Fieldwork at Bishan Park – Updated!

on October 1, 2011

So I’ve always been itching to start blogging again and now that I’ve been bitten by the fieldwork bug, I suppose there’s no better place to start than right here and right now!

So! Welcome back for yet another dose of my ramblings, musings, and general mumblings on and about anything that strikes my fancy. Today’s post, however, is about my recent trip to Bishan Park for my ecology fieldwork to study the effect of native/non-native vegetation composition on native/non-native bird composition, though not everything is as it seems (yes, this post and subsequent ones to come bear some degree of ulterior motive as well, heh heh heh…).

For as long as I can remember, I have never had occasion to visit Bishan Park before though I have recently heard some pretty cool things about the place in light of the PUB’s recent ABC project to spruce up the Kallang River beside the park and boy, was I amazed when I was greeted by the sight of this on arrival:

The Kallang River looks like an actual river!

Never before have I seen the Kallang River look more gorgeous than this, especially after having spent 4 years of secondary school life seeing the concrete canal banks of the river further downstream near the McDonald’s at Kallang.

Can you spot the heron in this picture?

With the river, too, come the exquisitely beautiful waterbirds that hang around catching fish in the river. This Striated Heron (Butorides striatus), for instance, was fishing near one of the bridges when an old lady came by with some bread to feed the fishes. The clever little fellow was intelligent enough to observe that the pieces of bread were attracting loads of fishes and so stalked over for a quick meal or two (I think the fish were green chromides).

There were many other birds over by the grassy and landscaped areas, though the only ones I could capture with my camera were this Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus rufulus) hanging out in an open field

Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus rufulus)

and this Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata) with its mate in a tree near the river.

Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata)

Birds, however, were not the most important part of my field trip as one major component of my survey was to study the vegetation composition in Bishan Park and that means having to identify the trees within the survey area, shown in the map below.

All of which conveniently segues into the true motive of my most recent return to blogging: crowd-sourcing plant identification. While I may love all things nature, the one thing I find really difficult and am still trying to get my head around is plant identification. As such, I’d like to seek the assistance of the wider world of the internets to help identify some of the particularly puzzling plants found within my survey area (cheeky, eh?). As far as possible, I’ll try to guess the species of the plant but should I be completely wrong, please do not hesitate to let me know and disabuse me of my misconceptions. Here goes:

Plant #1: Suspected Andira inermis tree

Shot of the entire tree (with the crown)




Plant #2: Suspected Anthurium plowmanii

Anthurium plowmanii (?)

Plant #3: Semi-confirmed Xanthostemon chrysanthus


Leaf clumping pattern


Plant #4: Kopsia flavida – Confirmed (Silly me)

Crown and trunk


Plant #5: Salix babylonica – Semi confirmed

Full tree

Leaf detail

So there you have it! If you should know what these trees/shrubs are or are able to confirm some of my suspicions, do let me know by dropping a comment in the comments box at the bottom.


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