Monday, 30 December 2013

White Cobra

Totally love days like this when I get a 'NatGeo' moment and was lucky enough to witness such a beautiful, magnificent creature right in front of my eyes.  This might even be, for me, a once in a lifetime sighting of an albino or white Cobra in the wild!  After all, I do not go looking for them intentionally, as in venturing out on herping trips.  

It truly is such a beautiful creature and, indeed, a rare sight to behold!

I must have stood there for over ten minutes, just watching it.  The Cobra stuck its head into a hole in the ground, slithered a short distance in, then backed out from the hole, went to another nook under a rock and seemed to be on the prowl, looking for something.  Although I did not manage to get the best photo with the compact camera that I had with me at the time, I've got the image of this albino Cobra imprinted in my mind's eye to be replayed over and over and over again at any time.  How much better can it get?
I was thinking at the time that this albino Cobra might be foraging for food but since it is supposed to be a nocturnal creature, had it somehow been disturbed from its den and was looking for another safe place to hide away?  Whether it was looking for food or looking for a den, I will never know.

Anyway, I had googled the symbolism of a White Cobra and there were many different takes on it.  Most websites discuss seeing sacred white animals in dreams. However, I had particularly liked the one that I'd read on eHow and here's an extract:

"The most common view of the white snake is a positive one. In the Japanese culture, if someone encounters a white snake in their life, they are considered to be lucky and will continue to have luck." 

I hope so.

And I shall keep my fingers crossed.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

A Little Froggy

Recently had 'wildlife' visit me right at my doorstep.  

A little froggy.

I had just reached home after a kayak trip and had walked up the stairs to my front door and walked pass it.  If it wasn't for my keen eyes, I would not have realised there was this spot on the wall that was not supposed to be there.  Anyway, turned back to look and found this little frog there.

Ummmm...... it wasn't exactly very well camouflaged after all.  

But I guess it wouldn't have been any better anywhere else considering the colour of the wall is the best match it could find to try and hide itself.

I'm guessing it is one of the species of tree frogs, perhaps the Common Bush Frog?
Anyway, it is a good-looking little light brown, beige frog.

 The tips of its long fingers are dilated into round disc pads.
And, I suppose it had decided to remain as still as possible hoping that maybe I still hadn't seen it after all or if I thought it is dead I'd leave it alone?  

 So I took the chance to get lots of photos of this tree frog, from as many different angles as I possible could to make sure I have all the features I could need for identification.

   Totally loved looking at this frog's soulful eyes!


 Here's a view of its flattened body against the wall.


And I'm estimating it measured about 65-70mm in length.

So I had a 'field trip' right outside my doorstep.  

Friday, 15 November 2013

Not Odonata, Only Mangroves

Have been kayaking as usual.....

 Anyway, wanted to take a few photos as I normally do and it turned out this way.

No, not any special settings on my compact camera though I hardly ever use the 'Auto' and it is usually on 'P' so that I can easily change a few settings if I need to.  But I hadn't planned on taking these photos any differently than I usually do except perhaps I was in a bit of a hurry and got this interesting vortex effect quite by accident.

Even if you'd asked me to, I wouldn't know how to do that again.  It was supposed to have been another usual photo such as this next one.....

Saturday, 9 November 2013

On A Bicycle.....

After all these years cycling with my guests through the padi fields and village roads, I have finally taken a few photos of the scenes that I have always enjoyed looking at and always wanted to snap but never did!

As it happened, it was another beautiful morning on this Friday.  And even though it was the weekend, the roads were quiet and there weren't many people up and about as yet so it was really peaceful when cruising through the small country roads through the padi fields and villages.

As most of the padi fields had recently been planted, the contrast between the fresh green fields and blue skies certainly made it all the more scenic!  Green padi fields that stretched out to meet the foothills of Gunung Raya.  With cloud covered peaks and a swirl of clouds in the skies this morning, the whole scenery was exactly like it would be on a painted picture.  It conjures a rather dreamy feeling....

This next photo is of one my guests approaching a pretty looking cow for a better photo of the animal.  Both sizing each other up and both probably a bit wary and nervous at the same time.  Too bad there weren't any buffaloes to be seen this morning.  Buffaloes are another of my favourite subjects for photos.

And, finally, a photo of the rubber tree.  
This young rubber tree had been tapped this morning and the latex was still dripping into the cup.

This is why I enjoy doing what I do...........

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Grooming Session In The Mangroves

Was kayaking in the mangroves again and came across these Long-tailed Macaques in the midst of a grooming session. 

First stop was the rump.....

Then the arm and shoulder.....

That definitely looks like total bliss!  
As you can see that this macaque is certainly enjoying this jungle spa session!

These are some of the scenes I get to enjoy from time to time while kayaking in the mangroves.  

Mind you, these monkeys are not the 'gangsters' that are used to eating potato chips and soft drinks and would hang out at touristy hotspots to terrorise people and grab anything that's in a plastic bag.  

Once we got closer, they scrambled away into the forest......

It is very refreshing to see these natural behaviours of the macaques in the wild!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Unpredictable Weather!

 The weather is rather quite unpredictable these days.  

Although it is still the South-West Monsoon season, which usually is the rainy season here, we have been getting a lot of hot, sunny days.  Not that I am complaining.  It's been great to have such beautiful, nice, warm weather and I am totally loving it!


It would be bright and sunny one day, and I would be seeing blue skies while out kayaking, and the next day it would be storming up!

Anyway, the sky is always interesting when it is stormy.  

The weather can also change really quickly.

 And when it's been raining and it gets all misty. 

 While the mangroves would always be evergreen.  
Such a contrast!

And if you've been wondering..... Yes, I did get drenched while out kayaking today!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

My Patio Garden Of Potted Plants

Snake Plant, Bird's Nest Ferns, Spider Lilies and Jasmine Plant.

The Japanese Bamboo Plant that's been growing taller with all the composting over the years, so the flower pot now looks really small in comparison.....

More Snake Plants in the corner and the Cheese Plant that's finally looking lush and beautiful after a lot of tlc!  

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Feeding Your Plants!

Am still feeding my potted plants with vegetable dregs regularly and quite frequently and I guess this Japanese Bamboo is quite happy to sit in its pot even though the pot really looks like it is getting too small for the size of the plant.  However, I don't think I'm even going to try to repot it at all.

Anyway, new shoots have started sprouting up recently and it looks like there'll be another giant stem.....

Just compare this new sprout to the older stems in the pot and you will understand why I call it a 'giant' and you will see there is a huge difference in size as it is getting a lot of nourishment from the compost.  And it is about the thickness of my index finger, which I found to be quite amazing.


And since, I was out there taking photos of the Japanese Bamboo, I thought I'd take a photo of one of the new fronds of the Bird's Nest Fern that had caught my eye...... 

Yeah, I guess I probably have too much time on my hands, eh?

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Monitor Lizard On Vertical Limestone Wall

Was out kayaking in the mangroves this morning and came across this Monitor Lizard making its way up the vertical limestone wall.  

Eventually it decided to stop right there at about 10-12 metres above the water, and it stayed there for a very long time.  When I kayaked pass it again a half hour later, it was still clinging there at that same spot on the wall!

It is quite interesting to note how the Lizard had dug its claws into the cracks on the wall and it had rested its weight on its hind legs.  These Monitor Lizards are very strong swimmers and strong climbers!   

It's giving me the urge to want to go do some rock climbing again!  How I've missed that!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Again And Again And Again......

How could I not look forward to spotting these snakes each time I am out kayaking in the mangroves?  
These Mangrove Pit Vipers are such beautiful creatures!

Yes, they are venomous.  
Yes, it can be scary if you were to stare at one in the eyes directly in its face!
Yet at the same time, it is not so scary after all.  
Just do not disturb it or provoke it or get too close.

And it really is quite cool to get to take a peek at these Mangrove Pit Vipers in their natural habitat.
Must have seen hundreds of them by now.....

Loving it!

Monday, 1 July 2013

Swarming Dragonflies!


Been sitting on a comfortable chair on my patio and watching several groups of swarming dragonflies the last few days.  Mostly Pantala flavescens, and I'm guessing, possibly a few dragonflies of one or two other species together in the whole swarm.

There must be several scores of them in one of these swarms, zapping to and fro just above the coconut palms.  The closest swarm is about 10 metres away from me.  And I get a good view of these swarms since I'm on the first floor and looks out to just about the top of these coconut palms.  From time to time, a few of these dragonflies would stop to perch on the palm fronds.  But mostly, after a while, the swarm would gradually move further and further away. 

By then, I would have finished my breakfast as well and have to get to work anyway. 

But it's always nice to start the day watching these dragonflies and spend a bit of time pondering about nature and all its mysteries!  These are such amazing insects!  There's so much energy there!  And these dragonflies seem just so free!

As I watch them, I often imagine myself being one of those dragonflies in those swarms there..... 

What a feeling!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Food For My Garden Plants

The food dregs from my meal preparations that will be fed to my garden plants.  
Garlic skins, onion skins, end bits of carrots and beans, broccoli stems, etc.  

Sometimes I use the thick broccoli stems for making broccoli pesto sauce but that does not happen all the time.  And when I don't, the thick stems get chopped up for the compost.
And in the last few years, I've done away with a compost bin and bury these veg dregs directly into the soil, a few inches deep in the potted plants. 
Works just as great!

Great nutrition for the plants, less rubbish in the trash bin and less stuff to go to the landfill!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

That Elusive Little Blue Damselfly

I've only recently realised that I've lost the photos in my older blog posts that were transferred from the Multiply blog site.  Not anyone's fault but my own as I probably omitted a step or two when transferring all the posts over.  That was quite a daunting task for me with thousands of things to transfer over and especially when I don't exactly have a high level of IT competency! 

Earlier in the year, I did notice that when I clicked on a photo in an older post, it would link back to the related Multiply blog page but it did not occur to me then to rectify it and that it would be a problem when the Multiply site is shut down.  Now that it's been shut down, these photos have disappeared from the blogs on this site and have gone to cyberspace!

Anyway, I've taken on the painstakingly slow process of updating these older blogs with the photos that should be there and in the process, have come across a few photos that I'd forgotten about.  One that is of importance to note is the photo of the Paracercion calamorum dyeri (Fraser, 1919), from the family Coenagrionidae.

This is the damselfly species that's a new record for Peninsular Malaysia.  You can refer to the earlier post here:

So here are the photos:

I wasn't the one who took these photos though, so the photo credits go to Robin and Wei Ling, as I was with them when we caught this species and they'd snapped these shots.

It is quite an attractive little blue damselfly, isn't it?

Friday, 3 May 2013

Gray Skies

Another of Mother Nature's gifts and creations.
Even on an overcast, gray day, there is a beautiful painting on the canvas in the sky...........

I'd just gotten out the front door to leave for work and as a habit, I'd always look up into the sky and look at the hills.  And I'd totally loved what I saw......

The sun looked like it was just about coming up behind the hills then.
Quite a sight to behold!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

On A Hot, Beautiful Day!

This picture does not do this enough justice.  
It really is a breathtaking view looking out into the the sea from here.....

On a hot day like this, all you want to do is get out there!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Natural Cooling System

Yes, I watched the evening sky again yesterday, as I had done the day before.

At this time of the year, whenever I wanted to get good photos of the evening sky, I would sit on the wall on the front stoop and rest my feet on the roof tiles.  And, often, my feet would be placed apart with one foot braced on either side of the roof ridge to get good leverage for photos. 


If I am using a tripod, it would be placed on this ridge as well.

 My place has a North-South alignment.
Because of that, I do not get a full frontal view of the morning or evening skies.
Hence, I would sit on the wall right at the edge of the roof ridge in order to face westward where the sun would be setting.  I would have loved to go all the way out onto the ridge of the porch roof but I don't suppose it would be worth taking that risk at all!

Don't get me wrong.
I really am not complaining.

This North-South alignment is truly great for ventilation and this place would almost always be quite cool and airy because of that.


Here in Langkawi, there are two main seasons - the North-East monsoon from November till April and the South-West monsoon from May till October.  As such, the prevailing winds in this area come from two main directions - from the North-East or North and from the South-West or South, depending on the time of the year.  Having doors and windows in this North-South alignment is therefore perfect for natural ventilation throughout the house and this in itself is a very effective passive cooling system in place.  There are days when I could sit at my dining table or in the living room without putting on the ceiling fan and not even feel warm at all.

Besides that, if you do know me, you would know I am not exactly a conventional person.  So I really do not mind sitting on the wall to get good photos or just to watch the evening skies.  In fact, I quite like it and enjoy doing that when I can.

And I do love it that I get to see the setting sun from this very spot at certain times of the year, without having to leave home and go somewhere else!  That happens in March and September when the sun is making its way North or South respectively and will set behind those hills in horizon.

This next photo was taken in March. 
You can just see the edge of the setting sun before it had completely dipped behind those hills.

A stranger may think I'm loony sitting there on the wall but I am just enjoying life in a way I can!

 The evening sky yesterday was totally awesome!
All those splashes of vivid colours!
It's like something you would only see in a painting!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Sky At Dusk

Had just started preparing dinner when I took a glimpse out the kitchen window.  Saw the golden orangy-yellow hues and knew that evening sky would probably be beautiful.

It would be great just to watch the sky even though I won't see the setting sun!

Took me a few seconds to decide to abandon the idea of having dinner at my usual time, then grabbed my camera and went outside.  I sat perched on the porch wall, with my feet resting and braced on the roofing tiles and started snapping.  Initially, a few mosquitoes came out to bug me and I had to keep slapping them away but after a while, they disappeared altogether.  


I took nearly fifty photos in the half hour that I sat there.  That's almost a photo each minute!
Of course, some had to be discarded as they were blurry but I actually had quite a lot of good ones.

The colours of the dusk sky change every few minutes and that in itself was just amazing!

The first photo of the evening, taken at 7:41pm.
The light orangy-yellow sky is a good indication that the evening sky will be gorgeous!

At 7:43pm.  
Zoomed in towards the Mat Chinchang mountain in the background.  
This mountain is on the north-western part of the island, where the cable car ride goes up to.  
I am at the south-eastern corner of the island.  
And, yes, this is how small Langkawi is! 

Back to looking at the sky over the south of Kuah.
The orangy colours on the horizon is now deeper and richer but still a lot of grays in the sky.

 A minute later, at 7:47pm.  
You can get such a different picture when you zoom in onto Kuah Bay.

At 7:49pm, the swirl of clouds above me had turned a shade deeper......

It is nice to watch the changing colours in the sky.
And it is always nice to look out onto that little strip of water that is Kuah Bay.

 8:00pm now.
I have been sitting here watching the sky for about 15 minutes.  
All the bits of blue have become more intense as it gets a little darker.....

The lights on the viewing platforms on the Mat Chinchang mountain can now be clearly seen glittering against the dusk sky. 

Just before it became a little too dark to see the rich colours of the sky.
The night will be upon us soon.......

Totally worth it to brave the mosquitoes and take the time to enjoy watching the sky at dusk and then have dinner a little late.  Definitely totally worth it!