Thursday, June 29, 2006


Well, i've just finished a day exploring singapore properly, hot yet again, 33 degrees apparently. started off by going to Bukit Timah, the highest point in singapore and a jungle too, slap bang in the centre of the city. In world terms (or even south east asian terms) it is pretty poor in size and biodiverstiy. However it was a good introduction to asian wildlife. The most obvious were the monkeys everywhere around the visitor centre. I think i read once that they are (long tailed)? macaques. On entering the jungle, the noise from insects was almost deafening, especially from the cicadas. i was quite surprised to see the place swarming with locasl doing the ir morning exercise, marching up to the top of the hill and back down again. Some of them were eve ncarrying weights, i did ask a couple if they wanted to swap their weights for my camera and tripod but they all said no and looked at me like i was some kind of nutter, cant thin kwhy.
Birds seen within 100m of the visitor centre included Greater Racket tailed drongos, common flameback and chestnut bellied malkoha. Goodies see nnear the summit were a confiding family of orange bellied flowerpeckers, grey rumped treeswift and a flyover White bellied Sea eagle. Back down by the visitor centre, banded woodpecker and black naped orioles showed well. Despite being a small site and right in the middle of the city, the whole 'jungle experience' was pretty awesome. The humidoit ywas pretty bad, but there was a slightly cooling breeze at the summit. Insects were everywhere, with ,some pretty impressive butterlies, like the ones you see in places like the eden project, there were some massive trees as well, with butress roots bigger than me. One of the highlights was a huge monitor lizard down by the visitor centre feeding within metres of me and the macaques.
Aftre leaving Bukit Timah, i headed onto Sungei Buloh nature reserve, a wetland site on the straits of Johor. This was fairly dissapointing, mainly because i was there i nthe afternoon, there were several schhol groups creating merry hell, and reserve staff were planting black mangrove in many areas. The tide was hifgh too so there were no waders about. The most interesting birds were copper throated sunbird, pink necked green pigeon, emerald dove, little green pigeon, Dollarbird, Striated Heron, and collared kingfisher.
Tommorow i will try Sungei Buloh in the morning, when it is at its best according to the reserve staff, then in the afternoon i will either return to Bukit Timah or take the ferry over to Palau Ubin island, which is supposed to be a reflection of 'the old' singapore, and is mainly a prawn fishing area.


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Joe Cockram said...

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