Running @ Leisure Farm Resort

Whenever I go away, I try to get in a short run and it was no exception when 2 weeks ago, we stayed over at a friend’s place at the posh Leisure Farm in Malaysia. The place is big – real big. It sits on 1765 acres of land spread over 7 gated compound and 4 strata plots and comes with facilities like club house, swimming pool, orchard and f&b outlets.

Just to get an idea of how big the place is, we stayed in a bungalow in one of the gated compound and managed to do a complete loop of 10 km within that compound alone!

It was a cool morning when we started our run. It fact it was threatening to rain but thank goodness the weather held and we had an enjoyable time exploring the place.

The place was built apparently on an old forest converted to palm tree plantation to now residential and it is very hilly.

Beside the slopes, there are many many empty plot of lands waiting for some rich landowner to built their own bungalow.

We came upon a beautiful little stream and we could run alongside it for a short distance before we went back on the road.

On the road, there were many big bungalows, some typical European design with big driveway, porches and arches. Then there were the modern type with big glass facade. And there is this futuristic house

There is a little canal or creek as they called it.

The highlight was when we came to this place.

A dead end but a very tempting looking place. Good for trail running and birding! But since we were guests, we didn’t enter the area and choose to continue running on the road. That was when we heard some rustling up in the trees. My immediate thought was macaque but it turned out to be this:

A big band of Dusky Leaf Langur! What a nice surprise and a nice way to wrap up the run.

 

Pulau Ubin Night Walk

Went for a guided night hike at Pulau Ubin organised as part of the Pesta Ubin 2017 activities. The walk was conducted by the famous Subaraj Rajathurai, of Strix Wildlife Consultancy. Here he is briefing the group on the type of bats that can be seen on Pulau Ubin. 

It amazing that he can identify the bats flying up and down. And he does a good bird mimic too! But because the group is too big, we split into 2 groups and we followed his son who was just as knowledgeable.

And before long, he spotted the first snake for the night. A Common Bronzeback Snake high up in the tree. It simply amazing how they can spot something so small and indistinguishable in the dark. Can you see it in cropped photo? 

We spotted a lot of Four lined frogs including a mating pair.

Also a few Asian Toad

And apparently a rare Chorus frog which got our 2 guides all excited. 

And of course there were geckos and insect and this weird looking Hammerhead Flat Worm.

And also a moth

And a Huntsmen Spider

And after 2 hours of walking, we ended the night with another snake sighting. In fact 2 of them – both Oriental Whip Snake.

Oriental Whip Snake

Other Creatures at Fraser’s Hill

Ok absolutely the last post on Fraser’s Hill. Or at least until the next trip there. Beside bird, butterfly and moth, there are many other creatures. What I was hoping for was to see some more monkeys. There was supposed to be a few species of them around the area. On the first day, we saw the usual Long Tailed Macaques just outside our hotel.

The next day while out birding, we were lucky enough to see 2 White Thighed Surili high up on 2 different trees. My 200 mm can only captured one of them from afar.

Here is a close up of it. Looks like a mini Gorilla.

While trekking in one of the trails, the ladies saw this

Can see anything? It a wonder how they managed to spot this little critter on the ground

Photo by Molly Tan

Not only are the birds more colorful in Fraser’s Hill but the insect are much bigger too. Like this Cicada

Can’t tell anything from this photo right? How about this? Almost the length of my fingers!

Photo by Molly Tan

And this giant squirrel. Look at the length of its tail. 

And that concludes this mini-series on Fraser’s Hill. 

Singapore Night Safari

The Singapore Night Safari is probably the only place of its kind in the world. A zoo that opens at night. Seeing the animals at night is really very different from seeing them in the day as most animals are nocturnal and naturally more active at night. The only problem with this place was that one cannot get good photos of the animals what with its natural settings which mean the place is dark.

Handheld, no flash and high ISO at 12800 and slow shutter speed. And despite that, I did managed to take some pretty decent photos if I may said so myself. 

 

Dusky Langur @ Tanjong Tuan, Port Dickson

The first thing we noticed when we alighted from our bus at the PNB Ilham Resort was a monkey on a tree next to the road. Not any monkey but a Dusky Langur! Immediately those with readily available camera started snapping. Unfortunately for me, my gear was still in the bag and not setup and I know by the time I get anything ready, the little creature will be long gone, what with the oooh and haaa that the whole bus was making over it. And true enough, it soon sprung off.

The next with nature photography is that one need to seize every opportunity that comes along because you never know when it will happen again. And I was pretty disappointed that I didn’t manage a shot of it. But with hope eternal, after check in and on our way up to the lighthouse for the raptor watch, I was hopeful that we can spot more of them. But sadly even after doing a unplanned for trek through the reserve, we only saw 2 Long Tailed Macaque. I think M sense my disappointment or she was just as disappointed as me. On our way back to the resort while the rest of the group went back up to the lighthouse or to their room, she suggested going back to the alighting point to see when the langur has returned. And of course no luck.

There was a side road there and we decided to take a walk down to see what was there. Some birds – mainly Oriental Magpie Robin and a couple of Asian Glossy Starlings. And then we saw this tree.

Any by golly, Mother Nature was smiling on us for once! It was crawling with the Dusky Langur. Not one, not two but at least 8 – 9 of them. And I had my photos! Look at them. Aren’t they so so cute!

Further down the road, there were another 3 on a mangrove plant. So we had our fill of the Langur.

The next day some of the others also wanted to come and see the Langur. But sadly the road to the tree was closed and there was a gate. So we were very fortunate that we had stumbled upon them yesterday.

We did spot a couple of the Langur on our way to and from the Light House along the main path. But the lighting there was much poorer and there were too many visitors walking up and down and I didn’t get any usable shots from.

We heard there were 4 types of monkey in this area. The Tailed Macaque; Dusky Langur; Pig Tailed Macaque and Silver Langur. We didn’t get to sight the latter 2 but I happy that at least we got the Dusky Langur.

Wild Boars of Pasir Ris

I lived in Pasir Ris for a long time and I have heard so much about the wild boars of Pasir Ris but have until recently never seen one in the area. Not in Pasir Ris Park where there are signs warning of them or even at the Punggol Waterway/Lorong Halus where they were first reported in the press.

The other night though, on a whim was running along Drive 3 hoping to catch a glimpse of a family of White Bellied Sea Eagle. Instead of the Eagle, I stumbled upon a whole group of wild boars at the junction of Drive 3 and the Mainland Fish Farm. Here is a video I took of them scavenging for food.

I read in the press complaints of the wild boars – of them being a danger to the public. This being my first time encountering such a big group – there were at least more than 10, I played it safe and stood behind 2 big construction boulders (in the foreground of the video). However my observation was that the wild boars were more afraid of humans than we should be of them. Every time I made a sudden movement, the whole lot of them will run into the forest.

Nevertheless, I think with such a big group of them, there will be bound to be some animal/human conflicts especially if there are piglets. Also with them being so near the road, there is always the potential for them to go onto the road ending up as roadkill or causing a nasty accident.

I would like to suggest to the authorities to consider putting up a fence to stop the wild boars from encroaching onto the road. The fence can start from the perimeter fence of Mainland Fish Farm running along the edge of the forest grass verge to the Vue 8 condominium, a distance of about roughly 50 metres. The fence will keep the wild boars within the forested area and not go onto the pavement and roads and not run into any humans. Same time, it will serve as a sort of deterrent to itchy backside public who try to get too close to them. Also, the authorities should consider putting up prominent notices warning against feeding the wild boars. Hopefully, with these measures, it will be a win win situation for both the wild boars and the public and not result in the authorities having to cull the wild boars.