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Self-Improvement & Hobbies

School holiday activities - Bird-watching

You could go to Bt Timah & Central Catchment Nature Reserves, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and more
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - June 10, 2010
By: Goh Mei Yi
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School holiday activities - Bird-watching

Not counting the commonly seen wild mynahs, sparrows, pigeons and crows and the birds in captivity at Jurong Bird Park, did you know some 364 bird species have been recorded in Singapore within the last 50 years?

You could take your kids bird-watching, at places like the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Pulau Ubin, Labrador Nature Reserve and Pasir Ris Park.

To get started, you’ll need binoculars or even a telescope and a camera to capture pictures of the birds you spot. Bring pen and paper along to take notes on what you’ve seen or heard or interesting features of the birds.

Do some preparation beforehand by reading up on some of the birds you might see. Bring along a guidebook or checklist to help you identify the types of birds you might come across. Don’t wear bright coloured clothing as you will stand out in the natural habitat. It’s also important to keep movement and noise to a minimum so that you don’t disturb the birds.

A guidebook will have descriptions of the birds and make comparisons with similar birds, highlighting the subtle differences. Habitats, calls and songs, and behavioural details are also essential to bird identification. A checklist is helpful because sometimes identification of a bird depends on elimination.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a good spot for bird-watching. During the annual migratory season between September and March, the reserve functions as a significant stopover point for birds. You can see migratory species like the White-throated Kingfisher, Pacific Swallow, Little Egret and Arctic warbler.

Pulau Ubin is well known for its rich diversity of birds. You can track down local birds like the Red Jungle Fowl, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher, Laced Woodpecker, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Straw-headed Bulbul and Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker.

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