I took half day off work today to monitor seagrasses at Cyrene reef! Reached West Coast Park with some time to spare, so I went to walk around, and saw lots of birds (apart from the usual mynas)!
Pardon the lousy photos, my compact Olympus is not meant for birding photos.
And there was a pair of fairly large yellow birds (seem to be bigger than black-naped orioles), but they were moving too fast for me to catch a photo/look properly. And a number of small birds as well!
Moving on, we finally got to Cyrene reef! The sky was looking rather grey, and there was a very light drizzle as we touched down onto the sand bar. And immediately, Meilin pointed out a Grey bonnet snail!
Marcus, Meilin and I were to do 1 transect each at Site 1. But we decided it might be faster for all 3 of us to work together, since we would need help with setting up the transect line anyway.
The seagrass meadow at Cyrene is not as luxuriant as I remembered it to be! The first time I went to Cyrene, I was just stunned at the abundance and diversity and it took me 10 minutes just to do one quadrat. Now, the grass is rather sparse 😦 and short.
We managed to finish up rather quickly. The annoying drizzle (but hot sun) slowly trickled away and we had, thankfully, pretty nice weather! Though we could see that in the distance on mainland, the Western side of Singapore was pouring hard.
With time to spare before the tide rose, we explored the area, as usual.
An elbow crab we found in one of our quadrats. The claws are almost twice the length of the carapace!
Meilin spotted this rather large (~10cm?) nudibranch as well, that I have never seen before! Bohol nudibranch (Discodoris boholiensis)
While taking photos of the Bohol (named after a place btw), I saw what I thought was a pair of Ornate leaf slugs (Elysia ornata)! Turned it was a pair of mating pair! These guys were all over the place, munching on algae. They’re rather large as well, on average about 8cm?
Saw one small Hairy crab 🙂
Marcus spotted this little guy! 5-spot anemone shrimp (Periclimenes brevicarpalis) that was sitting in the middle of a Haddon’s carpet anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni).
I walked over to the rocky shore, and there were many of these Giant top shells (Trochus niloticus)!
There was also this pretty Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea)
Being in Cyrene, how could we miss out on the charismatic Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus)??? We didn’t see any initially, but after finishing our monitoring, they all started appearing. Maybe as a reward 😛 There were lots more, but heh too lazy to upload all.
And of course, the Common sea stars (Archaster typicus) as well.
The stormy weather started looking like it was heading our way, and not wanting to be stranded on this patch reef as the tide is rising, we quickly headed back to the boat. Right before we left, the sun’s rays peeking out from behind the dark clouds made for a very pretty picture(: My Olympus does not do it justice.
All of us safely back on board, we took a peek at what the boat crew had caught while waiting for us. Groupers, breams and a number of other fishes whose names I cannot remember now. I need to work on my fish ID…
Update-26Nov: The 3 dark brown coloured fish are Indian Grouper (Ephinephalus boenack). The two roundish, reddish-pink fish are White cheeked Monocle Bream (Scolopsis vosmeri). The 3 small cigar-shaped fish with the yellow strip are Paradise Whiptail (Pentapodus paradiseus). The 3 fish at the top of the photo are: Blackspot Tuskfish (Choerodon schoenleinii) on the left and right, and a Stripy Snapper (Lutjanus carponotatus) in the center.
Thanks to Jeffrey Low for helping with the ID!
It was good to be back in Cyrene. The last session on 29 Sept was cancelled because of the fire at Bukom 😦 Hopefully the next time we’re back, the seagrasses will be doing better!