I have been to Sungei Buloh, a wetland reserve a few times but the experience is different going with a birding group. Upon entering the car park, we went in search for the owl who used to lived near the bird nest ferns on one giant rain tree. He was not at home.
As we entered the compound, we spotted a few giant lens directed onto a few trees on one end of the bridge. Nothing was happening there to my untrained eyes. Instead at the opposite side, two huge monitor lizards were swimming and busking on the floating platform, causing some loud excitement among PRC visitors. Monitor lizards actually swim free style, one arm lifting followed by the next. They are rather cute to watch.
My birdie group told me the photographers with the giant lens were waiting to shoot crimson sunbirds, because the trees were flowering- small yellow green clusters – which sunbirds love.
We entered to the next bridge, spanning across a river mouth. Far ahead we saw a white stork perched still on the banks. Across the other side, a water hen was busy foraging.
We ventured into the park and was disappointed to find the wetland flooded. I was told this is to regulate the nutrients for the birds. Alternating the flooding in the various parts of the wetlands regulates food supply for migratory birds.
We walked in further. In the distant, thunder growled and the sky got darker. We were determined to see Hide 5, where it should be dry. It was but other than a few storks, there were no sight of other migratory birds.
What we noticed, other than the absence of birds, were the absence of mosquitoes. “Perhaps they fogged the place because of Zika?”
We debated but it was true. No mosquitoes, no insects, thus no birds.
As the thunder rumbled on, we decided we should leave. As we approached the bridge again, I saw the storks circulating in the sky.
“Birds in flight!” I told the birders, feeling pleased with my new found birdie lingo.
Then H with her hawk-eyes spotted a crocodile, still and camouflaged. It took me a long time to locate it while she patiently explained the location.
What I couldn’t spot were the pair of hornbills despite their repeated attempts to point out the location. I make a poor birder.
Luckily my husband with the camera was quick enough to capture the bird in flight.
With that, we quickly made our way towards the exit, not wanting to be caught up in the approaching storm, which never came.