The Nature Society (Singapore) is conducting monthly Marine, Bird and Plant surveys along the North West coast and around the Southern Islands of Singapore. The Blue and Green Alliance between Raffles Marina and Nature Society ( Singapore) is a long standing and significant partnership for the cause of nature protection. We are grateful to Raffles Marina for their continued support and look forward to exciting initiatives together as we celebrate IYOR2018. We started off with the first survey on 22 Feb 2018 on board Lady Olivia, a 38 footer Grand Banks from Raffles Marina.
Part of the NSS Survey Team. From left Stephen Beng, Davy Koh, Alan OwYong, Lester Tan and Ong Shean Boon. Photo: Ong Shean Boon and Raffles Marina.
The route covered the coast of the newly reclaimed land slated for the development of the mega Tuas Port across south of Jurong Island towards Pulau Samakau ending at Pulau Jong. We made a stop over at Pulau Hantu on the way back.
Mega shipyards for VLCC and oil rigs are already operating off the reclaimed land at Tuas.
We were off to a great start with the sighting of a Great-billed Heron feeding off beach next to Raffles Marina. I have seen this heron there in the early 2000s, the first record of this species in the northern part of Singapore.
Pleased to find this Great-billed Heron feeding off the beach next to Raffles Marina.
This patch of Casuarinas in the middle of the Tuas reclaimed land will be a migrant trap come September. Had to find a way to get in there, legally of course.
In all we recorded 20 species and one unidentified raptor. The highlight was the Mangrove Whistler at Pulau Hantu. It had gone missing for the past few years. So it was great to see it back at Hantu. The surprise was that we did not see a single tern or shorebird during the trip.
Good to see the return of the Mangrove Whistler to Pulau Hantu. Only one bird was seen. (Photo: Lester Tan.)
Three more Great-billed Herons were recorded, two off Pulau Salu, where we hope to reconnect with the long lost Beach Stone-Curlew.
One of the two Great-billed Herons seen off Pulau Salu where the last Beach Stone-curlew held out until 1999.
The highest one day count for the Great-billed Herons at the Southern Islands was 12 by NSSBG on 10.1.1999. Like most herons, they skimmed the sea surface like this heron off Terebu Bembang Besar.
Pulau Jong stood out like an emerald isle north of the Western Anchorage. Very little surveys were done here. Hoping to find some rare plants or animals.
Interesting find on Pulau Jong was this pair of Large-billed Crows. We saw them flying off to Semakau most probably to scavenge on whatever is left from the incinerated garbage.
Stephen Beng and Davy Koh surveying the reefs off Pulau Jong.
Tigertail Seahorse (Hippocampus comes) and Gorgonian Fan Coral ( Gorgonia flabellum). (Photos by Stephen Beng.)
Lester Tan looking for signs of animal footprints, crabs and rare plants on Pulau Jong. He reported seeing lots of small fishes in the shallow waters and Hermit Crabs on the beach.
Close up of the coastal vegetation on Pulau Jong. Does anyone know which species of Pandanus is this?
Hermit Crabs on Pulau Jong ( Photo: Lester Tan).
Checklist of Birds seen on 22 Feb 2018 from Raffles Marina to Pulau Jong
Barn Swallow 30+
Swiftlet spp 20+
Javan Myna 15
Spotted Dove 11
Scaly-breasted Munia 8
House Crow 7
Brahminy Kite 6
Grey Heron 6
Great-billed Heron 4
Intermediate Egret 4
Collared Kingfisher 3
White-bellied Sea-eagle 3
Brown-throated Sunbird 3
Black-naped Oriole 3
Striated Heron 2
Large-billed Crow 2
Black-winged Kite 2
Yellow-vented Bulbul 2
Little Egret 1
Mangrove Whistler 1
Unid Raptor 1
Reference: Lim Kim Seng. The Avifuana of Singapore 2009 Nature Society ( Singapore).
Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist Guide to the Birds of Singapore. John Beaufoy Publishing 2013.