Butterfly Hill at Pulau Ubin

I confess I have no idea there was such a place at Pulau Ubin. I only saw it when I went to shoot the Pesta Ubin Run recently. And I knew I have to come back to take a closer look at it.  Soback on Pulau Ubin over the weekend for a full day trek, we made a pit stop here to check out the scene. 

And my golly, there were indeed butterfly galore. Just walking alongside it, I could see a few butts flying –  a couple of Jeezebul and some Yellows. I knew I must explore the place in depth. But the hike training has to take priority and after just about half an hour of looking at the many different butterfly flying around, I have to move on with just 3 photo of butterfly out of the so many there. One Peacock Pansy, a Glassy Tiger and an unidentified butterfly or maybe moth.

Peacock Pansy

Blue Glassy Tiger

Unidentified Butterfly/moth

I consoled myself that earlier on right at the beginning of the day, I had got a photo of the beautiful Common Birdwing at the Assembly Area.

Common Birdwing

And there was bound to be other butterfly around although I swear I am so gonna come back to Butterfly Hill again just for the butts. 

Anyway, at the fruit farm, I managed to shoot a beautiful Lascar. Not too sure whether it is a Common or Malayan Lascar though.

Lascar

There was also a pair of Glassy Tiger flying around the same plant

Dark Glassy Tiger

On the way in to and out of Chek Jawa, there were a few butts flying around despite it being almost 4 pm. Despite being pressed for time, managed to get a photo of a Knight. Too bad the angle isn’t too good. It was too skittish and it didn’t help that there were many cyclists whizzing through and every time one of them pass by, the butterfly will take off.

Knight

I shall return and the next time it will only be butterfly time!

 

Pulau Ubin

It been some time since I last visited Pulau Ubin and then suddenly in the space of 2 months, I been there 3 times. Each time I am struck by its wild beauty and marvel that such a rustic place can be reached from bustling busy Singapore city with just a 10 minutes ferry ride.

The same run down little shop houses with the eateries and bicycle rentals are still there. The wayang stage is still there and nothing much seems to have changed. Time seems to have come to a stand still there which is good. Hopefully no Sentosa twin ever.

On my latest visits, we noticed 2 places that we have never seen or noticed. Butterfly Hill where there are apparently more than 140 species of butterfly spotted.

More of that in a later post though.

The numerous quarries are still there and together with view of the surrounding sea postcard like backdrop of the island.

Former Ubin Resort (now part of Learning Lab)

Fish Pond

Pekan Quarry

Chek Jawa is still a very much beloved part of the island with its picturesque jetty and mangrove boardwalk.

And we stumbled upon this little hill

At the summit which is only probably about 50 metres above sea level, one get a very beautiful view of the Ubin quarry on one side and the Pasir Ris town on the other.

View from top of Puaka Hill

View from top of Puaka Hill

Other places that have withstood the test of time includes the German Girl Shrine(which seem to have been upgraded in fact)

German Girl Shrine

and this very iconic drink stall which is on every visitor’s list of must take photo

We went to the Ketam Mountain Bike park by foot and not by bike and was rewarded with beautiful view of the Ketam Island and more view of Pasir Ris town.

Ketam Island

We followed a trail to a temple which looks like a copy cat of a Tibetan temple which colourful flags everywhere.

We were training for an upcoming hike and birding and butterflying at the same time so we took a fair bit of time to cover probably 2/3 of the hill. Good excuse to come back another time.

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

Marina Bay in a different light

Sometime ago there was a light festival at Marina Bay. There were many light installations put up with spectacular colours. There was also a carnival. There were many photos posted up on social media and that inspired me to go down to take a look and try my luck with some night photos. Unfortunately, when I reached the Floating Platform and sat down to setup my equipment, the leg of one of the tripod came away in my hand! It had broke and there goes my vision of light streaks, stars and whats not. And so I have to end up with hand held shots 🙁 

Anyway, here are some photos of the usual Marina Bay buildings and structure in a different light.

The familiar “lotus” of the Art Science Museum light painted with a mosaic of color 

The facade of one of the Pavilion adored with lips

And the Merlion becomes techicolour

Fort Canning Park

Most major cities in the world has a park in the city.  Singapore has several but actually most of them are like giant garden with its manicured lawn, sculptures, nicely trimmed hedges and small puny little trees and shrubs. The only place that come close to being a park in the city is the Fort Canning Hill Park. This is a 18 hectare park situated on a hill overlooking the Singapore River with a very interesting history so interesting that the Heritage Board or whatever authorities had an archaeological dig there and part of the dig site has been left for visitors to view.

In the old days, Fort Canning was also known as the Forbidden Hill where in the early days the Malay rulers were supposingly buried there.  Hence the place became a sacred hill. Even till today, there is a shrine or Keramat of one such ruler, Iskandar Shah.

Interestingly beside the Keramat which is Malay in nature, there is another cemetery on Fort Canning and this one belongs to the European. 

When Sir Stamford Raffles came to Singapore, he set up his base at Fort Canning and Fort Canning became Government Hill and all things associated with the earlier colonial rulers including cemetary sprung up there. In the later year, the British set up a fort there to “defend” against the Japanese. And because it is a fort, naturally there are bunkers Continue Reading →

Windsor Nature Park

Singapore opens another “nature” park – the Windsor Nature Park which is actually what to me used to me part of the MacRitchie Reservoir entering from the Venus Road side. And naturally knowing how authorities’ fixation on clean and neat, what used to be a nice semi-wild trail is now very sadly sanitised.

Like this broadwalk here. Previously it was just a nice trail with railings at the side to prevent people from encroaching into one of the few remaining natural stream left in Singapore. Now there is this nice broadwalk. Oh well, I suppose if it helps to keep the people from trampling all over.

The stream that goes into the forest. When the kids were younger and I was not into this nature protection thingy, we came here to catch the little longkang fish like guppy, mosquitoes fish, cichlids and the occasional barbs. Nowadays, activities like that are forbidden and carry a heavy fine which is good as we need to protect the little bit of nature that we have left although I must said most of the fishes there nowadays are not “local”. 

In addition to the broadwalk from the Venus Road carpark where there is now a Visitor Centre and a toilet, there is another new broadwalk, the Drongo Trail running almost parallel with the old trail adjacent to the SICC road. This broadwalk is above ground level and allow visitors to see at least the mid level of the trees and its inhabitants. This will leads to MacRitchie Reservoir.

From Venus Road entrance, there is another trail called Venus Walk but this is a cemented path and leads to the Windsor housing estate. It does look very nice though and very “runnable” hahaha.

Fortunately, my favourite part of this trail which is now officially known as Venus Loop has been left largely untouched and there is still this beautiful canopy tunnel as well as the winding trails for me to run through.

Overall I must admit Nparks have done a good job of striking a nice balance between keeping the place as natural as possible and yet protecting the environment. The expected popular area have been reinforced with the broadwalk and most of the trees and plants appear to be left untouched.