Sunday, 10 May 2009

Singapore. Dragons and Dragonflies.

Sungei Buloh offers migratory birds the chance to rest and refuel on their visit for the Northern Summer. It is an area of mangroves and old prawnponds which has been transformed into one of Singapore's premier wildlife reserves. Usually the most conspicuous birds are the waders that feed from the managed mudflats. Sluices maintain the desired water level or allow the tide to wash through as the management plan dictates. My visit coincided with a high water plan, so there was very little exposed mud. I had chosen to walk anti-clockwise around the reserve and found that the expected mudflats had been allowed to flood and that the water level was being kept high. So no waders. A tropical downpour trapped me in one of the hides for over an hour., but at least that kept the temperature down. Sungei Buloh can normally be expected to provide a profusion of birds such as waders, herons and egrets, kingfishers, etc, but today was quiet, except for the school party.
The sightings list below shows 37 birds, which is low for this reserve. Even the birds that I did see were subdued and none of them showed really well.
It was not until I had almost completed the entire circle that I found some mud. Here were a couple of Grey Herons and Little Egrets
On my return to the visitors centre, I called in at the cafeteria. While I ate the fish and chips, a huge Monitor Lizard began cruising around the adjacent pond. At last, after carrying the camera all around the reserve, I had something to take pictures of. The visitors Centre also comprises a delightful interpretative exhibit. Through the window, dragonflies flitted back and forth over the water hyacinth beds. One settled closeby and I took his picture. Once I started, I could not stop and shot over 400 frames. A different species, came by and now I was warming to the task. With my limited experience, I think I saw 8 different species of dragonflies and damselflies, but was only able to name one, the Red Chaser, at the time of writing.
To reach Sungei Buloh, take the MRT to Kranji. From Kranji MRT, bus 925 operates as far as the reservoir and drops at the car park beyond the causeway. Continue on foot300m and turn left the reserve is a further 800m on the right. On Sundays and public holidays the 925 extends it's service to the park gates.
Kranji Express operates a minibus bus service every 90 minutes, but is not always reliable.
A taxi from Kranji to Sungei Buloh costs $10 Singapore, but cannot be relied upon for the return.
Entrance to Sungei Buloh is free and opening hours are 07.30 until 19.00

Great Egret 2, Grey Heron 6, Purple Heron 1, Cattle Egret 1, Striated Heron 2, Milky Stork 1, Brahminy Kite 1, Red Jungle Fowl 2, White-bellied Waterhen 2, Pink-necked Green Pigeon 20, Zebra Dove 3, Spotted Dove 1, Asian Koel 3, Lesser Coucal 1, Stork-billed Kingfisher 1, Collared Kingfisher 6, Blue-throated Bee-eater 2, Common Goldenback 1, Pacific Swallow 4, Barn Swallow 8, Common Iora 4, Yellow-vented Bulbul 20, Black-naped Oriole 3, Large-billed Crow 12, Arctic Warbler 1, Common Tailorbird 1, Dark-necked Tailorbird 1, Pied Fantail 1, Javan Myna 20, Asian Glossy Starling 10, Plain-throated Sunbird 2, Olive-backed Sunbird 6, Copper-throated Sunbird 2, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker 4, Black-headed Munia 2 Scaly-breasted Munia 6, Tree Sparrow 4