I ticked lots of lifers birding in Singapore
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.