Dairy Farm Nature Park has certainly become one of my favourite parks in Singapore. The trails in this 63 hectare environment are home to numerous species of butterflies, dragonflies, birds and plants including rare species like the Little Grebe. Last Friday’s visit to this nature park was exciting, and I felt ushered into the new year by the bounty of nature.
We started the trail from the Hillview Park connector and slowly made our way to Wallace Education Centre.
I saw two species of Hesperiidae butterflies at once. The first one, I’m not sure of the exact species. The second, was a Lesser Dart (Potanthus omaha)– a butterfly with wings that had beautiful yellow spots on it like splashes of paint.
Another stunning butterfly, a Dingy Bush Brown (Mycalesis perseus) made its appearance on a leaf right in front of me. If you’re wondering why they have those big, owl eyes- it’s to ward off avian predators. Females of Bush Brown species also choose their mate based on the size of the eyes!
I’ve only seen a spiny orb weaver in Taman Negara (Malaysia) before, and it was my first time seeing one in Singapore. A mesmerizing, beautiful, Hasselt’s spiny spider (Gasteracantha hasselti), was the species I was lucky enough to see spinning its web! And not just one, I saw numerous webs and the spiders along the same path.
Continuing on the trail, the flora turned from tall grasses to lots of ginger species and small shrubs.
A Grenadier (Agrionoptera insignis), the only dragonfly I saw in this trail, majestically sat on a perch.
Another trail towards the Wallace Education Centre…
I’ve never seen this flower before. It looked somewhat like a daisy, but the petals had a papery texture to it.
A Tiger Moth perched beautifully on a stem, showing off its wings.
An unknown species of insect, similar to the one I saw in Jurong Eco Garden.
Finally, we reached the Wallace Trail. This trail was dedicated to Alfred Russel Wallace, a British naturalist and explorer.
An unidentified black and white spider seen a bit before the trail:
A Chocolate Pansy (Junonia iphita), just outside the Wallace trail, rests on a leaf, its wings wide open to receive the afternoon sun.
We saw a bunch of bird photographers behind the Wallace Education Centre. Curious to know what they were photographing, we went to the group. Upon looking in the huge tree in front of them, we saw a stunning Eyebrowed Thrush (Turdus obscurus) feeding on a fig tree! This is a rare migrant bird, coming from Siberia! Appropriately named, this thrush has white lines above its eyes and a highlighted black eyeline.
The Eyebrowed Thrush seemed not to be too afraid of the photographers, occasionally coming out from the dense foliage to feed on the fruits. Since I saw no harm being done to the bird, I talked to the birders and soon found out DFNP was quite an attraction now because of this bird.
A jealous (both for the attention from photographers and the fruits) Pink-necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans) had a small fight with the thrush as it landed with a loud noise on the bush the thrush was feeding on and scared it away!
After hanging out with a group of birders and their gigantic equipment, I was amazed and glad to see a man who had a macro set up just as we were leaving the Wallace Education Centre. He was photographing this cool leaf insect that he had spotted on a leaf!
Birds are definitely fascinating, but sometimes seeing the natural world in a miniature, macro way is just as beautiful. The crazy insect challenge that I did with my friend and awesome fellow blogger Tanvi, really proved to me that macro photography can be just has hard as bird photography!
Just as we were reaching the exit, a group of Long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis), caught our eyes. They were sitting on a banana plant, and picking the almost raw, green bananas. It was my first time seeing monkeys eat bananas! I know that’s odd, considering that’s what they’re known to eat- but I’ve seen them feed on other fruit and ( I’m sad to say )trash out of the dustbin.
It was surprising to see them eat the raw bananas because there’s so much ripe fruit available for them to eat in the forest! Anyway, they seemed to be having a feast and a gala time 🙂
My last spotting of this visit was none other than the unofficial national bird of Singapore, the Crimson Sunbird! I heard its beautiful, prominent chirping and looked in a bush to see this gorgeous red bird. I got no pictures at all, so I’m attaching a picture taken by Leslie Loh. Thank you so much for the picture, Leslie! This picture was also taken at Dairy Farm… they’re being sighted there quite often.
I didn’t have time to visit the Singapore Quarry, which is a wetland viewing place, but I will for sure try to go there another time. A lot of eagles and water birds have been spotted there, so there’s no missing that 🙂
Do visit this spectacular place- you won’t be disappointed!