Published: July 31st 2006July 30th 2006
I returned to the Botanical Gardens this morning to see what I could see. It was all common stuff of course: plantain squirrels, cute little white-breasted waterhens, koels, flowerpeckers, etc. I fed the whistling ducks with the nutritious fare of white bread crusts. A snakehead came up as well to try out the offerings. The lakes in the Gardens are full of fish -- gouramis, cichlids, catfish, all sorts, as well as millions of red-eared turtles. I saw an Asian softshell turtle (Amyda cartilaginea) too, who was really nice but a trifle perplexed to see me.
After I was done, I headed off to Sentosa Island, off the south coast. There's a lookout there labelled as the southernmost point of the Asian continent, which kind of begs the question of shouldn't the southernmost point of a continent actually be on the continent and not on an island off another island off the continent? Anyway, it was raining most of the time and any birds there were staying out of my way. All I got were lots of Javan and common mynahs, spot-necked doves, swiftlets and a couple of distant cockatoos which I tried really hard to make into
lesser sulphur-crests but which stubbornly refused to be anything but Goffin's. I tried the 'dragon trail', a nature walk as Disney would have made, with carvings and statues and dragon skeletons littering the track.
Sentosa is basically a resort. Once you get there and pay the admission fee ($3 including the bus over the bridge), there's free buses and trams to take you all over the place, so I cruised around on those for a bit, wandered the beach in the rain, and went to the Butterfly World which is apparently some guy's hobby that he opened to the public (I'm presuming at some considerable profit, judging from the gift-shop). Its a bit of an eclectic mix of live invertebrates, many many dead ones, fossils, reptiles, etc. Some of the live insects I think were really dead ones masquerading as live. Various big beetles are displayed in tiny cases, but none were actually moving and many didn't even have their feet on the ground. One had its head lying beside its body, which could possibly have been some remarkable defence mechanism but I somehow doubted it. Near the exit was a big artificial tree-trunk with holes carved out
and plastic covers over each to contain the beetle inhabitants. Seeing that in an attempt to stop them running away these all had pins through their bodies, I decided to go back and check the earlier ones I saw. When I got there a lady was replacing one dead beetle with a live one. So they start out alive...
Later I got some food. It was a sort of curry chicken soup thing, where all the chicken was either strips of skin and fat, or bits of neck.
ANIMAL OF THE DAY: Asian softshell turtle.
There are more photos below