Saturday, July 13, 2013

Back To Sungei Buloh 2013-07-13

I took bus 925 from Woodlands MRT station to the Kranji Reservoir Park. From there, did a 15-minutes walk to get to the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. At the tourist counter, the lady asked me if I was there for the photography activity to which I said no. There was a big group of photographers there waiting for their friends to finish setting up their instrument. I walked pass them and started my solo trek as usual. Last time I came here, I was pestered by so many mosquitoes. This time, I came prepared with a bottle of mosquito repellant.

I started on the trail at the right. Along the way, I meet 2 separate bird photographers heading back to the tourist counter/entrance. With a friendly gesture, I asked them if they had any luck. Both of them said no birds. I only saw some White-collared kingfishers and mynas. At the midway point, I had to turn back due to the call of nature. On my way back, I heard a call so I looked up and saw a yellow bird. I took some quick shot, but none turned out good.

White collared kingfisher

Common Iora

After I reached the entrance and solved the issue, I returned to the trail and took the left path instead. I also meet a few photographers on the way and some members of the local nature club. At one  point, I saw a couple of ashy tailorbird. I tried capturing a few shots and noticed that although they were constantly on the move, they never really left the area. I soon realized that they were building a nest. Both male and female returned to the nest twice while I was there waiting for them. After they stopped coming, I decided to leave the area as well.

Ashy tailorbird

After a few minutes, I reached the Aerie tower and the area where I reached earlier before I had to turn back. This time, I decided to turn back and try to stalk the tailorbird again to see if they will come back. When I reached the nest area and didn't see them, I simply walked towards the exit. Before reaching the exit, there's a bridge that traverses a stretch of water. Like last time, there was a salt-water croc there. Some nature volunteers were also there with a spotting scope. They were kind enough to show me a dollarbird about 30m away with their scope. I also asked them about the yellow bird I took earlier, which they were able to identify as a Common Iora thanks to a guidebook.

Salt water croc

Oriental magpie-robin

At the gallery beside the information counter, I noticed another pathway that I hadn't visited the last time I came here. It was another 500m Mangrove walk different from the Mangrove Arboretum that I visited before. I took this path which basically loops back on itself. Along the way, I saw a raptor overhead flying around looking for food, a black-throated sunbird and 2 more Ashy tailorbirds.

Black-throated sunbird

Raptor sp. (juvenile White-bellied sea eagle?)

When I get back to the entrance, I decided to call it a day and head to the bus stop. On my way, I saw a dark object on one of Singtel's antenna. I thought it was a large bird or something. I took a photo and was able to identify it as a Brahminy kite. Later, I changed my mind and identify it as a White-bellied sea eagle.

White bellied sea eagle

Here are some of the other images I took.

Hornet mound?

Olive-backed sunbird

Monitor lizard

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Weekend Birding at Bukit Batok Nature Reserve 2013-07-06

I went to Bukit Batok Nature Reserve during the weekend for some birding. I started out a bit late, when I arrived there it was already half past 9 in the morning. It doesn't make sense to go there early anyway because during my past visits there, it was crowded with people doing their exercise during the early morning hours. Being a bit late has some merits as most of the people are done with their morning exercise, and only a few joggers remain.

I took a different path to the park via the Upper Bukit Timah road, when I reached the former Japanese WW2 memorial area, there was a citizen army unit doing their morning jog as well. I initially thought I will have a hard time finding birds in the area due to the number of people, so I decided to explore a bit. I walked past the twin antenna tower and find myself in another residential area road with trees on both sides. I listened and found a group of birds, the common Asian glossy starling.

Asian glossy starling

When I reached a dead end, I walked back to the WW2 memorial area but along the way, I was surprised by 4 noisy White crested laughing trush. After they left, I proceed to the quarry lake area, but before I get to the exercise area, I saw another group of WCLT.

White-crested laughing trush

When I reached the exercise area, I saw a local bird photographer. Initially, I didn't know what he was trying to capture, but I immediately joined him when I saw the tiny bird on a shrub about 10m from me. I realized the colorful plumage after I took the shot and was surprise that it was a lifer. I knew that it must be some species of flowerpecker due to it's size and shape but I was not exactly sure what it was and was able to identify it only when I searched the web later. I tried to be friendly and talk to him, but he just ignored me, oh well.

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker

Along the way, I saw 2 WCLT again and above was a Lesser racket-tailed drongo.

Lesser racket-tailed drongo

I stayed a few more minutes at the exercise area, but didn't see any other birds aside from the uninteresting Javan myna. So I started walking to the exit via a side trail and at one point saw a green bird that flew past me. I initially thought it was a parrot, but it was after I managed to capture a shot that I realized it wasn't. I continued walking and meet another birder, I told him about the bird and he was able to identify it as a barbet species.

Lineated barbet

Along the trail, I also captured some dull brown bird which I initially thought was a yellow-vented bulbul, but realized that there's no white on the head.

Olive winged bulbul 

A few meters from the exit, I saw a group of tiny pin-stripped tit-babbler, but wasn't able to capture any of them due to their constant movement. I tried a few minutes, but failed each time so I simply gave up.

When I left the park, I decided to visit Little Guilin again. After visiting the park, I proceed to the Bukit Gombak town center, look at the shops and head home.