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.

Eastside Run 01012012

I can’t believe the last time there was a Eastside Run was exactly 1 year ago. It used to be a once a month affairs but due to the packed race calendars the past year, somehow I have not been able to find a free day to slot this in on a more regular basis. 
Anyway, I decided since there was an extra long weekend and being its anniversary, it was a good time to hold one. This time round, the route picked was a part trail part route covering 3 separate trails in the East. Invitations were send out via the sgrunners forum and Facebook. I had expected in view of the many runs over the weekend to have at most 15 – 20 pax but  the numbers kept growing and growing and before I knew it, there were close to 50 respondents which was more than the 2 of us can handle. So last minutes I had to rope in buddies from Simei to help manage the group. Many thanks to Gary, Zco, Ming and AC. Especially the latter 2 as they still had a World Harmony Run to do in the afternoon.
We started off from Sun Plaza Park at about 7.20 am. The first trail was the “carpet” trail of Tampines Eco Green, in my opinion the best and most comfortable trail in Singapore, JB and some say Batam! Surprisingly, many of the runners have not been to this park even though a majority of them stay in the East.

Next trail was the Tampines Mountain Bike Park, a more familiar place for most of the runners. But of course they didn’t bargain for a “water” obstacle. I had recced this place a few times prior to this and decided that the water course was more fun than the usual out and out trail. And it was hilarious to see the new runners to trails picking their way gingerly over the water. And some kind dude finally decided to help the ladies in distress and picked up some more rocks to help the ladies walk over the water. Who says chivalry is dead?

The final trail was the wild but scenic Tampines Quarry, a place that I believe was new to almost everybody.   We had a group photo taken at the most scenic park of the quarry before proceeding up to the wild trails.

And wild trails it was, with tall grasses, mud and 2 fallen trees which had everybody climbing and crawling all over. Surprisingly, it appears that Nparks or some kind soul had trimmed a bit off the 2nd tree on Saturday afternoon and we could easily walk across.
Finally, after a fun and exhilarating 12km, we reached back Sun Plaza Park for a final group photo.
And with that, it was the end of another Eastside Run. Hopefully, it will not be the last one for this year.  But whether there will be another this year will depend on the demand, the race schedule cos that will affect my ability to get pacers and whether I can hustle up new and interesting route instead of the usual Bedok Reservoir or East Coast Park. 

Tampines Eco Green 2

During my recent temporary lay off from running, with time to kill while waiting to recover, been going around taking pictures. This trip, the Princess and me, went over to Tampines Eco Green. So far I have only ran there never really walk around in it and look at the  flora and fauna. And it was my loss. There are so many beautiful creature of nature! 

Definitely worth a visit. For people who drive there, park across the road at the HDB carparks next to Sun Plaza Park or at the multi storey carpark at Tampines Ave 9. By public transport, take the MRT train to Tampines and transfer to the feeder bus no 293 or take bus no 28, alight at the first bus stop along Tampines Ave 9 and walk to the entrance at Tampines Ave 12. 

Trails in the East – Tampines Quarry

Been doing a lot of runs in the Central Catchment area so it was a nice surprise to find a trail right in the East that is near enough for me to run from home. So this, plus Lorong Halus plus Eco Green & Tampines Mountain Bike Park made 3 trail routes all within 5km from home. 
The entrance to the latest newly discovered trail:
The place is mainly forested area with lot of vegetation and sound of chirping birds all over. Of course, on the minus side, there are also plenty of mozzies.

Some part of the trails are lovely to run. Like this portion with beautiful overhanging trees forming a well shaded canopy.

Unfortunately, there were also plenty of mud pools like this one which almost render the whole path un-passable. In facts, there were many parts along the way where I had to u-turn in order not to get too dirty.

The long grass on the side hide many small little paths with bike tracks. Went along a few but unfortunately due to the above mentioned mud paths, was forced to turn back several times.

However, the reward for running in this virgin area was a great view of the Tampines Quarry.

Unfortunately ran out of time and couldn’t explore the far side behind Paya Lebar Airbase or the HDB sand quarry. In the end had to contend myself with a 5km run around the quarry. Will be back again and next round hopefully can carve out a 10km route.

Trail in the East – Tampines Eco Green

Running trails have never been this good. For the longest time, there was practically nothing and nowhere to do a trail run in the East. Then the Tampines Mountain Bike Park was opened and it opened up a whole new dimension of running in the East. Unfortunately, that was a victim of its own success and it was soon commandeered by the YOG and closed to the public. Then Lor Halus Wetland opened and with it another new playground abit a rather oily and smelly one.
Now there is a new addition. The Tampines Eco Green. One day after its soft opening, me, the kid and the sidekick promptly ran the short 1km from our place to this new park. 
The whole place is created from a vast piece of empty land which has been left unchecked for more than 20 years. There is a 3km “carpeted” trail and it was fun to run on it. Like running on air. 
The path or trails were clearly marked out with directional sign and the distance clearly marked out.

More interesting was the sight. The place was left unkempt in most areas and there were areas that look like a big Savannah and swamp land

We managed to do an almost 4km run within the Eco Green before crossing the road to the Tampines Mountain Bike Park and continuing another 5km. By the time we reach home via Pasir Ris Dr 1 instead of the Tampines PCN, we had cover a total of 12km. I am pleased like hell that I now don’t have to go all the way to MR if I just want to enjoy a short trail run.

And there’s more. A new trail just another 2km away. But that shall have to wait for the next post.