This Chinese New Year holiday had been a wet season. It was raining almost daily throughout the week. When I set out for this trip, I could not even be certain whether I would make it out of the forest dry. Fortunately, except for a few tiny droplets, there was no major downpour. I started at MacRitchie Reservoir and exited from Venus Drive, the reverse direction of what I did on 6 April last year. That time, I was caught in a heavy and windy downpour at the last leg of the trip.
Actually, my last visit to the MacRitchie Reservoir area was on 30 November last year although I did not write up that trip. At that time, I found a rather rare parasitic plant, Oval-leaved Mistletoe (Viscum ovalifolium) on a Malayan Banyan (Ficus microcarpa) tree. There were at least 3 mature plants hanging from the hostplant. The same hostplant also housed a common parasitic plant, Common Chinese Mistletoe (Macrosolen cochinchinensis). The rare Oval-leaved Mistletoe plants were still around at my current trip. It should have there for quite a while.
Along the track, I saw some spiny fruits hanging from some slender branches that looked like a Macaranga species. I thought it was a new plant until I did a check back home. It turned out to be a Macaranga species that I already knew, Macaranga trichocarpa, except that I had not seen its fruit in the past. Even so, the fruit was a good catch.
These nodules at the back of this unknown fallen leaf should be galls.
Not too far along the track was another Macaranga species. It was a new plant this time round. The stipules at the growing end of the branches gave away the identity of the young shrub. The leaf stalk was not attached to the edge of the leaf but at some distance away from the leaf edge. It should be the Swamp Mahang (Macaranga recurvata).
There are several Macaranga species in the forest and differentiating them can be tough as their juvenile forms, commonly observed at eye level, often looked very similar.
Dipterocarpus species are gigantic trees and several species are present in this forest. Three of them happened to be in their fruiting season with their seeds lining along and by the side of the track. One was Dipterocarpus kunstleri which has large pink winged seeds. The other, Dipterocarpus tempehes, had seeds without wing. I had no idea whether the third type of winged seeds seen belonged to a Dipterocarpus species. Each seed had 3 wings, 2 long ones with a shorter one. Since they are tall trees, I could only take pictures of the tree trunk or the fallen leaves.
On the creature side, they were mainly small beetles and butterflies. I saw 2 different millipedes, one was rather small and the other was gigantic in comparison. I had seen huge millipedes in captivity but not in the wild. This particular millipede found on a tree trunk was about 15 centimetres long. [Update: Giant Millipede (Thyropygus sp.)] It resembled the more common Rusty Millipede (Trigoniulus corallinus) except for the size. It made me felt good to see that our remaining forests still harboured such unusual creature.
This was one of the more fruitful trips in term of new discovery and one that I had taken the most pictures so far (705 shots to be exact). Although I would love to get out more often for such exploration, I am likely to spend less time in the wild this year due to changes to some routine schedules.
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.