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NParks Heron Watch

Do you enjoy bird watching? Would you like to learn about our herons, egrets, bitterns and contribute to a citizen science study? Join us for the Heron Watch, as part of the NParks Community in Nature Biodiversity Watch series, to help us to learn more about these charismatic birds!


Heron Watch will take place between 21 July and 29 July 2018.

Anyone aged 12 and above can sign up and volunteer with us. Register here to participate.

 

Learn more about our herons, egrets and bitterns through our interactive e-learning module, accessible via Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox and on mobile devices.

 

 

 

What is the Heron Watch all about?

Heron Watch is a citizen science initiative by NParks to get Singaporeans involved in collecting valuable information about the herons, egrets and bitterns across Singapore.

With the data collected from many survey transects across various areas in Singapore, we can start piecing together information about where these birds are found and in what numbers! This information will contribute towards better park management and conservation measures.

 

How can I participate?

Anyone aged 12 and above can sign up and volunteer with us.

A training workshop on bird identification and survey techniques will be organised for beginners. You will be assigned a survey site closer to the date of the survey.

Corporate, community and school groups of more than 25 people interested in surveying multiple sites may contact us at CIN@NParks.gov.sg to schedule a private training session.

 

What happens after I have signed up?

  1. We will email you the details about the training (for beginners), or to confirm your sign up (for experienced volunteers).
  2. Attend the training on your chosen date. Each training session is about three hours long and covers basic survey and bird-watching techniques. You will also learn how to identify the 19 species for Heron Watch. The session will include a hands-on practical session at Yishun Pond Park.
  3. One week before the Heron Watch, we will send you information about your designated site and transect locations for your survey.
  4. Head down to your site on any morning (from 7am to 10am) or afternoon (from 3pm to 6pm) between 21 July to 29 July 2018 and conduct the surveys at your designated transects.
  5. Send the results of your survey to us either using an online survey form or through email!

 

If you have any questions, please email us at CIN@NParks.gov.sg with “HW2018” in the email subject.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1.       I don’t have any bird-watching experience. Can I still participate?

Yes! We will provide training at our workshops, which will cover basic survey and bird-watching techniques, well as the identification of the 19 species under Heron Watch. This will enable you to carry out the surveys at your designated sites. With practice, you will be able to identify more species and become a true-blue bird-watcher!

 

2.       Do I need any special equipment?

The survey was designed to accommodate surveyors without any binoculars. All you need is a datasheet and a pen, or a smart-phone with the SGBioAtlas app.

 

3.       Is it compulsory for me to attend the training workshops?

You will be required to attend the training to familiarise yourself with the common species if you have limited experience with bird-watching. The training sessions will also teach you how to do the surveys properly and provide instructions for the Heron Watch itself. Experienced bird-watchers are also welcome to join us at the session.

 

4.       What are the common species that you will be covering in the training? Would I still need to attend the training if I can identify them?

The 19 species are:

Herons

Egrets

Bitterns

Grey heron

Pacific reef heron

Yellow bittern

Black-crowned night heron

Eastern cattle egret

Cinnamon bittern

Purple heron

Great egret

Von Schrenck's bittern

Great-billed heron

Intermediate egret

Black bittern

Striated heron

Little egret

 

Chinese pond heron

Chinese egret

 

Javan pond heron

 

 

Indian pond heron

 

 

Malayan night heron

 

 

 

Even if you can identify these species easily, do join us if you are unfamiliar with the survey technique. Expert bird-watchers who are familiar with the techniques and are confident of conducting the counts independently with minimal instructions can opt out of the training.

 

5.       When and where are training sessions?

The training sessions will be held on selected weekends in June 2018. You will be required to attend only one session. The dates are:

  • 23 June (9.30 am - 12.30 pm)
  • 24 June (2.30 pm - 5.30 pm)
  • 30 June (9.30 am - 12.30 pm)

All training sessions will be held at Level 4, Room 5/6, Nee Soon East Community Club and will include a short field session at Yishun Pond Park to try out the techniques taught in the class. 


6.       Will this Heron Watch be very time consuming?

The training will take approximately three hours and the Heron Watch itself will only take one morning (from 7am to 10am)  or afternoon (from 3pm to 6pm) during the week of 21 July and 29 July 2018. If you volunteer to do counts at more than one site, you may be required to spend more than one session within the stipulated week.

 

7.       How will the data I collect help in NParks' park management and conservation efforts?

The data on the heron, egrets and bittern species and their distribution collected during the Heron Watch will help establish a baseline from which we can monitor the patterns in these bird populations in Singapore. With the counts held bi-annually, we can track changes over time and develop management strategies to sustain or even enhance these populations.

 

8.       Can my school/company/community group participate in this event together?

Yes! If you have more than 25 participants in your group, we can explore the possibility of holding a private training session at a location convenient for you. Please contact us at CIN@nparks.gov.sg for more information.

Last updated on 10 April 2018

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