Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

To continue with our tour of every nature reserve in the country, Bryan and I went to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, in northwestern Singapore. We tried to take a taxi, but it seemed as though every taxi in the city was occuppied (it was a national holiday- Hari Raya...I'm still not sure what the holiday is, but I'll fill you in once I look into it). So we took the MRT to Kranji and then got on a bus. When you take a bus for the first time, it's always a little confusing, becuase you don't know exactly where to get off or exactly where the bus stops. Normally I would just ask the bus driver to let us know when we got to the right stop, but this particular bus driver seemed to have a personal grievance with everyone on that bus, and was driving as though he intended to kill us all, so I thought it would be best to leave him alone. When Bryan and I saw a sign for the reserve, we got off the bus and then discovered that we were in the middle of nowhere, so we headed off in the direction we thought we should go. It was actually a nice walk, and we saw lots of lizards along the way, including the male (above) and female (below) changeable lizards below. Apparently the males are only this brightly colored during mating season. The black splotch on the neck is also a signal that's only visible during mating season. And the female is eating a grasshopper!
Eventually we found a restaurant and stopped to get something to drink. It was just a random place along a road in the middle of nowhere, but they had the best root beer floats I've ever had in my life. After our super delicious floats, we got back on our way, and found the reserve after only a few more minutes of walking. The reserve is mainly wetland and mangrove habitat, with lots of migratory birds, lizards, fish, and probably snakes, although we didn't see any. When we first walked in, we saw a huge water monitor. We've only seen a water monitor once before, and it was only a baby, so we were totally enthused to see this huge one. Water monitors are so strange- they're huge, and I really think they look like dinosaurs. By the end of the day, we'd seen so many that we weren't even taking photos anymore. We even saw one eating a big fish! These are some of the best photos:There were little hides distributed throughout the park and you could hang out in them and watch the wildlife. When we walked into the first hide, we looked around and didn't see much and then Bryan said "Nothing to see here; let's keep going." That was when I looked over the side and spotted a massive monitor right below us. Bryan and I play a game where we see who can spot the most lizards (or deer, in the U.S.), so sometimes it leads to one of us (me...I'm the loud one) pointing and shouting "TWENTY-ONE!!!!" which probably makes us look crazy to the people around us. Sungei Buloh was record-breaking though; together we'd seen more than 80 lizards by the end of the day, and we had even given up the game because we were surrounded by monitors toward the end. But, for the record, I won. Anyway, here's Bryan peeking out from one of the hides, trying to spot some lizards so he could catch up to my score. We saw a couple of monitor lizards and birds from inside the hides, but mostly we just saw tons of crabs. There were cute little crabs all over the placeLater, as we were walking along the path, we spotted this guy in the water- an estuarine crocodile!So it was a fun-filled day, mostly of reptiles (we did see birds and fish and even a monkey, too). And yes, for those of you that have asked, Bryan and I do, in fact, go places other than the middle of the wilderness, and I will do my best to post some of these more "civilized" locations soon. But for now, enjoy the lizards!

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