Kranji Marshes – the Conservation Area

I been trying to get to the Conservation area of Kranji Marshes since my last visit to Kranji Marshes in June last year. But because Nparks only allow for guided tours and that only once a month, I have not been successful in getting there until last weekend. Nature Society Singapore in conjunction with Nparks was conducting guided tour and I was lucky enough to secure a place. Turned out it was the last guided tour for this period and the next one will only be held towards the end of the year! Whew!

We started our guided tour from Sungei Buloh Wetland Extension and were brought straight to the back gate of Kranji Marshes at Turut Track saving us the 1 km+ walk in from the Visitor Centre.

Once inside the gate, immediately I saw 2 birds on a palm tree. Turned out to be a Spotted Dove and a Green Pigeon which nobody was interested in since they are pretty common. The same birds were still there when we came back this way 2 and a half hour l

There was also a Grey Headed Fish Eagle on a perch but it flew away before anyone of us can take a photo. What a great start!

We next spotted a Purple Heron. Interestingly, that was the only Heron we spotted throughout the tour. No Grey Heron. Seems like bird of the same feather flocked together and this is Purple Heron territory and the Grey Heron knows how to stay away. 

Next  I saw a bird up high and took a snap. Turns out to be a Pink Neck Green Pigeon.

Walking along the edge of the marshes, we saw many Scaly Breasted Munia. It is just amazing how these birds can hang on to the thin reefs without bending them down with their weight.

Just a short distance away, we came upon an injured Barn Swallow lying on the floor inside one of the hides. The bird is either totally exhausted and dehydrated or is injured. Our guide decided to bring it along with him and try to save it but unfortunately it died shortly after.

Just before we reach the public area of Kranji Marshes, we saw a Lesser Coucal, or at least that what I think it is. Again it is amazing how these birds can just hang on to a few stalks of thin plants without bending it downward.

We reached the public area of Kranji Marshes. There were many Barn Swallow flying around and I tried to snap some photos. Nothing came out well. They were too fast, too far and too tiny.

Didn’t see many birds here although we certainly heard many. As we were walking back to the coach, we were treated to an aerial duel between a Brahminy Kite and a Crow. The audacity of the crow trying to attack the much bigger Kite!

The next bird we saw was outside the fence but it was a beautiful Long Tailed Shrike which apparently is a resident bird.

Just before we reach the exit, we were treated to the sight of a big group of Lesser Whistling Duck and Red Wattled Lapwing. Unfortunately they were on the far bank of the marshes and all i could manage with my puny little lens was this heavily cropped blurry shot.

I saw a Sunbird. Think it is a Olive Backed Sunbird, more Purple Heron and a Stork Billed Kingfisher.

And just before we board the bus, we got a final treat. A very rare Black Capped Kingfisher. Unfortunately this again was too far for my lens and even binocular and after cropping, all I got was this.

So it was a good trip. Our guide from NSS told us all in we spotted more than 40 species of birds although I think with my poor eyesight, I didn’t spot even half of that. And while I didn’t get to see what I was hoping for – the Moorhen, I am still pretty happy to have seen so many birds in one short morning. 

The bonus was that back at the carpark of Sungei Buloh, I saw this bird high up in one of the tree. Another very heavily cropped photo but I got a Scarlet Backed Flowerpecker!  It has been a great trip and I hope to go back there again and hopefully I get to see some more rare birds.

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

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Jungle Fowl Female with chicks

In my own Backyard

The green forested areas around the neighbourhood are fast disappearing and it its place sprung high rise apartments. Fortunately for me, living along the Sungei Tampines, there are still plenty of flora and fauna remaining. This morning, I took the camera out and went for a stroll and these are what I caught after just 1 and an half hour of strolling from Street 51 to Pasir Ris Park.
I think this is an Black Naped Oriole. (somebody correct me if I am wrong in my guestimation)

A monitor lizard on the bank of the Sungei Tampines. Too bad didn’t spot any otters

The Grey Heron flying next to the HDB flats. The herons have prove resilient to the many constructions going on around the neighbour and are still abundant.

Is this a waterhen?

Common kingfisher

A squirrel scrambling all over

White collared kingfisher

And first time ever I spotted owls in Singapore! And 3 of them some more. Not too sure what species are these though

And nearby the owls, a woodpecker Coppersmith Barbet was displaying its beauty and renovation skill to the group of admiring photographers

Common Mine? A flock of them were flying around but it was kinda difficult to shoot with my long lens

Last but not least, a little birdie that flew and landed just in front of me before swooping off again. 1 chance was all I got and thank goodness it came out right!

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Been to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve a few times but not been able to get some decent pictures until this latest outing. The real purpose was to catch a glimpse of the 3 metres long crocodile but unfortunately after covering almost 2/3 of the place, all we sighted was this creature and its siblings. 
Me think it is the year end holiday seasons and the croc which Npark said came overseas from Johor and is therefore a FT, had took leave and gone home for the holidays.
No crocs but plenty of birds. Managed to took some nice photos although I don’t know what birds they are other than the general description.
I think these are plovers. 

An egret?

A heron?

A yellow billed stork?

A white collared King Fisher
Common Redshank?

M also spotted this caterpillar. I am still amazed at how she can see things like this. I could have walked past without a second glance

And these caterpillar has a Chinese Dragon like feeler. Amazing!

And these lot. I think they are a bunch of caterpillars but they look more like a tarantula.

This was the most productive trip to Sungei Buloh so far. Hope to come back soon with a little bit more time and cover the rest of the other route and take more pictures.