We went to the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve this morning. It’s the most peaceful place we’ve been in Singapore; it’s relatively underpopulated, and you find yourself in a state of zen-like observation as you half search for wildlife and half just enjoy the view.
One of the big attractions is the mangrove forest:
And another are the tidal mud flats (with the tall buildings of Malaysia in the background):
The mud flats draw lots of visitors, most notably shore birds migrating on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. We saw herons and egrets and plovers and redshanks and kingfishers, and one birder was very excited to show us a far eastern curlew. For the most part, however, we don’t know enough about the birds here to have a clue what we’re seeing. I say things like, “hey, there’s a yellow bird!” And that’s usually about as far as I can get with my identifications.
This park was very well developed, with great boardwalks and tons of bird blinds (or “hides,” as they call them here). I especially liked these observation towers:
We spent much of our time hunting for wildlife, and were well rewarded. After being promised crocodiles by this sign, I thought we might get our toes bitten off:
But the estuarine crocodile we eventually found was no longer than about two feet, lazing on a sunny log off in the distance and looking notably non-threatening.
We did happen upon this enormous Malaysian water monitor lizard:
We also found a dog-faced water snake, about a thousand mud crabs (which spend a lot of time on trees), and a bunch of mudskippers! These little guys — fish that spend much of their time out of the water — are really cute (and surprisingly difficult to photograph):
I continue on my quest to find the elusive mud lobster. They build amazing volcano-like mounds all over the mangrove swamp:
We’ll definitely be returning to Sungei Buloh — we had a great morning there. Oh, and I liked this vast array of “don’ts”:
“No bird grabbing” is my personal favorite.
Finding ourselves more than a little peckish, we walked up the road to a very strange place called Gardenasia — part plant nursery, part landscape architecture company, part “farmstay villas,” and part overpriced bistro. We ate lunch at this very odd structure:
This is one of those places that can’t decide if it wants to be fancy or not. On the one hand, they serve rocket salad and pear-lychee cider from Sweden. On the other hand, what’s with those odd yellow walls spraying mist onto the pond?
The rest of the property was a mix of the expected, like a lot of plants …
… and the very definitely unexpected:
Whoever owns this place has their own particular design aesthetic. Apparently, you can get married there — we had fun at the teeny-tiny Shamrock Chapel:
Overall, one of our best outings — and we made it home in time for a little rest by the pool before we head off for an improv show!