22/7/18 Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park: surprises await on a hunt for herons

New blog post finally phew… Went on a late morning (around 9 am) stroll with four of my nature/photography fanatic friends in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in search for herons. These elegantly poised freshwater/ coastal birds probably shunned away from the blazing sun into the shades of floating vegetation. The hunt was futile, but still, nature never fails us with its surprises! ♥

July is not the migratory season for herons in Singapore, which usually falls around October and November. Quite a dull period for heron-watching, but a perfect opportunity for birdwatch beginners! If you are looking for an easy introduction into birdwatching, herons are perfect for starters, as they are easy to spot for their body size (smaller bitterns are ~40cm, and larger herons can reach up to 1m in height!), and their slow gait in waters as they look for fish to fill their stomachs.

Herons in Singapore are classified into three main categories, namely herons, bitterns, and egrets. Herons are usually 80-90 cm in height and inhabit along water bodies such as ponds and canals. Bitterns are the smaller ones (~40cm), with streaked chest and commonly found on reed beds. Egrets have a distinctive snow-white body. You can easily tell the different egret species apart from the combination of their bill and leg colours (either yellow or black).

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Purple Heron, easily distinguishable for the purple line extended from its eye all the way down its neck. Very common along canals and rivers (my friend spotted four in the same park on a different day)

The little egret has the combination of black bill + black legs + yellow feet. The one in the picture is sprinting along its coastal habitat. Santosa and Pulau Ubin might be good places to spot one? 

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Herons cannot be mistaken from their “S”-shaped necks which they often fold back at rest. Enjoy the slideshow of diverse herons and other birds you may encounter as you seek these creatures along uncharted waters 😛

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Finally, the easter eggs you’ve all been waiting for : we spotted three black-naped orioles flying among the trees! They are in fact not uncommon among clusters of tree canopies here. Here are two of them (photo credit to the amazing self-made photographer ZM :D)

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There was also a blue robin gleefully chirping on a high tree branch, which I did not manage to take a snapshot of, so here’s a picture from the internet :”) An adorable creature that came straight out of a fairytale!

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There were rows of trees with dozens of four-lobed fruits dangling from the canopy. Their flowers consist of long filaments, like little jellyfishes. Anyone knows the tree’s name?

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So much for today! Looking forward to a heron pilgrimage in the migratory season (get ready for a long post in November)! Please comment any recommendations for heron-watching places and botanic sources (books, websites, blogs) in Singapore. Thank you so much for patronising!

Love thy nature,

Islina

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