Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The little blue flowers that enchant

We recently bought a plant with pretty little blue flowers that resemble the ones i see during my walks through boat club road. But this one has leaves that are much tinier than the boat club road creeper.
Is it some species of morning glory?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Butterflies mating

Not having spared a minute in the last maybe 15 years to observe a butterfly closely (yes, terrible isnt it?!), i did not even realise there were two butterflies in this picture when i sent it out to the MNS asking for the identify.
Some members came up with 'common mormon' and others with the 'common rose'.
It was a member who pointed out that there were two Common Mormons in the pic - the flamboyant female on top and the plain male underneath. The female common mormon is a mimic of the common rose and crimson rose; i think the way to tell them apart is to look at hte body - or the head which is most visible - the crimson rose and common rose have a red head unlike the black common mormon.
Now how does one tell the crimson rose and the common rose apart? the internet says that the crimson rose haas double red markings and double white patches unlike the common rose. hmmm.. i have t o see pictures to visualize this. Or better still, the butterflies themselves!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Madras Naturalists Society

Well, i've done it. I'm now a member of the MNS - Madras Naturalist's Society. A recent newspaper article brought my attention to this group; reading through a blog by one of its members spurred me into action - i dragged myself out of bed this morning and landed at KFI, The School, where they hold their meetings at 9, the second sunday of each month. I was rewarded with the delightful company of many like-minded nature enthusiasts under the shade of the big ole banyan tree. Here's to many nature adventures in the days to come!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Nature reserves & parks in singapore

Seeing that i have spent a good portion of my adult life in the island nation of singaproe, i felt a post on the nature reserves and parks in the city was warranted.
Among my favorite places in Singapore was the Botanical Gardens. The Gardens coveniently had a little bakery, mcdonalds and acoffee shop across the main entrance. It was a nice place to walk through, with a stage in the middle of a small lake and an open area for the audience when concerts where held. In the midst of the botanical gardens was the orchid garden featuring varied species of orchids, including Vanda Ms Joaquim - singapore's national flower. Here is a picture of the beauty from flikr:

The three main nature reserves of singapore where much of the original tropical vegetation is preserved are the Bukit Timah, Sungei Buloh and Labrador Reserves. The Bukit Timah reserve was right opposite my home for some years and i would wake up every morning to the view of the hill covered with dense vegetation while sipping a hot cup of coffee on my balcony. Sungei Buloh was where i saw my first Mangrove forest and was amazed by their roots. I still remember walking on the wooden boardwalks marvelling at the mangrove trees.

Here is a website to check out before heading to sungei buloh!

Singapore also has many parks with Reserves: mcRitchie, Seletar., upper pierce, lower pierce and hindhede - all i nthe central catchment area.

Most of the neighbourhoods in Singapore have their own little park as well. The one i frequented the most was Cluny Park.. in hte midst of the urban jungle that is Bukit Timah Road, cluny park was a sweet little retreat with its little lake, ducks and flowering plants. The Bukit Batok park, i was told, was also quite nice. And the one on East Coast Road catered not just to the neighbourhood population, but to all, with its long walking and skating paths and access to the beach.

Then of course there are the islands off signapore.. which offer plenty of opportunity to observe marine life. Sadly our trip to Pulau Ubin was spent more on bicyclign and tthe like than observing the natural diversity of the island. Ah well, a trip to majulah Singapora is overdue of course, and then i will have many more memories and pictures to boot!

Here is a write up from Singapore Parks:
Step into the nature reserves /nature parks and journey back in time to before Sir Stamford Raffles arrived and most of the island of singaproe was covered with dense tropical forests as are now see only in these parks. Though much of singapore's original vegetation has been cleared for logging and cultivation, some of the primary rainforest can still be seen at the bukit timah nature reserve and the 4 main nature parks/ These nature parks are reservoirs and the nature reserve surrounding them (central catchment nature reserve) serves as catchment areas and ensure the quality of the water in these reservoirs. Other than serving as reservoirs for water, these parks are also home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna. With an astonishing variety of birds, animals and insects, these parks/reserves are indeed treasure houses of singapores biodiversity.

The Jurong Bird Park, the Zoo and the Night Safari also provide opportunity to observe the local *and not so local* flora and fauna.