I injured my foot this Monday (a 3kg shot put fell on my foot during sports day at school) and was in a dilemma if I should go to a park this weekend or not. But I was keen to continue my regular outings, and headed for Bukit Batok Nature Park- and I have to say, it definitely was worth it! Even though I had to walk a lot through this 36-hectare park which has a huge hill with many undulating paths- I completely forgot my pain, and thoroughly enjoyed the nature trail. The park was originally an abandoned quarry and was developed in 1988. The quarry is now converted into a beautiful attraction, a quarry pool with a high cliff wall and a reflecting pool.
We entered Bukit Batok Nature Park from the Hillview Park connector. Here are some photos at the entrance:
As we walked to the quarry pool, we saw several white crested laughing thrushes (Garrulax leucolophus), and a Macaque monkey(Macaca fascicularis)
Near the pathway to the quarry pool, I also saw a tree with huge rock at its trunk covered with roots. It was most peculiar, yet so artistic.
We walked further on, and enjoyed a close up view of the cliff and pool. Even with several people jogging around and exercising, the park had such a calm and serene ambience.
The cliff rock had an exquisite blend of colors, just like a palette! I absolutely admired the patterns and the designs 🙂
After enjoying the breathtaking view of the quarry, we went into the park’s lush forest. As we ascended the steps and the steep slope, we actually had no idea where it was leading to- but got a good workout!
Throughout the park there were actually many signs saying ” Beware of falling fruit”. We saw one sign near the steps, and spotted a huge jack fruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) right opposite! We walked on to see that we had reached the quarry cliff- and got a spectacular view of the magnificent, tall wall!
We ascended the final few steps, and came to the end of the nature trail. We had actually reached the place where the Japenese had built a memorial for all the Japanese soldiers who had died during the War with Singapore, called Syonan Chureito. In relation to my previous post about the War in Kent Ridge park– there was another Memorial Exhibition but it was sadly closed. ( Saturdays 9.00 am to 1.30 pm) But we could not leave the park without climbing the 121 concrete steps where the memorial once was!
When we stopped in between the steps to catch our breaths, I felt the bush rustle next to me. I grabbed my camera, and ran towards the movement- to see a beautiful Clouded Water Monitor lizard (Varanus salvator)**. I love the way it waddled side to side, sticking out its tongue to navigate and smell the way.
**(As Ivan Kwan corrected me in the comments below, the above lizard is the Clouded Monitor Lizard Varanus nebulosus and not Varanus salvator)
Its yellow and black spots contrasted beautifully with its brownish grey, rough skin.
My father and I gave each other a huge thumbs up when we reached the end of the steps. Somehow, we felt like we had accomplished something. We could clearly see the tall television tower which pierced into the sky from the steps. I suddenly spotted something brown and big towards the middle of the tower. I used my camera to zoom in and take a photo. It was a nest! A huge nest. I figured it must have been a nest of a big bird like an eagle or hawk. I researched about it when I came home, and found out that the Grey Headed Fish Eagle was spotted there many times, and one person had seen it building a large nest with branches not long ago. If you know anything more about it please leave a comment below. I’d love to know more about this bird. Why is it building a nest on a television tower? Are there no more tall trees for its habitat? I felt really excited to have such a rare sighting, but was sad at the same time, because the tower must be giving out so much radiation- which may be very harmful for the eagle! Somehow, I really didn’t like the idea of having the tower so close to the park, as well as near Bukit Timah Nature Reserve which was right opposite.
With that, we ended our trip to Bukit Batok Nature park. We walked down the steep slope to the second entrance of the park at Lorong Sesuai. On the way we also saw a Common Yellow stem fig (Ficus fistulosa)
*Photos by Lavanya Prakash
I came back home feeling so energized and happy. I think just being around trees, birds, plants and fresh air helped me lift my spirits and brought me joy. I hope it does to you too!
TIPS FOR BUKIT BATOK NATURE PARK
When to go : Early morning or late afternoon for more chances to see wildlife.
What to bring : Water bottles, camera, snacks for the trek (but be careful while eating, as there are monkeys) a camera, binoculars, notebook and pen for the creative ones.
What to do: Enjoy the spectacular view of the quarry pool. Walk through the nature trail and visit the various lookout points, or go for a jog or exercise at the exercise stations near the Hillview entrance. Keep your eyes open to spot some wildlife! Enjoy a hearty meal at the restaurant SPRUCE near the Lorong Sesuai entrance.
What to wear: Comfortable clothes, (shorts or trousers). Shoes with good grip are ideal as there are many slopes.
Walking time : 1-2 hrs
Level of difficulty: Easy to moderate. There are undulating slopes and several steps.
What to look out for: Lineated Barbet, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Glossy Swiftlet, Crested Honey Buzzard, Grey-headed Fish Eagle , Common Iora, Oriental Magpie-robin, White-crested Laughingthrush, Straw-headed Bulbul, Monitor Lizards. Long tailed Macaques, Changeable lizard.
More info on the Nature trail of Bukit Batok is here
If you liked this post, please check out my other ones too!
Lavanya Prakash, mynatureexperiences(at)hotmail.com