22 December 2011


 Today's weather - sunny
I visited the neighbourhood optometrist and to my dismay but not surprise, my myopia eye power increased to 125 (L) and 225 (R) now with astigmatism of 70 (L) and 100 (R). Sigh. It is attributed to too much computer use and it looks like I may have to cut down blogging time in the new year to slow down the deterioration of my eyesight.

Anyway, it is coming to the end of the year and I better make full use of the opportunity to put up some posts. My girl was saying that everywhere I went, all the butterflies and birds flock to me. Frankly, I do not possess any such magical powers or abilities. On the contrary, I have developed a keen sense of observation when it comes to spotting fauna in the landscape.

These newly planted Aloysia virgata shrubs are always a magnet for the day flying moths although this is probably the first time I was seeing so many of them on a single plant. I also came across a dead Plain Tiger lying on its side on the pavement of the Visitor's Centre. When one life ends, many begins in this case as I am sure this adult must have contributed towards the population in the garden.

Interestingly, I spotted a Painted Jezebel flitting around a shrub and was pleasantly surprised to find this female laying clusters of eggs on its host plant Mistletoe.In fact, there were so many caterpillars of various sizes crawling all over the plant. Unfortunately, I knew that all these would not last as any heavy downpour during this December month would be catastrophic to the caterpillars. True enough, a few days later after a downpour, I could hardly find any caterpillars but this would be in another post.

Nearby, a Shrike was perched on the inflorescence stalk of the Lemon Grass (scientific name: Cymbopogon citratus). This predatory bird species has been commonly spotted by me in this garden. Known to be territorial, it loves to advertise itself conspicuously in open areas to look out for its insect prey and to show its presence to rivals.

The Palm Grove was planted with an avenue of Suregada multiflora trees that line the pathway. This has to be the day flying moth season because like the Aloysia, so many of them were found on the newly bloomed flowers of this uncommon tree. Frankly, if they were bees or wasps, I would have scurried off in fear but instead I relished in the presence of such nature's wonder. One of the my childhood dreams was to become a naturalist like Sir David Attenborough but a naturalist I did not become.

Then, near the car park, one of the few Red Flame trees (scientific name: Delonix regia) was flowering. These clump of trees are not in its ideal planting location but it is always a pleasure to see its beautiful red flowers.

That day was such a beautiful day for me to be in the gardens and it was a really wonderful experience.