A Whole Week’s Worth of Walking and Watching Birds

on October 9, 2011

After spending the entire week running around various parks in Singapore looking for birds and counting trees, I think I’m finally getting the hang of plant identification (doesn’t make plant ID any less painful, though).

In any case, here are some of the highlights from the parks I’ve been conducting my fieldwork at:

1. Pasir Ris Park and the Botanic Gardens (2 Oct)

Funny story, this one. I started the morning off with a pretty uneventful survey at Pasir Ris Park in the middle of a light drizzle, though there was a very active pair of Collared Kingfishers (Todiramphus chloris) hanging around the Calophyllum inophyllum trees.

Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris)

Immediately after the survey, though, it turned out that another friend of mine was in the vicinity (at East Coast Park) and that we both wanted to give the Circle Line open house a go so we both ended up at Kent Ridge MRT station after making a detour to Harbourfront MRT station, at which point we both decided that we ought to pay a visit to the Botanic Gardens since the Circle Line passes through that place. All of which explains why a good three hours later, the two of us were still in the middle of the Botanic Gardens despite having originally intended on making only a short visit before popping back to Kent Ridge to get some work done.

And as with any trip to the Botanic Gardens, the highlight is always the eco lake at the Bukit Timah end, which supports a remarkable number of waterbirds and the like, such as these Lesser Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna javanica), who are regularly fed by park visitors that bring along with them bags and bags of white bread.

Lesser Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna javanica)

This population of Lesser Whistling Ducks is also one of the last few sustainable populations of ducks found in Singapore due largely to habitat loss since this species favours relatively pristine freshwater wetlands such as Lorong Halus and the former Marina South Park.

Another bird caught milling about was this White-breasted Waterhen (Amauornis phoenicurus) that came out to steal some of the breadcrumbs being thrown around.

White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)

The fact that this bird, which normally gives humans a wide berth, allowed me to get so close to it possibly attests to the impact of human disturbance on birdlife since human feeding results in these birds becoming ever more dependent on humans for food (as is the case with the Long-tailed Macaques at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve). Hopefully this won’t have too adverse an effect on their behaviour.
2. Kent Ridge Park (8 Oct)
Ok, not as many things to say about this trip aside from the fact that a really beautiful Green Crested Lizard (Bronchocela cristatela) and a triplet of Straw-headed Bulbuls (Pycnonotus zeylanicus) happened to turn up as I was counting trees. Totally made my day.

Bronchocela cristatela

Juvenile Straw-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus)

Straw-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus)


One response to “A Whole Week’s Worth of Walking and Watching Birds

  1. kagome92 says:

    Great post!

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