Team Sausage arrived into Singapore over four hours late on Friday night / Saturday morning. Over 90 minutes late departing from Heathrow, our connecting flight had already taken off from Kuala Lumpur before we had even landed. All the stress of international air travel would be forgotten by the end of our first full day in an overcast but very humid and hazy Singapore. As we spent the first day with family and friends of the human variety, we also made new acquaintances with the furry, scaly and feathered variety without having to try very hard.
Our first encounter was with the common plantain squirrel. There were two of these fellas mucking about the palm trees, and this one in particular was as bold as it was agile. It was happy to pose, tease and check us out, but as soon as the camera got in focus, it would run away again. We did manage to get the cheeky thing though!
We were en route to the home of close old friends, who are lucky to live in close proximity to the beautiful Sungei Ulu Pandan. We were late meeting them because something big caught the eye of Mrs Sausage. Gliding gracefully and cutting an impressive figure over the river was this hunting Brahminy Kite.
We were both impressed by the ease and speed with which this raptor, a common resident in Singapore, cut through the air and circled right over our heads.
It would seem that the beautiful Brahminy knew it was making us late for our very important first meeting with our 10-month old god-daughter, and so it decided to glide off into the distance. We spent the next hour or so getting to know our cute-as-a-button and wee-as-a-bug ‘Marshmallow’ (as we have now decided to call her), who had stayed up well past her nap time to meet us.
After tucking Marshmallow into her hammock for her nap, we went for a walk along Sungei Ulu Pandan with her parents and our good friends, Agents JasYong. While Agent Yong was quite pleased to shared our nerdy excitement over koels, waterhens and the cattle egret and grey heron pictured below, Agent Jas was wise enough to leave us to go get some iced milo.
As we made our way up along the scenic path, Husbean, who always has one eye on the sky, noticed a huge silhouette perched on the aerial atop one of the many residential blocks in the area. Lo and behold, more Brahminy, very possibly the same one we had seen an hour earlier, pictured here looking down at us, mainly wondering what the hell we were doing and why we were stalking it.
After a wonderful catch up with Agents JasYong in their beautiful new home, we went off our merry way toward Kent Ridge, toward Mrs Sausage’s alma mater. A quick pop in to Clementi Woods, with many unidentified bats, a couple of dollar birds, mosquito bites but no pictures worth showing, we headed over to the University grounds. We were rapidly starting to lose light by this time, and the haze had made photography a challenge the whole day anyway. However, Mrs Sausage had heard from a reliable source about regular nesting owls in a certain part of the campus grounds; and she has been keen to see at least 3 Singaporean owls species before her
We glimpsed a raptor overheard for a split second, not enough for quick snap or even an ID, so we were not so hopeful of anything more besides experiencing the brilliant little bats almost smacking us in the faces, and trying futilely to focus on some flitty small bird in the high branches against the falling darkness.
Just as we were ready to give up, Husbean saw another huge silhouette fly silently in. Mrs Sausage could barely contain her overexcited gasps as both our hearts did giant leaps – our first owl spotting in Singapore and it a magnificent spotted wood owl. Within seconds, we heard a distinct deep ‘hoot’, and a second spotted wood owl flew in and perched on the same branch to join its partner. And they proceeded to mate! It took all of 3 intense seconds, following by some affectionate necking…
It seems the bird world is where Husbean gets all his lessons on lovemaking from! We were so very excited (and maybe a little aroused) witnessing this wonderful scene, despite our pictures being pretty awful due to lighting and weather. We followed the birds from tree to tree for a good twenty minutes or so, enjoying the silence of their flight, sheer size and camouflage skills, until it became far to dark for much else. We are still damned happy though!
So it was a brilliant start despite little effort, with a few more little critters along the way such as this Shield Bug and Changeable Lizard. We can’t wait to get going properly now!