https://www.sbwr.org.sg/wetlands/photos/logo3.jpg


 

Vol 1 No 2
Sep 94


A park for all: objectives of
the park and
about its construction


Homes of
their Own:
the atlas moth
and white-
breasted
waterhen

Research
at the Park:
bird banding,
bird census,
feeding ecology studies

Update on
the study of insectivorous
bats at the Park


Sponsorship towards Nature Conservation and Education

 

https://www.sbwr.org.sg/wetlands/photos/105.jpgA Park for All

On 6 December 1993, the Park was officially opened by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. In his opening speech, he spoke of the government's commitment to nature conservation which is evident in the setting aside of 5% of land towards the cause. Viewed against the demanding needs of housing and economic development, this is indeed a luxury.

Sungei Buloh was originally zoned as part of an agro-technology park. However, in 1989, the Ministry of National Development designated it as a sanctuary for wild birds and as a nature park. Between 1989 and 1993, it was developed so that it would be more conducive for migratory shorebirds to roost and feed in. Hides and screens for observation of birds were also constructed for use by both birdwatching enthusiasts and the general public.

A large part of the Park used to be mangrove swamp. Much of this was cleared by early settlers who converted the mudflats into prawn and fish ponds.

In the course of development, small ponds were enlarged to form bigger irregular-shaped ones which were more suitable for the roosting and feeding habits of shorebirds. Islands were also created in parts of the ponds. They serve as safe feeding and resting areas when the tide enters the ponds.

During the period of development, fear and apprehension were expressed by some quarters.

THE OBJECTIVES
of the Park


CONSERVATION
To function as an important site in the East Asian Migratory Flyway for waders and to maximise the carrying capacity of the reserve for birds and other wildlife.

EDUCATION
To provide education of the natural sciences, in the local context, through the natural and diverse interest within the reserve.

RECREATION
To provide an alternative form of recreation to encourage appreciation of the beauty and diversity of wildlife.

RESEARCH
To contribute to ornithological and biological knowledge regionally and internationally.

https://www.sbwr.org.sg/wetlands/photos/104.jpgSome groups felt that it was detrimental to the visiting bird population and that the works frightened away the feathered visitors. Development works were done in phases so that birds were not devoid of feeding grounds. It has been four years since then and the Park is delighted to say that the number of species of birds sighted has not diminished. Instead, it has increased from 126 species in 1990 to the present 169.

Unlike man, most birds do not store food. If they are not sufficiently fed, they will not be able to fly the migratory route or withstand harsh conditions and will also easily fall prey to predators. As such, they seek safe feeding grounds. And they return to these places if they sense there is no threat there.

Whether or not birds will continue to visit the Park depends on how visitors treat them. If visitors disturb them and behave in a manner which causes them to fear, these birds may choose to go somewhere else instead. And if other suitable habitats are destroyed, their survival would be threatened.

It is the aim of the Park that conservation works hand in hand with education and recreation. It is hoped that Singaporeans and other visitors will appreciate the essence of the Park and share our sentiment that one of life's pleasures is in watching birds and other wildlife in their natural habitats. If these are achieved, the role of the Park would have been fulfilled and the setting aside of prime land as a nature park in land-scarce Singapore would have been worth the economic sacrifice.

Your visit to the Park

Throughout the year, visitors can expect to see mangrove and resident birds like kingfishers, sunbirds, herons and bitterns. In addition, mangrove wildlife like crabs and shellfish can be seen crawling on the tree trunks on basking in the mudflates at low tide. From September to March, look out for migratory birds, in particular shorebirds or waders. November, December and January are the best months for watching them. Patience and silence are pre-requisites to catching a glimpse of some of these fascinating inhabitants of the wetlands.

In addition, we would like to advise visitors of a code of conduct that should be observed so that everyone can enjoy the day spent there.

https://www.sbwr.org.sg/wetlands/photos/113.jpgAs a nature park, the reserve is first and foremost a home to plants and animals and it is important that their needs are respected. For example, picking of leaves, flowers and fruit are forbidden in the Park. Such actions damage plants. In addition, uncontrolled picking results in abuse. Uncommon species may become extinct locally.

Another rule relates to the control of noise within the Park. Shouting, singing and loud talking disturb wildlife as well as other visitors' enjoyment. When intimidated, wildlife goes into hiding. Nature enthusiasts who visit to experience the sights and sounds of the wild will therefore be sorely disappointed when they cannot see the occasional water monitor, bittern, or listen to the quarrel of two White-breasted Waterhens. It must be remembered that the Park is a refuge for 'wildlife'.

Pets are not allowed in the Park because they may create disturbance. For example, dogs may bark and chase after wildlife.

https://www.sbwr.org.sg/wetlands/photos/101.jpgAnd do remember that 'poaching' is an offence punishable by law and poachers will be fined.

 

 


© Sungei Buloh Nature Park

 

 


 

Vol 1 No 2
Sep 94


A park for all: objectives of
the park and
about its construction


Homes of
their Own:
the atlas moth
and white-
breasted
waterhen

Research
at the Park:
bird banding,
bird census,
feeding ecology studies

Update on
the study of insectivorous
bats at the Park


Sponsorship towards Nature Conservation and Education

 

Homes of Their Own
at Sungei Buloh

Apart from fish, shellfish and crustaceans which breed in the waters in and around the Park, butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, moths and resident birds also breed among the vegetation here.

The Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas) lays its eggs on the leaves of the Sea Poison Tree (Barringtonia asiatica).

They hatch into lime green caterpillars which are about 8cm long and these feed on the leaves of the tree. From the pupal stage they turn into attractively patterned adults.

The caterpillars also feed on the leaves of rambutan, guava and citrus. As such, they can be considered a pest. However, they are naturally preyed upon by other insects and birds and form part of the food chain.

Another article about the Atlas Moth (Vol 6 No 1 Apr 99)

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Lime green caterpillar

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Silky pupa

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Handsome adult

Three eggs of the White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) were rescued after being found abandoned. The eggs were about to hatch and cracks were apparent on the shells. They were artificially incubated and soon hatched into little black chicks with "large feet". The chicks were hand-fed until they could eat on their own. When they were about 3 months old, they were banded and then released into the wild.

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White-breasted Waterhen

Initially, they returned daily to seek food, but with time, they made only occasional appearances. If you visit the Park and spot a White-breasted Waterhen with a bright blue band on its leg, you'll have seen one of our very own Park residentsóborn and bred here!

 

 


© Sungei Buloh Nature Park

 

 

 

 

 


 

Vol 1 No 2
Sep 94


A park for all: objectives of
the park and
about its construction


Homes of
their Own:
the atlas moth
and white-
breasted
waterhen

Research
at the Park:
bird banding,
bird census,
feeding ecology studies

Update on
the study of insectivorous
bats at the Park


Sponsorship towards Nature Conservation and Education

 

https://www.sbwr.org.sg/wetlands/photos/119.jpgResearch
at Sungei Buloh

Research is carried out on the flora and fauna found here. The information collected increases understanding of the life living within it. This in turn contributes to the sound management of the various habitats of the Park. Examples of such work done includes bird banding, bird census, water sampling and feeding ecology studies.

Bird Banding

To find out more about the movement of migratory shorebirds which visit the Park, a shorebird banding programme was started in October 1990. The initial programme involved netting efforts on consecutive nights conducted once or twice during each migratory season. Banding sessions were conducted fort- nightly throughout the migratory season.

A volunteer network involving Jurong Bird Park, the National University of Singapore, the Nature Society of Singapore, teachers and other nature enthusiasts was established. Volunteers are incorporated into the programme as part of the effort to educate the public on conservation and ornithology.

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Mist-net set-up for capturing waders


During the last migratory season, from September 1993 to February 1994, 16 sessions of netting were conducted. A total of 253 birds of 19 species was caught and banded. The Common Redshank constituted 50% of the total birds banded. All birds captured in the last season were dyed (yellow) with picric acid. Different parts of the birds were dyed each time. That helped to indicate (in field sightings) the approximate amount of time a shorebird spent in the Park.

Bird Census

The Park's Scientific Department regularly monitors bird species and bird population in the Park. In 1993, 135 species of birds were sighted here. This is about 4 1 % of the total number sighted in Singapore (326 species).

Wader counts are conducted to monitor the population of these migratory birds which begin to arrive in Singapore as early as late June. The bulk of them come in October through to November. The reverse occurs in February through to May when they make their journey back to their breeding grounds. Common Greenshanks, Common Redshanks and Whimbrels are the earliest arrivals. In 1993, the highest population of waders in the Park was observed in November.

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Mud sampling

Feeding Ecology Studies

Such studies involve observation of the behaviour of shorebirds, particularly their feeding habits. The birds are noted on how long they engage in activities such as feeding, preening and roosting/resting.

 

In a study of their feeding habits, the kind of prey items, the time taken to capture them and the handling techniques are recorded. Such field observations provide information on how and when different species of shorebirds make use of the ponds.

Apart from this, sampling of mud is also conducted. This involves the collection and identification of benthic organisms, especially at areas where the birds are observed to feed. These studies confirm the prey items taken and estimate the carrying capacity of the ponds.

Benthic organisms refers to life-forms inhabiting the bottom of the sea.

Carrying capacity refers to the number of birds the ponds can support based on the food available.

 

 


© Sungei Buloh Nature Park

 

 

 

 

 


 

Vol 1 No 2
Sep 94


A park for all: objectives of
the park and
about its construction


Homes of
their Own:
the atlas moth
and white-
breasted
waterhen

Research
at the Park:
bird banding,
bird census,
feeding ecology studies

Update on
the study of insectivorous
bats at the Park


Sponsorship towards Nature Conservation and Education

 

Update on
https://www.sbwr.org.sg/wetlands/photos/110.jpgA Study of
Insectivorous Bats

at Sungei Buloh

Background on the study

No insectivorous bat had made use of the boxes in the Park since they were put up in December 1992. However, traces of use were found in boxes put up at NUS and NTU. The first traces of use of a box was recorded in Sembawang Park in June 1993. The box was used as a maternity roost and at the time of the check, two baby bats were present.

Information courtesy of Ms Shirley Pottie, NUS, Dept of Zoology

 

 


© Sungei Buloh Nature Park

 

 

 


 

Vol 1 No 2
Sep 94


A park for all: objectives of
the park and
about its construction


Homes of
their Own:
the atlas moth
and white-
breasted
waterhen

Research
at the Park:
bird banding,
bird census,
feeding ecology studies

Update on
the study of insectivorous
bats at the Park


Sponsorship towards Nature Conservation and Education

 

Sponsorship towards
nature
conservation and education

Corporate Sponsors

Mitsubishi Corporation contributed to environmental education in the Park through the sponsorship of brochures, visitor guide handbooks, posters, bird identification charts and information kit(s). This sponsorship amounted to $51,669. In addition, the Corporation donated 5 units of Nikon EDII Fieldscopes and 5 sets of 'Slik' fluid-head tripods.

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Dr Chua Sian Eng (right) Commissioner, Parks & Recreation Department, receiving the letter of sponsorship from Mr Hirata, General Manager of Mitsubishi Corporation


Under its Care-for-Nature Programme, Hongkong Bank sponsored 3 location maps and 20 educational and informative signages in the Park. The sponsorship amounted to $25,400.

We wish to thank these organisations for their generous donations and concern for conservation.


 

 


© Sungei Buloh Nature Park