Monday, December 08, 2014

Excuse me, we aren't beavers

Spent the last couple of days during my break looking for the otters. It didn't start that way but I kept hearing of sightings around the park by regular park users. Must have walked the entire length of the park (I and II) several times over before spotting a crowd of people on Sunday.
They were all gawking at the pair. Many curious folks didn't understand that like humans, the otters have a the need for a safe personal space, and were encroaching on the pair. There was at one point a slight panicked look on one of the otters but they held their own. As the crowd thinned they were able to come out of the water.
It made it possible to confirm the sex of the pair and also to check on the condition of the animals. Generally healthy but one of them has an open cut on its right hind paw.
The otter on the right has a cut on its right hind paw
The female is the one in the background
He's the boy
This fly on the wall has a couple of points to make: -
  • Not sure why but several people called these smooth-coated otters - beavers and sea otters. I think we need to educate Singaporeans on our local biodiversity. 
  • The old uncles were grumbling that the otters were eating up all the fish in the river and pond. They have lodged complaints against the otters at the park office. They believe that they should be caught and returned to wherever they came from. Bottom line: they don't belong in the eco-system. I couldn't keep quite on this so I chimed in that we took all the homes of the otters and they have no where else to live. Also the fish in the river and pond are invasive species introduced by humans.
  • Another said otters are wasteful animals because they don't eat the entire fish that they catch. Well hello!!! Do we (humans) eat from tail to snout all the time? Don't we also have preferred cuts of the animals we consume? Who's been responsible for the decimation of elephants, rhinos, sharks and many other species?
  • They said the otters are cruel to eat the fish alive. Hmmmm....may be they should open their eyes to see what goes on in the abattoirs.
  •  Another said the otters were terrorizing the fish.
  • Someone then said they might attack humans since they eat meat. I said only if humans get too close and threaten them. I asked if he would protect himself if he were attacked.
  • Lastly, people have been bringing whole slices bread to try to feed the otters. They don't need our processed food, they can catch their own meals. 
I worry for this pair as we seem to have so many people who lack compassion and respect for the animals that try to live among us. I hope that they will continue to do well and stay. Posting this notice as they are so tiny and I don't think many have read it.

There should be a way to get old and young to appreciate our biodiversity. We have lost so many rich sites in the recent years, and Bidadari is about to destroyed too.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Rainbow lorikeets

My first introduction to the gregarious rainbow lorikeet was at the bird park's lory loft. Then there was the group of four birds trying to establish nest holes at Malcom Park in 2011 to the pair that  flew around my neighborhood.
Last week I heard the calls of many parrots in the trees along Ang Mo Kio Ave 1 but didn't stop to check out what species. I assumed that they were either long-tailed, red-breasted or rose-ringed parakeets since they are common in the area. It wasn't till Wednesday did I realize that they were rainbow lories (green-naped lorikeets) when I caught sight of a pair flying over me.
Pulling out the bins from the car and painstakingly peering through them at the birds feeding  on the flowering trees yielded javan mynas, orioles and finally the noisy rainbow lories (plenty of them).

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A lazy Sunday morning at Haji Lane

I kinda like a quiet and lazy stroll around the Kampong Glam area on an early Sunday morning. There's hardly anyone around and the area is peaceful. These two kartek ayams and their girlfriend greeted me in the car park. They belong to someone who lives in the neighborhood. Ended getting down on the ground to photograph them with a wide angle lens since I was too lazy to pull out my other lens from the boot.
Sargent major here was crowing his lungs out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bishan otter has a mate

This rather territorial big bird alerted me to the presence of something in the river when it flew down to the river. On getting closer, I spied the familiar dark brown shape of an otter in the water. Then another head pops up from under water. The Bishan Park otter population has increased. Since I had no camera with me during my walk, I had to walk very quickly home (30 mins) to get my kit.
My first sighting of an otter in Bishan was on 12 September. I shot this photo with my iPhone.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Great-billed herons courtship dance

Lucky me caught the courtship dance of a pair of great-billed herons at Sungei Buloh last Sunday. 
There were initially three herons in breeding plumage breeding (sliver streaked feathers on the lower neck, back and crest) but it was difficult to tell which of the three was the female since these herons have no plumage dimorphism.
The first heron started a display and the other fly in from across the rock island and they began a courtship dance, which was very interesting to watch. Another thing that I noticed was the growling sounds that the pair were making. Although we were very far from the pair we could hear them vocalizing as they danced.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The rarest of the three large herons of Singapore

Took me many trips to one of the few natural coastal sections of Singapore to finally catch a glimpse of this lone critically endangered heron.