Buff & Brown with a Dark side(d)

This entry continues our days adventures from 6th January. We left Kranji Marsh and made for Botanic Gardens for a quick circuit before family commitments. Greeting us at the Eco Lake were the ever photogenic Pacific Swallows.

The undoubted highlight of our visit on this occasion was the pair of Buffy Fish-owls sitting in clear view.

One adult bird and what appeared to be a juvenile were dozing in the mid-afternoon, the hustle and bustle of taxis and people below not concerning them in the slightest. Well, perhaps a little curious….

I’m not sure we’ll ever get tired of seeing these beautiful and distinctive owls.

With other unfinished business at the Botanic, we made our way around to look for better views of the Dark-sided Flycatcher. On what was turning out to be one of those days when everything goes right, our slatey target appeared right in front of us for some very personal poses. Compared to our previous pictures taken in rainy conditions, these pictures are far better but still do not fully capture just how friendly and curious this bird was.

There were plenty of very active bees and butterflies around the gardens too and despite trying very hard to get some good views of some stunning Common Birdwings the best I could manage on this visit was this Plain Tiger.

With such a rich bounty of wildlife found in the Kranji area, we returned the next day for another dose. This time our expedition began at Sungei Buloh Wetlands where the waders were in! Before the waders however, we have found it customary to pay our respects to Sungei Buloh’s resident Estuarine Crocodiles, who were largely motionless in the humid conditions. This aptly surly-looking teenager made for the perfect photographic subject.

The first hide saw a reasonable sized gathering of waders, standing out among the Redshank and Little Egret was a Golden Plover.

There was plenty of representation from the Greenshanks too.

We even had the pleasure of a number of Great White Egrets to enjoy, a first for us at Sungei Buloh.

And a smattering of bobbing Common Sandpipers meant we had a very good species count already for our day.

We found yet another Asian Brown Flycatcher as we proceeded with our circuit. I think we found at least one of these insect hunters at nearly every location we had been to this visit. Their hunting strategy of favoured perches and pauses for opportunities makes them a good subject for our point and shoot equipment.

Our next sightings came at Hide 1B where we found a familiar sight from both previous visits to SB and from back home in the UK – Whimbrels.

As always, we enjoy more than just the feathered features on our visits, and we really couldn’t miss this little fellow who flew straight past us, landing at eye level.

This is a Cotton Stainer Bug, and for all its destructive habits to cotton and other crops, it remains a stunning-looking insect, especially in flight with its fiery redness.

Bird sightings ended on a high at SB with Mrs Sausage finding an Oriental Pied Hornbill resting on the trees surrounding the admin buildings.

One short Kranji Express journey later and we were at Kranji Marsh. We managed a single Olive-backed Sunbird and a fleeting show from a Lesser Coucal before we had to cut a hasty retreat as a very noisy and heavy thunder storm hit the reserve.

Sungei Buloh was healthy with waders and critters and we made the most of the short time we had on this hopping trip. There would however be time for another visit to the Kranji area before we had to leave Singapore – that blog to come soon!

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