While my fellow Victorians were out pursuing penguins last week, I managed
about 2 days' birdwatching in Singapore on my way to/from Vietnam on
business. I went to Pulau Ubin for two mornings and was at Sungei Buloh
Nature Park for most of one day.
Pulau (Island) Ubin is a 10-minute boat ride from Changi Village, itself
only about 15/20 minutes from Changi Airport. If you can manage an
overnight stay in Singapore before catching your flight the next afternoon,
Pulau Ubin is ideal especially if you stay at the Changi Meridien Hotel,
about 3 minutes' walk from the boat. The hotel is expensive at about S$165
++ per night, but so is the rest of Singapore nowadays. There are free
transfers to/from the airport every hour or so. There is a little booklet
produced by the Singapore Nature Society and Mobil which gives some
information and a little map of the central part of the island. I can fax
the map to anyone who is interested.
On my first 5-hour morning, I walked around the central ponds looking for
the Red Jungle Fowl which had eluded me a year ago. I saw both male and
female this time, further west from where I was looking last year. Other
birds of interest to me were Black Baza and one of the two Oriental
(Southern) Pied Hornbills which were reported as resident on Pulau Ubin by
Won Soon Lau about a year ago. There were lots of "Common" birds, such as
Common Sandpiper, Common Myna, Common Greenshank and Common Kingfisher (will
there ever be a cure for the Common Koel?).
On my second 5-hour morning, I had good views of two roosters and a hen Red
Jungle Fowl and Black-shouldered Kite. The Blue-tailed Beeeaters had been
joined by the Blue-throated which must have only just arrived from the south
Sungei Buloh is at the other end of Singapore Island, near the causeway to
Malaysia. It is now easier to get to on the MRT railway. You can either go
to Kranji Station, catch the 925 Bus to Kranji Dam and walk for about 20
minutes, or go to the Marsiling Station and catch a taxi for about S$7 if
you have blistered feet. On Sundays, the 925 bus goes right to the Nature
Reserve, but so do lots of people.
The reserve has lots of ponds and mangroves and the birds expected in such
places. There were the usual larger waders such a Greenshanks, Redshanks,
Black-tailed Godwits, Whimbrels, Golden Plovers but nothing smaller than
Common Sandpipers. All of the kingfishers except the Blue-eared, Oriental
Dwarf and Ruddy were there. I also saw Long-tailed Macaque(?), some huge
water monitors and a pretty squirrel with a golden belly bordered by black
and white bands.
Overall, I saw only three new bird species but increased my Singapore list
from 71 to 86. Those of you interested in birding in Singapore ought to
hurry before the entire island is covered in apartment buildings and