A visit to Chinese Gardens

I have always thought of Chinese Gardens to be picturesque-with its signature pagoda reflecting upon the river’s waters. Little did I expect that there was so much to see and explore in this beautiful park. It has managed to satisfy both nature lovers and tourists who want to see the scenic views.

There is a sense of tranquillity and peace when you enter the park, even if there are people. There is a perfect match between the bridges, pagodas and chinese statues- and the calm natural environment. I literally felt I was in the “Mulan’ movie, especially when I was on the Red Bridge. A very similar one was in the movie when Mulan sung “Reflection”.

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The first thing we saw was this unidentified fly with beautiful colours of metal-lish green and yellow:

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This was the path we went through to get to the main lake:

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This was my first time seeing a White-barred Duskhawk (Tholymis tillarga) a stunning dragonfly with patches of light blue and dark brown.

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Did you know that dragonflies can fly at speeds up to 60mph and have almost 360 degree vision? I was amazed when I read about this in this book “How it works: book of Amazing Animals”. I finally learnt why dragonflies perch for so long in between flying and preying.

Dragonflies have powerful flight ability due to their streamlined abdomen and intricately veined membrane wings. This high performance has a catch- their muscles need to warm to function. Therefore for dragonfly wings to work at their optimum- the insect has to engage in elongated periods of basking in the sun and wing-whirring exercises to generate heat before flying off!

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a close up of the intricately veined membrane wings

It’s amazing how this insect is so agile. During flight- the warmed muscles deliver the dragonfly a complete, six way propulsion, allowing it to move from a stationary position to any direction.

On the path, we saw these three Pacific swallows resting on some branches overlooking the river:

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Looking closer to the plants, there were several beetles, hoppers and butterflies and more dragonflies since the river was right beside.

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Leaf beetle (Hoplasoma unicolor)

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Red Leafhopper (Graphocephala coccinea)

This is a Triangular-striped moth that was camouflaged well in the bushes.

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Triangular-striped moth (Chalciope alcyona)

A Peacock Pansy opening its wings perfectly to reveal its intricately designed wings:

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Peacock Pansy (Junonia almana javana)

A Variegated Green Skimmer and a Common Scarlet that I captured rolling its eyes:

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Variegated Green Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina)

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Common Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea)

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A long Changeable Lizard (Calotes versicolor) sunbathing on a tree trunk:

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Near the main road we saw this beautiful tree with heart-shaped vines on it.

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A large Short Banded Sailor resting on a leaf:

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Short Banded Sailor (Phaedyma columella singa)

There was a large playground nearby so my sister and I went to climb some of the ropes. I saw a Tropical Swallowtail moth foraging on the sand- it was my last time seeing it this season. I think their season is over because the sudden flowering period has also stopped.

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Just as we were leaving, we crossed a final bridge and saw the view of the water and trees (it almost looked like a mangrove) and we decided to finish the trail another day. There were many park connectors, including one to Jurong Central Park.

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Two Oriental Magpie Robins (Copsychus saularis) appeared in front of us to say goodbye. These birds were once very common in Singapore but it was pushed near to extinction in the 1970’s due to the introduction of mynas and illegal poaching. Now their numbers are slowly coming back. I was happy to see them in the wild!

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Do visit this amazing place- you’ll really love it!

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