Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dollarbird at Sungei Buloh 2013-08-18

I went back to Sungei Buloh for some bird photographs and entertaining nature walk. It was a typical visit to the site with some typical fauna like the ashy tailorbird, olive backed sunbird, monitor lizard, pink-necked green pigeon, etc. I walked all the 3 routes trying to find any unusual birds. In a pond along Route 3, I saw a big white bird resting in the middle. I initially thought it was a typical egret, but when I took a shot, I noticed that the beak looks different. It was a milky stork, another lifer for me.

Milky stork

I saw 3 raptors circling the reserve and identified them as white-bellied sea eagle.

On my way back from route 3 to route 1, I noticed a dollarbird on a branch. I decided to approach it cautiously and luckily, I was able to get a decent shot of this bird.

Here are some of the other birds, I was able to photograph.

Brown throated sunbird (female)

Crow sp.

Scaley breasted munia

 Ashy tailorbird

 White breasted waterhen

Oriental whiteeye

Friday, August 23, 2013

Admiralty Park Birding 2013-08-10

I usually scan the map online for some green areas to visit. This time it leads me to the Admiralty Park. From Woodlands MRT station, I walked about 10 minutes to get to the park. My initial impression of the park was a family friendly park, but not friendly to nature. Man-made pond, paved road, wide staircase, etc. It looks more an urban park than a nature park.

Since I'm already there, I might as well took a stroll around. The first bird that signals their presence were 2 loud blue-collared kingfisher. I tried to follow it until it decided to fly to a distant tree across the street.

As I went deeper through the park, the surrounding area starts to change a bit. Man-made structures start to disappear. I even saw a family of monkeys there. At one point, I noticed some movement on the grasses and saw an immature white-breasted waterhen trying to cross the road.

Then on a distant branch, I spotted a dollarbird in a typical dollarbird-pose - sitting still on an open branch turning its head around looking for food.

There's a section where the paved road seems to end. But later I found out that it must be unfinished, since after about a hundred meters or so, the road is paved again.

The park runs straight until it reaches a street. Opposite the street is another park, the Woodlands Waterfront which covers the sea shore overlooking Malaysia.

 It was already midday when I reached this park and the weather was getting hot. I took a short break from the hot sun, cool myself and proceed to the seashore where I can see the opposite bank.

 There were a few olive-backed sunbirds and zebra doves there.

When I grew tired of staring blankly at the sea while savoring the fresh sea breeze, I decided to head back. Because it was hot and there's no way I could avoid the hot sun, I decided to walk faster on the way back. I didn't bother to look at the trees because I know the birds must be hiding too until I reached a shaded area. While cooling myself, I heard a few bird calls on a tall tree which I couldn't identify. I initially thought they were flowerpeckers or flycatchers, but after I took some shots, I identified them as the Common Iora due to my previous experience with this species of bird at Sungei Buloh.

 Near the exit, I also saw some sunbirds feeding on a flowering shrub.

As I move closer to admire their beauty, I heard the pygmy woodpecker's TI-RI-RI-RI-RIT call.

 Then I also saw a scaley breasted munia hiding from the sun.

On my way back to the MRT station, I also saw 2 raptor hovering above at a distance, I assume they were white-breasted sea-eagle, but can't be sure. I wasn't able to observe them too long because of the blinding sun and before I could photograph them, they were gone.

I ending my birding activity with a nice bowl of Laksa (coconut milk) noodle soup for lunch before heading home.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Birds and the Snake 2013-08-09

It was Singapore's National Day and I don't have anything to do but bird-watch. I returned to my favorite birding spot in Singapore, Sungei Buloh. When the bus (925) that I took didn't stop at the bus stop that I'm used to, I was surprised, but I just decided to let it continue to see where it goes. It made a loop and stopped exactly beside the entrance of the SB nature park. I realized that during holidays, the bus will go directly to Sungei buloh instead of stopping in front of the Kranji nature park before turning back. Well better for me, since I didn't have to walk another 10 minutes or so before I reach my destination.

After paying the entrance fee of S$1, I entered the park and went to the restroom and apply some mosquito repellent. While doing so, I notice some movements on a tree visible inside the room. I quickly rush to the spot and noticed a hornbill. Not knowing what species it is, I just took as many shots as I could. Later, I was able to identify it as an Oriental pied hornbill.

At the bridge leading to the first trail, the ever present crocodile can be seen.

I continue my stroll and saw a lot of Ashy tailorbirds.

Along the way, I meet some birders and photographers with giant lenses. I also saw some other targets like the grey egret and a striated heron looking for food in the ponds.

When I reached the area where I last saw a tailorbird nest, I tried to find it, but it seems the nest is already gone.

I revisited the mangrove Arboretum, there I was able to see some crabs, mud skippers. I was surprised to see one of the crabs climbed up a vertical branch up to more than a meter from the water level. How did it managed to do that?


I also witnessed a crimson sunbird hunting a spider.

Where are you spidey?


Dead spider  

On the way back, I was lucky to get some better shots of the Common iora. It's a moderately difficult bird to photograph due to its' tendency to move from branch to branch.

Common iora

In one area, I saw a birder shooting something while other onlookers also stopped to take a look. At first I thought it was a bird, but on closer inspection, it was a green snake crawling up a tree.

In the pond, some fish always tend to shoot themselves up into the air, perhaps it's their way of hunting for wading insects or something else. I tried to capture the moment and was able to although not that good.

At the end of the day, I was glad I was able to catch a glimpse of the hornbill which was another lifer for me.