20/2014 – Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (19 July 2014)

My last visit to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) was almost 4 months ago on 2 March 2014. It was just a nature walk with my family where the highlight was the sighting of a 2.5 metre long crocodile!

Yesterday, Kyaw Htay and I went there for a macro photography trip. We reached SBWR early at 7.30 am and were warmly greeted by the reception staff on duty. As expected, there were very few visitors at this hour.

(Entrance of SBWR)

(Entrance of SBWR)

A small dark brown skipper was spotted at the bushes near the entrance. This should be a Chestnut Bob also known as Iambrix salsala salsala.

(Chestnut Bob)

(Chestnut Bob)

Not too far away, there is a small patch of greenery near a pond. A pair of grasshoppers was caught having an intimate affair. I wonder why they did such as a thing so openly. Anyway, I could only manage a record shot before they separated. This grasshopper species should be quite easy to spot in Singapore but finding its ID was a tedious task. After spending sometime searching over the internet, my best guess is “Tagasta marginella”. Please correct me if I am wrong.

(A pair of mating grasshoppers)

(A pair of mating grasshoppers)

We were surprised when we found a nest with 2 chicks in the least likely place. It was along the walk way easily reachable by visitors. After taken some shots, we left and we could see their mother flying down to keep the chicks company. Hope the chicks can survive and safely fledge soon.

(Two vulnerable chicks)

(Two vulnerable chicks)

At the main wooden bridge, it is a good place to watch various birds feeding around the mangrove area during low tide. However, sea water from the other side was allowed to come in and only a handful of birds can be seen searching for food.

(Main wooden bridge)

(Main wooden bridge)

We found a few locusts along the trail. Locusts are related to grasshoppers and the two insects look similar except locusts are much bigger in size. Locusts are sometimes solitary insects with lifestyles much like grasshoppers. But locusts have another behavioral phase called the gregarious phase. When environmental conditions produce many green plants and promote breeding, locusts can congregate into thick, mobile, ravenous swarms (Reference: National Geographic). Here is a head shot of this “gigantic grasshopper”!

(Face of a locust)

(Face of a locust)

I was glad to spot two males and two females Mangrove Dwarf dragonflies (Raphismia bispina). I have seen this uncommon species near Pasir Ris Farmway only in March this year. The only other place that you can find this species is at Pulau Ubin. The two females were perched too high up on the branches and I could not get a decent shot. Here is a male which was relatively cooperative.

(Mangrove Dwarf, Male)

(Mangrove Dwarf, Male)

After walking about 1.5 km, we reached the Aquatic Plant Pond.

(Aquatic Plant Pond)

(Aquatic Plant Pond)

I used to see many large monitor lizards here many years ago but there were none now. Many common dragonflies were seen busy flying around though. A common male Scarlet Grenadier (Lathrecista asiatica) preferred to stay quietly at its favourite perch nearby. It was super obedient and kept coming back to the same perch allowing me to take some close-up frontal shots.

(A male Grenadier)

(Scarlet Grenadier, male)

The female Scarlet Grenadier has a brownish red abdomen which is thicker than that of the male and is usually less commonly seen. I was lucky to capture one here.

(Scarlet Grenadier, female)

(Scarlet Grenadier, female)

Another dragonfly which is a permanent resident in SBWR is the uncommon Grenadier (Agrionoptera insignis). Similarly, females are harder to spot but I was lucky again! Strangely, I did not find any male this time. This female perched a little too high up to get a good shot.

(Grenadier, female)

(Grenadier, female)

Butterflies are normally very skittish and difficult to photograph but this Pale Mottle (Logania marmorata damis), a small butterfly, didn’t appear to be so. It was feeding on a aphid with many ants nearby. Surprisingly, the ants did not attack this butterfly.

(A Pale Mottle feeding on a aphid)

(A Pale Mottle feeding on a aphid)

There were many spiders in SBWR. Here is a Mangrove St Andrew Cross Spider which you are unlikely to miss it.

(Mangrove St Andrew Cross Spider)

(Mangrove St Andrew Cross Spider)

My last subject was a cute praying mantis. Isn’t it adorable?

(Praying Mantis)

(Praying Mantis)

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