Punggol Park

One thing I find puzzling about our government is that they tear down forests and natural places like nobody business and then spend loads and loads of money to build beautiful artificial parks. Like Punggol Park.

Punggol Park is a very small little park in the heartland of Hougang and bordering Sengkang. On the morning that I was there, it was bustling with activities. There was a race going on. Many cyclists and runners and walkers. There were people doing all sort of exercises and even this guy killing 2 birds with one stone by meditating and sun tanning at the same time!

Though Punggol Park is a very small place – a complete round is only less that 1.5 km, it is very beautiful. Filled with thick vegetation and trees and a very natural looking pond unlike the concrete lined ponds at Pasir Ris Town or Toa Payoh. And precisely because the place is so filled with greenery, I was able to spot and took photos of 2 birds that I had never seen before.

A Brown Shrike

Yellow Bittern

And also for the first time, I managed to photograph both the male and female Koel, the noisiest bird in this part of the world!

Female Koel

A Male Koel

And one of the best part of Punggol Park? There is a great makan place, the Wild Oats, a really nice place selling really great food.

Koel & Dove

I like birds but there is one that I really dislike and that is the Koel. I wrote about this previously and most of us in Singapore will be familiar with its very loud and distinct  noisy call early in the morning. And yet although it is everywhere, it is so difficult to spot one. And since I started this bird photography thing, I mean trying hard to get a shot at one of this noisy and yet elusive bird. I got one sometime ago but it wasn’t really a good photo.09-TEG_4292This I believe is a male koel.

Then I got lucky last week at the Tampines Eco Green and managed to spot this female koel.Koel

Another bird that I saw and which I mistook for a pigeon is this White Spotted Dove.Pigeon

At first I thought it was a Pink Neck Green Pigeon but than on closer examination there was this patch of white spot on the back of the neck. So I asked around at the BICA FB page and got my answer.

2 new species to add to my spotted list!

A Birdtiful Outing at Tampines Eco Green

Normally when I go to the parks, I don’t spot many birds as I seem to be unable to differentiate between the leaves and the birds and usually it is M who will point them out to me. Last weekend at Tampines Eco Green, I not only got M but the Princess and together we got a “birdtiful” catch! So many birds!

Of course, with my 200 mm lens, most time what I got was something like this:DSC_0002See the bird is so far away and so small even with the lens zoomed all the way. But with a lot of cropping, at least I get a bigger bird.02-TEG_4150

This by the way is a Bee-eater or so I been told. Due to the massive cropping and sharpening, the picture is very pixelated and “noisy” but can’t be help. At least can see that it is a rather beautiful bird. Here a side by side comparison of the scale of the croppingTEG_4150

Here are the other birds.  The pictures are a little bit distorted due to the size of the slider

Of course beside bird, we also spot many nests including this Baya Weaver nest with the head of a chick popping out. Can you spot it?05-TEG_4188Beside birds there are also many lizards although sadly no Komodo Dragon 🙂 and snakes.

7-DSC_0128This is not a Komodo Dragon. Just a monitor lizard. In Singapore, one can only find Komodo Dragon at the Zoo!

8-DSC_0115

Photo by Alicia

All in, it was a very fruitful trip. We took only about 2 hours and just one small stretch of the beautiful park from the end of the overhead bridge nearer to the TPE and to the main entrance where the eco toilet is.

Not all birds are lovable

I stayed in an estate where just by walking short distance, I can see lot and lot of birds. From the common mynahs and sparrow to the more exotic birds like the heron, egret, parakeets and many others whom I cannot identify.
Every morning I wake up to the chirping of birds from the birds on the trees just behind my place. This is the tree. This tree is flowering now and attracts many birds including this beauty

Now that the tree is flowering, it is attracting more birds including bats and this bird

Photo from The Hindu newspaper
I like birds. I enjoyed listening to them and waking up to them. On my runs in Pasir Ris Park, I always try to look out for the heron screeching away. So I was quite disturbed to read in the papers about some complaints by people about the Koels and asking for them to be culled! What the hell. It’s just some bird calls so why kick such a big fuss. After all we should be thankful that we have such a wide variety of birds.
And then a koel decided to join the crowd on the tree behind my place. And it makes its presence felt at 4am in the morning when the night is still as quite as dead. And all of sudden, I understand the sentiments of those who complained about the bird. Imagine being waken up at 4am by this


(Video from xeno-canto Asia)

Thankfully the bird has so far make it appearance on alternate day but always at about 4am and will perform until about 7am. Sighed….. how to like something like that?