Monday, 17 December 2007

Birding at my doorstep....

EDIT: Realised that my posts are probably too convoluted and unclear. Kena misinterpreted by Wildsingapore again. The bee-eater was spotted along the road just outside where I stay (those of you who know me know where I am referring to), which is NOT Ubin, unfortunately. Ubin offers tonnes of bird sightings, but that's not the focus of this entry. Just want to share on how you can enjoy nature that's right in front of you, without going through the trouble of trooping all over to nature hotspots. After all, mother earth is all around! Start simple in sparking off that interest in nature, and slowly work up to joining us crazy guides on forays to our nature reserves (and joustling each other for the best photos, and the fastest blogs!) ^^


Originally wanted to blog about the sunny, fun-filled trip to Sungei Buloh and Kranji Nature Trail but I figured that with FIVE blogs covering the same outing, it's kinda overkill. Besides, I have yet to figure out which of my photos I want to put public and watermark. Those would come slowly since Christmas is yet another flurry of outdoor-sy stuff.

So, I'm putting up a couple of photos of this Blue-tailed bee-eater (Merops philippinus) that I managed to photograph just as I went home after a morning out at the Chek Jawa boardwalk with the Naked Crabbies earlier this month. Yes, those photos are up on my Flickr if anybody's interested.
DSCF9381 Blue-tailed Bee-eater

Not the best-est of photos but considering that it's the first time I was using a DSLR, still rather decent I must say. At least it's decent enough to match to a way better photo in the ID book, showing the greenish tinge of the body, slightly orange-yellow nape, mask across the eye etc.
DSCF9374 Blue-tailed Bee-eater

The book also states that the blue-tailed bee-eater is "found in all open habitats, rural areas, mangroves, plantations, scrub and secondary growth." Nothing about housing estates I see. Yet at the same time, it amazes me that from time to time I would see some colorful/interesting bird just out my window. Being Singaporeans, we are probably familiar with crows, spotted-nape pigeons, sparrows, and common mynas (including balding ones!). But these are NOT the only birds around us. No time to go to Sungei Buloh or any other birding spot? Why not just take a look out your window and observe the the nature that's at your doorstep? Or even just spend some time at the nearest park or park connector observing things around.... You might even see a few parakeets flying pass! I know that happens from time to time, and I would be too stunned to do anything.
Click for the rambling...

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Story of Stuff

Found this site via my friend's posted link on Facebook, features a quick 20min look at consumerism in light of environmental and social issues. Truly the "Story of Stuff"! Here are some teaser videos. For the full clip and more information, be sure to visit the site yourself!

Click for the rambling...

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Going paperless this yuletide ^^

Letting my creative juices flow during this season of joyful tidings, especially while I am backup-ing photos onto Flickr and exploring Picnik. Have made my own set of Christmas e-cards as well, after being inspired by applecow and monkey. Click on the little thumbs for the e-cards. Here's presenting the seaside seasonal greetings from our friendly Singapore wildlife! Feel free to use them when emailing greetings to loved ones, with a little crediting would be nice ^^ Joyeux Noel everybody!

p/s. would be adding new ones as and when I get inspired (all the way to Christmas day!), so do drop by once in a while to see what else there is ^^

hairy christmas ode to the zooanthids Labrador rocky cliff green anemone caulerpa decor intertidal angels
Click for the rambling...

Monday, 3 December 2007

Can't Go On - Group1Crew

I can’t go on without You.
I tried so many times, and I failed.

Lord, I really need You in my life.
Fall every time that You’re not inside.
Can’t go on without Your love,
I can’t go on.

Every time You arrive let my heart be open.
Because it’s You that I put my hope in.
You give me love, give me strength, and
You give me courage, even though I don’t deserve it.

I can’t go on without You.
I don’t believe that I even want to.
All I really want to see is me becoming more and more
Like You.

Lord, I really need You in my life.
Fall every time that You’re not inside.
Can’t go on without Your love,
I can’t go on.

And I don’t want to face this world alone.
I don’t want to do this on my own.
I can’t go on without Your love.
I can’t go on.

I see the need in my
Life and I can’t deny
That You’re the reason I’m breathin'
And I need You in my life.
I’m on a new level and never will I be coming down.
Lift me up when I feel drown inside this shame I found.
And I believe whatcha said and You promised me.
And now I constantly look for You, to keep on watching me
I can’t go on without You, I don’t believe I’d ever want to.
Never be all You want
All I really want to see is me becoming like You.
Lord, I realize, I can’t do it on my own.
I need you close, so You can help me make it through the storm.
And when I fall I know, You’ll be there to pick me up, brush me off
And then You’re quick to bring me back inside Your love.

I don’t know where to go now.
I’m lost in this emotion.
I’m givin You control now.
Pull me up from the bottom of the ocean.
I don’t know where to go now.
I’m lost in this emotion.
I’m givin You control now.
You pull me up, pull me up when I’m going down.

You know I could never let anything get between You and me
At times I tried driving solo but I finished on E
My own anxiety blinded me that I couldn’t see that
You were always there and not once did You ever leave me.
I learned the hard way, but I’m glad that now I can say I’m free
Through all the turmoil You have opened my eyes to see
The greater love that You give and never asked a fee
And now I can say that I can’t go on without You loving me.
Now I can say, now I can say that
I can’t go on without You loving me!

[Chorus] x3
Lord, I really need You in my life.
Fall every time that You’re not inside.
Can’t go on without Your love,
I can’t go on.

And I don’t want to face this world alone.
I don’t want to do this on my own.
I can’t go on without Your love.
I can’t go on.
Click for the rambling...

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Monday, 26 November 2007

Mucking around @ Berlayar Creek

Spent last evening with 4 fellow guides at the newly done up area at Labrador Park, at the mangrove area lining Berlayar Creek (as well as the intertidal flats at the creek mouth).

Unlike most of my low tide posts, this one actually has more people photos than nature photos! Been about a year since I last explored mangroves, and sure enough, I got stuck at one point. Left leg was stuck knee deep and my two heroes (July and Andy) promptly whipped out their cameras for shots before coming to my rescue, resulting in Andy getting a turn immobilised in mud.

Berlayar Creek is actually quite a nice airy stream to walk up (if you don't mind getting your mud treatment for your skin at the same time), but alas, you can still see "civilisation" encroaching into this little idyllic patch of nature with our multistorey buildings peeping over the trees.

Walking slowly in mud definitely pays off (less chance of slipping, though you have to take care not to sink too far in) in the form of these snails! The red ones are really tiny, measuring a few mm!
IMG_2369 IMG_2372

Horseshoe crabs seem to also frequent this area since we found a few that got entangled in some abandoned? nets. The mangrove patch and the intertidal area in front of the stream mouth had quite a number of large nets, most likly abandoned. Probably need to organise some cleanup effort during the next spring low to clean those nets up. And keep our fingers crossed that in the mean time, no more animals get trapped and die there...
IMG_2381 IMG_2408

After a short exploration (maybe about a quarter way up the creek), we decided to whimp out play it safe and make for more familiar grounds rather than risk getting stuck in mud with the tide coming in. Any guesses to who belongs to which bootie?

Time to hit the intertidal shore!! First time on this portion of Labrador, and the substrate ranges from sandy to rocky with some Halophila ovalis stretches and Ulva spp. patches here and there.

Markings of a sand bubbler crab. These rather common residents of sandy shores are really neat making all those little balls of sand, this one looks like a giant stomped on a picture of Singapore giving it a more banana looking shape! These sand balls are a result of the little crabbies sifting through sand for bits of food.

And of course, since this is an informal NHC guides exploration, we had to be welcomed by our "relatives" like this striped hermit crab here! And it now bids you goodbye~~

Click for the rambling...

Monday, 19 November 2007

French-Japanese street magician Cyril Takayama

Thanks to Ivan for sending the link to the Lacoste magic/illusion that Cyril Takayama did. Blur me was wondering what Japanese thing this was until I calmed down. Did a quick search on Youtube to turn up a wider sampling of his stuff ^^ The shows are in Japanese but you can get the gist of things just by watching.

Link to the youmaker version of Lacoste street magic (The youtube quality ain't as good and I just could't find the code to embed this...

Lacoste magic

Glass magic

Burger trick

More samplings on Youtube
Click for the rambling...

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Short visit to see flowers ^^

Had the chance to visit the National Orchid Garden on Thursday. Felt great seeing all those colourful blossoms despite it being a garden, meaning that plants were intentionally transplanted there from nurseries because they are in bloom. In addition to this, most of the more interesting colourations are from hybrids that humans had a hand in breeding. Assisted nature perhaps? Great way of introducing people to the outdoors and nature though, especially for the less adventurous. ^^

Here's a quick post on some of the blooms, with the rest on Flickr!
IMG_2101 - ground orchid
Starting things of is this land orchid that is near the entry area. Just because most of the orchids we see are planted in cocount husk or on charcoal or on trees doesn't mean that they can be like other plants and grow on the ground! This one does!

IMG_2102 - ground orchid
Flower buds of the land orchid.

IMG_2116 IMG_2108 IMG_2112 IMG_2121 IMG_2200 IMG_2213 IMG_2203
Some of the dendrobiums seen

And of course, here are some of the VIP orchids that Singapore has been famous for. Hybrids that look really gorgeous and are named after politicians, celebrities and other famous personalities.
IMG_2130 - Dendrobium Michael Jeffrey
Dendrobium Michael Jeffrey was named after His Excellency Major-General Michael Jeffrey, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, on the occasion of his visit to the National Orchid Garden on 10 Mar 2004.

IMG_2135 - Dendrobium Margaret Thatcher
Dendrobium Margaret Thatcher was named after Baroness Margaret Thatcher, former PM of UK, during her visit to the Singapore Botanic Gardens in 1985.

IMG_2143 - Dendrobium Elizabeth
Dendrobium Elizabeth was named after Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom during her visit to the Gardens in 1972.

IMG_2176 - Dendrobium David Baltimore
Dendrobium David Baltimore was named after Dr David Baltimore for his contribution in placing Singapore on the map of excellence for the Life Sciences.

IMG_2137 - Dendrobium Masako Kotaishi Hidenka
Dendrobium Masako Kotaishi Hidenka was named in honour of Princess Masako of Japan, to commemorate the royal wedding with Prince Naruhito in 1993.

And my personal favourite:
IMG_2180 - Spathoglottis Jane Goodall
Spathoglottis Jane Goodall was named after Dr Jane Goodall, for the occasion of her visit to the National Orchid Garden on Monday, 6 Dec 2004.

IMG_2159 - Aranda Majula 'Rimau'
This Aranda Majula 'Rimau' is another favorite of mine. Reminds me of a leopard plush. All you need to do is add in the eyes above the "snout"!

Other flowers found all over the garden:
IMG_2171 - Hokulea spp. IMG_2151 - Hokulea spp.
Hokulea flowers

IMG_2209 - Heliconia spp. IMG_2224 - Heliconia spp.
Heliconia flowers
IMG_2225 - Heliconia spp.
A quick peek into one of the bracts reveals why these flowers are also known as "bird-of-paradise"

Other greenery present:

IMG_2147 - willow tree
This big willow in the middle of the path

As well as these huge palms that line the paths and provide shade for visitors and orchids alike

And after I exited the Orchid Garden, this not-so-shy dove was just staying very still, as if it was there to bid me farewell on behalf of the orchids!
Click for the rambling...

Monday, 12 November 2007

Flickr still largely under construction...

Okies. Watermarking of public photos done. Think will only watermark my non-people shots. Would also be easier to share photos this way. Won't be replacing the people shots that are already watermarked, so if anyone actually wants those photos, just send me a message and I'll just sent it to you directly. Will try to make the watermark a little less ugly conspicuous for photos placed in blogs. Pretty much still playing about with how to go about doing all this so any kind of (hopefully) constructive feedback would be much appreciated. ^^

Meantime, I still need to get a external HDD just for me photos, before I can collate and organise all my photos proper. I know that there are still many missing photos (both on Flickr and on Multiply) like last year's trip to Japan and stuff but it's slowly and surely appearing bit by bit!! I really am no good at packing, be it my physical room or my digital stuff so everything's just trudging along at the moment. Miss putting up photos and stuff so quickly like how I used to...
Click for the rambling...

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Watermarking woes...

Thanks to Monkey, juanicths here managed to upgrade her Flickr account to pro. So do expect more photos there soon! Looking at the amount of photos that I have online etc., have decided to watermark them as mine, just on the off hand chance that someone decides to "kop" my photos for personal use. Slowly replacing the older photos on Flickr with updated ones containing watermarks. Just realised that by doing that, blog entries with links to those photos no longer display them!! Yet another thing to do after putting up the newly watermarked stuff I guess. Do bear with it for a little whie until I update all those photos and slowly scour through my entries to see which entries need updating....
Click for the rambling...

Thursday, 25 October 2007

back to the drawing board....

Version one of our project plans got half (ok,maybe it was more like 3/4) shot down yesterday during our long long discussion amidst all the little distractions and sidetracks. So begins the process of proposal revising and rewriting until everybody is somewhat happy with it. Good thing is that we managed to a consensus with regards to the recce survey method for the first section of the project. Just need to get all those little details down in black-n-white to send to the rest to make sure that it is feasible and sound. Do seriously wish that one of the long term researchers would come up with a protocol book on all the various strategies and methods we can do.... Especially when it comes to easy-to-implement methods on gauging coral growth and health... Starting to feel thoroughly inept with regards to my work, and just feeling so lost and useless....

This was also a day after we trashed out some changes in the groupings adn other miscellaneous stuff for ReefWalk this Sat.... Yar. Having had this kind of week(s), it won't be surprising if I just start ranting to people over the next few days.... Okies, back to planning...
Click for the rambling...

Friday, 12 October 2007

And now a juvenile peaceful dove....

It seems that our office attracts birds despite being near a relative busy-ish road. Has been pouring most of the day, even storming at times, resulting in this juvenile peaceful dove (Geopelia placida) being blown out of its nest and onto the road. Wilson found it just outside along the road (probably around 1445h or so). Having just had an unexpected feathery guest yesterday, we promptly produced a small container lined with shredded paper (yes, it's always good to re-use stuff!), and whipped out the camera. As doves and pigeons produce crop milk to feed their young, cow milk (yes, bovines are not feathery but it's the best we have!) was taken from the fridge and heated to feed the little one. This little fella needs to be fed every 2 hours or so, thus Wilson's gonna bring it back over the weekend to jaga, and then back to the office. Do hope it survives our human-nannying it. I'll only get to see it on Tuesday since ZMY and I would be out diving at Semakau on Monday. Would try and keep a mini-diary/record of how it's doing.

Geopelia placida (2)
The wee little fella. Ain't it cute? Really hope it survives~~

Geopelia placida
And the top view of it in the little makeshift nest...

Meantime, any volunteers to be on the feeding roster? And any tips on looking after baby doves?


For more about the peaceful dove:
Sungei Buloh info page
Wikipedia: Peaceful Dove
Click for the rambling...

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Oriental dwarf kingfisher @ Peirce Road Depot

We had this unexpected little visitor in office this morning at around 0940h. One of our nice cleaning aunties walked into the office carrying a plastic bag looking a little worried. Why was that so? She found this really gorgeously coloured small bird outside, but it wasn't moving, even kept still when she picked it up. Thinking it was a baby bird that didn't know how to fly and fell out its nest, she brought it over to us to ask for help....

At first, we were wondering if was actually alive, and that was settled when CCL picked it out of the bag. This feisty little bird is definitely alive! (Is is possible that it was just sitting there waiting for the sun to come and warm/wake it up? Pretty unlikely, given that birds are warm blooded) GD came along to tell us it is an adult oriental dwarf kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca). It belongs to the family of Alcedininae kingfishers whose members are all rather small (like the African pygmy kingfisher) with iridescent feathers. Apparently one of the rarer kingfishers that we can see around Singapore, so it was really a treat for us to see one at close proximity and take photos (albeit in a less natural environment). As the thrill of having such a gorgeously colorful guest around wore off a little, I made a quick dash for a camera to snap a few shots before letting it go...

Ceyx erithaca
Brilliant pose, lousy focusing

Ceyx erithaca (5)
Not as nice a pose but at least it's in focus. Look how tiny the feet are!!

Ceyx erithaca (8)
View from the back, showing off all those nice shimmery bluish-violet feathers *swoons*

Ceyx erithaca (10)
Close up of head. Especially love those purplish feathers about the eyes. Really looks like it has eyebrows!

Ceyx erithaca (1)
Getting a taste of CCL's finger

Ceyx erithaca (3)
Apparently not getting enough of a taste... Definitely one disgruntled bird. REALLY time to let it go~~

And off it went, flying fast and far away from us meddling humans....


The colouring even looks exactly like the one shown in this article by Dr Cheong Loong Fah!!
More useful sites:
Click for the rambling...