Caught in the Act: Critter Cam at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

With the critter cam, it will be easier to observe the migratory birds that stop over at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, such as these Whimbrels.

Imagine that it's the migratory season and the birds are arriving at Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve (SBWR). You really want to say 'hi' to the returning flocks but can't find the time to go down. No sweat, now you can do the next best thing and watch them 'live' on the Internet.

That's because we have installed four video cameras in the reserve. We've got one at the main bridge, showing you the length of Sungei Buloh Besar, another at the main hide, displaying the largest panorama of Buloh's flats, and two at the otter pond, where the freshwater creatures love to romp. 

One of the critter cams (upper right of photo) focused on the otter pond.

One of the otter pond cams is also equipped with night vision, so we won't miss out on the nocturnal animals. Thus even though the bird migratory season is over for now until the birds return in September, you can try and spot the other wildlife residing at the reserve. 

With the critter cam, it will be easier for you to observe the antics of the smooth otters from the comfort of your home.

So, when can you watch the action from the comfort of your home? Everything is scheduled to go 'live' later this month, so visit our website for updates.

But it's not just about providing armchair convenience though. Having parts of the reserve 'live' on the Internet allows visitors from all over the world to know about the reserve and learn that Singapore is a migratory stopover. Plus, that there's a pretty show going on when the flocks arrive.

You see, when winter approaches in the northern hemispheres, these birds, most of which will fit into your cupped palms, up and leave their northern breeding grounds for warmer shores. Braving the rain and cold altitudes, they undertake a spectacular journey on their flitting wings and rapidly draining body reserves that not all will be able to complete.

Along the way, when the birds can find a spot for a desperately-needed rest and to feed, they do so. But they tarry only for a while. Soon, the flocks take off again, egging each other on in a chorus of whistles and woops. Through the years, the journey's been made worse as rest sites along the way become houses, factories, airports or damaged in other ways.

That's what makes the reserve even more special. It's a safe and bountiful feeding ground for these migratory birds. For us who work at the reserve, there is an immense satisfaction in seeing birds that had arrived with sunken chests and worn out feathers, leaving us months later filled out in flesh and plumage. Having the video cams will allow us to share this wonderful story with those of you who are unable observe this exciting event in person. 

The night vision video camera at the otter pond.

It's also not just about the birds too. These cameras will also help us track the appearances of other animals in the reserve, something we cannot do round the clock. So far, the otters, monitor lizards, a big snake we couldn't really identify and even a civet cat have been spotted. As the cameras continue rolling, we are pretty sure a lot of interesting stuff will turn up. So tune in for critter cam action!

By How Choon Beng

Be sure to view the Sungei Buloh Critter Cam 'live' at the NParks website. For more information about the biodiversity at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, visit the website today.

Camera 3 - Besar Bank
This camera has low light capabilities and overlooks a section of the riverbank. While you can view it during the day, it gets most interesting when the night shift takes over the reserve.

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