Tag Archives: Pasir Ris Park

Giant Honey Bees at Pasir Ris Park

When we normally talk about enjoying the great outdoors in Singapore, the general public assessment of risk typically include fear of snake bites, or ferocious wild boars running loose. Some will fear wild dogs, and others will fear spiders, scorpions and other creepy crawlies. While some of these are undoubtedly dangerous if handled incorrectly, thankfully for the past few years, there have been no fatalities involving any of these animals.

There is however one exception. Giant Honey Bees have been responsible for the unfortunate death of a Singaporean pest control officer1 (link) in November 2013.

The Giant Honey Bees (Apis dorsata) is a honey bee common in South Asia and South-East Asia. These bees migrate seasonally. They nest in the open on tree branches or trunks and even on balcony of buildings2 (link). There is much to fear about them. Unlike their more docile cousins the European or Asiatic Honey Bee, they are rather ferocious especially near their nest or provoked, and will collectively swarm their target causing multiple potentially fatal stings3 (link). Killing of a single bee will cause pheromones to be released signalling further aggression. In other words, when you spot them, getting away will be the wisest decision.

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Smooth-coated Otters Part 3

Sometimes, just when you think you can regularly encounter something, Mother Nature has other plans. Since my last encounter with the otters back in September, I had made many trips to Sungei Buloh to try to observe them again. No luck whatsoever. Perhaps they have found a new home at a more inaccessible place away from the prying eyes of human beings. Or maybe they were all eaten up by water monitors and crocodiles. Who knows?

Last Sunday morning, instead of going to my usual place, I decided to have a short stroll in Pasir Ris Park. Somewhere nearby. My goal was to find the Red Junglefowl which I had photographed previously next to Sungei Tampines, which runs through the park. By the way, the Red Junglefowls are believed to be the ancestors of the domestic chickens.

Within minutes of walking along park, I heard the distinctive “cock-a-doodle-doos” of the male junglefowl. In fact I heard two different calls at two locations. They sounded like they were having a dueling competition of some sort. I managed to catch a glimpse of the closer male bird near the mangrove swamp, but I really wasn’t that motivated to trail it through. I thought, maybe I will see them again later.

I proceeded to one of the observation point that overlook Sungei Tampines. Back in July, I encountered Grey Herons that were starting to build their nests there. It has been some time and I heard that it is now a thriving heronry, with chicks growing up nicely. True enough, when I arrived, there were heron nests with adults and chicks at various stages of development.

What caught my eyes though was a figure quite far away that was bobbing in the waters of the river. It was either a monitor lizard or an otter. I took some shots and zoomed in on my camera LCD panel. It was an otter!

I monitored it as it came closer. I beckoned to some photographers there who were engrossed with the herons about the presence of the otters. Everyone switched focus. And the otter seemingly obliged by swimming to the river bank just opposite to our observation point. I took a few quick snaps.

It later moved on to another spot and I gave chase. By the time I arrived though, it decided it wanted to move to another place. Oh well, I suppose I will leave it alone, as I was pleased and pleasantly surprised to have encountered yet another otter at a different location!

Photos below. Nothing spectacular. No eating, no playing. Just a single otter.

1.
Smooth-coated Otters - IMG_4795

2.
Smooth-coated Otters - IMG_4804

3.
Smooth-coated Otters - IMG_4806

4.
Smooth-coated Otters - IMG_4808