Observations on egrets at Semakau Landfill

on 20th March 2009

Marcus Ng visited Singapore’s Pulau Semakau recently and sent in this piece:

“During low tide hours on Pulau Semakau, when the retreating sea turns the shore into a vast stretch of tidal pools and seagrass patches, egrets and herons descend to feed on the trapped creatures. Apart from the resident Great-billed Herons (Ardea sumatrana), a number of Grey Herons (Ardea cinerea) stalk the flats. Pacific Reef Egrets (Egretta sacra) also arrive in loose flocks (above). These egrets hunt actively, running around to strike at small prey. While fishing, their wings are often raised slightly. This might be to reduce glare on the water’s surface for better visibility.

“Both dark (above) and white morphs (top) occur on Semakau, with the former seemingly more abundant, but this could be due to the fact that the white morphs are more easily spotted from afar. The dark morphs are nearly invisible against the mudflat when not in flight. Brahminy Kites (Haliastur indus) sometimes swoop in to disturb the feeding egrets, probably either to steal a catch or grab a fish from the same pool (below).”

The background of the Semakau Landfill, created in 1999 and opened for nature-related activities in 2005, can be viewed HERE.

All images by Marcus Ng.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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