Call me suaku, but I never knew a Mangrove Boardwalk existed right in Pasir Ris. Sure, I know about the Changi Point and Chek Jawa ones... and the Sentosa one. Uhm, okay so the last one doesn't count.
So anyway, the moment I realised the existence of the Pasir Ris Mangrove Boardwalk, I knew I had to bring my monkies down for a good trek.
And the thing about going for a nature walk of such - pardon the pun - nature, it is best to go with a guide. A professional who will be able to spot all the interesting flora & fauna and point them out to us. Because if it was left to me, I reckon my boys will be bored stiff in record time.
So I was really happy to find out that Naked Hermit Crabs, a bunch of nature-loving volunteer guides who have come together to share their knowledge about Singapore's very own nature environment, have been conducting guided tours for the Pasir Ris Mangrove Boardwalk - for FREE!
Ash & Ayd were definitely all psyched up for the Boardwalk, as I had previously told them that they would be able to spot crabs and mudskippers during the walk. Later did I know that we would see those and much more!
Sankar was our volunteer guide for that day, while Ria & Ivan, the other 2 guides, stayed back to wait for the latecomers. He gave a brief explanation as to how the mangrove reproduces, while asking us to keep our eyes peeled for any moving living organism.
He was sharing about the Nipah Palms in the above photo, which seemed foreign to all the kids initially. But once he mentioned that we know its fruit as 'attap-chee' which was used in ice kacang, all the kids nodded in unison.
Of course, the kids were more excited to see things that move. And soon, everyone was on a mission to do some crab-spotting or mudskipper-spotting.
Quite frankly, it wasn't that hard to spot.
The entire mangrove area was covered with peculiar 'humps', which were actually made by Mud Lobsters. And the numerous holes that puncture throughout the landscape were the work of Tree-climbing crabs.
Much like this one.
Take this one, and multiply it by the gazillions... and you can get an idea how many crabs there were.
Mudskippers, though, were a little more elusive. And because it camouflages really well with the muddy water, the kids (and even the adults) needed some time before we came across one.
Can you spot the mudskipper in the photo below?
Oh, and a special mention goes out to Ale. She was game enough to follow the older kids along the boardwalk, sticking her head beyond the railings and going 'Ooh, Aah' whenever someone made an animal sighting.
I don't think she understood what she was seeing, but it was all cute nonetheless.
Soon, we reached a jetty which overlooked Sungei Tampines. And I was told this was the fave spot of the guides.
Why? Because it was here that we got to spot the most number of animals!
And if I didn't make a list of all the animals we came across in my iPhone, I would have forgotten some of them by now.
So let's see - we spotted herons, kingfishers, a water monitor lizard, and even fishes like halfbeaks and archer fishes!
The kids were definitely having a field day trying to out-spot one another, and it was all for good fun. We even got to see a gliding lizard, otherwise known as a 'flying dragon', on a tree.
It was so high up in the tree that that was the best my camera zoom lens can muster.
And as we were prepared to call it a day, we got an added bonus. Can you spot it?
It was the Dog-faced Water Snake, with its head peeking slightly out of the water. And for the record, I shall shamelessly declare that it was me who first spotted it. Hah!
I thoroughly enjoyed the evening walk, and without a doubt my monkies did too. Many thanks to Ria, Sankar & Ivan for the hugely informative guided tours. It is really heartening to see them being passionate about their cause and their willingness to share it with everyone is infectious. It's one thing to spot the animals, but to have someone explain in greater detail about the characteristics of the animals during the walk - that is immensely beneficial.
So, who says there is nothing to see in Singapore? That there is no nature environment to speak of in Singapore?
Sign up for their next Pasir Ris Mangrove Boardwalk on 28th April (Sat) at 5pm and be amazed! Registration is required and please click HERE for more details.
One last thing, the Boardwalk tour is open to ALL ages - from the junior to the very senior. And yes, the Boardwalk is even stroller-friendly!
In addition, the Naked Hermit Crabs also conduct FREE Chek Jawa Boardwalk trips every month. For the dates and more information, please click HERE.
View more photos of us wrecking havoc in the Parks around Singapore on our Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.283678351712441.66647.110845722329039&type=1