Running into Pasir Ris Park , I found directions to the Mangrove Swamp and walked towards there. My goal: to connect with nature there. It was a lovely Sunday morning and thanks to Elvin and Ellis from elvinellis.com, who inspired me with their wonderful pictures of birds, I finally found some time to run there with my camera.
This blogpost takes readers through the photographs that I took here and ends with a wonderful video of some of my encounters.
Walking along the mangrove boardwalk led me to a nice water body. Across it, on a bridge, I realised that there were dozens of camera pointed towards the shoreline. And there it was – the great egret – just walking along the shoreline. I took some pictures from where I was and joined the people on the bridge. “They must be there for some reason”, I thought.
Just as I reached the bridge, the egret flew up and shutters started firing as it soared through the air and landed upon an embankment of branches.
I didn’t get to capture it in flight but just standing there and at times strutting along the embankment, the great egret looked magnificent enough.
It continued walking along the embankment but around some point, I realised that the cameras were pointed in a different direction entirely. I looked towards the direction and there, sitting silently on a branch was a colourful Stork-billed Kingfisher!
Before I could finish ohhing and ahhing at the wonderful sight, it spread it wings and dove, beak first into the water, probably attempting to grab a fish from the river. It unfortunately flew away not long after that but I was glad for it’s brief company.
It’s quite amazing how it could spot and dive for its prey so accurately from where it was!
Pinked-neck Green Pigeon
Right after the encounter, I walked over to the other side of the bridge and sighted a pigeon just resting high up on a branch. After some research, this particular one was identified to be a female as their male counterparts are more colourful with their pink necks.
After the stint on the bridge, I went once more into the mangrove.
Once I went back into the mangrove, my eyes took some time to adjust to the relatively more shaded area and what should I find but a mudskipper! This particular one was extremely close and it was interesting to watch as it flapped it fins and wiggled it’s tail seemingly to get back into the water. I included some of this footage in the video at the end.
Along the boardwalk, I continued walking to an area where there was a sign about Horseshoe crabs. As I read about Horseshoe crabs having more in common with spider and scorpions, I realised that right under the boardwalk, a Singapore tree-climbing crab was grabbing a bite of dried leaf near its burrow!
Singapore Tree-climbing Crab
From my research, the Singapore Tree-climbing crab has red claws and purple legs. Their burrows were really quite a sight to behold. These burrows are often built on top of the mud mounds made by the mud lobsters.There are numerous mounds of soils with holes that gave away the location of their homes.
But I still had my doubts – why are they tree-climbing? One theory is that at high tide, the crab climb trees to avoid aquatic predators.
Sometimes beauty can be found in your own backyard if only you spend the time to find it. There are still many other interesting discoveries awaiting me and one day, I shall be lucky enough to see them. In the meantime, I shall leave you with a compilation video of the different species of animals I encountered that day. If you live near a park, why not take a stroll there soon? You may be surprised at what you can find if you pay attention.