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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Weaver Ant's Nest

I heard chirping here, tweeting there, and twittering there though I was not an expert to differentiate or identify them. Though was not an expert, the corner of my eye is usually more powerful and useful than my normal eyes.

I have sensed something up above a tree, but was it a bird among the green?

(I bet Icy must have known the answer. She used to go through the pictures before going into the writing.)

This is a closer view. It must be some sort of nest belonged to weaver ants. These ants had travelled so high for their new found kingdom; luckily their office was not on the ground floor, or they must have difficulty to press any buttons in an elevator.

Oh no, it was a bird. But who was it?

It turned its head to tell me it was a pigeon. What an interesting encounter!

I was as happy as a millionaire by now to have discovered and captured my lifer, this one-foot length pigeon.

Green pigeon is a common species in rainforest and similar dense wet woodlands, but it is totally not common to me who used to jog-and-go all the times.

And I beg your pardon for the wrong title.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Escape from the Spells

I strongly believe that I have to leave Cerok Tokun temporary, at least for a safe period. I am a coward, and not a saviour or Superman. You can go ahead to look down on me, but I do not intend to be kissed awake under the black spells of Gergamel.

I thus spent my whole Saturday morning wandering around at a swamp area.

I saw young mangroves rooting themselves and beginning the next stage of their life in the watery mudland. There were signs of new life.

And there were signs of active life in this mangrove swamp. The tiny holes in the second picture are homes for crabs. Other than mudskippers, billions of worms and invertebrates are also the common inhabitants over here. These organisms in turn feed various bird species that make their home in the foliage.

I saw no evil forces except the rule of the Nature.

And this Kingfisher is a common species over here. It always flies low in order to be visible, and more importantly, to make all the teasing to me noticeable. It is alright somehow or other.

This is always fine to me, as what Edith Wharton had said, "There are two ways to spread happiness; either be the light who shines it or be the mirror who reflects it." Anyway, I am one of the mirrors.

I shall show you my lifers in the next post. Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A spell Was Casted

I thought I could rescue the Smurfs, and you had thought that Gargamel was a coward, somehow or other all the mushroom houses had lost their classic umbrella-like cap-and-stem shape by now. They had been shrunk. They had lost their fleshy bodies.

The Smurfs had lost their home!

How could a jacuzzi bathtub been loaded inside?

Where was the room for their gym sets?

There was no place left for the soundproof room for the home theater system.

Some other houses had been turned upside down. The whole Smurf village had been in a state of total chaos.

But not these.

These few was found at a dark and spooky corner. The black spots must be the multiple eyes of Gargamel... and his cat.... and

the village was now lying under the spell, until someone could kiss and break the dark power.

And never ever think of eating these mushrooms at Cerok Tokun, unless you consider yourself stronger than Gargamel.

You would understand me more after seeing the last picture.


Note: The last picture shows a Hammerhead worm, or land planarian. It can be found in dark, cool, moist areas under objects such as rocks, logs, in debris, or under shrubs, and on the soil surface following heavy rains. This is the first time I come across this eerie little thing. Heads of many land planarians are expanded lunate or tapering to a blunt point. They were reported as being capable of eradicating entire earthworm populations on farms.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Black Spells

Gargamel, the evil wizard, had casted evil spells on the little Smurfs, I finally learned that when I was squatting down to examine the scene.

These mushrooms were sprouting and sending out messages at a high frequency, "upsis downsis whoosy whatsis ra-ra avis thirty-one flavors".

This must be Gargamel.

But what had happened to the Smurfs?

These mushrooms crowded against each other and kept deaf and dumb to my question.

More questions simply frightened them further. They were seen shivering and shaking vigorously. My poor friends.

Hidden at the corner, a mushroom was peeping at me. Was this the substitute of Gargamel, or his cat Azrael?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Smurf Village

My belief told me it was a Smurf village.

It took me a few days to travel through the dense forest, deep marshes, and a mountain range before seeing those mushroom houses. They were found here and there, along and on the trail. Wow, I was in a Smurf Village where over 100 Smurfs lived and played!

It might be a disappointment for not meeting any one of the blue Smurfs, instead I was seeing a caterpillar roaming around, from one house to another. It might be assigned by the 543-year-old Papa Smurf the task of taking care the houses when they were traveling around.

I could not see any traces of these tiny blue creatures in this secluded mushroom village. They might have abandoned their village after spying my intrusion. The caterpillar was only then another intruder but having hundreds of legs.

If the later is a valid reason, I can only say a thousand apologizes. I happened to be there, just like how I had stumbled upon Wonderland of Alice. The Smurfs love and live peacefully with the Nature. So am I.

Note: Thank you for your kind words and for sharing in your memories of my Dad.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

She was jealous

What do I do during hiking for most of the time? Oh no, this is not a tricky question. The answer is definitely simple.

I spend most of the time watching my step along this tricky jungle trail.

That was why I managed to discover this snail passing by in front of me. As I used to photograph whatever I had met, this mollusc was thus not an exception. The moment I started shooting, I overheard a soft whisper coming from my back suddenly. I tried to search around, but it was in vain.

I was very curious, but not curious enough to keep looking around. I went back to my little snail for a macro dialogue, and I heard the sound again. It was so faint but I managed to listen more this time, "Please take my photo."

I turned back again. I found a flower whispering in the breeze this time. She was jealous. A flower thought she was much more beautiful than the snail. A flower was jealous as I had overlooked her.

It might be due to the darker setting that I had not noticed her at the first time, but her proactiveness had successfully brought herself to the stage.

Once the breeze stopped blowing, everything seemed to resume to normal, and the flower was nothing but just an ordinary flower, just like the pumpkin was no more a coach, the mice were no more those horses, the rat was still a rat and the footmen became lizards again at the final stroke of midnight.

And when I remembered about the snail, it was no more around.

The hiking trail was only a simple hiking trail by now.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Date With Mushrooms

I had an appointment with Mr. and Mrs. Mushrooms at Cerok Tokun. There were a few days of heavy rains recently, that’s why the appointment was made, and we were to meet each other in a cool and humid Saturday morning. The problem was: We had not fixed the venue. The good thing was: I should be very excited to see each of them at any time and at any place. It must be full of surprises.


"A good soaking rain can bring on countless growth spurts at any time", this was what I had thought. It turned out to be in the other way. I met only a few lonely mushrooms, the rest should be still trying hard to break the ground or the rotten woods.

I might be too early for the date.
But would be late at the same time to meet some of them.

How did they pick their home? This tiny one had the luxury to have a big piece of green carpet at home. A piece of green carpet to welcome a adventurer by a lonely mushroom. It had waited for me for the whole morning.

This one was looking for my presence at the tip of the dead wood. If this was true, it could only see my hairy leg, and recognised me in such a way. This made the date a little more fun, otherwise, it was a very quiet morning without much talking.
I was less talkative since there were so few of them.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sailing on a Blue Sea

I am getting addicted to photograph spider webs recently. I am overwhelmed by this creation in such a way I always look for them in my hiking trail. There are many out in the wild, but to record them in a remarkable and captivating way is really a challenge to me.

I had a unique thrill this morning, and I need your help to offload some of my excitements right now. My heart just cannot stand keeping all of them.

I tried to move around. With just a slight movement and you are now seeing the web in a different perspective, and in a three dimensional manner which I have not experienced before.

What can I derive from hiking? It is more than physical exercise. What can a spider offer? I leave the answer to you.

But I know the spider was sailing on a blue sea.

By the way, this was the normal look of the spider web and it was my first shot in the morning.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sea of Clouds

I was astonished when a couple approached me for where they can witness the sea of clouds a few weeks ago. Yes, sea of clouds at Cerok Tokun.

(卓坤山上的云海)

Not many hikers have stopped for this scenic view, as I observed, because it is hidden behind bushes and trees. Moreover, clouds will only gather together and form a sea of clouds after continuous heavy rains. I wonder from where they came across this unknown side of Cerok Tokun. Unfortunately they had to come back again, and not to forget to carry some lucks along.

Not to mention places off the main track, there is only one vantage point where I can enjoy this amazing creation, and it is about four hundred meters towards the top of Cerok Tokun. I always climb up the side rail and skillfully enough to balance myself for an unblocked view and descent pictures.

This scenic view appears more attractive in a picture than in our bare eyes. Our eyes have always confused us by taking in too much information, ending up everything looks nothing more than ordinary.

I have a few posts talking about this beautiful scene. Having another or few more will never be excessive. I am always tempted but refuse to resist each and every time. It is thrilling to be in love with her, a charming lady, and in fact, I have been in love with her for a such a long time.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The likes and dislikes

This was how the dam looked in January.

It was then how it became during early March.

We had heavy rains last few days, but this was what I saw this morning. Time took away our likes silently, and gets us waiting patiently for the dislike to leave.

I wonder whether those monkeys would align with me on seeing water level to go back to normal. This place has now become their new found playground. Or they have re-discovered their long lost paradise.

But I was thinking differently. "Go swimming. Go swimming!" I murmured while having my camera ready for the dreamed shots.

Today was not one of my days. I failed to mesmerise these playful animals.

It was not a total disappointment after all if I was not too rigid with what to expect.

The rock looked attractive because of its shape. Being submerged and has negotiated secretly for a long time, this was the final shape it agreed with nature, and time.

It liked to be in this way.

Friday, April 2, 2010

We are reaching the end of the Jungle trail

I have taken this picture, and there is something that I would like you to find out.

Can you spot anything that is supposed not to be a part of the jungle? And I cannot explain whether there is any necessity to use it inside a jungle. A jungle should look like a jungle, doesn't it?

A jungle should look like a jungle, but once it is scattered with pieces of paper that were laid by hashers, with the outline of a human foot as their traditional symbol, I always feel very secure. The trail we are on is certainly not marked by them. These are pieces of re-cycled paper. I am wondering whether this is done by you. Well, it may not be a surprise to learn that you are keen to be a hasher after these days of hiking.

"Come on! Give me five!"

As we move on and happen to see these empty benches, we are now reaching the end of the jungle trail.

These benches are usually empty,

and you can see one of them, though empty, the legs are not empty at all. They are fully covered. Are you curious enough to find out what are actually hiding underneath?

I am always curious, but how about you?