On Friday, I took a bit of time off from work to have a stroll at Japanese Garden. It’s a park in Jurong that as the name implies have some Japanese influence in it’s landscaping. It’s also a favourite haunt for bird photographers as there is a wide variety of birds both resident and migrants that congregate there and the adjoining Chinese Garden. The reasons are simple. There are many trees and more importantly many ponds and even a lake there. Source of food and water. It also helps that it is pretty devoid of bird predators (except probably for some raptors which are also birds anyway).
So on this short trip, I saw hornbills, kingfishers, shrikes, flycatchers, sunbirds and herons. Nothing stands out, except for two things.
First, I had another encounter with yet another stork-billed kingfisher. Unlike my previous encounter at Hindhede Quarry, this time I was much nearer.
It’s an adult and it’s looking for food. Unfortunately, it’s not very adept at fishing. I was observing it hunting a few times unsuccesfully.
But not to worry, there are plenty of fishes at the pond and it has all the time to get it right. BTW on the same day, I received a promotional letter from Nespresso that came with a 50 cents stamp. Guess what, the picture on the stamp is that of the Stork-billed! Coincidence?
The other picture above is that of the Grey Heron. It is interesting just because of its pose, which reminded me of the shape of a heart. It’s actually the heron sunning itself, but makes for a somewhat unusual image.
Somewhere in the middle of this tiny island lies a pond. A byproduct of a granite quarry long abandoned. Beside it, the highest peak in the entire island, with a name belying its past potential.
I was there for the hill hiking and hopefully some wildlife photography along the way. The pond was besides the point. But at the end of the hike I had nothing to show for my effort. So it was natural that I made my way to the pond, hoping for some change of luck.
The view was good, the water was calm. In the half and hour there, there were numerous birds passing by. Dollarbirds and bee-eaters were swooping through the water looking for food. Bulbuls were flying around. An eagle was soaring above. Quite a sight.
But the light wasn’t favourable and my photographic skill somewhat lacking, so the photos were mediocre at best.
Luckily for me, all was not lost. Calling loudly and incessantly at one side of the bush besides the pond was a juvenile Stork-billed Kingfisher. It was quite far away and tree branches obscured its view. But I managed to capture a few photos nonetheless. Technically imperfect, but it was a rare sighting and it’s a cute bird.
And below is the parent which I caught the next day (I just had to return to confirm their presence!). Notice the difference in the colour of the blue plumage and of the tip of the bill .
Stork-billed Kingfishers as the largest resident kingfishers in Singapore. They are not very common, but can be found where there is a large body of water. And they are solitary birds, but this pond is home to a family!