I had a wonderful time at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve during the Hari-raya holidays. Even though I have written about Sungei Buloh before, I love this place so much that I wanted to visit it again. I felt so lucky and grateful to have seen so much wildlife! We went very early in the morning- it’s the best time to spot many birds.
Sungei Buloh is a new and fresh experience every time you go there. With 118 recorded migratory birds, this wetland is a beautiful mangrove ecosystem teeming with wildlife. At the Nature Gallery, I learnt about how important mangroves are and how they are rapidly decreasing. Over 35% of the mangroves have disappeared in the world and in Singapore, it has reduced from 13% to less that 0.5%!! Some of the threats to mangroves include- climate change, pollution, overfishing , destruction of coral reefs and overharvesting.
In the first hideout we went to, we saw a group of birds standing in the distance. After researching, I found out that these are Milky Storks.
The Milky Storks actually qualify as ‘vulnerable’ because they maybe going through a rapid population decline due to habitat loss, hunting, trade and human disturbance. I felt very lucky to see these birds as there are only 3,300 mature individuals ( source- Bird life international) left in the wild. They are such beautiful birds, with an orange beak and a white and black-streaked plumage.
In one of the lookout points, a stunning Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis) sat on a tree only a few meters away from me. I tried in vain to focus my camera, but it was too late. I only got this blurred picture 😦
Nature definitely teaches you how to handle disappointments!
I also saw a Common Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica) for the first time! I was in awe of its dark green wings….
Some exhilarating views from the hideout:
There was a huge gathering of little migratory shorebirds. I was not able to take the birds individually, and my pictures were not so clear, but I think the species we saw were- the Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis) and Whimbrels (Numenius phaeopus) which have long bills that curve downwards.
As we walked through this beautiful path….
A Palm King (Amathusia phidippus) fluttered around in the trees:
There were amazing views from the View tower. The river was dried up when I saw it last time, but this time the trees reflected so beautifully and we stood admiring the view, embracing the quiet, stillness and beauty of the mangroves.
Of course, in most parks we hear the constant song of the cicadas. I’ve always accepted it as a ‘song of the forest’ and never paid much attention to it. I didn’t realize that I hadn’t actually seen one before! We heard one which seemed to be very close and spotted it after a lot of straining of the eyes. They are so well camouflaged, that they go so unnoticed even when they’re calls are so loud!
For the first time ( wow, there are a lot of ‘first times’ in this post!) I saw a Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) standing still, probably on the lookout for some delicious fish 🙂
That came to the end of our walk through the wetlands. As we were coming back to the front office, from the boardwalk we heard some loud shrieks, only to see 2 beautiful Oriental Pied Hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris). I was so excited as we had come to Sungei Buloh hoping to see these stunning birds! One of them had caught an insect from the trees and flew a bit farther but allowed me to take many pictures of them ( unlike the Stork Billed Kingfisher)!
Our adventure does not end there. We continued on to the 500m Mangrove Boardwalk, where we were welcomed (as usual) by the scuttling, mudskippers and birds.
Some crabs such as the Sesarmine Crab (Perisesarma eumolpe) seen from the boardwalk:
At the end of the boardwalk, we heard so many birds. I saw severalwoodpeckers called the Common Flameback (Dinopium javanense) pecking on a tree:
I could not miss the king of the mangroves, the Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris). It looked beautiful among the greenery.
There was also a Common Sandpiper in a small rock in the middle of the river!
You will definitely see a Malayan Water Monitor Lizard (Varanus salvator) at Sungei Buloh!
My revisit to Sungei Buloh was such an amazing experience. It is definitely my favorite park, and I will continue visiting regularly!
TIPS FOR SUNGEI BULOH WETLAND RESERVE
When to go: Early morning, preferably 7:00 am, when the park opens. Best time of the year is September-March during migratory season
What to bring: Binoculars, your camera, water bottles and snacks
What to do: Explore the park through the different tracks, Go through the Mangrove boardwalk and stop at various hideouts in the reserve and patiently wait to see some wonderful wildlife.
What to wear: Comfortable clothes, preferably cotton and lightweight and trekking/jogging shoes
Walking time: 2-3 hours
What to look out for : Look out for migratory shorebirds such as plovers and sandpiper. Some common residents include- different kingfishers, herons and egrets such as Purple Heron, Little Heron, Great Egret, Stork-billed Kingfisher. Some rare birds that can be seen are Mangrove Pitta, Oriental Pied Hornbill and Crested Serpent Eagle.
How to get there: There is a carpark outside the reserve for car users. For public transport bus 925 comes to the reserve from Kranji MRT station. There is also a Kranji Express bus which makes several stops around the Kranji countryside and starts from the Kranji MRT Station.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
301 Neo Tiew Crescent, 718925
Opening Hours- 7:30 am- 7:00 pm (Everyday)
Contact: 6794 1401
MORE information on Sungei Buloh: www.sbwr.org.sg
Wildlife found at Sungei Buloh- http://rmbr.nus.edu.sg/dna/places/details/5