Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Pasir Ris Mangrove Swamp (Dec 2013)

The Pasir Ris Mangrove Swamp is one of only two protected mangrove swamps in Singapore, the other is Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. At 6 hectare in total the Pasir Ris Mangrove Swamp is decent-sized, but it almost completely hidden inside Pasir Ris Park. Surprisingly I have not really explored Pasir Ris Mangrove Swamp before today. I read some writing about this area, and know it is indeed rich in biodiversity, but I was still surprised there were so many herons here, and crabs, much more than my previous trip to Sungei Buloh last year.

We were greeted with the cicada's singing when stepped onto the boardwalk into the mangrove forest, leave the park behind and enter into a different world. By the way, this is my first time in Singapore to see a cicada on high up a tree, too bad I couldn't capture a clear picture. 

Shady and cool in the mangrove forest, this is the world of strange-looking amphibious trees, a landscape in brown color theme, soggy, odd volcano-like mounds and large holes everywhere, they are homes of mangrove crabs.

Here are more of my photos from this hidden world in a park:
I came to visit Pasir Ris Mangrove Swamp at low tide time, finally have a chance to take a clear look at mudskipper fish, They are amphibious fish that have adapted to be able to survive on both land and in water. They breathe through its skin and gills! When it is above water, it holds water in its gill chambers to get oxygen from water. I am hard to believe they are actually fish with their such a unique lifestyle...
mudskippers rested on a piece of wood...

a newly dug swimming pool :)
...dark lines stretching from their eyes to their tails.Their eyes are perched on the top of their heads for a 360 degree view.
...giant mudskipper at Pasir Ris were really huge. 
They are the biggest mudskippers in Singapore
I read some online post that there are mud lobster found in this mangrove swamp, but I didn't spot anyone. In fact, I spotted many types of crabs that make their home in the Pasir Ris Mangrove Swamp, including some tree climbing crabs.

 Do you see the Orange Mud Crab, are there our popular "Chilli Crab" ? I am not that sure. These crabs usually feed on clams which they crush with their powerful claws.
...the Tree Climbing Crab that can climb to as high as 6m at night to avoid the tide and other predatory creatures that comes with the incoming tide. 
There seems to have many different species of crabs living here...... These are just some which we spotted.
 crabs in their burrow

...All these mud mounds look like volcano, they can go as deep as 2 meters underground. The mounds are dryer than its surroundings and provide important refuge for other creatures during high tide.

...and these are mangrove swamp trees, they have “breathing roots” that enable them to survive both on land and in water. As we know the dense mangrove mud lacks oxygen, so those needle-like roots poking up from the mud to help the plants to take in more oxygen from the air, the massive root systems also help in stemming erosion.
...slow down while you walking. you will find some other living things such as these pretty fungi...

Along the boardwalk, there are a few of observational points and resting areas, perfect for bird and swamp life watching, I've paid too much attention to crabs and mudskippers, actually there are many other more, such as   snails, slugs, mussels and oysters...Along the boardwalk, there are homes of unique seashore plants too, captured more photos of butterfly, spiders and some insects which I will show them on the next post.

Some mangrove trees are uniquely viviparous, they are able reproduce seeds that germinate and grow while still attached to the parent plant and then release them the   growing seedlings, they float in the water and take root wherever conditions are right for them to growth, usually close to the parent plant. 
Here is a tranquil  view of Sungei Tampines where we ended our walk of Pasir Ris Mangrove Swamp at the little jetty on Sungei Tampines, a naturalized canal that is now lined with mangroves with luch green.  A lot of birds can be found here, big grey herons, white egret, kingfisher, and the Mangrove Pitta also occasionally can be seen in this area, and of course fishes.  

Some notes I would like to add into this post, according to some research, There are 4 species of resident water snakes at the Pasir Ris Mangrove Swamp, including one called the “Dog-faced Water Snake”, named such because of its distinctive head shape, small eyes positioned close to the top of its head which allow it to see above water. 
We went to Pasir Ris Mangrove Swamp again yesterday night, it was really dark at night, and we don't see any much things without a very bright torch light. But we met one group of NUS students who were there doing some research...Photos below are their snake, haha, I took a clear watch of the  “Dog-faced Water Snake”, and I even touched the cool and smooth skin of the snake. 

Out side of the entrance to Pasir Ris Mangrove Swamp in park is a 3-storey high Bird Watching Tower. It is also known as “Suicide Tower”, as apparently somebody had committed suicide by jumping down from the tower many years back. So the tower is rumoured as one of the famous haunted place in Singapore. Do you believe it? Anyway I don't. Haha.

PS. Location note: 
* Pasir Ris Park, off Pasir Ris Drive 3
Carpark “C” (turn into Pasir Ris Green) or Carpark “B”
* [SBS] bus service nos. 6, 12, 15, 17, 21, 350, 351, 352, 353, 355, 356 or 403 to the Pasir Ris Bus Interchange
* Or to the nearest Pasir Ris MRT Station


eileeninmd said...

Great post showing the wildlife in the Mangrove Swamp. The Mudskippers and crabs are neat looking. Awesome photos. Thank you for linking up to Saturday's Critters.

Wishing you all the best in 2014, a Happy New Year to you and your family!

Gunilla B├Ąck said...

Interesting critters. Happy New Year!

Pia said...

Very interesting post, thanks for sharing.

Happy New Year!