STOMPer timid heart is worried that this tree at Woodlands Town Garden may fall and injure passers-by.
The STOMPer believes that the tree could have been struck by lightning.
"These pictures were taken at the Woodlands Town Garden at Woodlands Centre Road.
"This tall palm tree is devoid of leaves as it was probably struck by lightning some weeks ago.
"There is also a gaping hole at the base of the trunk and this provides an ideal home for snakes and rodents.
"If there is stormy weather the tree may come crashing down and dire consequences may follow.
"I hope NParks will remove this dangerous tree before someone is hurt."
Monday, November 30, 2009
Red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)
Kusu Island, 12th July 2009
This was an empty shell I discovered at the Tortoise Sanctuary on Kusu Island.
Global Invasive Species Database
NAS - Nonindigenous Aquatic Species
Turtles of the World
Animal Diversity Web
Saturday, November 28, 2009
STOMPer AMK Poster's inconsiderate neighbour throws food waste down his window everyday which dirties the pathway below the block and attracts crows to that area.
The food waste even lands on this STOMPer's freshly washed clothes.
AMK Poster says:
"My inconsiderate neighbour keeps throwing food waste down from his window on an almost daily basis.
"This happens at Blk 561, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10.
"Not only does he makes the common space below dirty and unfit for use, he also adds to inviting crows to this location.
"Crows are sometimes seen perched on my kitchen window sill and on my laundry waiting for the food.
"As they constantly come and sit on my laundry, they leave their droppings on the laundry.
"Also, sometimes the food lands on my baby's clothes, left out to dry.
"I think these people should really be educated on high rise living and how their dirty habits cause inconvenience to others living here.
"Hoping for the TC to take some action."
This isn't really a crow problem, it's a problem created by human behaviour. These house crows (Corvus splendens) are merely capitalising on this source of food. True, this does pose problems for other residents, but I'm sure the best solution is not to cull all the crows, but to take necessary action to correct the behaviour of the person who is tossing food out of the window.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
STOMPer verybigdeal is frustrated that there are always so many rats at Tampines block 468, and says the town council should do something to put an end to this problem.
In an email to STOMP yesterday (Nov 23), the STOMPer said:
"I wonder what the town council is doing. Every month, residents have to pay conservancy charges to maintain the place but rats are always spotted at Tampines block 468 Street 44.
"Isn't it the town council's responsibility to get pest control people to do the job?
"What is town council doing with the conservancy money residents pay every month?"
Monday, November 23, 2009
American cockroach (Periplaneta americana)
Tanah Merah, 23rd August 2009
Despite its name, the American cockroach did not originate from the Americas. Instead, it is likely to be originally native to Africa, from which it has managed to spread and colonise much of the world.
Animal Diversity Web
Saturday, November 21, 2009
A common black mynah bird made its way into the McDonald's outlet at Paya Lebar and STOMPer SL sent in this video of it being chased by both the staff and customers.
In an email to STOMP today (Nov 21), the STOMPer wrote:
"A common black mynah found it's way into a McDonalds outlet at Paya Lebar Singpost.
"The customers and staff of McDonalds were seen chasing the bird out.
"The bird seemed lost and couldn't find its way to the door which was held open by a customer.
"It took more than five minutes before the bird was chased away.
"The below clip was taken by my iPhone and I decided to share with fellow STOMPers. Check it out!"
If a myna (Acridotheres sp.) can cause such a flap, imagine the chaos if it were something much larger and potentially more dangerous. Like this coyote (Canis latrans) that walked into a Quizno's sandwich shop in downtown Chicago. Fortunately, no one was hurt in that encounter, and the coyote was subsequently released, although it does make for some very interesting lunchtime conversation.
Friday, November 20, 2009
These birds were having a ball of a time feasting on leftovers at the Bendemeer Hawker Centre.
The plates and bowls were left uncleared for a long time, attracting the birds.
STOMPer Loh finds this unhygienic as the birds could spread harmful germs.
The STOMPer says:
"Dining with birds.
"All are welcome at Blk 29 Bendemeer Hawker Centre."
If the person who submitted this was trying to make a statement, I don't quite see it. Unless his last sentence was a poor attempt at being sarcastic.
Still, this is essentially a people problem, one caused by leaving leftovers uncleared, providing birds like these feral pigeons (Columba livia) an opportunity to swoop in and scavenge on whatever edible tidbits remain.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
STOMPer Angela got the shock of her life when she spotted a python in her car.
In an email to STOMP yesterday (Nov 16), the STOMPer said:
"On Nov 12, I drove my car to work at Loyang. After parking my car and opening the door, the 'thing' caught my eye. I jumped out of my car and called my boss.
"We then called the pest control people to catch the python.
"The car was parked at my office carpark for 4 nights when my family went for a holiday at Genting. No idea how it got in but we suspect that there was grass pruning over the weekend and it might have destroyed the python's home.
"Last weekend was quite a wet one so maybe it decided to stay put in my car.
"It did not attack anyone or scare me while I am driving. If it did, I cannot imagine what might have happened.
"The interesting part is that it was in my car for so long and yet it did not disturb anyone."
It certainly is a very interesting place for a reticulated python (Broghammerus reticulatus) to seek refuge, but it's not the first time a snake has been found hiding in a car. It's likely that in cold weather, a snake might attempt to conserve heat by crawling inside a car.
There are 2 recent stories from the United Kingdom and Florida about snakes in cars, and there is actually a similar incident that took place in Loyang during this same period of time last year. At least in these cases, the snakes were captured unharmed, unlike the snake in this particular incident.
Pulau Ubin might disappear over time as waves continue to erode its coast and the flora and fauna on it, says STOMPer Botanist, who saw signs of erosion on the road near Noordin Beach.
Over the years, even trees have been consumed by the hungry waves, says the sender.
Worried, STOMPer Botanist says in an email:
"These pictures were taken at Noordin Beach in Pulau Ubin.
"Many cyclists travel along this macadamised road from the jetty to the beach.
"However, the end of the road has been washed away by the waves which keep pounding on the road day and night.
"Even some of the trees have been washed away by the hungry waves.
"If nothing is done, the land area of Ubin will shrink over the years.
"With the disappearance of the soil and trees, the flora and fauna of this peaceful island will be adversely affected."
Rats at Kim Keat Link have been getting bolder and bolder, even appearing by day to feed on scraps left for the birds by people there, according to STOMPer Kevin.
Here's what Kevin wrote in an email today (Nov 17):
"The location is at Kim Keat Link between Block 247 and 246.
"Residents here have written in and called the Toa-Payoh Bishan Town Council's hotline with regards to the increasing number of rats.
"They live inside the drains, near the walkways leading to the carpark.
"Someone has been feeding the birds here attracting the rats to this area.
"I hope something can be done before the situation gets really bad."
Monday, November 16, 2009
STOMPer Swimmer saw that the public benches and shelter on Pulau Ubin have been defaced, and feels this is a shame. He says:
"These pictures were taken at Noordin Beach on Pulau Ubin, the idyllic island near Changi.
"The rain shelter has a U-shaped bench for picnickers and swimmers. Unfortunately some campers have decided to hold their barbecue on the wooden bench and the hot charcoals burnt a hole in the wooden bench.
"The campers cooked their food and after eating, they left the burnt firewood on the sand and expect the cleaner to clear the mess they left behind.
"The graffiti on the pillars of the rain shelter could have been done by some mischievous school kids or campers and these people just do not have a civic sense to protect public property."
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Despite my passion and interest in exploring our wild places, I have to say that I have neglected the forests of the Central Nature Reserves. Including today's trip, I have visited Bukit Timah Nature Reserve only a miserable 5 times in my entire life.
Today wasn't supposed to be a relaxing hike up and down the hill; this was meant to be a training session in preparation for my trip to climb Mount Kinabalu in December. Still, I did stop to take photos whenever possible.
I started up the Main Road, then took the Rock Path, which was a path I had never used before.
There's something about walking down narrow forest trails that never fails to remind me of the time I spent in the Maliau Basin in 2007. Especially when the trail soon forces you to grab onto tree trunks, or even get down on all fours as you scramble over obstacles. One big difference though is the absence of bloodthirsty leeches.
Despite it being a weekend, there were not many people using these trails, possibly because of the somewhat rainy weather. At least it didn't rain while I was there, and it did make for a relatively pleasant and cooling hike through the forest.
It's always nice to stop for a break at one of these small forest streams.
After scaling the Rock Path, I went up the Summit Path, and finally reached the highest point in Singapore.
The reason behind such a blatant showcase of stupidity still eludes me.
I continued down the Rengas Path.
Signs of treefall are everywhere, but this is probably a very recent case. While trees die and fall all the time, it does raise a lot of questions about the continued health of our rainforests.
Are our trees dying at an especially high rate? And if so, what could be the reason? Accelerated erosion from trampling? Changes in the microclimate of the forest due to opening up of trails, leading to increase in penetration of sunlight, decrease in humidity, loss of moisture and stability of the soil?
And even if trees are dying at apparently normal rates comparable to more pristine habitats, one wonders about recruitment of seedlings. Are enough seedlings germinating and surviving to replace their fallen predecessors? How has the loss of many of our large frugivores affected the dispersal of seeds? The tangled and intricate tapestry that links a multitude of species is especially apparent in rainforest ecosystems.
The Dairy Farm Loop branches off the Rengas Path. This was another trail I had yet to visit.
Even within these forests, it is not difficult to discover signs of past human activity.
There are small clearings with dense patches of ferns and other secondary vegetation more typical of forest edges. The young fronds always make for interesting photo subjects.
I continued down Seraya Loop.
There are regular reminders to stick to the trail. Still, one wonders if there are people brave or stupid enough to ignore the warning signs, and get themselves killed or seriously injured.
I cross another stream. This one seems more heavily silted up and clogged with forest debris though.
Reaching Jungle Fall Path was somewhat of a relief, as I was quite exhausted by now, and was ready to head back down towards the Visitor Centre.
There is something very disappointing when you realise that the waterfall here flows out of a drain.
Upon returning to the Main Road, it was a brisk walk downhill back to the Visitor Centre.
As I headed out of the nature reserve and returned to civilisation, I could not help but notice the construction works going on right at the edge of the forest. The impacts of urban development, as well as the inevitable human-animal conflict that results, raise a lot of questions about the long-term survival of this last substantial patch of primary rainforest.
Hopefully, the planned ecological corridor that intends to reconnect Bukit Timah to the Central Catchment Area will help revitalise these forests, giving them a new lease of life as reunited fragments of a larger whole.
Bukit Timah is priceless, not just in terms of its biological treasures, but also in its iconic status as part of our natural heritage. While its continued existence as a Nature Reserve appears secure for now, the forests are in a state of upheaval, slowly changing in the face of degradation and loss of the vital links that once sustained certain elements of this habitat. Hopefully, the forest will weather these changes, and continue to flourish. It may not be the same forest that once captivated Wallace, but it is still a very important forest in our collective psyche, and any further loss and degradation would be an unspeakable tragedy for all.