Endau Rompin National Park, Selai (20 – 22 Sep 2014) – Part II

Continued from Part I

A few of us woke up before 7.00 am the next morning. A health conscious Michael chose to practise his Qigong exercise in front of our chalet.

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I went straight to the greenery just behind our chalet hoping to catch some dews. Here are two butterflies staying motionlessly in their sleep.

Butterflies

Very soon the rest of the team joined me here.

morning shoot

There were quite a number of robberflies and I spotted at least two of them having their meals.

robberfly

(Robberfly having breakfast)

A surprise find was an owlfly perching very lowly on grass. Owlflies are dragonfly-like insects with large bulging eyes and strongly knobbed antennae. They are very rare in Singapore.

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(Owlfly)

After simple breakfast of breads, biscuits with 3-in-1 coffee and milo, we found at least 5 baby snakes on a 1-metre tall plant near our chalets. It was later identified as Painted Bronzeback, a mildly venomous tree snake commonly found in South East Asia.

(Baby Painted Bronzeback)

(Baby Painted Bronzeback)

We decided to explore the forested area further down by the riverside, about 200 metres from the chalets. This is also where the jungle huts are located.

jungle hut

A rare Olive Tree Skink greeted us while we entered the jungle. This is one of the 7 species of skinks in Singapore. Unlike the common sun skinks which can be frequently seen scurrying in the undergrowth, the Olive Tree Skink are tree-dwellers. It has a distinctive olive under-parts and an interesting orange mouth tip.

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(Olive Tree Skink)

A little further down the trail, I was delighted to find an uncommon leaf mimic grasshopper perching quietly up on a wooden log. It looks so much like a dead leaf. I tried to guide it down for a better shot but it flew away.

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The main Selai River is just around the corner. It is fairly wide filled with many stones of different size. I was expecting to see a clean swift flowing water but it was milky and slow moving instead.  We were disappointed that not a single damselfly was in sight!

(Selai River and its surrounding)

(Selai River and its surrounding)

Endau Rompin Selai is best known for its waterfalls. It is estimated that there are about 20 waterfalls which include the popular Takah Tinngi, Takah Pandan and Takah Tempang.

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(Trail leading to the various waterfalls)

We found a lone lantern bug hanging on a tree just outside the trail leading to the various waterfalls. While the rest were shooting it, I was busy photographing this mayfly.

(Mayfly)

(Mayfly)

We ventured into the trail and spotted a few more lantern bugs quite high up on another tree.

(Lantern Bug)

(Lantern Bug)

I read that the nearest and easiest waterfall to reach is Takah Selow which is only about 30 minutes walk from Base Camp but strangely, there was no mention of it in the notice board outside the trail. Instead, it states that the nearest Waterfall is Takah Pandan about 1km or requires 1 hr trekking. I love waterfalls and, since we were already 15 minutes into the trail, I thought why not try my luck to explore for another 15 minutes. My photography buddies were busy shooting lantern bugs and didn’t seem to be interested in waterfalls. After informing them about my intention, I ventured on alone. The trail is well maintained but there are difficult spots which involves scrambling up steep riverbank . Although ropes are fitted at these areas, carrying my heavy gears with a backpack behind, I lost my balance and almost fell on two occasions. I stopped at a small stream for a rest and to quench my thirst.  Should I proceed on?

My desire to find waterfalls was still strong and therefore I decided to trek another 15 minutes.  Sadly, there was no hint of waterfalls.  Looking from where I stood, the long trail in front of me appeared leading to nowhere.  It was then that it reminded me that there are many wild and dangerous animals such as the highly endangered Sumatran rhinoceros, Malaysian tiger and Asian elephant that still live in the Park. My mind said “Enough! better go back now!”. Even though I was already very tired and thirsty, I quicken my pace and didn’t stop for a drink. I was relieved when I returned back to the entrance of the trail. Allan & Michael were photographing some interesting subjects but I was too exhausted to check it out. My shirt was already soaked with sweats and I finished the remaining half-bottle of water in no time. It took me more than 15 minutes rest to recover my normal self! Here is a spider in a cup mushroom that Allan & Michael were shooting earlier.

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Hazel spotted a newly moulted damselfly and shared it with me. This was the only damselfly photo that I have in this trip.

(Newly moulted Euphaea ochracea)

(Newly moulted Euphaea ochracea)

It was already 3 pm and we returned to our chalets for lunch cum early dinner. When the sun was less harmful at 5.30 pm, we continued shooting around the visitor complex. Here is a huge Stag Beetle spotted by Michael.

(Stag Beetle)

(Stag Beetle)

We were about to call it a day when Allan found a robberfly eating a smaller one, a very rare sighting. Due to the limited light at 7.30 pm, this record shot was captured in full flash.

(Robberfly eating robberfly)

(Robberfly eating robberfly)

While the rest were still chit-chatting, I turned in early at 10.30 pm probably due to tiredness resulting from the strenuous trekking in the afternoon. As usual, I woke up early the next day hoping to capture some morning dew. Not much dew but plenty of subjects to shoot. These were two different lynx spiders having their juicy breakfast.

(Lynx spiders having breakfast)

(Lynx spiders having breakfast)

There were many lawn wolf spiders with their sheet-webs sparkle with dew drops built over grassy grounds. They usually hide in a silken funnel that leads to the web and pounces on any small insects that lands on it. Here is one with a prey that I was unable to identify as it was partially eaten by the spider.

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Allan shared with me this interesting encounter between a large katydid and a giant praying mantis. They didn’t appear to see each other, otherwise, the katydid could become a prey of the praying mantis!

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Not too far away, a wasp was seen guarding its egg sacs.

(Wasp guarding its egg sacs)

(Wasp guarding its egg sacs)

After breakfast, we explored the forest trail along the downstream of Selai River.

(Downstream of Selai River)

(Downstream of Selai River)

Not many subjects were spotted. Here are a colourful butterfly which looks like our Painted Jezebel and a pair of uncommon mating forest assassin bugs.

butterfly and assassin bug

We checked out at 1.45 pm. Our 4WDs were already at the main visitor centre waiting for us. Late lunch was taken at a popular coffee shop at Yong Peng. Let’s have a happy-looking group photo to remember this relaxing and enjoyable photography outing led by our very experienced Tony Png!

(Photo Credit : Michael Ee)

(Photo Credit : Michael Ee)

Related post : Endau Rompin National Park, Selai (20 – 22 Sep 2014) – Part I

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