Thursday, 9 July 2020

The Joo Chiat Hornbills

I first saw an Oriental Pied Hornbill at Upper Seletar Reservoir Park. I had never seen such a large bird before and it was amazing! That was in 1995/1996 when I got interested in birdwatching and joined the Nature Society Bird Group. In those days, you had to know where to look for these birds.

Fast forward 25 years, they seem to be everywhere. I see them at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Sungei Buloh, Pasir Ris, Pulau Ubin and many more places. They were supposed to have disappeared from Singapore in the mid-1800s and made a comeback, all thanks to the Singapore Hornbill Project. This project was so successful that we now have more than 100 of these beautiful native birds. The best part is, I do not even have to travel to parks and reserves to see them. I frequently see a few of them at the Telok Kurau / Joo Chiat area. I have not been tracking them carefully, so I am not sure if they are a family.

Most Asian hornbills are omnivorous. It seems like they have a preference for fruits and small animals, especially figs. During the breeding season, however, they may even go for other animals such as lizards, bird nestlings and eggs, beetles and insects.

Thanks to the recent Covid-19 lockdown period, I am home more often and have more opportunities to photograph them.

Looks like they like palm fruits too.

Calling from the top of an apartment block.

Male Oriental Pied Hornbill.

Female hornbill at neighbour's balcony.

Exchanging news?

Checking out their own reflections in the window.

Flying away from spying photographer.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Birdwatching at Tampines Eco Green

Tampines Eco Green is a 36-hectare park bordered by Sungei Tampines (Tampines River), Tampines Expressway (TPE) and Tampines Ave 12. As the human traffic in this park is low, it is an excellent place for birding. With the exception of the pathways, many parts of the park are left as is. There is a secondary forest, freshwater wetlands and open grasslands. This is a green oasis among the housing estates in the Tampines/Pasir Ris area. It is not uncommon to see raptors perched on some of the dead trees found all over the park.

Start of trail near main entrance.
Open grassland.
Shaded trails.
Ashy Minivet.
Lesser Coucal.
Rufous Woodpeckers.
Oriental Honey-buzzard.
Black-winged Kite.
Blue-throated Bee-eater.

Some of the birds I have seen here are:

Red-breasted Parakeet
Rose-ringed Parakeet
White-breasted Waterhen
Sooty-headed Bulbul
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Common Flameback
Laced Woodpecker
Sunda Woodpecker
Rufous Woodpecker
Brown Shrike
Yellow-bellied Prinia
Dollarbird
Blue-throated Bee-eater
Blue-tailed Bee-eater
Black-winged Kite
Brahminy Kite
Oriental Honey-buzzard
Jerdon's Baza
Malaysian Pied Fantail
Oriental Magpie Robin
Javan Myna
Ashy Minivet
Asian Brown Flycatcher
Little Bronze Cuckoo
Plaintive Cuckoo
Large-billed Crow
Common Kingfisher
White-throated Kingfisher
Olive-backed Sunbird
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker
Common Tailorbird
Baya Weaver
Pied Triller
Common Iora
Black-naped Oriole
Zebra Dove
Pink-necked Green Pigeon
Rock Pigeon

How to get there

The main entrance is located at the junction of Tampines Ave 9 and Ave 12. There are no car parks here. If you are driving, please park at one of the public car parks near Sun Plaza Park.

If going by train, alight at Tampines MRT and make your way to Sun Plaza Park and follow the MRT track. After crossing Tampines Ave 9, walk a short distance along Tampines Ave 12 and you will find the entrance to the park.

There are buses from the bus interchange at Tampines MRT that will take you a little closer to the park entrance, but I find that the wait for the buses are not worth it and the walking distance saved is not very much.