|All ready for muddy action!|
Mudflats are very important habitats for all kinds of animals. Such as shorebirds like the pretty white egrets that were foraging on the mudflats today at Sungei Buloh. Although we may not think icky worms are fun, they are the reason why other more attractive wildlife can be found in our shores.
|Vast mudflats at the ponds near the Main Hide.|
Before we start, we have a little safety briefing. Safety is a big priority for our field sessions. Then as we head out, various hazards are pointed out to us. THERE, for example, is the crocodile! It is lurking close to our survey site. But Sungei Buloh staff are at hand to keep a watch on it.
Mangrove pit viper! It looks just like a mangrove branch or root, so we have to be careful where we put our hand.
|The viper hardly moves so it's hard to spot!|
Red berry snails! Also, lots and lots of tiny crabs. The trees are full of snails as well! So we try not to trample while we work.
Tropical Marine Science Institute tell us how to do the survey.
Malayan water monitor is nearby trying very hard to eat a dead fish it has found. It is totally ignoring the busy team. Amazing!
We try to take a pretty photo of them in clean seawater. It's a bit hard to make mud creatures look nice. Among some of the finds, we have a green segmented bristleworm (Dr Tan explains it is because it has copper in its blood), with pink bristleworms (because they have iron in their blood). Also many long unsegmented pink Ribbon worms, some flatworms. Many different kinds of snails, little hermit crabs, also a tiny tiny horseshoe crab. Dr Tan suggests these animals look better in a video. Linda took some clips.
Peanut worms have been found! These are yet another kind of unsegmented worm which are quite relished by animals. They look like delicious sausages. In fact, some humans eat them, and peanut worms were once so plentiful in Singapore that they were collected and fed to ducks. While we were looking them, one of peanut worms squirted out a dark fluid from its rear end. We're not sure whether it's poop or some sort of defensive substance.
Estuarine moray eel. Eels have a pair of tubular nostrils and tiny eyes. This fish is a predator with many sharp teeth in its mouth.
|See the tiny tubular nostrils?|
Alas, while we were making our second foray into the mud, the weather turned for the worst. Lightning in the distance, and Big Rain swept in over the work site. We quickly washed up at the water points so kindly provided by Sungei Buloh. This is royal treatment which we appreciate very much. We cannot enjoy such luxury at other sites!
|What luxury! Washing up water, and tables and chairs!|
Check out Rene's great photos of our session on the Mega Marine Survey flickr group.
There's more work to be done after the field session, to process, sort and identify all these fascinating creatures. Look out for more news on how you can help out in this as well.
Our next sessions is at Kranji mangroves on 15 Jan (Sat) afternoon. To join us, register your interest in this form and you'll be invited to join the mailing list to receive updates on the Survey and sign up for Survey activities.
Also check out our FAQs for more about the Survey.
To find out more about our common mangrove wildlife, check out the online Guide to the Mangroves of Singapore and the wildsingapore wild fact sheets.