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...