Friday, February 29, 2008

Birdwatching on 29 Feb 08

Weather: Threatening to rain (though it rained last night)
Start: PGP

Bird List:
1. White-vented Myna
2. Black-naped Oriole
3. 2 Collared Kingfishers (seemingly getting ready to mate)
4. A grey-vented bird with white rings roung its eyes which we could not identify.
5. A brown bird in the bush near NUH with a fan tail spotted by Edward, which was off before we could identify.
6. A bird in the woods behind KEVII Hall with a magnificent white crown and white chest, which we again failed to identify.
7. Sunbirds (one of which was a purple throated female)
8. Cockatoo
9. Swiftlets
10. Pink-necked Pigeon
11. Yellow vented Bulbul
12. Crow (heard)
13. Woodpecker (heard)
14. Koel

Note: No luck with the mammal traps today either. it probably rained over the night and the animals did not come out. One other strange thing was, the YCK baits are mysteriously disappearing though the traps did not shut.
Possible explanation 1: The ants took it.
Possible explanation 2: The rain made it soggy and it fell off the hook. Then the mammals took it without having to trigger the trap.

How would a bird feel when it was fogged out?

Why would anyone care, you would say. But I had a taste (almost literally) of what it means to be engulfed in a cloud of fumes. I was doing some bird watching, minding my own business when I see white. The low humming of the generator of a pump and white smoke. No need for further clarification, they are fogging the place!

A previous year-long stay in Old Kent Ridge Residences, also known as Ridge View Residences has taught me something. Never leave your windows and doors open on Thursday as that is when they fog the campus.

Usually, I would brush it off. Until I started on this UROPs module that I realise the fauna in our own backyard is fogged out by us. We are murderers! Well, not really, we did not actively kill them; but some definitely died in the stead of the mosquitoes - the cause of routine fumigation.

Not only was I chased out of the forest, I did not get any mammals in the trap either.

Bird watching alone: a different perspective

Thursday, 28 Feb 08
Weather: Sunny
Line transect for bird watching from PGP to CDTL

List of birds spotted:
1. Swiftlets
2. White-vented Myna (seems to be mating season for them!)
3. Dollarbird
4. 2 Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
5. Brahminy Kite
6. Sunbirds
7. Cockatoo
8. Black-naped Oriole
9. Swifts
10. Asian Koel
11. 2 Blue-tailed Bee-eater on the same tree as yesterday!
12. Yellow-vented Bulbul
13. Laced Woodpecker (in Tiup tiup plot 1)
14. Black Drongo (in Tiup tiup plot 1)

A bat was also seen near House 5 although I have no idea what species it belonged to.

Some things that I took note of was that there was a certain partition as to what birds would be found in what area, even though this is a really small forest area. For example, the Yellow-vented Bulbuls are consistently found to be nearer CDTL and S2, unlikely to be found in the area behind NUH and PGP. This suggests a kind of niche even in such a small area, whereby different birds feed on different flowers or fruits of trees and hence found only where the trees are planted on.

However, this is just a preliminary observation that is based on a week's bird-watching and should not be conclusive until further experiments or studies are being carried out.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mammal trap results 27th Feb 08

Out of 24 traps, I returned one rat! I do not know if I should be happy or sad. Haha. What could be worse other than not getting any results? I know. Getting a positive and not measuring it before letting it go.

This was what happened to me today. The rat was weighed and as Dexiang tried to hold it in his hands for measurement, it made a fruitful leap for its life and was off! :(

The rat weighed 210g. Nothing else informative. I did not even get a photograph of it, let alone identifying it.

Tomorrow will be better, hopefully.

Common squirrels around campus

plantain squirrel (cropped)
These plantain squirrels are commonly found all around campus even if you do not want to see them. Today I actually saw 4 of them within a short span of 2 hours. One even came all the way down to the ground very near me, oblivious to my presence!

Real hungry Pink-necked pigeons

pink-necked pigeon 2 (cropped)
Spotted just opposite CDTL, these brood of about 5 Pink-necked pigeons finished the fruits of the simpoh air in about an hour!

pink-necked pigeon (cropped)
These early risers are up and about at 8am!

Bird watching list 27th Feb 08:
1. 5 Pink-necked Pigeons on simpoh air
2. White-vented Myna
3. Swiftlets
4. 2 Brahminy Kites soaring together (one should be a young)
5. Sunbirds (seen and heard)
6. Swifts (do not flap as much as swiftlets and are much larger)
7. Dollarbirds
8. Large-billed Crow (seen and heard)
9. Cream-vented Bulbul
10. Yellow-vented Bulbuls (on simpoh air and tembusu)
11. 3 Black Bazas (almost mistaken as crows until the elaborate undersides are seen)
12. 3 Cockatoos (you wouldn't believe it, chasing and seemingly attacking an immature Brahminy Kite! Stood awed by the sight and the loud cackling of the Cockatoos for a good 20 minutes!)
13. 3 Blue tailed Bee-eater
14. Koel spotted at House 4

yellow-vented bulbul (cropped)
A Yellow-vented Bulbul. The picture taken was not fantastic but this is one of the few times a bulbul stopped and let me take its photo.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Caught in the act of sunbathing at S2!

sunbathing skink at S2
A skink spotted by the staircase near IMCB near S2.