Friday, November 13, 2009

Something for my neighbours (3)

Bukit Melawati Kuala Selangor,
Kuala Selangor

Melawati Hill is located in the coastal town of Kuala Selangor, a 45-minute drive from Shah Alam. In the late 18th Century, the second Sultan of Selangor had a fortress constructed on Melawati Hill to protect the state from intruders.

The hill provided a vantage point to monitor ships in the Straits of Malacca. Even with a strategic hold, the Melawati Fort yielded to the Dutch cannons. It was again destroyed during the Selangor Civil War, when warring factions fought for tin-rich lands. All that remains of the fort now are its cannons, its original foundation stones and fabled execution block. The landscaped hill offers a panoramic view of the Selangor coastline.

Visitors will be delighted to watch the free-roaming Silverleaf Monkeys in the area. The adults are dark-haired with a tinge of silver, while the young ones are a bright orange. Gentle and adorable, they graciously wait for bread or fruits from visitors, unlike the mischievous Long Tail Macaques.

Something for my neighbours (2)

Kuala Selangor Nature Park


View from the Main Hide across the brackish lakes

Kuala Selangor lies just 75 kilometres north-west of Kuala Lumpur, near the mouth of the Selangor River. In addition to it’s small-town charms there are many nearby attractions to suit the nature lover, including the Kuala Selangor Nature Park and the colonies of fireflies living along tributaries of the Selangor River.

Kuala Selangor

The Kuala Selangor Nature Park is managed by the Malaysian Nature Society, under a co-operative arrangement with the Selangor State Government. This coastal area was once dominated by mangroves, but since the construction of coastal bunds it now comprises a strip of remnant mangrove forests, mainly Avicennia sp., behind which are brackish lakes and ponds and a large area of secondary forest. In many respects the ecological history of the area is similar to Singapore’s own Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Thus, familiar vertebrates such as mud skippers, mud lobsters and the Malayan Water Monitor can be seen from the bund and the mangrove boardwalks.

The endangered Milky Stork Mycteria cinerea -

During the migration season, between September and March, the lakes and ponds teem with shorebirds such as plovers, Greenshank, Redshank and various species of sandpiper travelling the migration route of the East-Asian Flyway. These very same birds may well stop at Sungei Buloh for a final meal of worms and molluscs before heading south to winter in the warmth of Australia.

One bird deserves a special mention – the Milky Stork. In conjunction with Zoo Negara, an active breeding program of this globally endangered species - less than 100 specimens are thought to exist - is being conducted in a specially constructed aviary next to the main lake. Visitors are not allowed inside the aviary, however the birds can clearly be seen nesting in the enclosure. It is hoped, upon release, these captive-bred storks will choose to make Kuala Selangor their permanent home.

Kuala Selangor Nature Park has over 200-hectares of immature secondary forest. Easy walks are possible along the well worn trails; where the sun streams through breaks in the canopy keep an eye open for lizards and skinks warming themselves, especially the Common Sun Skink. Familiar forest birds such as Woodpeckers, Bulbuls, Sunbirds and Malkohas can also be seen.

Something for my neighbours (1).

Kuala Selangor Firefly

Firefly, one of the fascinating beetle that abound in Malaysia at one time and is now fast disappearing due to the fast pace of development. Fortunately, there are still firefly to be seen in Kuala Selangor, about 90 minutes or so drive from Kuala Lumpur.

The two locations where visitors can go to are Kampung Kuantan and Kampung Bukit Belimbing in the district of Kuala Selangor. The mangrove trees called "berembang trees" by the local grow along the riverbanks of Kuala Selangor river. These are the trees where the fireflies or "kelip kelip" in the local language stay and feed on its leaves. During the day, they retreat to the grasses near the mangrove trees.

The entrance to Kampung
Kuantan Fireflies Par

When night falls, the fireflies will feed on the nectar of the leaves and attract mates with their synchronised flashing green light. The thorax of the insect produces a green grow that flashes at a frequency of 1/3 Hz, or 3 flashes in one second. Each of the berembang tree has different groups of fireflies and each group has flashes that are synchronised.

The fireflies found here is from the "Pteroptye tener" species and is about 6cm in length. They have a lifespan of about 2-3 months.

The picture of a typical firefly found here

Cruising Along The River

The best time to visit the park is after nightfall at approximately 7:30pm to 7:45pm. It is also advisable to go when it is not full moon and not during raining evening. Usually the place is quite packed during the weekends hence try to go during weekdays. One should take note that once the kelip kelip has found its mate, the flashing would stop, usually by 11.00 pm. Make sure that you do not go too late as the park is opened from 7:30pm and closes at 10:30pm.

The non motorised canoe ride