We did something that was out of the ordinary yesterday. But it was worth it. Nothing much to say about the trip because everything was pretty far for us to shoot. However, a kind soul shared with us a piece of information. He came across a Large-tailed Nightjar that was perched on this little signage (i think?). It is pretty uncommon to see a Nightjar in the open because they are known to camouflage themselves amongst the dried leaves and litters on the ground.
We managed to start the day pretty early. But to our surprised, the day was pretty slow until we saw the Buffy Fish Owl. Our first reaction, “OMG”.
There’s not one but two of these perched on the tree. I managed to get the other owl when it was stretching itself.
After a short break, we continued walking around the area and decided to enter the forest trail (i forgot what’s the name of the trail). We bumped into a fellow photographer from Japan. We were talking about the different birds that we looking for. He told us that he was looking for a Pitta but it went further into the forest. We bid farewell and wanted to continue with our walk when suddenly a bird flew right past us. We turned and look at it and realized it was the Greater Racket-trailed Drongo! Another “OMG” moment for us.
My partner has been dreaming of looking at this species with his own eyes for a few years now, ever since he was still in school. When we started bird watching and photography together last year, he was talking about it and I was surprised and couldn’t believe that a bird can look this unique. We did come across it once when we were at MacRitchie but it just flew past us and didn’t stop. So you can imagine our excitement when this gorgeous bird stopped and posed for us. 😀
Once we are done getting our shots, we walked further down and exited the area.
We decided to walk for a bit more before we make our way to Pasir Ris Park in the afternoon. While walking, we saw a group of fellow photographers wandering around the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden. We followed them and to our surprise, another rare species!
We made our move to Pasir Ris Park right after but to our disappointment, there’s nothing much there. It could be the weather because it was quite cloudy and rained for a bit. Nevertheless, we did manage to spot a Dollarbird (didn’t get a shot, sadly), an Oriental Piped Hornbill and a Grey Heron.
The second day at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve was a better day. We arrived later than what we have initially planned but the day went on pretty smooth.
Sadly, we did not manage to witness many shorebirds in action except for one who made an appearance after we photographed the Little Egret.
I got better with the Sigma 150-600mm lens. I managed to rectify the problem and was elated that my photos turned out sharp and clear.
As mentioned in the previous post, the issue that I have with the Sigma lens was that I am not able to AF on the subject. I will explain the suggested solution that I used to rectify the problem.
With reference to the image above, the ring that adjusts the focal length the one that is closer to the body. After you slightly depress the shutter button, the camera will AF on the subject. It may or may not be a sharp focus and to rectify that, simply adjust the focal length after the camera has focus until you get the subject at its sharpest focus before depressing the shutter button fully. (I hope this helps those photographers who face the same issue.)Moving on to the next photo, here is the little shorebird that I mentioned earlier, Common Greenshank.
After slightly more than an hour camping in Hide 1C (one of the observatory huts in the area), we decided to walk around and hoped to see more birds. Luck hit upon us when we arrived at the Main Hut. A group of Milky Storks and Grey Herons were found perched along the river.
In case I have never mentioned it in my blog earlier, the Milky Stork was one of the first few species that I was first encountered last year on my birthday. I was elated when I saw it that day.
Look at that drama captured on still. It felt like there’s a story behind this image. The love story between 2 different species (lol!). On another note, I finally managed to get a still shot of the Milky Stork still in flight! That’s an achievement unlocked for me. I am always in awe when I come across photos of other bird enthusiasts that managed to get photos of birds still in flight. And on that day, I achieved it! I think that I can be better at it but for starters, I think it looks great.
We decided to call it a day because we were quite worn out from all the walking and we still have another full day of walking the next morning.
Day 3 was the best day out of the whole weekend in my opinion. From having a good start of the day to the first time encounters and conversations with other photographers, I couldn’t be more excited to share the story. Stay tuned readers. 😀
It has been almost 3 full months since I last held a camera. I had to let go of my Canon 60D due to some issues hence, the long hiatus. I have yet to get a camera to call my own, but I managed to rent a Canon 760D for the long weekend (since Christmas falls on a Monday here in Singapore).
We decided to walk our way to down to Gardens by the Bay from Clarke Quay. It was a torturous walk because the weather was hot. We almost drenched ourselves in sweat.
We did have the idea of walking around Gardens by the Bay and birdwatch but we realized that the number of people was at least 100 times more than the number of species of birds that can be found there. So we decided to walk down further and we found the location that birdwatchers in Singapore mentioned in forums; the Kingfisher Lake.
Anyone can easily find the location because that’s the only lake that you can find photographers camping around the lake with their “super mega lens” (actually, we are using the same lens. :p)
We set up our equipment and waited for a while. Thirty minutes in, a Yellow Bittern flew into the area and it became the star of the day. All lens around the pond shifted and focused on it. I only managed to get one useable shot though.
I was struggling with the AF for the Sigma 150-600mm. I read a few posts on forums and mentioned that the said lens, in fact, do have some AF issues on Canon. However, I am hoping that I will be able to switch to manual and take better shots tomorrow.
Just about when everyone got bored with the Yellow Bittern, a Common Kingfisher flew into the frame. We were so excited at the sight of the little bird. To be honest, this species is not as common as we expected it to be. Since the start of my journey, I have never come across a Common Kingfisher, until today. As mentioned earlier about the struggle I had with the lens, I only managed to get one not-so-bad shot of it.
After which, we decided to walk down to Marina Barrage and hope to score some shorebirds but to our disappointment, we didn’t find any.
Tomorrow is gonna be another whole day of adventure in the wild and because we are going to a place where I first fall in love and develop the passion for birdwatching and bird photography.
2 days of bird watching and it’s not enough. Ever since we started this passion of ours, we have been researching for places to go, reading on the different species found in different areas and even Instagram hopping from one profile to another, in hoping to find a good spot to encounter new species.
After an intense discussion while on the way home from the Singapore Botanic Gardens, we decided to venture out to the Eastern side of Singapore and explore the area.
As usual, we woke up at 5 am in the morning and made our way down to the East. Grabbed a quick bite at McDonald’s’ and we made our way down to the entrance of Pasir Ris Park. The last time we were here, we focused on macro photography because we were given the opportunity to use a 100mm macro lens.
While making our way in, we could hear the sound of the birds filling up the surrounding. The first thing we saw while walking in were a few professional photographers were ready at their chosen spot around the pond, waiting for the right time to snap a photo. After we found a spot, we did the same. The first bird that flew in sight was the Asian Pied Fantail. Sadly, I wasn’t able to capture it fast enough. My partner managed to get it though. He was elated when he reviewed the photo. Damn, it was stunning.
Waited for a while more and we managed to get this:
Yes! It is the Pacific Swallow. I was so excited when I saw it was on the bench just beside us. I tried to zoom in as much as I can, and since I don’t have a stable hand, that explains why the image is not as sharp as i imagined it to be. I regained fast though when I saw a Spotted Dove perched itself on a branch right in front of us.
I was fast enough to capture quite a number of this bird. As I was busy snapping it, my partner went over the other side and try to capture an image of a monitor lizard. While snapping the reptile, a tiny bird just flew into his frame and he quickly moved his lens towards that bird. He was smiling from ear to ear when he saw it. Want to know what species of bird that he encountered?
It’s call is too distinct that we know at that moment that it was the Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker. Got a few good shots and I’m pretty satisfied with the final piece. After a short rest (boy, the morning sun was really strong and we were perspiring), we walked further into the park. And guess what, another species of Woodpecker sound out its presence. We looked around and we saw the Common Flameback. This one that we saw is the male.
A few hours later, the female Common Flameback decided to make its presence known to us.
Other species that we encountered include: Olive-backed Sunbird, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Pied Thriller, Zebra Dove, Black-napped Oriole, Borwn-throated Sunbird and the Magpie Robin.
As usual, I’m sure there are more species to be found but we did try to search it hard enough. We know of an owl perched somewhere in the park but we couldn’t seem to locate it. Maybe better luck next time!
Want to know where we will be heading this weekend? Stay tuned to hear from our trip!
After 7 hours of going around Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves, we decided to revisit the location, but this time, at 7 am. As the saying goes “the early bird catches the worm”, we wanted to be there as early as we can so that we will be able to get more sighting of birds when they are looking for their morning meal.
However, we were quite disappointed because we were not able to get any shot (probably because our eyes are not sharp enough due to lack of sleep). We tried out luck again at the Little Heron Deck and guess who greeted us? It’s the Plantain Squirrel!
We were hoping to spot Herons perched on the tree branches right in front of us but I guess we were not in luck. Came across more Yellow-vented Bulbuls and Mynas. We made a few rounds around the reserves and saw the same Saltwater crocodile, Zebra Doves and Golden Orb Spiders.
We also encountered a White -breasted Waterhen waddling around the pond.
After spending 3 hours in Sungei Buloh, we decided to rest and try out our luck over at the Singapore Botanic Gardens using a 150-600mm lens.
Upon reaching the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which is located at 1 Cluny Road, we were greeted by an Oriental Pied Hornbill. Sadly, we were not prepared. I am pretty sure that the next time we make our visit again, we will be greeted by it again and I’ll make sure that I will get a snap of it.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is one of the three gardens to be honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site! This 158-year-old tropical garden covers an area of 74 hectares and houses the largest orchid collection of 1,200 species and 2,000 hybrids. Want to go to a park that closes late at night? Here is the place to go! The garden is open at 5 am and closes at midnight. Fact: It is the only garden that opens at the mentioned timings every day!
After setting up our camera, the first species we came across was the Red Junglefowl. I was amazed at how shiny its feather were. Just as I was about to snap a picture of the male, the female Junglefowl appeared. In my opinion, it is not as flattering as the male, but it has its own unique features. Take a look at them:
After spending about half an hour getting used to the lens, we made our move towards the Swan Lake. That is where this we came across this graceful Black Swan.
And lastly, the last capture of the day was… the Magpie Robin! Cute isn’t it?
There are more species to be found in the Singapore Botanic Gardens but due to time constraint and the huge number of visitors on that day, we only managed to come across those few listed above.
Last weekend was filled with lots of sound of nature. From the buzzing of the bees to the sweet melody from the birds, I definitely enjoyed every single moment of it. It was tiring, but it’s worth every drop of sweat.
My partner and I started off the long weekend at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve which is located at 301 Neo Tiew Crescent. We’ve been there a couple of times but was the first time that I brought my own camera with a newly bought lens; Tamron 70-300mm. I was so excited because it has been a while since I went out to do something that I love. We did further research on the location and tried to explore the variant of species that are found there.
Started the day at 10 am on a Saturday. We were supposed to reach at 7 am to catch the window period when the birds are out but due to unforeseen circumstances, we reached much later. To our surprise, we managed to spot quite a number of species roaming around the park. In fact, we encountered more than what we anticipated.
We made our way to the Little Heron Deck and that was where we saw this beautiful Dark Glassy Tiger. This butterfly, also known as Parantica agleoides, is commonly found in Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserves and Pasir Ris Park.
While on the deck, I managed to spot a Yellow-vented Bulbul, flying from branch to branch around the area. It was pretty hard to get a shot of this lively bird. After a few attempts, here is the final product:
And of course, for those who have been to Sungei Buloh, will know of the famous Estuarine crocodiles that reside in the river:
The crocodile is not the only reptile that we encountered that day.
We spent almost 7 hours there and decided to call it a day. Overall, we were not that satisfied as we know that they are more species to be found at Sungei Buloh but we were happy that we were able to get pretty decent shots for our collection of photographs.
To end this post, here is a couple of Zebra Doves, which is commonly mistaken for its cousin, Peaceful Dove (commonly found in Australia):