The past week had been rather warm, and the weather spared us no respite as we made our way towards Venus Loop at 8:30 a.m. on February 9th for our monthly Love MacRitchie walk.
Luckily, once under the shade of rubber and Terentang trees, the temperature felt much more bearable. For us outdoor-lovers, a lower ambient temperature, of up to 7oC cooler, is one of the most important benefits our healthy forests can provide us.
Caps on, bottles full. Let’s go.
In a species-rich tropical rainforest, you can be assured of finding plants fruiting regardless of season. Indeed, the first sights that greeted us as we stepped into the cool undergrowth were the knobby figs hanging off Ficus trees, a bright red bouquet of Elephant’s Ear berries and one-third remnants of rubber fruit capsules – one-third, because rubber fruits have three lobes and the seeds disperse when the fruit dries and explodes. Cool, huh?
Aided by the bright sunshine filtering through canopy gaps, we also spotted a wide range of critters hiding in the shrubs. Familiar old friends include the ubiquitous Branded Imperial butterflies and fluffy mealybugs, while more surreptitious finds include a well-camouflaged cicada and a group of crickets, both surprisingly resting their vocal cords (tymbal and wings respectively, to be scientifically accurate) amidst the forest chorus.
However, no insect caught our eye more than a group of Common Birdwing butterflies. A female individual was perched on a twig while several males were fluttering around her. From what our spotter Jensen saw, only one lucky male was successful in its courtship. We were a few minutes late and missed the spectacle, but Jensen managed to capture this beautiful photograph.
Where’s the bigger animals?
Big animals did come around, but most birds and squirrels were too restless on this bright Sunday morning for our cameras. We did catch this Greater Racket-tailed Drongo taking a breather, with its “rackets” neatly hanging below its tail.
Fascinated? We were too. That’s why we’re determined to lend these plants and animals a voice, to help them make a firm statement for protecting one of their last homes in Singapore. Interested in doing the same? Here’s how you can help.
Love our MacRitchie Forest conducts monthly guided walks. More details can be found here. See you in the forest!