It was a rather cloudy morning when I set out for the trip. My original destination was MacRitchie Reservoir. But as the dark cloud loom, I changed my mind mid-way to Upper Seletar Reservoir instead since it was nearer to my place. After exiting at Katib MRT, I took the same route as I did in November 2010. While at Upper Seletar forested area, I met Chow Khoon whom I had been corresponding for a while via email but had never met in person. He is very well verse in the climbers from the Grape family (Vitaceae) in Singapore and had written some articles on this family with nice pictures included. He had kindly brought me to see a flowering Pavetta wallichiana in that area. I had seen this shrub back in 2008 at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and had named it as Psychotria malayana in the past. More recently on 6 April 2012, I saw one plant with green berries along the MacRitchie Reservoir trail.
While walking along the canal toward the destination, I spotted a bee hive hidden within the trunk of a fig tree (Ficus microcarpa). The position of the hive was quite high on the tree and I could only get a long shot (picture left). Coincidently, I saw another hive later at the Seletar forest. This one was more exciting but dangerous as it was a hornet nest hidden in the leaf litters on the damp forest ground. The few hornets hovering around the area had given away the location of the nest (picture right). I did not dare to get too close and had to move away quickly when one of them seemed to sense my presence. This should be the Greater Banded Hornet (Vespa tropica).
Another interesting finding was this hawk moth caterpillar (Eupanacra elegantulus) seen on a Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia seguine). This was the second time that I saw this rare caterpillar that feed on plants from the Arum family (Araceae). The previous one was seen at Admiralty Park in December 2010.
The two spots on its head region are not its eyes. They are fake eye-liked features intended to scare away its prey and thus serve as a form of protection for the caterpillar. At the other end of the elongated body is a short tail.
A number of other creatures had been spotted (from left to right): Damselfly, Dragonfly (male Treehugger, Tyriobapta torrida), Curved Spiny Spider (Gasteracantha arcuata), Caterpillar and Butterfly (Common Posy, Drupadia ravindra moorei).
The following were two unknown plants, a climber and a tree, to be identified. The climber was likely to be a Piper species. The tree was fruiting with hard berry-like fruits littering the ground. [Update: Piper caninum and Baccaurea bracteata]
The forested area around the Upper Seletar Reservoir is always a facinating place to explore for both plants and animals. However, with a hornet on the ground, one probably have to be extra careful on where you place your foot. It is probably safer to keep to the track.
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.