Drawing Straws At Dairy Farm

After a brief visit to Venus Loop on the 6th September which brought us only a tree full of Daurian Starlings, our next adventure took place at Dairy Farm Nature Park. We were kindly invited by our friend and until recently, Singapore-based birder Dirk Tomsa. Dairy Farm is a 63-hectare site located in Singapore’s geographical centre, nestled close to Upper Pierce Reservoir and Bukit Batok. With Dirk’s keen eyes accompanying us, we were hopeful of seeing a few things on our mid-morning visit.

We met Dirk at the start of the Wallace Trail where he informed us that we had just missed out on seeing our first Spider Hunter. As always, we were on the lookout for all kinds of wildlife, this Female Cruiser was the first of a few interesting Lepidoptera we found on this visit.

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Thanks goes to Suresh Surenthiraraj who IDed this on the excellent Butterlifes of Singapore Facebook page.

There was plenty of bird noise to be heard as we surveyed the area around the Wallace Education building. Glossy Starlings, Yellow-vented Bulbuls and Pacific Swallows were the most visible. Mrs Sausage was able to catch some of the swallows taking a pause from insect hunting on the roof of the education building.

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With the overcast conditions the humidity was fairly oppressive but there were enough sights and sounds to distract us from the stickiness and it was another insect that caught my attention next in the shape of this Moth Bug from the family Ricaniidae.

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Dirk and I made our way along the Wallace trail to see what we could find, visually we were not blessed with too much. However, Dirk’s keen ear picked up the call of a Changeable Hawk-eagle overhead. The call became fixed in one location after a short time and as we exited the Wallace Trail we found the calling raptor perched out in the open in the middle distance.

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With Dirk having to leave us for family commitments, we decided to linger a little longer. It proved to be time well spent. We had another new butterfly to add to our sightings with this stunning and very obliging female Common Mormon.

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Whilst keeping an eye out for the Spider Hunter, we were treated to some superb eye-level views of this Crimson Sunbird.

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Despite being a bird high on movement, it was also a creature of habit as it repeatedly returned to the same plant to feed. We only had to stand and wait for the next opportunity to enjoy some click time with Singapore’s national bird.

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With a lot of noise and commotion coming from an area adjacent to the Wallace Trail we decided to leave the sunbirds to their perpetual motion and to see what was causing all the noise. Lots of Glossy Starlings and Yellow-vented Bulbuls had filled the trees here, forming a noisy, squawking choir. Cutting through this but visually and with a distinctively different call were a pair of Straw-headed Bulbuls.

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This was our first sighting of Straw-headed Bulbuls and yet another new bird for our Singapore sightings.

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Overall a really good morning at a new location for us, we left thinking that there is a lot more to discover at Dairy Farm and come the peak of migrant season it could well attract a few interesting visitors. Another location to add to our “must see again” list for sure. Thanks go to Dirk Tomsa for his time and excellent company!

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