Monday, 26 October 2015

Saltwater Crocodile basking

Sungei Buloh Solomon Anthony

Crocodiles like snakes are unable to maintain a constant body temperature by physiological means. They are referred to as "cold-blooded" due to this fact. Ideal body temperature of a crocodile is around 30-33c, and to achieve such temperatures they move back and forth between warm and cool parts of their environment. During cooler weather they bask in the sun to heat up, and in hot weather they seek shaded, cool areas to avoid overheating.

Crocodiles will usually orientate themselves so that the maximum body surface is exposed to the sun.  While the body heats up crocodiles will often open their mouths, allowing the brain to cool through evaporative cooling from their soft inner skin of mouth and their tongue. This "mouth-gaping" posture is also a behavioral display.

Solomon Anthony

Solomon Anthony

Solomon Anthony

Monday, 23 February 2015

Monitor Defence

Monitor Lizards - These reptiles got their name from their pose as can be seen above. They seem to be 'monitoring' the location, looking out for danger maybe. These reptiles can be seen all over Singapore. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a place that one can easily see these creatures.

These lizards usually mind their own business just lazing on the ground or resting on a branch of a tree.

When these reptiles come into contact with humans or danger they usually scamper away. These creatures are very wary of their surroundings . But at times some brave individuals would stand their ground, in the hope of warding the threat off. They would use their whip-like tails to swing at the the aggressor.

The video below shows that behavior.

This brave behavior at times, gets them in trouble. Wild dogs for example, cause major nuisance in the reserve by chasing birds, wild boar, monitor lizard etc. Dogs are lovely animals. I love them! But when strays roam our Wetland Reserve, the wildlife there suffer. These dogs most likely originated from the neighbouring farms which let them loose. The dogs overpower the brave lizards that do not run but stand their ground and just kill them for the sake of it. See video below.

From the video above you would be able to notice the dogs being very cautious of the lizard even though the monitor was almost out of steam. They are well aware of the injury a monitor can inflict.

The photos below documents the Monitor Lizard's tail-whip in pictures.

Many times these Lizards are mistaken for crocodiles swimming, or even Komodo Dragons.

When I used to go to Sungei Buloh way before I started hunting for crocodiles, these reptiles were the stars of the show and would excite everyone. They still do, and will always have a special place at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

Watch our for these beautiful lizards the next time you visit Sungei Buloh Wetlands.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Some Otters

Otters sighting are plentiful these days. Thanks to social media, these mammals are getting a good bit of the limelight. We Singaporeans, deprived of wildlife that is abundant in many other countries, get excited when we seen wild animals up close. 

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve does have it's fair share of wild otters roaming and making this reserve their home. These Smooth Coated Otters are a native of Singapore and they seem to be flourishing all over the Island. There have been sightings of an otter even in the Singapore Botanical Gardens. 

I have observed these wonderful animals just having a really good time in the mud and water.
Here are some images through my viewfinder that I want to share with everyone. Some of these photos have been posted on my Facebook page but I decided to do blog record as well. Thanks for viewing.

Watching an interesting character taking photos of it.

 In full gallop


I think we better go!

I'm outta here!

 Watching me with interest.


Like a Panther!

More to come soon! 

Friday, 6 February 2015

Undercover Croc

Crocodiles are ambush predators and masters at blending in with its background. These animals rely on the element of surprise, hidden until the very last moment before taking down their prey. Most people would miss this 3 meter long adult crocodile in the above photo and just walk by. 
With the use a polarizing filter and slightly longer exposure I am able to show you in the photo below, the crocodile patiently waiting for an unsuspecting prey. 

Below you can see same reptile, completely submerged. This fellow was sleeping when i spotted him

These animals never seize to amaze me.

Hiding and watching...

My 1hr observation.....

I decided to take the opportunity to do a little observation one Saturday when I spotted this crocodile (see above) on the little island in the middle of the main pond in Sungei Buloh. I was interested to see how many people would spot it as it was quite well camouflaged.

So I waited along main path for about an hour. I counted about 30 individuals, a few with families. Can you guess how many spotted the crocodile? 0. That's right, No one... I decided then that I had observed enough and told the next person passing along about the crocodile lying there. A crowd grew bigger and bigger, with everyone telling everyone about the basking crocodile. I then left. After walking a complete round of the main route, I reached the same spot where the croc was and it was still basking. As I passed, a stranger asked " Bro, you wanna see a croc!" I could see a sense of satisfaction on his face when he pointed out the reptile to me. I replied "Wow nice!" observed the croc for a few minutes, thanked him and continued my walk. He must be wondering why didn't this fellow take a single photo of the croc! :)

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

What a load of Croc!

Late last year, during one of my usual crocodile hunt at Sungei Buloh Wetlands, I spotted a medium size saltwater crocodile and it had caught a fish. It was quite a mouthful. I decided to stay on it and observe how it was going to eat it's catch.

Crocodiles usually manage to swallow their prey whole. On rare occasions, they have trouble and that's when things get interesting to watch. I was hoping to witness, first hand "discovery channel" stuff.  Sudden thrashing of its head in order to tear its prey to more manageable chunks etc. I was not disappointed.

Remember, this is Singapore we are talking about, a bustling cosmopolitan city that's populated with high rise buildings, Crocodiles?! Hunting! oh yes... at our wetland reserve, a small population is thriving thanks to the Eco-system that we have got for our fauna.

Crocodiles, once almost wiped out from this Island city, have now found a sanctuary to call home - The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. To be able to see a wild crocodile sunbathing or hunting is just something else. Every time at Sungei Buloh you hear kids asking their parents, students asking their teacher or tourist asking the local guide "where is the crocodile". Adults are just as well fascinated by these magnificent creatures and I believe the reason is because these are dangerous and powerful reptiles and demand respect. Just like seeing a wild lion on a Safari in Africa, people are in awe when they spot a crocodile in our local river.

We are so fortunate to be able to see this wild reptile, in its natural estuarine environment, from a safe point. We need not have to travel to Australia or Africa to see creatures in the wild. Its right at our backyard, literally.

Here you can see the crocodile does its thrashing to break the fish to smaller pieces. I manged to capture the sequence of shots.

Lifting its head in preparation of the slingshot.

Unleashing the force..

It worked...

One last fling into its mouth...

Done deal...

As the tide recedes you get to see the size of the beast.

I can't help but repeat that to be able to see these dinosaurs in the wild, in Singapore, is just awesome!! Lets' Go Wild Now!

Monday, 2 February 2015

Dusky Leaf Monkey

Last Friday, I had to make a short trip to Ipoh. So over the weekend, I decided to make the most of my time and go "shoot" some wildlife. Ipoh is the major town in Perak, Malaysia. It nestles among beautiful limestone mountains. I decided to explore Taman Rekreasi Gunung Lang (Gunung Lang Recreational Park).

From the map above you can see that Ipoh is surrounded by mountains. Gunung Lang park is in the middle of it all. I walked the park looking mainly for birds. I managed to see a pair of blue-eared Kingfisher flying around the lake hunting for fish, a lone White-bellied sea eagle perched for the whole 2 hrs I was there, some Oriental Magpie-Robins and some herons.

As I did my own hunting through my lens, I noticed movement on my right, quite high among trees . I totally did not expect to see this. It was a split second and I grabbed this shot. The one and only shot! and it disappeared into the thick forest.

When I decided that day, to explore this park, I was not all prepared to see something looking like that, staring at me. It must have been just as shocked to see me. I later learnt that this was a Dusky leaf monkey. It had made my weekend trip worth it. I just love it when I get to capture something for the first time, especially in the Wild and not all that common as well. Due to habitat loss, these Leaf monkeys are now listed Near-Threatened according to IUCN.

Here's a Crop of the image.

Time to go wild now!

Monday, 5 January 2015

Lesser Adjutant Stork spotted in Singapore


These are the Military faces of the bird world. They look Fierce and Assertive. They can been seen in certain parts of Asia but extremely rare in Singapore. Just like Military Adjutants, these Feathered Adjutants, with stunning light blue eyes, do look like military officers when standing at Attention! and can do so for a long time without moving. They do look the part don't they? and according to Wildlife Conservation Society that was how it got its name.

Unfortunately, these storks are currently classified as 'Vulnerable' under the International Union for the conservation of Nature, the world's main authority on the conservation status of species.

I can consider myself very fortunate to have spotted this species of stork in Singapore, at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on the 7th of March 2014 @ about 11.40 am.

Below are the 2 photos of that very bird.

After some researching, I believe this is probably the most recent recorded sighting of the Lesser Adjutant stork on the shores of Singapore. Yes, it could be a wanderer from Johor. Nevertheless it did excite the Staff of the wetland reserve when I updated them on this sighting. I could not get a good close up photo as it was quite a distance away.

This lone Lesser Adjutant was happily patrolling the north western mudflats of Pulau Buloh, a little Mangrove Island in the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. As I predominantly hunt for crocodiles, I initially did not realize the species of bird and its rarity. I can gladly say that my knowledge of fauna has improved ever since. Its quite satisfying to spot this rare bird in Singapore.

From then on I have always been on the lookout for these birds. Sad to say, I have not seen them in the reserve ever since. That part of the Reserve has now been closed off to the public. This was done to keep a portion of the reserve as a safe haven for the fauna without them being disturbed.

These birds can still be seen Parit Jawa, a coastal fishing village in the state of Johor, Malaysia. Below are photos of the Lesser Adjutant taken in Parit Jawa and Sg Balang, Malaysia in Dec 2014.

Enjoy, as we will never know when these Military Officers of the wild would just ........... retire.
Lets hope Never!

Click for larger image
 Looking out.....

Circling for a landing

 Sleeping under watchful eyes.

 Waiting for an opportunity.....

 Commanding views


 I'm watching !

 With a snake or an eel.

 Among the clouds...

Along side a swallow.

I'm still watching......bye for now.