It’s May baby! Long weekend getaway @ Jurong Lake Gardens and East Coast Park

It’s finally May, which means Bioblitz is rolling at full speed island-wide, and Festival of Biodiversity is around the corner! Participate in a variety of bird, butterfly / bee surveys and habitat enhancements at a park near you, and make your weekend mornings meaningful and green-filled! Click on the links above to learn more if you are interested! 😉

To double the excitement, Jurong Lake Gardens is now open after some renovation and reconstructions! I went there on 3rd May with my fellow nature enthusiast Sarah, shopped a little at the Gardening / Horticulture festival there, and took some great shots of dragonflies and aquatic birds! As I don’t own a DSLR yet, most of them were captured by my friend :’) I will share some I took with iPhone 8. **I’m getting my own Canon M50 in early June! Will brush up my photography shots quickly and present to you my originals soon…

cactus and succulents sale
So many grey heron nets, all clustered on the leftmost and rightmost tree canopy!

It was about to rain when we saw the grey heron clusters in Japanese Garden. Perhaps they were gathering as a community and preparing to shelter their young from the pouring storm!

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1b9GxJ83aue9ccsLBLo_IDjMgRyyjteiB

Watch me blend into the grey heron family with my amazing bird call skills 🙂 Saw an oriental magpie robin chirping and hopping around blooming flowers too!

Bioblitz at East Coast Park:

Our heavy footsteps disturbed a couple grasshoppers below the green ankle-length grass. Grass blues flickered their wings around our feet, like tiny soap bubbles floating and glittering under the hot 10 o’clock sunbeam. The trek was in fact arduous and not poetic at all — burning sunlight without shade from canopies, ferocious ant bites and socks soaked in muddy puddles of water. But the fairies, dancing around, drinking nectars and mating among the shrubs, agitated exciting squeals under our breaths and made our odyssey all worthwhile.

We identified 13 out of 15 species of butterflies usually found in the area, including tawny coaster, peacock pansy, blue pansy, lemon and white emigrants, common tit, and so on. From the NParks guide, we learnt that male butterflies would do puddling in the muddy puddles, picking up salt water to feed the female with more nutrients.

Tawny coaster. Raw footage on my drive.

Butterflies display co-evolution with their host plants, an inextricable tie from the species’ life stage as an egg, to caterpillar, to pupa, and finally to the butterfly that will lay its eggs and restart the circle of life. The green, plump caterpillar of white emigrant, for example, was seen feeding on the “emperor’s candlestick” plant. It is an important medicinal plant from the subfamily Caesalpiniodeae, and in fact an invasive species in Southeast Asia and Australia.

Emperor’s candlestick, close up. From Wikipedia.
young caterpillar of the white emigrant.

Red ants have a symbiotic relationship with the caterpillars of Lycaenid butterflies, commonly known as the grass blues. The caterpillars secrete a sweet honeydew from their rear to lure the ants over. In return for the nutritious treat, the ants defend predators from the caterpillar, swarming over its body whenever there is disturbance to the leaf. The caterpillar is then able to peacefully devour its meal without fear for its life.

Two caterpillars of an unidentified grass blue. Their rear ends are to the sides.

Thanks for patronising! Schoolwork is getting crazier, so I will post my future originals (hopefully more aesthetic) on Instagram @nature.bio.philosophy instead 🙂 Do check the page out! I promise it will blow your mind!

Islina x

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