Thursday 4 September 2008

Birds in Singapore

On the way back from Australia I stopped over for 24 hours in Singapore - 25th August. These photos were taken at the amazing Sungei Buloh wetland reserve. I've been to Singapore a number of times but this was the first time I'd ventured out of the main tourist drags.

Although I only managed to see about 35 species in the morning I got a tantalising taster of how good birding in Peninsula Malaysia and Singapore must be. I used the eminently pocketable 'Photographic Guide to Birds of Peninsula Malaysia and Singapore' (Davison and Chen Yen Fook. New Holland Publishers, UK). This was a useful guide covering the commoner species and I didn't see anything that wasn't in this book. Recommended.

Photography here was difficult for me as the light seemed exceptionally contrasty and I seemed to be shooting in either deep shade or brilliant, steamy light. No excuses though, I've seen some wonderful photos come out of Singapore so it IS possible.

Below are the best of the crop. Unfortunately I wasn't quick enough to get shots of Banded bay cuckoo being fed by a Common tailorbird, a superb pair of Black-naped orioles in the mangroves, Common iora and many others. . . .

Collared kingfisher (numerous but wary)

Common flameback (no time to wait for a better view - party of schoolkids were approaching and it flew off)

Common tailorbird

Copper-throated sunbird (female)

Crimson sunbird

Milky stork

Olive-backed sunbird

Paddyfield pipit

Pink-necked green pigeon

Redshank (ringed)

Striated (little) heron

White-breasted waterhen

White-vented myna

With thanks to the staff at Sungei Buloh (

Wednesday 3 September 2008

Cape Town birds

We visited Cape Town 29th July to 14th August. It was a family visit but I managed to get a fair bit of birding done. It was my first taste of Southern African birding and I was very impressed. The Cape Town area is very accessible, full of wildlife and great fun!

There are several good birdguides available for Southern Africa but I plumped for the SASOL Birds of Southern Africa (Sinclair, Hockey, Tarboton. Struik Publishers). I browsed a couple of the others in bookshops and they have their virtues but I'm happy with the SASOL.

I'll add more birds and some annotation as soon as I can.

Note: birds are listed alphabetically

African dusky flycatcher

Black oystercatcher

African pelican

African white ibis

Black-headed heron

Black-necked grebe

Blacksmith plover

Black-winged stilt

Bokmakierie (a pity I couldn't get closer to this wonderful bird)

Bully canary

Cape batis

Cape bunting

Cape canary

Cape francolin

Cape robin-chat

Cape shoveller

Cape sparrow

Cape teal

Cape wagtail

Cape weaver

Cape white eye

Cattle egret

Common fiscal

Common waxbill

Glossy ibis

Great flamingo

Hadeda ibis

hartlaub's gulls

Karoo prinia

Karoo scrub-robin

Kelp gull

Layard's tit-babbler

Lesser swamp-warbler

Levaillant's cisticola

Little grebe

Little rush-warbler

Malachite sunbird

Mountain wheatear

Olive thrush

Orange-breasted sunbird

Pied kingfisher

Purple gallinule (African purple swamphen)

Purple heron (wary)

Red-billed teal

Red-knobbed coot

Red-winged starlings

Southern boubou

Southern double-collared sunbird

Southern masked weaver

Southern pochard (female)

Southern red bishop

Spotted eagle owl

Spotted thick-knee

Three-banded plover

White-backed duck

White-breasted cormorant

Yellow-billed duck

Yellow canary

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