Saturday, September 5, 2009

Join STRAMM Fish Watch

Thanks everyone for the positive comments I've received in recent months about this blog. Just sorry not to be diving in TARP any more! Do some for me...

Anyway, I've begun a small but growing Group on Facebook for those interested in Fishwatching in STRAMM sites (Shallow Tropical Reef and Muck, Marine). Feel free to go to the Group's portal or search Facebook for STRAMM Fish Watch, and request to join.

Here's a photo I took of a fish watching me watching it: Acreichthys tomentosus of the family MONACANTHIDAE, off Manukan island back on 23rd June 2007.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Goodbye TARP

GOODBYE TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN PARK! I'm writing this from England where I have just arrived after a wonderful three years on and off in Sabah. In memory of the place, I thought I'd post my picture from 1st September 2007 off Gaya island of perhaps the strangest and most beautiful creature I had the pleasure to meet there during the last three years: the Whip coral crab Xenocarcinus tuberculatus (family MAJIDAE).

I bowed out with a lovely day of dives (4 in all) with my daughter on 15th July 2009. I was surprised to see a new Damsel - Chromis ternatensis - which is new to the TARP aggregate fish checklist, and pleased to see a lovely Wrasse I've been keen to see in the park - Novaculichthys taeniourus (the Rockmover). As of today, my confirmed list stands at 441 plus 3 without evidence, and the confirmed aggregated TARP fish checklist weighs in at 560 plus 4 unconfirmed.

I've been so pleased to be part of this and hope that in due course, other divers and snorkellers will add entries to the aggregated list.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Pushing It

I've already mentioned the successful morning spent diving with Sabah Parks research staff on 24th June 2009. I've now had a chance to create ID cards for the endangered Bumphead Parrotfish Bolbometopon muricatum and the sumptuously decorated Angelfish Pomacanthus semicirculatus. Additionally, the day offered up a new species of Triggerfish for the aggregated TARP fish list - Balistapus undulatus (this photo comes form the Philippines but I will be uploading my poor quality image in due course), as well as a first sight of the Goby Eviota sigillata, and in a 1 metre deep foray amongst some mangrove roots (alongside tangled ropes and other manmade debris but no crocodiles): the Dartfish Parioglossus rainfordi. My personal checklist of fishes photographed in TARP now stands at 439, with the aggregated list of fish-with-evidence at 559. Of these, 444 have been noted in the last 4 years.

I'm hoping also to gain access to a list of fishes identified here by a Japanese marine biologist working with Sabah Parks a couple of years ago which I think will add 20-40 more to the list in due course. By the time I leave Sabah permanently later this month, it would be great if I had been able to coax the list to top 600 species: this would be tremendously significant for TARP and I hope it would be a stimulus to enhance the park's protection and help ward off future attempts at such astounding schemes as building a bridge to Gaya island, or a ring road and residential developments on it (believe it: I've seen the proposals vegetating where last left after being rejected, but who knows what monster resurrection might be attempted by a future Frankenstein).

Today's photo shows a Sabellid worm jockeying for space amongst a host of large coral polyps off Sapi island on 24th June 2009.