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.

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

Birds of New Zealand

I knew I was going to regret not bringing a long lens for the trip. I was pretty sure I will see many birds and will not be able to take any decent shots of them.

My fear came true on the very first day that we went to the Auckland Botanic Garden. Everywhere we could hear the chirping of birds and we spotted many too. With a zoom of 28 – 70 mm, getting a decent photo was going to be tough 🙁

The first bird we spotted was a beautiful parrot/rooster like bird that ran across the field. This drastically cropped blurry shot was the best I could managed of this Eastern Rosella. This is what I called a FT. A non-native bird from Australia which apparently has since managed to do well in NZ.

Eastern Rosella

Eastern Rosella

But I was more lucky with the next 2 birds at the garden. Somehow they landed near enough for me to shoot off a continuous burst and volia:

Tui

Tui

Chaffinch

Chaffinch

Both are native birds of NZ. I was able to spot the Tui at several locations subsequently and took more photos of them.

On our trip to One Tree Hill, the first animal I spotted when out of the car was a big flock of Helmeted Guinea Fowl. I think they belong to the farm at Cornwall Park.

Helmeted Guinea Fowl

Helmeted Guinea Fowl

On a visit to see the Glow Worms at Waitomo, there were plenty of this little Fantail flying around. Unfortunately all I managed was this rather “blurred” shot of one of them.

Fantail

Fantail

I first spotted this Pukeko at the Sulphur Beach and subsequently at the Otorohanga Kiwi House. But I hit pay dirt at Hamilton Lake where there was a large flock of ducks and Pukeko and even an Australian Coot!

Pukeko

Pukeko

Australian Coot

Australian Coot

Ducks gathering around us as we had duck food with us.08-DSC05739 07-DSC05737

But the best was on our 2nd last day and we were at Army Bay and the Shakespear Regional Park. Beside the seagulls which were everywhere, there were some good finds.

Southern black-backed gull

Southern black-backed gull

Red Billed Gull

Red Billed Gull

The highlight has to be this extremely rare Dotterel which had a breeding nest nearby and became very agitated when we went too near.

New Zealand Dotterel

New Zealand Dotterel

There was also an Oyster Catcher with a nest nearby and it was making a lot of noise to try to scare us off

Oyster Catcher

Oyster Catcher

In the parks there were other birds like these strange looking California quail. Now how did the California birds end up in NZ?

California quail

California quail

And unlike Singapore, Sparrow seems to be doing well in NZ and they can be found everywhere.

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

More birds at the Otorohanga Kiwi House here

New Zealand Day 10 – Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park

Another of the tourist place but we were all hyped up to see the Kiwi. Unfortunately, out of the 4 different species of Kiwi on display, we only managed to see 1. The others were too shy and hiding somewhere in the dark enclosure. No pictures allowed in the Kiwi display area so have to make do with these stuffed Kiwis on display at the souvenir shop.18-DSC05476

Out of the Kiwi enclosures and into the open, our first sighting was this not afraid of human, Spur Winged Plover which was walking all over the place.

Spur Winged Plover

Spur Winged Plover

There are many species of ducks all over the place but I can’t really differentiate between all the different species. Anyway ducks are not my favourite photo subjects so no photos here.

But there is this big pigeon. Also very tame.05-DSC05358It landed on my head then hopped onto my hand before flying off to this railing.

The ladies had a nice time feeding the Kakariki08-DSC05380

I got photos of some other nice birds.

Kea

Kea

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Kotare New Zealand Kingfisher

Kotare New Zealand Kingfisher

And this Green Tree Gecko which are the only other animals they have beside birds.15-DSC05420More photos here

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.