Happy New Year everybody!
Here are some of my favourite finds of 2015:
Upper Left: Malayan Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) @ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
I was awestruck (and also very sad) to see such an impressively large (~1.7 – 2 metres long) Malayan Water Monitor dead by the side of the road, possibly hit by a vehicle.
Upper Right: Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) @ Pasir Ris Park
There is a nesting colony of Grey Herons in Pasir Ris Park. It’s quite strange that they chose to nest in an area with quite a lot of human traffic and noise, but the colony seems to be expanding over the years. I’ve been looking at these herons for some time, but 2015 was the first time I could walk beneath the trees they nest in, and found chicks that had fallen out or otherwise didn’t make it.
Lower Left: Palm King (Amathusia phidippus phidippus) @ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Earlier in 2015, one of my colleagues found a caterpillar and kept it for a while. Shortly after, it pupated, and when the adult butterfly emerged, we learnt that it was a Palm King, and released it. Several months later, another colleague found a dead Palm King near our office. I doubt it was the same individual that we’d released though. Also, I’m really lousy at identifying butterflies, but thanks to these two encounters with Palm Kings, I now know how to identify this species in the field.
Lower Right: Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) @ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
One of the most elusive and rarest of our native mammals, and the last wild cat species still extant in Singapore. Leopard Cats are known to inhabit Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, but finding a carcass was really unexpected.
Centre: Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) @ Singapore Strait
Finally, a carcass I didn’t actually see for myself, but this has got to be the most spectacular dead animal finding of the year.