Sungei Tampines

Sungei Tampines used to be a bare concrete canal or storm rain as the authorities called it. This was how it looked like in 2012.

Then the Public Utilities Board’s ABC program came and Sungei Tampines was transformed into a beautiful little “river”.

But then recently I noticed something strange. The creepers on the fair bank (photo left) has been removed leaving the bare concrete bank again. I was shocked!

I promptly send off a query via the One Singapore app and a few days later, someone from the PUB contacted me to explain the reason. And my suspicion was correct. The cause was this.

Stink Bug! There seems to be a major infestation of them. I first spotted them sometime late last year and recently in February noticed that they were all over the railings. In fact, I actually reported this via the One Singapore App as well. 

The eggs are everywhere. On the plants and on the railings.

So I supposed its inevitably that the authorities took the easy way out and remove the source of the infestation which they claimed is the creepers. And they have informed that they are planting new slower growing creepers as a replacement although I yet to see them.  Oh well, I suppose I just have to wait……….

Wild Boars of Pasir Ris

I lived in Pasir Ris for a long time and I have heard so much about the wild boars of Pasir Ris but have until recently never seen one in the area. Not in Pasir Ris Park where there are signs warning of them or even at the Punggol Waterway/Lorong Halus where they were first reported in the press.

The other night though, on a whim was running along Drive 3 hoping to catch a glimpse of a family of White Bellied Sea Eagle. Instead of the Eagle, I stumbled upon a whole group of wild boars at the junction of Drive 3 and the Mainland Fish Farm. Here is a video I took of them scavenging for food.

I read in the press complaints of the wild boars – of them being a danger to the public. This being my first time encountering such a big group – there were at least more than 10, I played it safe and stood behind 2 big construction boulders (in the foreground of the video). However my observation was that the wild boars were more afraid of humans than we should be of them. Every time I made a sudden movement, the whole lot of them will run into the forest.

Nevertheless, I think with such a big group of them, there will be bound to be some animal/human conflicts especially if there are piglets. Also with them being so near the road, there is always the potential for them to go onto the road ending up as roadkill or causing a nasty accident.

I would like to suggest to the authorities to consider putting up a fence to stop the wild boars from encroaching onto the road. The fence can start from the perimeter fence of Mainland Fish Farm running along the edge of the forest grass verge to the Vue 8 condominium, a distance of about roughly 50 metres. The fence will keep the wild boars within the forested area and not go onto the pavement and roads and not run into any humans. Same time, it will serve as a sort of deterrent to itchy backside public who try to get too close to them. Also, the authorities should consider putting up prominent notices warning against feeding the wild boars. Hopefully, with these measures, it will be a win win situation for both the wild boars and the public and not result in the authorities having to cull the wild boars.

Night Walk at Pasir Ris Mangrove

Joined the Herpetological Society of Singapore for a guided night walk at Pasir Ris Mangrove.  Interesting thing is that I go o often to Pasir Ris Park, like 3 times a week and have never thought of going to the mangrove in the night. Perhaps it is the creepy feel about the place but then when I saw the post about the walk, I knew I have to go for it. The promise of seeing reptiles and other night creatures was too tempting.

We started at about 6.15 pm. The walk was led by a few very young and enthusiastic guides with incredible knowledge of not just reptiles or amphibians but also the plants and birds.

Within 10 minutes of walking into the mangrove, beside the usual mud skipper and crab, they managed to spot the first snake – a small Dog Faced Water Snake.

Dog faced Water Snake

Dog faced Water Snake

And by the time we exit the mangrove after 8, we had spotted 6 of them with each being progressively bigger.

Dog Faced Water Snake

Dog Faced Water Snake

Dog Faced Water Snake

Dog Faced Water Snake

We also spotted 3 different species of Gecko. Just can’t imagine how these guys do it. The geckos were so tiny and very well blend in with the surface they were on yet they managed to spot them. Like this little Spotted House Gecko.

Spotted House Gecko

ASpotted House Gecko

And this real tiny 4 Clawed Gecko

4 Clawed Gecko

4 Clawed Gecko

Out of the mangrove and we spotted many insects but the highlight was this Oriental Whip Snake which stay still and posed for the photo.

Oriental Whip Snake

Oriental Whip Snake

The other highlight of the trip was 3 Civet Cat. A mama cat with 2 cubs. Unfortunately they were too far away for any decent photos. In fact with my poor eyesight, all I could see was the glow of the cats reflected in the light of the torches. But certainly it is gratifying to know that within such a small area in Pasir Ris beside the birds, there are so many more other creatures that has managed to live side by side with the resident of Pasir Ris.

 

 

Heron Watch

Did my second Nparks Volunteer survey. This time it is Heron but not just Heron but Egrets and Bitterns. Our mission is to count the number of these birds along a designated location. Our group was paired with an experienced ex-Nparks staff and we were assigned Sungei Tampines which was literally at our doorstep!

We started at the mouth of Sungei Tampines but soon realised that all the herons were over at the Pasir Ris Park behind Downtown East. So we concentrated our count there. Looking up at the trees with thick foliage and trying to spot the herons and the nests was not easy.14-HEW_0913

We can hear the loud squawking of the herons, see them flying around (we are  not supposed to count those flying) and can only count those that are in the nest or stationery. Throughout the 2 hours we spotted numerous Grey Herons and its nest.17-HEW_0935

Unfortunately because we had moved away from Sungei Tampines, we did not see the Little Egrets or the Straited Herons. Or any Bitterns for that matter.

Beside the herons up in the trees, we saw on the ground some egg shells including one that still had the embryo inside.01-HEW_0852

And 2 dead juvenile herons which could possibly have fallen off the trees before they were ready to fly.04-DSC_1303

All in I think we counted more than 50 nests and many more Grey Herons. They seem to be thriving well here although 1 passerby did remarked to us that they were a nuisance.  So I supposed if the population continue to grow unchecked, maybe one day we will AVA culling them?

Birds at Pasir Ris

Pasir Ris is a bird haven and I hope it continues to stay that way although with the continuous non stop construction, I am fearful of this.

Here are just some of the birds during a 2 hours walk from Drive 1 to the Pasir Ris Park one hot afternoon last week.

Starting from Sungei Tampines, the ever present magnificent Grey Heron flying so close to the HDB flats10-PRP_0219

A little bird that is now a permanent resident. Little Terns are a joy to watch as they swooped down on high to pick the fish from the river.09-PRP_0287

The parakeets seemed to have invaded the East. They are now abundant in Changi, East Coast and Pasir Ris with big flocks of them.07-PRP_0478

The Collared Kingfisher is another very commonly seen bird in Singapore. At Bedok Town Park a few weeks ago, there were many of them and likewise on this walk there were a number of them over at Sungei Tampines and in the park itself.06-PRP_0502

And the family of Spotted Wood Owl is still there despite the recent pruning of trees by Nparks01-PRP_0535

Didn’t spot any woodpecker this time round though. Just many hornbills but they were too far away for a decent shots.

In my Own Backyard 3

Walking the combine Pasir Ris Park and Tampines Eco Green, both places just within stone throw from my place and though migratory season is over, there are still some birds around. Here are some which can be found in these 2 areas.

Starling

Asia Glossy Starling

Black naped Oriole

Black Naped Oriole

Beeeater 2

Bee-eater

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

Little Egret

Little Egret

White Throat Kingfisher

White Throat Kingfisher

Iora

Iora

Sooty Headed Bulbul

Sooty Headed Bulbul

Yellow Vented Bulbul

Yellow Vented Bulbul

The Jungle Fowls population in Singapore has grown tremendously. There are sizeable population in Pasir Ris Park, Fort Canning and many other parts of Singapore.

Cock 1

Jungle Fowl male

17-PRR_7699

Jungle Fowl Female with chicks