You won't think that Singapore, home to the world class Changi airport, beautiful Marina Bay and water front with Singapore Flyer, the shopping paradise of Orchard Road and the world class recreation, entertainment resort of Sentosa Island and Formula One night race, that is also a good stop for bird watching.
This is due to the geographical location of Singapore in the East Asian-Australasian bird migration flyway and that is truly a very green garden city. Every year, during the Christmas season, thousands of migratory birds will visit or stop-by Singapore, some even spend their whole winter in the nature reserves, gardens and parks.
I visited Singapore during the Christmas season (8-14 Dec) not only for the world class entertainment, shopping, night life and museums. During the day, I bird watched in the following places and see what had I discovered:
Singapore Botanic Gardens. This garden is a Green Jewel of Singapore city, a must visit Botanic Gardens in South East Asia. The garden is just a walking distance from Orchard road. Check out this LINK to find out more about the garden.
I saw my four lifers in the garden, the Hooded Pitta (no picture), Orange-headed Thrush, Banded Woodpecker, and Green-naped Lorikeet (introduced species).
In fact, Singapore is one of the best place in this region to watch those introduced species of parots, parakeets and lorikeets.
Pink-necked Green Pigeon and etc.
You can see that resident, introduced and migratory birds are living together in harmony in Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, It is a treasure of Singapore and a must visit place for migratory and wetland birds, a wetland reserve well managed with good facillities. It is one of the important area recognized for the East Asian-Australasia Flyway and a good place to learn more about waders.
I saw many waders and egrets there, and also managed to digiscope Pacific Golden Plover and White-collared Kingfisher, they are really beautiful and easily spotted.
A newly published book by NPark's Publication entitles "Migratory Birds of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve", it is a good guide book for those who are interested to visit this wetland reserve and to learn more about migratory birds in Singapore. Thanks to Meng Meng for given me the book, it is my best Christmas gift. Check out this LINK to find out more about the wetland reserve and the book.
Bukit Timah and Central Nature Reserve and Parks, it is located at the central catchment of Singapore, and is an important area for water catchment. The parks include the nature parks around the Central Catchment, Bukit Timah Nature Park and Bukit Batok Nature Park, and do not miss the HSBC Tree top Walk. Check out this LINK to find out more about the nature reserves.
This whole area is a good for spotting lowland rainforest and garden birds. I had my lifer of Straw-Headed Bulbul at the Hindedhe Nature Park, they are very melodious birds.Besides that, I also saw Crimson Sunbird, Asian Fairy Bluebirds, Dollarbirds, Blue-tailed Bee eaters, Emerald Dove, bluish Asian Glossy Starling, Greater Raquet-tail drongo, Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Hill Mynah, Javan Myna, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Olive-backed Bulbul and Common Flameback Woodpecker, etc.
Pulau Ubin, the offshore island off the northeast coast of Singapore, this island is a good place for spotting wetland, shore and sea birds. I didn't visit this island but have seen it from the Changi Park, it is really a beautiful green offshore islands, and it is also known as the Island of Hornbill. I will visit the island in my next visit to Singapore. Check out this LINK to find out more about the island.
Guides to Birding in Singapore
Here are the recommended guide books about birding places in Singapore:
1. Birds, A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, by M. Strange and A. Jeyarajasingam, was published in 1993, but still a good reference to find out birding places in Singapore.
2. An illustrated field guide of "Birds of South-East Asia", by Craig Robson.
Visit this LINK to find out more about birding in Singapore.