Singapore - December 2007

Published by Danny Thomas (danny_thomas26 AT

Participants: Danny Thomas


I had a three day stop over in Singapore on route to Bali, Indonesia. My trip wasn't fundamentally a birding trip but I arranged to visit some of the areas that had been recommended to me.

MacRitchie Reservoir5th December 2007

Starting at 6am I got a taxi from my hotel in the China Town area of Singapore and headed for the MacRitchie Reservoir Nature Reserve featuring the HSBC Sponsored 'Treetop walk' a vast suspension bridge construction allowing you to walk amongst the forest canopy. After a drive of about twenty minutes the taxi driver dropped me at what he claimed was the 'only' entrance to MacRitchie reservoir. Shortly after he drove away i discovered he had dropped me on the opposite side of the reservoir to where i wanted to be.... Never mind, I started walking.... The main path follows the edge of the reservoir with the occasional optional detour into the forest. The trees are alive with sound and it took a little while to filter out the background noise of tree frogs, squirrels, crickets and other insects. Within half an hour of beginning my walk I had stumbled upon Buffy Fish Owl looking down on me from only a few metres away, then I located Greater Racquet-tailed Drongos Hill Myna and Olive-backed sunbirds. Walking past the Singapore Country Club's golf course I picked up Black-naped Oriole and Pink-necked green Pigeon. Continuing on I came to the Jelutong tower with its five levels which allowed me to get above the forest canopy, fighting my vertigo I was rewarded with a flock of about twenty-five Long-tailed Parakeet and a mixed feeding flock of sunbirds including a nice Crimson Sunbird. By about ten o'clock it started raining and shortly after became so heavy that it made birding impossible. I reached the Nature Reserve Visitor station had a quick walk over the suspension bridge before admitting defeat.

Nature Reserves Visitor Centre
Tel: 6468 5736

If you are wanting to visit the Treetop walk and want to avoid walking approximately 6km to get there then make sure your taxi will drop you off at Island Club Road or Venus Drive then it is only a short walk to the visitor centre. However, there are several good trails around the reservoir and in the forest, all of which offer interesting birding opportunities.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve 6th December 2007

At 6am a taxi came to pick me up from my hotel in Chinatown, learning from my mistakes the previous day, I made sure the driver knew where he was going. About half an hour later we arrived at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. The reserve is very much in the middle of nowhere so you may want to get your taxi to remain, or arrange for him to pick you up at a later time. The entrance to the visitor centre has some ponds which are an easy place to see the White-breasted Waterhens. The reserve is laid out in typical fashion with hides positioned conveniently around the site. Being a wetland area it is obviously very good for seeing herons and egrets and I wasn't disappointed and managed to see 6 species including great views of Yellow Bittern but sadly didn't see Cinnamon Bittern. The reserve is also and internationally important site for migrating waders and the best place to watch them is on the scrape from hide 1D. I arrived in the hide whilst the wardens were conducting their morning counts and was able to find out exactly what was around. I enjoyed great views of Marsh Sandpiper and Curlew Sandpiper mixed in with Common Redshank and Greenshank and my star bird, Terek Sandpiper. I was told there had been up to 30 Lesser Sandplovers the previous day but they were sadly not on view. I continued my tour of the reserve and finally ended up in the Mangrove Arboretum and enjoyed views of Common Flamebacks, Collared Kingfishers, Black-capped Kingfisher,Dollarbird, Greater Coucal and an unexpected Drongo Cuckoo. Also unmissible are the large number of Tree climbing crabs, Mudskippers and other mangrove specialities. Also present in large numbers on the reserve are Malayan Water Monitors which you cannot fail to see basking in the sunshine on the paths.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
301 Neo Tiew Crescent
Singapore, 718925
Tel: 6 794 1401

Species Lists

MacRitchie Reservoir
Chinese Pond Heron
Pink-necked Green Pigeon
Long-tailed Parakeet
Buffy Fish Owl
Glossy Swiftlet
Blue-tailed Bee Eater
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Golden-bellied Gerygone
Olive-backed Sunbird
Crimson Sunbird
Scaly-breasted Munia
Asian Glossy Starling
White-vented Myna
Hill Myna
Black-naped Oriole
Greater Racquet-tailed Drongo
Large-billed Crow

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Grey Heron
Purple Heron
Great Egret
Little Egret
Little Heron
Yellow Bittern
Brahminy Kite
Crested Serpent Eagle
White-breasted Waterhen
Pacific Golden Plover
Common Redshank
Terek Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper
Spotted Dove
Green-necked Pink Pigeon
Cuckoo Drongo
Greater Coucal
Common Kingfisher
Black-capped Kingfisher
Collared Kingfisher
Common Flameback
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Golden-bellied Gerygone
Olive-backed Sunbird
Scaly-breasted Munia
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Asian Glossy Starling
White-vented Myna