During the launch of the new, picturesque mangrove book, mangrove-expert at large and teacher of generations of biology undergraduates including all of us, D H "Paddy" Murphy was crowned with a ring of mangrove leaves. Unfortunately I missed the whole event as I was running the first year biodiversity exam but Raffles Museum News has some photo highlights: http://tinyurl.com/6yauxc
I was introduced to an excellent coastal walk (and bicycle route) in Taipei by Prof Wang Chia-Hsiang of the Taiwan National Museum in 1999. It was a lovely walk that complimented the visits I had made earlier in the forests further south with mangrove researcher Hsueh Mei-Li. I was fortunate to be introduced to sub-tropical mangroves in such excellent company.
The walk from Hongshulin MRT station provides a lovely view of the large expanse of the very short Kandelia kandel mangroves growing along the Tamshui river which drains Taipei. After that introduction, I did the walk a few more times [see this aerial view].
You can walk along a coastal pubic walkway (and bicycle path) that runs parallel to the river. After two MRT station stops, it was possible to make your way through a village with a very old Mazu old temple and a fishing community to reach the bird reserve which was then called ?Guantong and is now called Guandu.
I have pointed many friends there and now two more are going to Taipei, so I checked to see if things are still the way they were, a decade ago.
The last station on the red line in the north is named after the river, Tamshui (= Tanshui = Danshuei = Danshui) station; the different spellings are apparently used in different places. When I was last there, I had learnt to recognise the Chinese characters to get around anyway but I seem to recall the MRT signs say “Tamshui”.
However, the MRT station from which I recommend most to begin the coastal walk from is the Hongshulin MRT station. One floor below the station level of this second last station resides the “Mangrove Forest Exhibition Hall” (or “Mangrove Ecosystem Show Room”) which apparently was redecorated in 2006. It was host to a theatrette and some child-proof games and lovely sand-blasted doors with mangrove animal depictions. The video was in Chinese but I could figure out enough from the images.
The mangrove viewable from the MRT and coastal path is growing in an inlet running parallel to the course of the main river, see the maps in this post or explore Google map.
The mangrove here is dominated by Kandelia kandel and is not very old – the history of the area is related through aerial photos of the river taken over time. It illustrates the gradual colonisation by the forest.
The red Guandu bridge is the prominent man-made feature that dominates the view of the river.
The coastal path runs parallel to the MRT and two stops later, at Guandu MRT Station (= ?Guantong = ?Kuan-du), a path through the town leads past a fishing village and a 17th century Mazu temple to the Guandu Nature Park at the confluence of the Tamshui (=Danshui) and Jilong rivers.
Interrupted Theresa’s recce trip for yet another rescue session. She and Kah Ming detected about 20 live ones that we set free. And the net was dragged out of mangroves. I posted a quick note up at Habitatnews; haven’t talked about it there since 2005 although this is a frequent event. It really is quite maddening.
I’m used to the ladies amongst our volunteers and biology TAs being tough cookies (even to bail me out on occasion), but how would the the Miss Earth Singapore contestants hold out when they joined us at the Lim Chu Kang cleanup?
Well, the mild perfume, panted nails, makeup and sashes were definitely a first at a mangrove cleanup, but they did fine and easily fell into the groove with us.
Late into the session, I pulled Airani away from wrestling some half-buried plastic out of the ground to take photos. She fired off more than 100 shots with the new Fuji Finepix. Certainly that compact is much easier than handling the Lumix in the midst of a cleanup. It produced useable shots – enough for a blog post about the session on the ICCS News blog. Now she is considering video for the actual ICCS day.
On a recent mangrove field trip to look for mudskippers, I was dismayed to see the amount of plastic and other trash that has accumulated in this lovely patch of mangroves. Even the mudskippers were resting on plastic and plastic bags were hanging out of trees, having ben deposited there during the high tides.
Although the ICCS hits the beach there annually and sometimes twice, I think the mangroves there need a little more help. So I am heading down with Toddycats and friends on Saturday, 19th July 2008. We’re limiting the number to 50 to avoid impact and are not collecting data since that is what the ICCS is for. We’ll concentrate on hauling stuff out.
If you feel game for this, sign up snipurl.com/toddycats-lck – need to see if I need to provide transport from NUS or Clementi MRT. Do sign up by 13th July 2008.
Unfortunately the Pasir Panjang Guides can’t join us for this workout. I am skipping our Heritage Fest walk for this. But just had to tackle this now.