Reptiles Day

It is bird migratory season here in Singapore and the various bird photo groups on FB have lighted up with chatter about some rare shorebirds at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. So I went down to kapo a bit but was disappointed when there was not a single bird to be seen at the main pond. The water level was too high! Had to walk to walk the entire round before spotting them at the other pond but they were too far away for any decent individual photos.

But the trip was not wasted though. To make up for the lack of birds, there was reptiles aplenty. I have never had on any single trip to any local or for that matter local reserve or parks spotted so many different species of reptiles – from the biggest predator, the Estuarine Crocodile to the small little gecko.

First was the by now fairly common resident croc of SBWR at the main pond under the main bridge. CRU_3634

Further inland, M spotted what was a first for every one of us – a Shore Pit Viper!CRU_3668

Then there was a series of reptiles both big and small including 1 more crocodile and all sort of lizards.

A very common invasive species the Changeable LizardCRU_3723

In contrast, the not very common Bearded Dragon lizard which can glide from trees to trees. In fact we did see a few of them “flying” all over.CRU_3679

There was the shy skinkCRU_3771

And a gecko on the ceiling of one of the hideCRU_3683

And of course many monitor lizard including this little one trying to look for prey inside the tree trunkCRU_3764

On the way out we spotted a juvenile crocodile sunning itselfCRU_3871

But it was at the new SBWR that we saw 3 more Oriental Whip Snakes. The sound of thunder and the approaching rain cloud forced us to beat a hasty retreat without taking a photo of the 4th snake.

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Photo take by Alicia

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Photo taken by Alicia

So the trip wasn’t wasted and turned out to be one of the most fruitful ever visit to the place!

 

Jurong Eco Garden

Been meaning to drop by the Jurong Eco Garden but never had the time until recently. Not very easy to find place set within NTU itself and with small teeny weeny signboard. To get there, it is easier to look for Thow Kwang Pottery, the last remaining kiln in Singapore. The Jurong Eco Garden is just next to it.
Disappointingly, the garden is another cultivated park. Perhaps there used to be a big forest patch there but most of these are gone now replaced by neat cultured landscaping, bridges and proper footpaths. Great for those looking for a stroll in the park but not great if you are looking for the great nature. And without the big trees, the place was hot hot hot!

About the only “natural and wild” portion left was a 1 km Nature trail but sadly that will also have to go in due course. There was a sign at the trail head that stated that the nature trail will only be opened till year 2019.

Nothing much to see there but still did managed to spot a fair number of critters.

A few different butterflies flitting around but despite our “request” for them to pose for my camera, none of the butterflies took heed except this one

At least the dragonflies were more co-operative

There were also a number of lizards on the trees

And I could hear the sound of parakeets and koel but they were nowhere in sight. Still I did managed to spot some birds

And these group of swifts or swallows flying over the pond. Too bad my camera skill and setup was not good enough to take a close up shot of them

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Extension

When the Nparks announced the opening of the extension, I was fairly excited. So one afternoon I went there only to discover that it was the former Kranji Trail which I had visited before and which sadly is now “sanitised to become the new Sungei Buloh Extension. The former nice trail has been partially replaced with a concrete path and there are now more beautiful viewing structures but somehow it seems more like a park now than a nature reserve.

Board Walk with shelters

Rope walk including one that goes partially into a pond

Nice looking shelter. There are a number of them all over

Didn’t spot many birds. Some of the things we spotted in the short time that we were there

Common Nerita snails

My first hornbill photo

Mud crab

Tree climbing crab

Mudskipper

Of course the monitor lizard

Golden Orb spider

 Waterhen

A slug

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.