I woke up last Wednesday morning, feeling sick in the stomach and a throbbing headache. I simply could not go to school. After a few hours of being tucked in bed, my mother wakes me up, suggesting we go to the Botanic Gardens for some fresh air.
My illness was forgotten in a flash.
We went to the Singapore Botanical Gardens by MRT, reaching the Eco Lake. If you looked at my last post, you’d know that this lake is home to a Black Swan and Whistling Ducks. Since I’ve posted a black and white picture of the ducks, here are some colour pictures.
And let’s not forget the Swan!
I heard some high-pitched calls from a far end of the lake, and on moving closer I could vaguely make out the shape of a few birds high up on a tree. They were none other than the Blue-tailed Bee-eaters! They were probably rejoicing after catching the obviously bountiful dragonflies and damselflies near the lake.
I very much hope the bee-eaters did not catch this lovely, common little fella, the Blue Sprite. Damselflies are so incredibly thin and sleek, I could hardly see it on my camera view screen!
By this point, a lot of people had crowded near the lake to get a good picnic spot and view of the ducks and swans. I was getting impatient staying in the same place, so I took my sister along with me to go for a walk to the very talked about “Healing Gardens”. There was once a Mangrove Pitta spotted there, so with my hopes up high, I silently wished for at least one new species of bird to be there.
On the way, we stopped at the Foliage Garden, that had an interesting looking tree near its entrance. It was tagged as the Leopard Tree (Caesalpinia ferrea). Its wood is often used to make fingerboards of guitars and electric basses.
A beautiful Centaur Oak Blue (Arhopala centaurus) near the Leopard tree-
Finally, we reached the Healing Gardens. It’s a beautiful, calm and serene location. The plants are divided in the garden according to its health benefit in the human body.
We were welcomed by a curious Clouded Monitor Lizard (Varanus nebulosus):
I saw, for the first time, a Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach) up close and not just a glimpse.
I’ve never seen a Crake in my life. It’s always been on a must see list of mine, and in fact, just a day before this visit, I saw a picture of the rare Band bellied Crake that was sighted in Singapore months ago. I was pleasantly surprised and lucky to see a Red-legged Crake (Rallina fasciata) in the Healing Garden. It was a little frightened of me, but as I got down to knee level and stayed a safe distance, it watched me for a while before disappearing in a flash behind the bushes.
There were many Common Mormons (Papilio polytes) flying around the place. I really love the intricate patterns on the wings of this butterfly.
Another curious reptile, the Changeable Lizard was spotted near the Evolution Garden, as we continued on from the Healing Garden.
This garden was themed in the Dinosaur age- and there were a few butterflies and dragonflies on the trail.
The final part of the park we went to was the rainforest section. A walk through the majestic forest was just what I needed after being out in the hot sun. Our first sighting in the forest was coincidentally, another reptile! The Common Sun Skink, just like where I saw it, is often found in the forest floor where the sun breaks through the canopy.
A new, exciting find in the forest boardwalk was the Hammerhead worm (Bipalium). It is a predatory worm that feed on molluscs and earthworms. I’d only seen pictures of this worm before, and I was really amazed by its head shape up close.
That came to an end of our visit to Botanical Gardens. It was my birthday yesterday and I’m so excited that I saw a few new species for my 14th! Especially the Red-legged Crake. Definitely the best birthday gift ever!
Merry Christmas to everyone and a happy new year! Here’s to many more years of happiness and joy in the natural world for all of us! 🙂