One of the best features about Singapore is the fact that wherever you go there are birds. Admittedly we did not go into the downtown area once during our three week stay, but wherever there are trees there are birds and Singapore is a green city. Another really good feature of Singapore is the excellent public transport system. It is very easy to get around the island and it is also very cheap. We were staying close to the Singapore Sports Hub, so we would walk there, but you can easily get there on the MRT.
The Singapore Sports Hub is located on a piece of land where the Kallang River and the Geylang River meet and there are groups of trees around the complex that offer some good birding. There is also a large supermarket, shopping and dining. It is not necessarily somewhere that you might think of for birding, but we found the area quite productive each time we visited. There are not just the birds in the trees, but also along the two rivers and there are plenty of places to just sit and watch the world go by.
We encountered over thirty species of birds around the Singapore Sports Hub on each visit and the best location we found was close to the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Javan Mynas, Olive-backed Sunbirds, Spotted Doves, Rock Doves, Zebra Doves, Common Tailorbirds, Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, Yellow-vented Bulbuls, Pink-necked Green Pigeons, House Sparrows and Black-naped Orioles were in that location. We were also fortunate enough to find the nest of a Black-naped Oriole.
Black-naped Oriole and nest
Along the rivers we found Striated Heron, Grey Heron and a Common Sandpiper taking advantage of the float on the river. House Swifts, Pacific Swallows, a Brahminy Kite and a White-bellied Sea Eagle soared through the sky. The dense trees close to the river offered Collared Kingfishers and Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker.
We also found House Crows, Malaysian Pied Fantails, Oriental White-eyes, Arctic Warbler, Pied Triller and Asian Brown Flycatcher. Asian Brown Flycatchers never seem to make any noise and also didn’t want to look at my camera!
Asian Brown Flycatcher
We often saw Rose-ringed Parakeet flying across the sky in Singapore and even when they did land it was challenging finding them in the trees. Green on green is not the easiest, but thankfully the red beak helped to give this one away!
When a Brown Shrike landed on a power line close to us it was much easier to photograph. The beak on these birds is quite remarkable and the blue sky helps to accentuate it. We also observed Tiger Shrike in this area, Common Iora and Oriental Magpie-Robin.
The bushes around the Singapore Sports Hub are worth checking for Changeable Lizards. They vary in colour and offer some variety other than the bird-life.
Another surprise was that the Singapore Otters are quite content playing on the grass near the Indoor Stadium near where you can cross the river on the pedestrian bridge. Even at 10am they were all frolicking together on the grass.
You can cross the bridge and continue walking along the paths to visit Gardens by the Bay on the east side and then cross over the barrage to the main gardens or just hop back on the MRT depending on how energetic you are feeling. If you are travelling with someone who is not as interested in the bird-life of Singapore as you are then hopefully the sports facilities, shopping or other activities in the Hub will appeal to them!