Thursday, May 27, 2010

Through The Mangrove Swamps

On an easy 3-hour walk through the mangrove swamps and a little bit of the primary forests in Taman Nasional Bali Barat, we saw many fun animals, insects and whathaveyous. I love them mudskippers. So cute.

To us, it wasn't a strenuous session. I wore sandals and bermudas and went sloshing in the mud among the tree roots. Even though we walked through dense undergrowth taller than us at some points, there was nothing to be feared. To many city folks, it would be a little daunting. To seasoned trekkers, it would be nothing more than a stroll in the park. To the Balinese villagers and their little kids, the areas we covered were their backyard and playground.

It was quite a cool day at a cloudy 29degreesC. Still very humid. But I do quite alright in hot weather, so no issues there. Again, being prepared for the heat and decked out in dri-fit clothes helped tremendously. And yes, there were swarms of those damn mosquitoes which I hate. Luckily for the very effective insect repellent, otherwise we'd have gotten more bites. The man had a grand total of 5 mozzie bites. I had, well, none. :D

We saw 3 varieties of kingfishers. There were the small reds (Rufus Backed), medium blues (Cerulean) like that one in the photo and tiny multi-coloreds (Javan). This photo posted here was taken through the lens of the telescope; unedited, save for resizing. I loved the rich wildlife. We do have something like this in Singapore- Sungei Buloh (with the boardwalk too) although it isn't exactly comparable because that is so tame. This is the real thing. But many migratory birds stop over in Singapore. humans. On this trek, we saw plenty of other birds too. But I was at a complete loss as to the exact species beyond the generic names. Our guide had a book of birds and we flipped through it. But because we were wading through mud and primary forests, I was too distracted to remember which varieties they belong to.

Our guide lugged a very good telescope along which made the trip so much more fruitful. It was incredible how his experienced eye spotted living things way before our useless city eyes did. He picked out crabs, birds and spiders in the most obscure of places. I was excellent at spotting creepy crawlies though. And the thorns on the bushes. Those thorns were ridiculously accurate in attempting to pierce our flesh.

Further inland, there were fresh deer tracks running through the muddy forest floor. Pity we couldn't spot the owner lurking anywhere. We were probably too noisy. Chehh. We didn't see any other animals bigger than a shoe. Luckily we didn't run into any wild boars. Honestly, we lacked first aid equipment. If we did meet an angry boar, I'm not sure climbing a tree would help all that much.

What a very fun experience in the mangrove swamps! I perspired like mad, got kissed by many bugs and scratched by tree roots, but I loved it. That unbeatable exhilarating feeling of being ALIVE.


tuti said...

i remember how mosquitoes don't bite you. must test your blood, haha.

tuti said...

love the necklace on your profile.
must be the neck though. ;)

Dawn said...

The minute I saw the shot - I was like KINGFISHER! The cerulean is tiny isn't it? Try and remember what other birds you saw!!!

imp said...

tuti: thanks! it's a birthday gift frm a girlfriend n made by my fav craftswoman!

dawn: I remember how they look. I know their general species, but not the exact names. Need to google for a match. I only noted the kingfisher in its 3 varieties! I was thrilled to get this shot. Specially for u! I know u'll like it!

Dawn said...

Thanks! what an awesome hike!