To: COG list <>
Subject: Singapore
From: Con Boekel <>
Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2012 16:41:33 +1000
Hi all

Just back from a fortnight in Singapore to be with our brand new baby grandson. Got some good but incidental birding in (Oriental Pied Hornbills greeting the dawn in a tree adjacent to our abode, for example). I can recommend Singapore as a birding stopover if you are heading somewhere else. In fact, I would recommend a stint of birding in Singapore in its own right. The access to good birding areas is usually very good. Singapore is safe. (We had concerned people coming up to us to warn us that it was time to head for cover because a rainstorm was coming. This happened several times.) Public transport (plus or minus cheap taxis and including ferries) gets you virtually everywhere. While development is number one, the Government has invested what I assume to be hundreds of millions in establishing and maintaining reserves with a particular emphasis on both conservation and their use as recreation places for harrassed citizens. The paths are excellently maintained. There are good tree top walks for the canopy species and there is an excellent board walk on Pulua Ubin in a Nipa Palm swamp - a very tough habitat to get to without such an amenity. There is a grand scheme, well advanced in the implementation, to link the major and minor parks with hundreds of kilometres of connecting walk and cycle paths. The birds (especially the residents) tend to be used to people so, with patience, you can get good views of a wide range of species. The exceptions are the skulkers. The jungle is excellent for skulkers. Many of the birds flout gorgeous colour schemes - barbets, leafbirds, sunbirds, hanging parrots, bee-eaters, flowerpeckers, kingfishers and woodpeckers are examples of very colourful species. For the homesick, there is even a gerygone with a creaky but seldom heard warble. On the other hand, I had to admit comprehensive defeat with the hordes of swiftlets that routinely clutter Singapore's airspace. Common Mynas are not competing very well with another introduced species - the White-vented Mynas. There was something very satisfying about watching White-vented Mynas boss Common Mynas around. (Except that White-vented Mynas are ferals as well.)

The one word of caution is that dengue fever is very active in certain areas of Singapore and so are the vectors. The Government spends over $50 million a year on control measures. Dengue fever is a real nasty, so you do need to take the full suite of precautions against mozzies.

The Singapore Nature Society website is a good starting point for information and I would be happy to provide some tips if you are seriously planning a trip.



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