Unlike the usual Love MacRitchie Walk at Venus Loop, the walk on 1 March 2014 was held at Prunus-Petai Trail – part of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. Through this 3.5 hour long walk, Toddycats aimed to help participants appreciate the difference between the mature/primary forest there and young secondary forests like that at Venus Loop. 20 adventurous participants were guided by seven Toddycats on this very fruitful walk.
Due to the recent dry spell, this walk provided a timely opportunity for us to see the forest in bloom – plenty of plants were flowering! Perhaps the most prominent are the flowers of the Wild Rambai tree (Baccaurea parviflora), which filled the air with a pleasant citrusy scent throughout the trail. The Common Mahang (Macaranga bancana) and Leaf Litter Plant (Agrostistachys borneensis) were flowering as well. Other plants such as the Petai tree (Parkia speciosa) that had started flowering a few weeks ago, were already fruiting so we could see the smelly beans in their pods! Many tropical rainforest plants are known to undergo masting following brief bouts of drought. Masting is the mass flowering/fruiting of several species at the same time – a strategy that the plants have developed to maximize their reproductive success in response to environmental stress. The sheer amount of food available for animals overwhelms them, ensuring that there are still viable propagules that can germinate in future when conditions are right.
Animals of the forest also graced us with their presence. Participants delighted in the sights of vertebrates like the Oriental Whip Snake (Ahaetulla prasina) and Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja), as well as invertebrates like the Branded Imperial (Eooxylides tharis distanti) and Common Posy (Drupadia ravindra moorei).
The boardwalk, which fringes MacRitchie Reservoir also offered a great context to remind participants about invasive species, with all that Red-eared Sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans) and arowanas thriving in the water.
Love Our MacRitchie Forest will celebrate Singapore World Water Day 2014 with our next walk at Venus Loop on 15 Mar 2014 (fully subscribed!). Sign up on the waiting list at http://tinyurl.com/lovemacritchiewalks-wait, and we will contact you about upcoming walks.
See more pictures at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/habitatnews/sets/72157641698353635/with/12901158985/