South-east Asia (2016/17)

Part 1 – Singapore!
Anthony & I were excited about our next cruise to south-east Asia – bucket list destinations for a very long time.  However, in addition to marvelling in the unique culture & diversity of south-east Asia, we also wanted to bird.   Therefore, part 1 of the plan was to arrive early in our embarkation port of Singapore and seek out some birds.   We very fortunate to have found “Kim” of Birding Singapore and he graciously took us out for two full days of birding his amazing country.

Contact info:  Lim Kim Seng, Bird & Wildlife Guide
Email:      Website:  

December 30, 2016 – Day One with Kim
We started off very early in the morning (still dark!) and drove to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.  Kim was hoping to show us some owls, before the sun rose.   We heard two species – but they eluded us from a visual observation.  The Central Catchment Nature Reserve had lovely trails of which we chose the MacRitchie Trail that included great canopy observation tower where several species could be viewed at different levels within and above the forest canopy.  We explored this area for a short while prior to moving on – but just to note, we tapped only a small portion of this expansive reserve.  If you had a full day – you could easily spend many hours here.

The 26 species viewed (and heard) at this location were, also entered in eBird:  Pink-necked Pigeon, Sunda Scops-Owl (heard), Large-tailed Nightjar, Blue-throated Bee-eater, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Dollarbird, Banded Woodpecker, Long-tailed Parakeet, Blue-crowned Hanging-parrot, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Black-headed Bulbul, Olive-winged Bulbul, Cream-vented Bulbul, Arctic Warbler, Common Tailorbird, Dark-necked Tailorbird, Pin-striped Tit-babbler, Short-tailed Babbler, Asian Fairy-bluebird, Dark-sided Flycatcher, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Common Hill Myna, Java Myna, Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Plain-throated Sunbird, and Crimson Sunbird.

Our next two stops were:

Bukit Batok Nature Park

This nature park (vs. reserve) is a public nature park that Kim took us to in order to find the globally endangered Straw-headed Bulbul.  We were successful in finding the straw-headed bulbul in two areas of the park, which we were very thankful for! In addition we also noted the following species, also entered in eBird:
Lineated Barbet, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Straw-headed Bulbul, Yellow-vented Bulbul, White-crested Laughing Thrush, Asian Glossy Starling, and the Javan Myna.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
One of our favourite areas to visit, a gorgeous wetland reserve with excellent trails throughout.  If we were ever to visit Singapore again – we would definitely consider spending an entire day here.
22 Species observed included, also entered in eBird :  Milky Stork, Painted Stork, Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, Little Egret, Osprey, Brahminy Kite, Common Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Common Redshank, Zebra Dove, Oriental Pied-Hornbill, Collared Kingfisher, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Sunda Woodpecker, Common Iora, Ashy Minivet, Black-naped Oriole, House Crow, Ashy Tailorbird, Oriental White-eye, and Copper-throated Sunbird.

December 31, 2016 – Day Two with Kim
Day Two was another early start and we headed off towards the east side of the Island, where we  have breakfast in the village of Changi, as we waited for our ferry (bumboat) to the nearby island of Pulau Ubin.   While we had breakfast, we observed the following 10 species in the village of Changi [eBird Checklist]:  Chinese Sparrowhawk, Brahminy Kite, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Rock Pigeon, Oriental Pied-Hornbill (male feeding berries to nest/female), Dollarbird, Tamimbar Corella, Red-breasted Parakeet, Common Myna, and Javan Myna.

After having a great breakfast and some lovely bird observations, we boarded the bumboat ferry (3 SGD pp) to visit the beautiful, small island of Pulau Ubin.  Another great destination for a day trip!   We had a brilliant time on the island and I highly recommend  a visit here – whether you are a birder, or not!   22 Species were observed (eBird checklist) and great highlights within that list!
Gray Heron, Intermediate Egret, Brahminy Kite, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Black-bellied Plover (referred to as Gray Plover in Asia), Whimbrel, Common Sandpiper, Mountain Imperial-Pigeon (Rarity!!!), Asian Koel, Dark Swiflet sp., House Swift, Black Hornbill, Oriental Pied-Hornbill, White-throated Kingfisher, Laced Woodpeck, Ashy Minivet, House Crow, Barn Swallow, Pacific Swallow,  Yellow-vented Bulbul, Asian Glossy Starling, and the Eurasian Tree Swallow.
After our amazing trip to this island gem, we had lunch and ventured off to Pasir Ris Park (vs. reserve). Another beautiful public park with excellent birding.  24 species were observed (eBird Checklist) that included:  Gray Heron, Little Egret, Striated Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Brahminy Kite, White-breasted Waterhen, Spotted Dove, Asian Koel, Buffy Fish-Owl, Common Kingfisher, Stork-billed Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher, Collared Kingfisher, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Common Iora, Ashy Minivet, Pied Triller, Pacific Swallow, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Asian Glossy Starling, Daurian Starling, Javan Myna, Olive-backed Sunbird, and Scaly-breasted Munia.

We really had a brilliant time with our guide with Kim.  He was an outstanding guide and would highly recommend him if you wanted to see the Natural side to Singapore and the great diversity of birds.

Following our outstanding introduction to the Birds of Singapore with Kim, the next two days we observed additional birds on our own.  On January 1st, we went to Fort Canning Park for a leisurely stroll and added Red Junglefowl to our list of lifers.

On January 3rd, we visited the UNESCO heritage site, “Singapore Botanic Gardens” and observed the following birds (eBird checklist):  Red Junglefowl, Yellow Bittern, Grey Heron, White-breasted Waterhen, Rock Pigeon, Spotted Dove, Pink-necked Pigeon, Asian Koel, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Black-naped Oriole, Greater Racket-tailed Drone, Malaysian Pied-Fantail, Pacific Swallow, Oriental Magpie-Robin, Asian Glossy Starling, Javan Myna, Olive-backed Sunbird, and Eurasian Tree Sparrow.

As noted above, you can click on the individual eBird checklists for each location that we visited, however – here is a full summary list of the 85 species observed with their respective locations and dates when “first” observed in the beautiful country of Singapore:

Singapore Life List (2016-2017)

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