I ticked lots of lif­ers bird­ing in Sin­ga­pore

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your View - Philip Dou­glas

Can I sug­gest that David Lindo, the Ur­ban Birder, pays a visit to Sin­ga­pore? It would be in­ter­est­ing to com­pare his ex­pe­ri­ence with that I had on a re­cent trip. Sungei Bu­loh is an ex­cel­lent wet­land re­serve which gives a good in­tro­duc­tion to man­grove swamps as well as jun­gle forests. A hum­bling and frus­trat­ing day was spent there as it was like go­ing back to be­ing a be­gin­ner; ini­tially, the only bird that I could iden­tify was Tree Spar­row (they were ev­ery­where). But with per­sis­tence and the use of Youtube videos, I was soon able to iden­tify birds such as koel, Black-naped Ori­ole and Com­mon Tailor­bird. I en­joyed both Col­lared and Black-capped King­fisher as well, find­ing it sur­pris­ing easy to find White-bel­lied Sea Ea­gle soar­ing over­head. But I missed any form of wa­ter­bird, apart from a Yel­low Bit­tern, which flew in front of me. There was a com­plete ab­sence of herons or wild­fowl. It was not just birds I met there as I had my first en­counter with a Wa­ter Mon­i­tor, saw lots of tur­tles, found an Es­tu­ar­ine Croc­o­dile lurk­ing in one of the pools and the bat colony in the visi­tor cen­tre. At Sin­ga­pore Zoo, I must have been one of the few that day who no­ticed the Crested Goshawk on an over­head branch, or per­haps the White-breasted Water­hen which had made its home in the croc­o­dile pen. The park also has a healthy and very noisy colony of Great-billed Herons, as well as both Olive-backed Bul­buls and Com­mon Io­ras in al­most every bush. By chance, sit­ting on a dis­tant tree out­side the park, was a Grey-headed Fish Ea­gle. And I bet not many no­ticed the Olive-backed Sun­birds in the gar­dens by the Bay. Also, in any city street or park, Ja­van and Com­mon Myna birds are at least as com­mon as our Black­birds. By the end of my trip there, and into nearby Malaysia, 39 species were added to my year list – most of which will now be lif­ers.

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