sale. This particular species of course, has nothing to do with that bad rep.

Ria informed us that these bugs are known as cotton stainers as they belong in the same family as bugs which are notorious for staining cotton in production, rendering them unfit for sale. This particular species of course, has nothing to do with that bad rep.

Many Orthopterans hanging out today.

Many Orthopterans hanging out today.

Here's another (this one's a grasshopper nymph)

Here’s another (this one’s a grasshopper nymph)

And another (katydid nymph)

And another (katydid nymph)

A dead butterfly, which I'm sure will soon be disposed of by ants and other scavengers. Such is the cycle of life. Ria voiced her jealousy of the life of a butterfly. Eat without a care in the world when you're young, grow up to be beautiful when it's time to mate, and die with no worries after. Hmm.

A dead butterfly, which I’m sure will soon be disposed of by ants and other scavengers. Such is the cycle of life. Ria voiced her jealousy of the life of a butterfly. Eat without a care in the world when you’re young, grow up to be beautiful when it’s time to mate, and die with no worries after. Hmm.

Was amused by this ant, which seemed quite lost.

Was amused by this ant, which seemed quite lost.

It was walking and stopping, and turning on the spot. So cute.

It was walking and stopping, and turning on the spot. So cute.

There was also this plant hopper thing, but it was so white and the photo so overexposed that it's bodily details can hardly be made out ):

There was also this fluffy plant hopper thing, but it was so white and the photo so overexposed that it’s bodily details can hardly be made out ):

The boardwalk itself has become part of the mangrove with many bugs using them as walkways, and in the case of this spider, accomodation.

Tiny inchworm moving along in a ridiculously adorable, loopy fashion.

Tiny inchworm moving along in a ridiculously adorable, loopy fashion.

Strange moth whose front end reminds me of a rhino beetle. Thought it was a fallen petal at first!

Strange moth whose front end reminds me of a rhino beetle. Thought it was a fallen petal at first!

Close up of the head.

Close up of the head.

Of course, the shore life were out and about too, and the participants were quick to spot them.

Who will be the first to spot the Giant Mudskippers?

Who will be the first to spot the Giant Mudskippers?

The relatively large mangrove crabs never fail to excite.

The relatively large mangrove crabs never fail to excite.

And of course, Giant Mudskippers! These two seemed to be having a territorial dispute.

And of course, Giant Mudskippers! These two seemed to be having a territorial dispute.

"Scram! Get outta here!"

“Scram! Get outta here!”

*okay*

*okay*

As we were walking along, we came across some birdwatchers who were stalking a Von Schrenck’s Bittern (which I could not see ><), and one of them noticed the T-shirt I was wearing!

This.

This.

He got excited, and told us that we could see the real thing further up along the boardwalk! Ivan‘s friend, Yong Tze, happened to be watching the owl at the time and notified Ivan, so the entire group got to see a Buffy Fish Owl in the flesh!

Playing hard to get

Playing hard to get

Can't see you, can't see me!

Can’t see you, can’t see me!

Ah screw it, here I am :/

Ah screw it, here I am :/

The group then headed over to the lookout point over the river, where the participants were requested to draw their impressions of the place! Since I was tagging along more than guiding, I drew one too, but got accused of spoiling market D:

The owl is judging me too.

The owl is judging me too.

The youngest participant, focused on her task.

The youngest participant, focused on her task.

Hiding in one of the trees next to the look out point, was this young malayan water monitor.

IMG_0225

How it fits inside I will never know.

How it fits inside I will never know.

As the sun was already setting, we started making our way out of the mangroves. As I was struggling to stow away my camera, I suddenly spotted this guy!

leaf insect

The rest stayed to wait for me to get a shot of this little bugger even though the sun was setting fast, and Ria even provided a light and Ivan used a leaf to help with focus. Thanks guys!

I was so excited, cos even though it was just a nymph, seeing a live leaf insect in the wild is on my bucket list. I actually raised a couple in captivity back in Pri 3 (they inspired my hotmail account) but have never seen live ones other than those. Also, I kinda like leaf insects for superficial reasons cos my surname is Yap, which is Ye (leaf) in chinese. Hur hur.

Yes, so seeing this nymph made me a very happy boy :D.

So evidently, the Pasir Ris mangroves are VERY much alive! Walk slowly, speak softly and respect the environment. Suddenly, you begin to see life everywhere (:

I thank the Naked Hermit Crabs once again for organizing this (I am one of them now)! If you have not heard of us, do check out the blog (here) and join us on our next walk!

 

See also: Ria’s account of today’s events on her Wildshores blog here!

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