Water Birds In Bishan Park

“I have not been to the Bishan Park for many years. With the recent announcement of the official opening of the rejuvenated Park (which happened to be yesterday), I decided to check out the water birds known to be seen regularly there.

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
“The concrete canal has now been transformed to a stream which is a more natural and conducive habitat for the birds. Even though the vegetation along the stream has yet to reach full maturity, 3 Little Egrets were seen fishing when I was there on the 16 Feb 2012. Soon, one was seen picking up a fairly large fish, only to drop it immediately – a dead fish. Within an interval of 2 to 3 minutes, it was seen picking and dropping dead fish 2 more times (above edited video shows the second and third instances). Though it did not consume the fish, it still drank some water after dropping them. It left me wondering why there were so many dead fish in the water.

“I am not sure whether it is a typical behaviour of the Little Egret, but it appears that it would leave the water to the dry land to defecate as I have seen it twice on different days. And it would stoop down when it does it (above video recorded on 23 Feb 2012). Interestingly, its movements on the dry land flushed out a Common Sandpiper (I think) which I only realised on review of the video. This was my first live encounter with the bird.

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
“A Common Sandpiper was on a boulder in the middle of the stream (above video recorded on 25 Feb. 2012). The constant bobbing of the lower part of the body is perhaps its typical behaviour. The movements resemble dancing. I have added a dance music soundtrack to the video for a little bit of entertainment.

White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)
“Adult White-breasted Waterhen I encountered would keep far away from me. But this juvenile I saw foraging in a Lotus Pond on 20 Feb allowed closer observation (above).

Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
“Because of the distance from human traffic and they keep still most of the time, they are difficult to spot even when they are in the open. To the casual observers, they can easily be mistaken for the many markers in the Park. So far I have come across two. One of them flew off to take cover in a nearby tree the moment it noticed that I was observing them (video above recorded on 11 Mar).”

Note: All videos recorded at Pond Gardens, formerly known as Bishan Park 1.

Sun Chong Hong
18th March 2012


2 Responses

  1. Because many people feed the fish in the stream at Bishan Park with bread (especially near the Mcdonald’s bridge), I’ve also observed one striated heron following the floating bread fragments and picking off fish as they get attracted to the bread.


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