This was my first real field trip this year after having recover from the leg injury resulted a fall during the walk at the tree-top walk trail last December. I did venture out for short trips but there were too little items to do a full write up. While I was semi-resting in the last 2 months, Singapore had experience the longest dry spell in the country's history. Taking advantage of the extreme dry weather, I decided to explore the swamp forest around Upper Seletar Reservoir, which I expect to be drier now and thus, easier to move around at this time. My last trip there was in September last year. Due to the extreme dry weather, I actually anticipate that I might make few or no new discoveries. Surprisingly, this trip turn out to be one of the most fruitful trips.
The first hour of the walk did not yield anything of special interest, with the usual thick foliage and plants that were seen in my other trips. The first exciting moment came when I saw a flowering shrub which I had not seen previously. It had white flowers that appeared to turn yellow as they aged. It should be a Xanthophyllum species. There was another Xanthophyllum species in that area, Xanthophyllum affine. However, I doubt that this flowering plant was Xanthophyllum affine. [Update: Xanthophyllum discolor]
The best part came when I spotted a fruiting climber. It had a few bundles of small green grape-like berries hanging along the stem and the leaves were heart-shaped. Its leaves resembled that from another climber which also bear berry-like fruits, Cyclea laxiflora. For Cyclea laxiflora, its fruits were arranged in loose bundle while that from the current climber was much more compact. In addition, the leaves were not hairy at all when compared to those from Cyclea laxiflora. Knowing that it was likely to be from the Menispermaceae family, it was not too difficult to track down its identity --- Stephania capitata.
If not because of the height and the thick vegetation, the sighting of a mid-size elongated melon-like fruit in mid-air would be another exciting discovery. Despite several attempt and different approaches, I was not able to get through the vegetation to get a good picture of the lone hanging fruit from the climber, Trichosanthes elmeri.
On top of that, there was a huge thorny fallen rattan palm that stretched across the already congested vegetation. There were bundles of reddish fruits along its stem but my focus was to get to the melon. I had thought that it was a Daemonorops grandis where I had already taken quite a lot of good pictures in the past. Later, the rattan palm turned out to be Daemonorops didymophylla, which I still lacked some clearer pictures of the fruits. Fortunately, in my attempt to conquer the thorny palm, I did take a few pictures of its reddish fruits.
Eventually, I had to satisfy with a few blurry melon pictures and hope to have a btter luck the next time round. The melon picture on the left was the touch-up version, where the original picture was almost pitch dark.
There were at least three of this unknown trees (pictures below) that were flowering profusely with strands of flower stalks hanging from the smaller branches. From the appearance of the flowers, it might be from the Euphorbiaceae family. [Update: Osmelia philippina; Family: Salicaceae]
Despite the warm weather, there were still many creatures moving around. The few that I managed to take some shots were as follows: (1) Stick insect; (2) Moth (Erebus hieroglyphica); (3) Darkling Beetle; (4) Wasp (probably from the family Aulacidae); and (5) Grey Pansy butterfly (Junonia atlites atlites). The Grey Pansy butterfly was considered rare and this was the first time that I managed to take its picture. The moth was also uncommon according to a published article.
Below are selected photos from this trip arranged according to the sequence that they were taken. There is a text link under the photo that will direct you to more photos of the same species if they are available in my website.