Sungei Buloh in December – great time to go!

One of the nicest time to be in Sungei Buloh is in December.  This December is no exception but it has been extra nice as the weather has become mild yet cool.  The star attraction, of course, are the migratory birds.  Its fun looking at them, taking pictures and listening to their calls.  Sungei Buloh is well equipped with posters, guidebooks and drawings that you can almost learn what you see without a guide.  But you need to be patient.  The bird hide is such a lovely place to sit and stare at wildlife; especially at this time of the year when it is cool.

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Here are some egrets and storks (Milky stork perhaps).  The white in front of the brown and green is just so lovely to look at.

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Some nice waders (they look like the Common Greenshank)  See this guide from the Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve website to differentiate the waders.

I thought my kids would be interested in the waders but the Malayan monitor lizards were more exciting for them.  These lazy lounging lizards are easily encountered along the trails and even at the entrance of the reserve.

 

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They spot another one sliding – what an adventure!  Will these monitor lizards eat them up, they wonder.  Matt forgets that he wants to go to eat ice-cream.

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“I have got my eye on you…” thought the largish lizard.  The size of this makes everyone think its a crocodile.  Nice.

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A feeling of excitement as the kids circumnavigate the reptilian threat.

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These lizards aren’t sleepy all they time. When they manage to rouse, they can engage in fights among themselves, clawing each others’ back in the process.

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This is the first time I see the Cymbidium flowering.  What a lovely wild orchid, unaltered from hybridization by man.  It looks naturally beautiful.

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This is an Orb Web spider.  This one is almost 4-5 cm long from head to the end of the abdomen.

 

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Above it are probably males or they might just be spiders hanging out on the web for scraps of food.  Its always a nice thing to tell kids that the males become snacks for the female spiders after they kiss.

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The flowers hang down but the fruits face up.  Its interesting to note that the Simpoh Ayer turns its stalk after the fruit is ripe.  All the better for the pollen to fall on the bee and the fruits to be visible to birds I guess.

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It starts to rain but what a good time to get a coffee at the cafe that overlooks the pond.  Buy fish food for a dollar and get the pesky kids out of your hair for the moment.  Matt sticks out his hand to feel the pitter patter of the rain drops.  I used to do that when I was a kid, these days I just rather drink a coffee and stare into the rain.

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The rain stops and we get ready to leave.  By the pond is a Sonneratia alba tree. (you can tell which species it is of three species from this excellent website).  Apparently, the flowers of the Sonneratia attract the bats that pollinate the durian flowers.  So more Sonneratia more durian!  Also, this particular Sonneratia is the host trees for fireflies in Malaysia (Not sure if there are any at Sg Buloh though).  More of this wonderful tree from Ria Tan’s work.  Anyway, this tree with its persistent red stigma made me feel more Christmasy then the whole Orchard road waste of electricity light up.