Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year - 2010

2009 is almost come to an end as the countdown begins for 2010. It has been a fruitful year for me in 2009. I started birds watching/photography upgraded my camera and visited 3 countries with different biodiversity and cultures.

I travelled to Taiwan in April, follow by Bali in May, September to Borneo & late November to Japan. This really widens my perspective and brings my love of nature to the next level.

I’m impressed with the people in Taiwan the way they handle the Purple Milkweed Butterfly migration. All kinds of activities were organized to create the awareness of conservations.

More about my trips in Taiwan here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 & Part 4.
Signs of human intervention are affecting the nature even deep in the rain forest. Everybody have a part to plays and not just depend on the authority. The young monkey is having fun with the empty shampoo bottle.

In Japan, the migratory Whooper Swans are welcome and treated as VIP.

I wish to thanks CS Ling for introducing me into the world of birds of photography and all the tips on getting it started. Through her sharing of knowledge and passion, bird photography has become part of my main activities during any field trip. I am also volunteered in Project Semakau and a new sea star was found on the launch date of Project Semakau!
This blog was set up in Jan 2007 and is your supports that keep me going. A quick look at the statistic of my blog (courtesy of Nuffnang) show that more than 64% of my readers came form area outside of Singapore! This is certainly amazing! Thank you once again for all your supports. This shows that we have one of the biggest assets – Nature! Sadly, this also show that people from outside of Singapore seems to appreciate our nature more than we do!

Generally, the conservations awareness in Singapore can be better. There are lots of “Nature” Lovers in Singapore that visit nature spots taking photographs. Is good that there are people do noticed the presence of nature beauties in Singapore. However, this love can turn out to be destructive as well! There are people that only care about taking a 100% perfect shot to the extent that ignore the comfort and the well being of the animals they are photographing. Some unacceptable behavior including but not limited to using of flash on animals, forcing animals to go out of normal position for photo taking and some even destroy the protections/habitats of the animals to get their dream shot such as cut open the nest to take the juveniles’ photos! If we really love nature, don’t forget to respect them.

Hopefully with more & more likewise blogger blog about our already limited nature, hopefully the awareness among Singaporean can be further increased.

Wish all my readers a wonderful year of 2010!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Another Exciting Singapore Botanic Garden Trip

I visit Singapore Botanic Garden quite frequent and each time I'll get different experience. This is the beauty of nature! Although we don't have four seasons in Singapore, the weather do have impact on animals that visits Singapore Botanic Garden.

Traditionally, year end is the wettest period in Singapore as monsoon will bring lots of rain from November all the ways till March. The water level at Eco Lake is at the highest compare to the last few trips when I visits here.
These fishes have grown so much when I first noticed them back in August.

I'm not sure how long will this bond last. This special bonding is sure to be one of the few animals that having it. Not even in mammals, the parent will chase their off-spring away once they are big (mature) enough.
Their parent more than a meter long, can easily swallow their off-spring in one gulp. Hard to imagine they don't do that!
While I was still amazed by the fish, this yellow bittern flew past. Perhaps the bittern is checking out before the actual hunting?
Far across the lake, 2 Black Swan is playing hide and chase. So lovely....

I guess this one was alone?? Look at the spiky tail! Isn't it cute?
This swan was checking out the golf ball. Luckily the golf ball is too big to be swallow.
These 3 Lesser Whistling ducks match across the pathway in sync!

One of the very common bird in the garden is this Spotted dove.

Another most common birds in the garden will be Rock pigeons.
A very small Olive-backed sunbird about to take off. Other than Olive-backed, there are Crimson sunbird in the garden too.
Another Olive-backed sunbird(male) about to take off too from this palm tree.

Black-naped Orioles usually stay very high up the tree. But this 3 decided to stay lower closer to the lake.

Another small bird that usually stay quite high up the tree and very difficult to spot them - Tailor birds.
Another less common bird find is this Asian Brown Flycatcher.
I saw lots of Blue-tailed Beeeater today. Not sure are they seasonal but is definitely more than usual. I saw not less than 20 actively hunting.
This Storkbill kingfisher also for the first time stay out on the open branch and allow me to take photo from below.Well, the find for the day will be this Black Crown Night Heron! Is quite well camouflage and to spot it is almost impossible.

I was overwhelmed by so many interesting finds just in 2 hours. I must say that my luck is super good on this 3rd day of Christmas!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Real Wild Life within Singapore Zoo

"Why do you want to look at the captives animals? We can always go to park or nature reserves if you really want to have some wild encounter!". This was what my friend ask me when I told him that I'm visiting zoo on Christmas day...

But one thing he didn't realise was that there are lots of real 'local' wildlife in the zoo and they are NOT in the Captivity!!! I'm not interested with those animals in the enclosure but the real wildlife that can be found within the zoo itself. Many wild animals have chosen to stay in the zoo due to available of foods and most importantly, for protection.
So I visited zoo with some friends on Christmas day and here are some of the wildlife that we encountered! Immediately after the entrance, we saw this beautiful Hasselt's Spiny spider, Gasteracantha hasseltii . In fact, there are so many of them until we are lost count of the actual number that we saw. Is Christmas, the flower of this palm tree really looks like snow flakes! This make the Green Crested lizard even more stunning.
This is an juvenile Cloded Monitor Lizard, Varanus bengalensis nebulosus.
Saw lots of caterpillars in this small patch of area. No wonder so many wild birds are attracted to zoo.
This cute squirrel is having his breakfast in the zoo too!
There are lots of birds flew pass overhead such as this Milky Stork. Although this bird are seen in the zoo compound, they are free to come in and leave anytime!
Another beautiful flying bird that I saw was this juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagle.
And more of the Milky storks!!!There are lots of water ponds in the zoo which attracts Kingfisher, such as this Stork bill Kingfisher.
Not forgetting this Olive-winged Bulbul.
Oriental Magpie Robin, This Broadbill Crow was drinking water from this tree cavity.
A very elegance Rufous-tailed tailorbird, Orthotomus sericeus
I also saw this Little heron!
The next time when you visit zoo, don't just go for the captive animals.....spend some times, slow down your pace, there are lots of real wildlife waiting for you to go and discovered!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

I miss my Japan trip, the cool weather, the nice people, and many of the beautiful scenery, birds & wildlife there!

I picked this snow caped Mt Fuji as my greeting card for this year.
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Where is your Pet?

I can't remember how the conversation of considerate pet owner started but I remember telling my friend that I have few very cute pet birds at home. They then starts asking how I keep them clean, how I feed them,...etc with all kind of question. Well, I told them why don't you pay me a visit and I show you how in detail! I also told them that the condition is that they can only come in the morning as I usually play with my pet in the morning. Haa! Perhaps we are busy so we left this matter as it is.....

Well, I do feed the birds but they are not just my pet!! They are free to come and go.... they are Olive-backed sunbirds that visit my flower pot everyday without fail to collect the nectar produce by my hoya plant. Are they my pet? Yes, as I do feed them.... No, they are free to come and go!
This is a perfect way to own a pet yet without all the messy cleaning or maintenance. In fact is a real 'Pet for life' as AVA is promoting. There is no question of abandon your pet as they are free to come and go!
Isn't this a more sustainable way of owning a pet? :-)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Open Field Egret

If you are driving around Jurong or Woodlands area, you will notice that there are white birds feeding on the open field area. There are usually Cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis). Which means they usually feed near cattle. However, we do not have cattle feeding in the open area in this tiny island of Singapore. May be Open field egret is more appropriate common name in Singapore. :-)

In other country, they are seen fedding in pady field and will perch on the back of the cattle, hence their common name.

For adult non-breeding Cattle egret, they have yellow bill & black leg. If not of the size, it is so looks like Intermediate Egret (Mesophoyx intermediata) or even Great Egret (Casmerodius albus)! This is a Great egret. Don't you think they looks very similar?
This is also Cattle egret with breeding plumage!

Monday, December 7, 2009

First Come First Serve

Traditionally, monsoon period also means that is good time to go for bird watching. Lots of migratory birds will stop over here for the next 3 months to re-fuel their energy after long journey here to avoid the cold winter from the north. Other than Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Central Catchment area, neighbourhood parks are all good place to start. I head to Pulau Ubin last week end to try my luck.
The first thing that I notice is that lots of grey heron (Ardea cinerea)here are changing to the breeding plumage, with their bill changed to orange or reddish colour such as the one on top.
This grey heron first perch on this tree but was fast facing unwanted guests - flock of crows! This poor heron took quite some times to get some peace! However, before the heron able to rest, here comes another guest - a competitor!Unwilling to share this prime area, the heron protest to this uninvited guest by raising up both wings!
Both heron trying to fight for this prime area and unwilling to give way.
Looks like both are really serious and a fight is unavoidable!
The heron on the left seems to be gaining ground, so far no physical contact yet.
For the next 2 minutes, the stand off continues and both heron are trying to scare opponent away without any physical contact.
The saga continue for another minute and the heron on the right show sign of retreat...
The heron on the right finally gave up and flew away and end the saga.
It is very common for birds to fight for 'prime area' especially branches that with good vantage point.