Friday 3 February 2012

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Singapore's highest peak is a whopping 163.63 meters high.

I didn't make that up:

I've read a lot of comments from people that "took on the hill", "climbed up the hill and almost had a heart attack", "don't think I'll be able to go back up there"...etc...

I was expecting a sizable hill at the least especially when I arrived at the bottom of the hill seeing people decked out in all sorts of hiking gear. 15 minutes later I was at the top wondering what everyone was complaining about. I think it's a relative thing. The biggest hill in your country is sure to seem big. It's also funny that the locals refer to a distance as several hundred meters when I would say 100 meters at most. They should visit Canada!

And it's not only me, when I was at the top 2 others appeared and I overheard them say "well that really wasn't so bad". Turns out they're from Canada too, Quebec to be specific (and according to them McMaster University is in Newfoundland)... must be a Canadian thing.

Anyway, I wasn't going up the hill to flaunt about my mad skillzzz I was there to see some birds. Thanks again to the local Big Year birders (there's about 15 of them now!!) there's been some good birds staked out at the summit of the hill. I had 7 birds on my wish-list and found 5 of them which is way better than I expected.

Right away I found a small bland-looking flycatcher. There had been reports of a Dark-sided Flycatcher and I almost assumed that this bird would be what I was looking for. Upon closer inspection it looked more like an Asian Brown Flycatcher (a common winter visitor in S'pore):

Sure enough the Dark-sided Flycatcher wasn't too far away (but it was well-hidden so all I could get was this shot), notice the darker flanks (an uncommon winter visitor in S'pore):

I was surprised to see the White-throated Rock-Thrush resting out in the open. I was under the impression that it would be skulking in the undergrowth. It was rather tame (a rare winter visitor - this bird has apparently over-wintered in the same location last year):

Another bird I was hoping to see was the Forest Wagtail. Before coming to Singapore this bird caught my attention when I was exploring my field guide. I was happy to get good looks at this bird while it preened and stretched out in the open (uncommon winter visitor):

Other neat birds in the area were a White-bellied Sea-Eagle (common year-round resident):

Red-eyed Bulbul:

And this Arctic Warbler:

I just realized that all these were pretty bland looking birds (brown, grey, white, black...). I've got something more colourful lined up for tomorrow though ;)