Pulau Ubin 27/12/08

April 11, 2009

Once again I stepped onto the picturesque Pulau Ubin. We went along the same route as before.  https://birdsrule.wordpress.com/2008/12/11/pulau-ubin-trip-91208/. The sun shined through the azure blue sky as I walked slowly towards the station,  I could smell the fresh air, with a damp, musty smell of rotting leaves, this brought me closer to nature.

CUT! PSLE IS OVER. NO MORE EXAMS! STOP THAT!!!

Ok. So, I basically saw a few other birds like sunbirds and 2 Oriental Pied Hornbill.

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Southern Ridges 14-12-08

January 3, 2009

I went to Southern Ridges on 14/12/08 to birdwatch. It was a birding trip by NParks. They provided binos, which were quite useful. I went there for the day and night birding trip. In the day, it was raining, but we still saw some birds, like the white crested laughing thrush.

 

I also saw the longtailed macaque at henderson waves:

This explains the almost looking photoshoped background.

At night, we didn’t see any birds. But we saw some bats that is all.

Today, I tried using raw and large fine image so thepics look better and nicer. Lesson learnt.


Pulau Ubin trip 9/12/08

December 11, 2008

It was a wonderful trip! I saw many birds there at Pulau Ubin and also a parakeet in Changi Village. It started when my father said he would bring my brother and I to Pulau Ubin.

I wanted to think of some ideas for a paper in the hornbill conference. I was thinking of writing one, but have not come to a decision.

Hoping to see a hornbill in Pulau Ubin or Changi Villages to get some inspiration, we drove to Changi Village to take a boat ride to Pulau Ubin. On the way, my father suggested to me some good topics on hornbills that I can do about. When we parked the car in a car park at Changi Village, I saw a green object flying past. Knowing it was a bird, I traced its flight path till it landed on a tree.

When the car stopped, I immediately dashed out of the car with my camera on my hand. Looking closely at the bird, I knew it was a parakeet. Then, I thought it looked like a red breasted parakeet, which was common then, but for a novice birder, that was a lifer! Ok, I took some pictures and now that I learned how to over expose, the picture was so sweet! After I reviewed the pictures I confirmed it was the red breasted parakeet. Here is the picture:

 

Then, we went to Changi Point Ferry Terminal to catch a boat to Pulau Ubin. There were 6 people already there, two equal groups of 3. The first group was a family of 3 while the other group were three students. With my father, brother and I included, there were 9. The boat will only leave when 12 people are in the boat, or when they can collect 30 dollars (You can pay for the rest of the vacant seats to leave without waiting. One trip is worth $2.50.

In the end, each group paid $2.50 more as all of us were tired of waiting.

Okay, I have to admit, the diesel of the boast stinks! Smelling it may cause your health to suffer! I hope those boatmen are all right…

The salty sea water sprayed up onto the boat onto my face as we cruised towards the Granite Island. The excitement in my heart flowed through out my body, causing my fingers to tingle. (Sorry about the primary school composition styles, after all I just left primary school)

After 10 mins, I reached Pulau Ubin. We got out of the boat and went up to the information kiosk. There was this man there who politely showed us where the artificial nestboxes are on the map. I learnt that there were some for the hornbills here: http://besgroup.talfrynature.com/2008/11/11/oriental-pied-hornbill-success-of-nesting-boxes/ . We then went in search for the nest box. We also went up to the voluteer hub and they told us the exact spot of the hornbill nest box was, and here is a picture of it:

We did not see any hornbills there so too bad :(. We saw many insects and spiders there. A beetle, which I don’t know which species:

As for the spiders, the pictures are so yucky so never mind, shan’t post that picture.

After walking for a while, I saw a pretty dragonfly. Oh, it had yellow stripes at the tail and it sure looked good. I couldn’t focus with suto-focus as it was too thin so i manual focus and it turned to be perfect! Here is the picture:

After a while, I was greeted with a very loud call. Looking towards that direction, guess what I saw? I saw what I have came for. In fact, I got even more that what I bargained for. I did not see a hornbill, I saw 2 of them:

Here is one of them:

 

The two of them:

 

I was so happy while I watched their behaviour. Apparently, I found that when one of them flew the other followed. Then they flew to a palm tree (or was it a coconut tree?) before flying away.

After that, we walked. At one part of the walk, there were dogs all around, looking at us as one moved to the middle of the path behind us and the other in front of us. In case they attacked, my father, brother and I took branches to protect ourselves. They didn’t attack us in the end. I took a very nice photo of them though:

 

Good! Just when I thought the day was over, a wild boar came! It walked from one side of the path to the other. I was so excited my hands were shaking! Sorry about the blur photo:

 

I also saw a grey heron and took a good picture of it flying!

 

We went back to Changi Village after that. I saw the red breasted parakeet again, and long tailed parakeet. Then, I saw the Tanimbar Corella! Too bad I was too excited. The picture became blur again. I feel so sad. Next time, I will try to improve my photography skills first. Soon, I will be able to take good photographs!

I learnt a lot that day and have more understanding of birds. I too have more good bird photos and observed a lot of bird behaviour! Looking foward to my next birding trip!


The eagles of Upper Seletar Reservoir

November 29, 2008

Recently, I went to Upper Seletar Reservoir, hoping to find a hornbill. Well, although I did not see the hornbill, I saw many eagles, which I think should be white bellied sea eagles. This is what happened on that day…

I arrived at Upper Seletar Reservoir, hoping to find the Oriental Pied hornbill, but sadly, I did not see it. Anyway, anyone know where can find hornbills? I have been finding them for a long time. I’ve tried Upper Seletar, Changi Village, Macritchie and Botanic Gardens. What time are hornbills most easily spotted?

Okay, back to the story. then, I went up the lookout tower, hoping that I will see hornbills high up the trees. It was then I found that my tripod was so short. It did not even go higher than the railings! That was the first time I was using my tripod so I wasn’t used to it. (That explains why my pictures are so blur and shaky) In the end, I detached the camera from the tripod and started birding.

All in a sudden, I saw something flying towards Mandai Zoo: At the other end of the reservoir. Because it looked a bit dark, my first impression was: hornbill! By the time I looked again, it was too far away. I took a picture, but for some reason, the subject was black, like most of my pictures. I don’t know why it was like that. By the way, I am using aperture priority, so I thought they will auto adjust the photo. When my father reviewed the pictures, he told me that the sky was too bright. The camera sensor sense how much light there is coming in and adjust the amount of light in let in automatically. For example:

If it is very dark, they must let in more light to let the picture look reasonably bright. So, for a high aperture (that means a low number), the shutter speed will still not be that fast. But if when it is very bright, you set a high aperture, the shutter speed will be very fast so it will not take in so much light. So, with a very bright sky and a slightly dark object, the average of this will still be bright. So, the camera will automatically make the shutter speed faster at aperture priority and the aperture lower in shutter speed priority (the two modes I use). So, the picture will come out as: a slightly bright sky and a dark object.

But how do you prevent this?

Just over expose it, of course! So the sky will be very bright while the object will be of average brightness. Problem solved, but there is another problem. How do you over expose? I started trying to figure it out. Just then, I saw another of those “hornbills” fly by. By this time, I saw a flash of white. Looking at how they look, I think they are more of white bellied sea eagles.

Just then, I saw that there was a white bellied sea eagle fishing. They swooped down to get fish, just that it missed. It kept missing for many times, and I did not see it successfully catch any fish. If only the lense could zoom further and I solved the problem of how to over expose it. I guess next time!

Anyway, I read the manual when i got home. You just need to hold the Av button and turn the dial knob.

Although I did not see any hornbills, the trip was very fruitful. I saw the white bellied sea eagle trying to fish and solve the problem of birds that look dark when you play back the picture.


Flowerpeckers

March 26, 2008

Flowerpeckers are small and usually brightly coloured birds.

Till now, I had only seen one species of flowerpecker-the scarlet backed flowerpecker. I heard it was common but do not know where I can find it.

 

Orange bellied flowerpecker-Sime Forest

Could anyone help me?


Bird wanted shelter?

March 20, 2008

Once, at Sime Forest, I saw an unknown bird seeking shelter at the ranger station.

 

Bird at ranger station

Sorry for the bad image. The ranger station was very dark.

Why was it there? Do birds seek shelter like that?

 Please comment if you know anything about this.


Different colour of rock pigeons

March 17, 2008

I encountered a few different colours of rock pigeon. There are four different colour variations, like the usual pale grey wing with green and pink neck, the grey all over, the white all over and the one that is black all over.

 The usual one is common, but the one that is grey all over is smaller than the usual one.

The on that is black all over is quite big in size compared to the normal one.

 

The usual rock pigeon

 

The one that is grey all over

 

The one that is white all over

 

The one that is black all over

Are they of different subspecies, or different morphs, or gender, or different age, etc, but I don’t know. Anyone who knows please comment.