Tuesday, May 04, 2010

See Mynas

Singapore. Just the mere mention of that name conjures up visions of the exotic orient. Shopping center of Southeast Asia. Playground of the deep-pocketed Oriental aristocrats (and wannabes).

And so Cynthia and I paid this island nation a visit to...bird, of course! The very first place we went to was the Singapore Botanic Garden. While waiting for our fellow Philippine Bird Photograher(PBP), JP Carino, our attention shifted to a tall tree near the entrance where some birds were calling. The bright yellow of a Black-naped Oriole gleamed in the morning sun.

Adding to the cacophony were the various whistles and tweets that came from some Hill Mynas.

Down below Javan Mynas walked pompously on the garden grounds.

Both Myna species were lifers for us and as we savored the thrill, a female Asian Koel displayed from the branch of the same tall tree where the Orioles and Hill Mynas were singing their choruses.

A Blue-throated Bee-eater alighted on a tree next to the visitor centre. I ran towards the tree to try and get closer to it, while Cynthia stayed behind and photographed some Olive-backed Sunbirds.

JP, who works in Singapore, volunteered to be our "guide". Soon he came sauntering in huffing from the already humid weather. Unable to hail a cab being the morning rush hour, he had to walk from the train station to the botanic gardens. We told him to rest first before we begin our "tour". Just then a Dollarbird flew into the same tall tree where we got our lifers earlier.

JP having now regained his breath suggested we visit the heliconia trail. A few steps later, we were rewarded with a White-breasted Waterhen crossing our paths.

JP then pointed to a medium-sized black bird flying from tree to tree. "Racquet-tailed Drongo", JP told us to our delight.

Soon we were joined by Con Foley, the local bird expert and himself an outstanding photographer. We dipped on the Crimson sunbirds that were supposed to frequent this area. However, Con showed us both the Lesser and the Wandering Whistling Ducks huddled together by the pond. Behind us a pair of Pink-necked Pigeons were gathering material for their nest.

At this point the humidity had become almost unbearable and the birds were getting scarcer. As we all walked back towards the visitor center, a family of Oriental Magpie-robins foraged by the side of the road.

After lunch, our two friends bade goodbye as we wanted to stay at the gardens a bit longer. As we rested in the shade a Common Iora came hunting for insects among the leaves above us.

An hide-and-seek game with a Collared and a White-throated Kingfisher left us completely exhausted. That's when we decided to go back to the hotel and enjoy the air-conditioning system. And gloat over all the lifers we chalked that day.


Felicia said...

Amazing birds; I'm in awe of all the lifers you've been getting lately! I had no idea Singapore was so birdy-I've always wanted to go just for the food!

Unknown said...

Hi Bob,

Nice meeting you both !

Cheers, Con