Category Archives: events

Highlights of the July Love MacRitchie Walk

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Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus). Photo by Benjamin Lim.

On 8 Jul 2017, 16 participants joined three Toddycats on a Love MacRitchie Walk along Venus Loop. While discussing the conservation issues surrounding the proposed Cross Island MRT Line, the keen-eyed participants kept a lookout for creatures along the forest trail. Even the most well-camouflaged animals revealed themselves! What seemed like a woody stump turned out to be a Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus) trying to take a snooze! There was also a really hairy caterpillar that seemed to blend into the tree trunk if you looked at it from the top. In the tree canopy, we would not have spotted the Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot (Psittinus cyanurus) if it had not been dropping starfruit bits as it feasted. It looked so much like a leaf!

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Caterpillar. Photo by Amanda Lek.

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Blue-rumped Parrot (Psittunus cyanurus). Photo by Benjamin Lim.

There were also some brilliantly coloured creatures that never fail to catch our eyes. Before we even hit the trail, a Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum) was gorging on a breakfast of Senduduk (Melastoma malabathricum) fruits. It must have been so hungry because it didn’t mind all the people standing barely a metre or two away, snapping away with their smartphones! Nearby, a beautiful turquoise coloured Common Bluebottle (Graphium sarpedon) was sipping nectar from the Red Leea (Leea rubra).

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Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum). Photo by Amanda Lek.

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Common Bluebottle (Graphium sarpedon). Photo by Joyce Wong.

Recently, an unfortunate incident occured in the vicinity of Windsor Nauture Park, where a wild boar (Sus scrofa) injured a woman who was walking her dog. NParks has erected advisory signs around the park, and everyone should read them as earnestly as this young participant did! The signs read: “Wild boars have been seen in the area. If you encounter a wild boar, move calmly away from it. Do not use flash photography as it may upset the animal. Do not feed it as it is illegal to feed wild animals.”

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Wild boar advisory by NParks. Photo by Chloe Tan.

The little ones who joined the walk had lots of fun trudging along the dirt trail and letting their imagination run wild!

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Waiting to be teleported to another realm. Photo by Chloe Tan.

Everybody learned new things on this fun-filled walk. We shared our passion for nature in different ways, be it through photography, nature education or simply loving the great outdoors. Let us do what we can to help conserve Singapore’s Nature Reserves for the generations to come!

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Group 1 with their guide, Amanda Lek (front row, first from left). Photo by Amanda Lek.

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Group 2 with their guide, Claire Jonquieres (second from left). Photo by Joyce Wong.

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Group 3 with their guide, Chloe Tan (back row, right). Photo by Chloe Tan.

Find out more about the Love MacRitchie movement here. See more photos of the walk on Facebook.

Highlights of the June Love MacRitchie Walk

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A pleasant walk through the shady forest. Photo by Jensen Seah.

It had been a week of scorching hot weather so a walk through the shady forest was a much welcomed respite from the urban heat. Three Toddycats and 18 participants turned up at Venus Loop on 11 Jun 2017 to observe the wildlife in MacRitchie Forest and discuss the conservation issues surrounding the proposed Cross Island MRT Line.

The animals in the forest were going about their usual activities and we got to observe them really up close! There was a jumping spider was hopping around a plant, probably hunting for its breakfast. We got to see its huge pair of forward-facing eyes that helps it judge distance better so it can accurately pounce on its prey. A Common Flashwing damselfly (Vestalis amethystina) was basking on a sunny spot at our eye level, its purple wings shimmering beautifully. One group also spotted a headless Golden-spotted Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta)! We wonder who the gruesome predator was.

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Jumping spider. Photo by Jensen Seah.

 

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Common Flashwing (V. amethystina). Photo by Jensen Seah.

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Golden-spotted Tiger Beetle (C. aurulenta). Photo by Joleen Chan.

The birds also came out to play. A Dark-necked Tailorbird (Orthotomus atrogularis) came unusually close to the trail, prancing about the foliage. There was a Greater-racket Tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus) that was singing at the top of its funky metallic voice too!

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Dark-necked Tailorbird (O. atrogularis). Photo by Jensen Seah.

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Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (D. paradiseus). Photo by Chloe Tan.

Some of us saw a leaf-like object glide across the trail and perch on a dead tree trunk. Upon a closer look, it turned out to be a Black-bearded Gliding Lizard (Draco melanopogon)! A handsome male was showing off its black throat flap, possibly in an attempt to get the attention of a female that was on the same trunk. Nearby, a Plantain Squirrel (Callosciurus notatus) was very busy collecting nesting materials.

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Black-bearded Gliding Lizard (D. melanopogon). Photo by Chloe Tan.

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Plantain Squirrel (C. notatus). Photo by Chloe Tan.

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Tak Wei from BES Drongos does some sharing. Photo by Joleen Chan.

On this walk, we felt with our own skin the profound importance of forests in climate regulation. Our biggest lesson of the day was that we depend on the forests of our Nature Reserves as much as the animals do! A big thank you to the guides and participants for the lovely morning adventure!

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Group 1 with their guide, Joleen (on right). Photo by Joleen Chan.

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Group 2 with their guide, Claire (on right). Photo by Claire Jonquieres.

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Group 3 with their guide, Chloe (third from right). Photo by Chloe Tan.

Find out more about the Love MacRitchie movement here. See more photos of the walk on Facebook or Flickr.

 

 

 

Shelter Pawject: Toddycats June visit to Uncle Khoe’s K9 and PawPerfectLove Shelters

Registration has opened for our Shelter Pawject’s next trip on Sunday, 11th June 2017, 9.00am – 1.00pm.

Join us for a morning of washing, bathing, feeding and walking with our furry friends! Register at Eventbrite

Highlights of the April Love MacRitchie Walk

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Erin showing how to make a windmill using rubber fruit capsules. Photo by Lily Leong.

Toddycats volunteers had a great time guiding members of the public during the Love MacRitchie Walk that was held on 9 Apr 2017. This walk was unusually exciting because we saw many uncommon birds! A film crew from Mediacorp Channel 8 also joined us to shoot a feature on volunteerism in Singapore.

Aside from the usual suspects such as the fungi, figs, dragonflies and spiders, we were especially excited to see some pretty rare birds such as the Siberian blue robin (Larvivora cyane), blue-rumped parrots (Psittinus cyanurus), and chestnut-bellied malkoha (Phaenicophaeus sumatranus). The Siberian blue robin is an uncommon winter visitor in Singapore while the rare blue-rumped parrot and uncommon chestnut-bellied malkoha are forest-dependent residents.

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Blue-rumped parrot feeding on starfruit seeds. Photo by Jensen Seah.

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Chestnut-bellied Malkoha. Photo by Chloe Tan.

The film crew from Channel 8 interviewed the volunteers to find out why it is important to protect the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and what drives our passion to help conserve Singapore’s wildlife. Our friend, Teresa Guttensohn from Cicada Tree Eco-Place also joined us to share her story. The crew also interviewed the participants who shared their experience in the forest as well as what they saw and learned.

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A family of participants being interviewed. Photo by Joleen Chan.

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Teresa from Cicada Tree Eco-Place sharing her story. Photo by Chloe Tan.

Catch the Morning Express episode featuring Love MacRitchie on 2 May 2017, 9 am on Channel 8!

See more photos of the walk on Facebook or Flickr.

Join us as a Toddycats volunteer at Festival of Biodiversity 2017!

19264266751_f72272bb20_kHave a treasure-trove of nature-related stories but not sure who to share them with? Come join the NUS Toddycats at the Festival of Biodiversity 2017! This annual event aims to create awareness and promote efforts in conserving and enhancing our local biodiversity. Check out various recounts of past years’ Festival of Biodiversity events!

Where: NEX Serangoon

When: 27–28 May 2017

Not sure if you have enough stories to tell? Fret not. There will be two training sessions this year (volunteers need only to attend one) to equip volunteers with nature tales on the specimens on display this year.

In addition, volunteers with NUS Toddycats this year will have a chance to embark on not one, but TWO nature walks for an immersive experience in our natural habitats before we gear up for FOB 2017!

If you have a passion for our natural heritage, and want to lend a voice to our local biodiversity, sign up here: tinyurl.com/fob-volunteer2017.

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Ridge Walk – a series of five Friday evening briskwalks along the Southern Ridges

Dear friends,

In 2008, a 9-km series of trails, bridges and walkways were unveiled – these reconnected the Southern Ridges which had been carved through by several roads (see map). An almost continuous traffic-free walk from NUS to HarbourFront became possible and takes two hours at a brisk pace.

This is an excellent way to get in some exercise at the end of a tough week, amidst a unique landscape and greenery. Get to know various points along the Southern Ridges and plan your future visits. But it all starts with a walk and we are hard pressed to find the time.

To get you going, NUS Toddycats, in conjunction with Ridge View Residential College are leading a series of brisk walks for NUS staff, students and friends from YIH Plaza through to HarbourFront MRT on the following dates:

  1. Fri 24 Mar 2017
  2. Fri 28 Apr 2017
  3. Fri 19 May 2017
  4. Fri 30 Jun 2017
  5. Fri 28 Jul 2017

If you struggle to keep up initially, you can peel off at any time. Several popular stop points along the way are:

  1. 2.0km, 22 mins – Science Park 1 (Kent Ridge MRT Station); [route]
  2. 4.0km, 51 mins – Reflections at Bukit Chandu (near Pasir Panjang MRT Station) [route]
  3. 5.3km, 1h 12mins – Alexandra Arch (near Labrador Park MRT Station); [route]
  4. 6.2km, 1h 22mins – Henderson Waves (near Telok Blangah) – Bus Stop no. 14051 & 14059; [route]
  5. 8.8km, 2h 5mins – HarbourFront (near MRT Station); [route]

Your guides frm NUS Toddycats will be Kenneth Pinto, Xu Weiting, Airani S & N. Sivasothi.

If there is threat of heavy rain, strong winds prior to a storm or haze, we will cancel the walk and inform you by email.

Register here!

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Sat 04 Feb 2017: 7.45am – 11.00am @ Lim Chu Kang – Let’s throw out the trash this Chinese New Year

Help throw out the trash this Chinese New Year with the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore team @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove on Saturday 4th Feb 2017: 7.45am – 11.00am. 

Join us in extending some tender loving care to one of our precious mangrove fragments in Singapore. But you will need to ready for hard work, properly fitted out and ready for action – this is not for the faint-hearted!

Transport will be provided from Kranji MRT. Please sign up by Wed 1st Feb 2017.

For details, please head over to the Eventbrite Registration page. Do read the details about safety and preparation please.

Lim Chu Kang beach, Sat 14 Jan 2017