2012
Mar
5

A Nature Ramble

1

A bumper crop of walks  for Nature Lovers have been planned by the Nature Society (Singapore) for March from bird watching to an introduction to plants in Bukit Brown.

Saturday 10 March 8 am – 10 am, join Wing Chong as introduces you to the various bird species that call Bukit Brown home. Please check in here to register interest

Later in the afternoon Goh Si Guim will  reprise  this nature ramble in the afternoon from 4pm – 6pm . Register here.

Sunday 11 March 9am – 10am Angie Ng will introduce you to plant life of Bukit Brown including some edibles if you are lucky . Please register your interest here

Please check in next week for the Nature Society’s events.

Check out our handy tips for a more enjoyable walk  here

Angie with a ripened fig which grows abundantly in Bukit Brown on trees

Report & photos by Goh Si Guim (Nature Society)

Dawn - the best time to bird watch

 

Bukit Brown Nature Ramble 19 Feb 2012

The Bukit Brown locale is made up of small, gentle and wooded hillocks. Thousands of graves were densely laid on the slopes of these hills. Being away from mainstream traffic, it has been mostly undisturbed for most parts of its existence. This has allowed the vegetation, particularly large trees and shrubs to mature. The area also received colonization of pioneer plant species from the adjacent rainforest of MacRitchie.

The enhanced diversity has, in turn, enabled Bukit Brown to support a great diversity of wildlife. These are certainly greater than that found in manicured and sparsely vegetated parks in the midst of urban centres.

The original vegetation of the area was lowland rainforests, very much similar to the nearby MacRitchie forest. Little, if any, of these can be found here today. The vegetation type here is compose of colourful ornamental shurbs planted alongside graves. Some large shade trees were also planted, such as the Daun Salam, Tembusu and Raintrees.

Albizzia trees tower around Bukit Brown

 

Many beautiful towering wild-grown Albizzia trees are also widely distributed over the landscape. Many of these old-growth trees have achieved stature and elegance.  In particular, many giant Raintrees are festooned with a variety of ferns and orchids. Looking up from underneath one of these trees gives one a sense of awe and the laden outstretched limbs make a breathtaking sight. Be it against a clear blue sky or silhouetted against a grey backdrop, it is a mesmerizing picture.

Ferns cling on to raintrees, and often host bats

Raintree silhouette

 

 

Raintree - a natural in the tropics

Ornamental plants

Many of the large fig trees, such as the Banyans and Warringins were most probably left alone during the initial land clearance. Some, especially those found associated with large trees, could have been brought in by animals such as birds and squirrels. These ‘strangling figs’ can now be seen in the advance stages of ‘snuffing out’ their host plants.

The instantly recognizable roots of a banyan tree

Warringin

Warringin

Wildlife is ever present but do not lend themselves easily to observation. Most of what we see would be more active and by chance, sometimes with the aid of equipment such as hand lens, binocular or camera. Most of the wildlife resides in the deeper recess of the dense vegetation.

During this trip, there was a profusion of small snails and slugs on trees and dead vegetation. There was a constant presence of birds in the forest. They can be observed actively foraging for food or their calls can be heard over great distances.

Slug

 

 

Snail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commonly encountered birds include sunbirds, Common Flamebacks (woodpecker), Banded Woodpecker, Striped-tit Babbler, Pink-necked Green Pigeons, Spotted Dove, Blue-tailed Beeeaters, Yellow-vented Bulbul and Changeable Hawk Eagle. Rare encounters reported include the critically endangered Grey-headed Fish Eagle and the White-bellied Woodpecker. Winter migratory birds also visit Bukit Brown to forage for sustenance.

Some plant common to secondary rainforest are also found here. The Macaranga hypoleuca stands out from the greenery as the underside of the leave is white, even in dried, shed leaves. Another related example is the Macaranga gigantea, whose leaves are large, hence the name.

Macaranga hypoleuca

Macaranga Gigantea

These are but a small selection of flora and fauna in Bukit Brown that can be encountered at any one time. A great variety of plants and animals have yet to be uncovered. Their relationship and association has developed over a long period of time into a complex ecosystem. A habitat of equilibrium has been established.

This equilibrium is resilient but is susceptible to disruptions. This must be avoided or minimized.

 

Read about the Nature Society’s position paper here.

 

For a beautiful blog on the same walk, Rojak Librarian’s post is too good to miss. Read it here.  Look out for Nature Society’s next walk at Bukit Brown when we post events.

Red-stem Fig

Pigeon at rest

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nesting green pigeon (photo: Suki Singh)

Green pigeon chicks (photo: Suki Singh)

Postscript:

After the nature ramble, Suki Singh found these green pigeons and the chicks at the entrance, near Lorong Halwa: