Friday 11 November 2016

Birdwatching at Gardens by the Bay

It may surprise many to hear that Gardens by the Bay is quite a good location for birdwatching, considering the fact that it is right in the heart of the city. The many water features at the Gardens are attractive to both local residents and migrants. On a good day, one can see as many as 25 to 30 species of birds during a morning birding session.

My favourite site at the Gardens is the area near or at the Satay by the Bay. There is a lotus pond right next to the food centre and a larger Kingfisher Lake nearby. Standing on the bridge overlooking the Kingfisher Lake can yield local residents such as the White-throated Kingfisher, Ashy Tailorbird, Oriental White-eye, White-breasted Waterhen, Asian Koel and Olive-backed Sunbird. During the migratory months, you may even see the Brown Shrike, Common Kingfisher and Asian Brown Flycatcher.

Birdwatcher in action at the lotus pond.

Kingfisher Lake.

Female Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea).

The Asian Koel is a noisy bird, often calling at the break of dawn. The easily recognisable male territorial call is a very loud KO-EL, with emphasis on the second note and repeated with increasing emphasis. The male bird may be mistaken for a crow, except that it has glossy blue-black plumage, a stout greenish bill and red eyes. An increase in the population of House Crows in Singapore also means more Koels because they are brood parasites. The female Koel lays her eggs in another bird's nest, usually the House Crow's, and lets the other bird bring up her chicks.

Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus).

Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica).
This bird is easy to recognise because it has a habit of fanning out its tail.

Pied Triller (Lalage nigra) .

Male Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis).

Female Olive-backed Sunbird feeding from the Scarlet Spiral Flag flower.

The Olive-backed Sunbird is commonly found in our parks and gardens. One can easily find them at the Gardens, busily drinking nectar from the Scarlet Spiral Flag (Costus woodsonii) flowers. Their call sounds like tswi-tswit-tititititi, or twit-twit-twit-twit. Small bird, loud voice!

White-bellied Sea eagle. Often found soaring above Marina Bay area.

This particular male Laced Woodpecker likes to peck on metallic lampshades.

An elusive resident - Ruddy-breasted Crake.

Another elusive resident - Red-legged Crake.

Some of the birds I have seen at the Satay by the Bay area were:

Javan Myna
Common Myna
Asian Glossy Starling
Pink-necked Pigeon
Rock Pigeon
Olive-backed Sunbird
Brown-throated Sunbird
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker
Oriental Magpie Robin
Asian Koel
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Common Tailorbird
Ashy Tailorbird
Common Iora
Red-breasted Parakeet
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
House Crow
Spotted-necked Dove
Zebra Dove
Greater Coucal
Little Bronze Cuckoo
Plaintive Cuckoo
Little Tern (at the reservoir)
Grey Heron
Great-billed Heron
Yellow Bittern
Pacific Swallow
Barn Swallow
White-breasted Waterhen
Red Junglefowl
Pied Triller
Pied Fantail
Large-tailed Nightjar
White-throated Kingfisher
Collared Kingfisher
Stock-billed Kingfisher
Black-naped Oriole
Scaly-breasted Munia
Yellow-bellied Prinia
Sunda Woodpecker
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Brahminy Kite
Changeable Hawk-eagle

Common Kingfisher
Tiger Shrike
Brown Shrike
Asian Brown Flycatcher
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher
Asian Paradise Flycatcher
Arctic Warbler
Oriental Reed-warbler
Black-browed Reed-warbler
Common Sandpiper
Oriental Honey Buzzard

Happy birding!