Tag Archives: NParks

Kranji Marshes – A Freshwater Marshland

The Kranji Marshes, Singapore’s largest freshwater marshland was recently declared opened to the public on 1st February 2016. With a size of 56.8 hectares, the Kranji Marshes is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, with more than 170 species of birds, 54 species of butterflies and 33 species of dragonflies making Kranji Marshes their home. For a small country like Singapore, we have green and nature areas, such as the newly opened Kranji Marshes, that the locals and international visitors can get away from the hectic city life to visit and enjoy the lush greenery, peace, quietness and tranquility!

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There are two areas inside the Kranji Marshes, the public area and a restricted area that is accessible through guided tours. The restricted area is the core conservation area and this would allow this ecologically sensitive site to grow back the vegetation and the wildlife to come back there.

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Map of Kranji Marshes (Source: NParks website)

I remembered walking along Neo Tiew Lane 2 a few years ago, visiting Kranji Marshes when it wasn’t developed at all, I was there to look for the Blue-Eared Kingfisher that resides in the Kranji Marshes (I did not manage to find it though). While there were some physical changes, with the addition of the raptor tower and bird hides at the public access area, most of the Kranji Marshes remained untouched and not spoilt by the structural developments to convert Kranji Marshes into a beautiful nature park, Singapore’s largest freshwater marshland.

When you are walking in from the park entrance towards the Marsh Station, the Neo Tiew Woods is on your right, keep a lookout at the tall trees and greenery and you spot some wildlife high up in the trees!

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The Kranji Marshes is a beautiful destination, lush greenery, quiet and peaceful, accompanied by the sounds of many different species of birds residing/visiting Kranji Marshes. During my recent two trips to Kranji Marshes after her official opening, I was able to spot and photograph a small number of different species of birds residing/visiting Kranji Marshes, do take a look at my Kranji Marshes (Avian) collection here on Flickr! With over 170 species of birds recorded at Kranji Marshes, I hope that I am able to photograph each different species of over 170 birds recorded at Kranji Marshes into my Flickr collection.

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The Raptor Tower is ideal to catch the sunrise across Kranji Reservoir, it also gives a bird’s eye panoramic view of the Kranji Reservoir and the Kranji Marshes. At the top of the Raptor Tower, you might be on the same eye level with the birds on the trees nearby the tower! There are two bird hides there, the Moorhen Blind and Swamphen Hide. They are great to sit down, wait, observe and look out for the different species of birds that visit the marshland.

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If you love the outdoors, nature and wildlife, Kranji Marshes is a very nice destination to visit. Bird photographers would love the Kranji Marshes, they would be able to photograph the bird species that visit/reside in Kranji Marshes. I might go back again to document/photograph more bird/wildlife species at Kranji Marshes before the end of the migratory season in March 2016.

Key Information for visitors to Kranji Marshes

Location

Kranji Gate

11 Neo Tiew Lane 2

Singapore 718814

Opening Hours

7am to 7pm daily

 Tel: 67941401
Fax: 67937271
Email: nparks_sbwr@nparks.gov.sg

More information can be found here on the NParks website.


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Coney Island is now open to the public

Coney Island, formerly known as Pulau Serangoon, is now open to the public. I remembered Coney Island in the 90s when it was a camping spot for canoe trips and I didn’t manage to join any of the canoe trips. Around the Coney Island region, it is also a popular spot for jet ski too. I didn’t know much about the history of Coney Island, at the moment, Coney Island earliest history records showed it was owned by the Aw family that built Haw Par Villa in the 1930s. If I am able to gather more information from my research, I would do an update in another article after I visit Coney Island again at a later date for more photography and nature walk.

With huge developments around the North East part of Singapore, Sengkang and Punggol Housing Estates. The 50ha Coney Island was kind of forgotten for sometime, closed to the public. On 10th October 2015, it was officially opened to the public, became part of the National Parks (Nparks) Park Connector Network (PCN) and added to the list of Nature Parks in Singapore. The Singapore Government has some plans in place for Coney Island, residential, recreational, sport and nature. At this point in time, Coney Island is not immediately required for development, therefore, it will be kept as a Nature Park for now. I am hoping that Coney Island will not go through any developments at all, leave it as she is now, a Nature Park with beautiful greenery and outdoors for leisure and recreational use in Singapore. You can walk, jog, cycle, relax and enjoy Coney Island, besides that, it is also a place for wildlife to stay too.

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When I read the news that Coney Island was going to be officially open to the public on 10th October 2015, I decided to visit and explore Coney Island. My fellow social media friend, HP, came along with me too in exploring Coney Island. Although Singapore is a very small country, she has her greenery and outdoors too! Coney Island is off mainland Singapore, seperated by two bridges (entrances to Coney Island) on the west and east end of Coney Island and a small stretch of the sea.

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Hiking inside the forest wonderland, strolling along the beach, this was a really peaceful and tranquil exploration. I was enjoying this beautiful green destination along with leisure walkers, joggers, cyclists, photographers, nature lovers. I was trying to spot the wildlife, they were shy yesterday on the 10th October 2015 and I only managed to spot the Brahminy Kites and an Egret, nevertheless, I hope to spot more wildlife and photograph them when I return again to explore Coney Island, a destination for me to relax and be away from the hustle and bustle crazy rat race environment in Singapore.

I would love to be strolling along the beach of Coney Island enjoying the sea breeze, listening to the waves coming onto the shore, or walking among the tall dreamy green forest. I hope to spot the beautiful birds staying there, listening to their chirping and singing. As a photographer, the lalang fields, tall grasslands and green forest make ideal and interesting locations for outdoor theme shoots such as outdoor wedding or fashion shoot.

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Take a look at some of the photographs that I took on Coney Island, on my Flickr account. For more information on Coney Island, check out Nparks website! I haven’t fully explore Coney Island and I hope to go back again, to enjoy the greenery, the outdoors, the peace and tranquility.


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Sunset 13th January 2015

13th January 2015, just another Wednesday for many of us and myself too. Somehow or another, I decided that I needed a short time off, a few hours away from many things cropping up in my mind, both business/work and personal. Looking up at the skyline on the 13th January, I had a gut feeling that the sunset on that day would be something nice when the weather on that day was hot and humid the whole day round!

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My work location for that day was close to home and I managed to get home a bit earlier, took my camera gear out and walked to West Coast Park that is always close to my home. I was not disappointed at all and I am very happy to be there, to capture a beautiful sunset in Singapore.

While waiting for the sunset, I took the time to think through many things and matters, clear my head and mind. That’s why I shared with many friends that photography is therapeutic for me.

This was also the kickstart for my 2015 photography journey, the start of a new photography adventure in 2015!


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Explore Gardens By The Bay with Mobile App!

Have you visited the beautiful Gardens By The Bay in Singapore? I had been visiting and covering Gardens By The Bay in Singapore before she was officially opened, during her official opening and over the time Gardens By The Bay had grown and expanded in the subsequent phases such as the Children’s Garden and Sun Pavilion. Over the past few years, I had seen Gardens By The Bay expanding their events, activities and facilities to constantly attract more local and international visitors to Gardens By The Bay.

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As much as I walked and explored a lot around Gardens By The Bay, in my birding photography adventure. There is still a part of Gardens By The Bay that I still haven’t explore and discover about. There is a big list of many different types of flora and fauna at Gardens By The Bay and I can never remember all of their names! On top of that, there are also more flora and fauna that I still haven’t explore yet! When you visit Gardens By The Bay, do you face a challenge to identify the plants, trees, flowers etc?

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You don’t need to worry anymore now! You can now explore Gardens By The Bay together with your smartphone application! They recently launched its first mobile application, designed using cutting-edge technology to enhance visitors’ experiences. Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the app will engage and excite visitors through a series of interactive trails, games, educational tools and information about the Gardens’ unique horticulture. Check out the Gardens By The Bay mobile application screen shots below!

4) Activities - Hidden Secrets

5) Activities - Build Your Garden

6) Activities - Where in the World

7) Tree of Knowledge

The Gardens by the Bay mobile app will serve as a practical multimedia guide, providing an introduction to the vast collection of plant life throughout the Gardens and explanations of the diverse habitats around the world. Using GPS and way-finding technology, the app will offer an interactive map and encourage visitors to explore hidden locations, earning them virtual rewards for finding these secret spots and completing scavenger-like challenges. Available in five languages – English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and Japanese – the app will engage visitors through educational games that reinforce horticultural learning, augmented reality that encourage users to uncover virtual plants, and sharing on social media. The Gardens by the Bay app is now available on both Apple and Android platforms and can be downloaded for free via iTunes and Google Play. Information on the app is available at www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/mobileapp.

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I was introduced to the Gardens By The Bay mobile application very recently, before her official release on Monday 17th November 2014. We had a fun time exploring Gardens By The Bay, looking for the trees, leaves, flowers, tree trunks and scanning their QR code! This Gardens By The Bay mobile application is very useful for the family with children! Not only the whole family can have fun together to explore and learn more about nature, flora and fauna. There are also games for the children to play and learn!

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Not only can you explore with your smartphone, the tablet can be ideal too for exploring Gardens By The Bay! The children is going to have a fun time, running and looking for the various flora and fauna at Gardens By The Bay! The school holidays are here and it’s a great family bonding and learning experiences activity that you can do at Gardens By The Bay with their mobile application! Come on down and explore Gardens By The Bay with the mobile application!

* I would like to thank Gardens By The Bay for hosting us to a preview of the mobile application, for the snapshot photos of the mobile application and having a tryout with it before its official release! *

Rainforest Orchestra at Gardens By The Bay

The SuperTree Grove at Gardens By The Bay in Singapore, distinctive, unique and tall vertical trees with large canopies. The awesome SuperTrees are key landmarks and designs of Gardens By The Bay that are popular with the locals and international visitors to Gardens By The Bay. The OCBC Skyway allows visitors to be high up in the sky walking along the 128-metre long walkway with a height of 22-metres that connects two Supertrees at the Supertree Grove, and take in a different view of the Gardens. The OCBC Garden Rhapsody is the other star attraction/performance that combines beautiful lighting displays on the SuperTree Grove with beautiful music to give the visitors a memorable and beautiful lighting performances!

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There is a new performance, titled ‘Rainforest Orchestra’, the new Garden Rhapsody brings you on a journey through the rainforest of the world. In this first segment, venture into the depths of the Amazon as the forest gradually awakens at night. With the beautiful music and lighting display on the SuperTree Grove, you have to come down and visit the SuperTree Grove, sit down, relax and enjoy the Rainforest Orchestra! It’s a great location to capture the SuperTree Grove and their surroundings, the beautiful lightings and OCBC Garden Rhapsody!

Do remember to check out their Gardens By The Bay website or their Facebook Page for updates on new events and happenings!


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Mystical SuperTrees at Gardens By The Bay!

The Gardens By The Bay is celebrating her First Anniversary and there were many exciting activities and events happening at Gardens By The Bay! I had a fun and enjoyable journey with Gardens By The Bay, being part of their Official Opening and photographing the different areas of Gardens By The Bay prior to their opening. As part of the First Anniversary Celebrations, the SuperTrees at the SuperTrees Grove went through a metamorphosis to become Mystical SuperTrees, beautiful and colourful, mesmerising and exciting.

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The Mystical SuperTrees are transformed by video mapping, it is an exciting new projection technique that can turn almost any surface into a dynamic video display. Along with music, this is sure to captivate your senses. Below are the details of the Mystical SuperTrees transformation. Come on down and experience this installation that transcends ordinary video projection.

30 Jun – 7 Jul 2013

8:00 PM; 9:00 PM; 10:00 PM; 10:45 PM

Venue: Supertree Grove

The Mystical SuperTrees lighting projection promises to be beautiful and exciting. Bring down your camera and tripod over the next few nights and enjoy a beautiful mystical lighting display that turns the SuperTrees Grove at Gardens By The Bay into a Mystical Wonderland!


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Beautiful Blue-Eared Kingfisher

The Blue-Eared Kingfisher, a small kingfisher just 17cm in size. It has a very beautiful deep-blue and orange plumage on the body and I always wanted to photograph this beautiful Blue-Eared Kingfisher. When I got news from Facebook Groups that the Blue-Eared Kingfisher reappeared at Hindhede Nature Park (Hindhede Quarry) part of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, I decided to go down and wait for this beautiful kingfisher to appear and photograph this special bird. My first trip was on a morning and after waiting patiently with a few other photographers, the Blue-Eared Kingfisher decided not to make an appearance. I went down again in the later afternoon/evening on another Saturday, at around 515pm. The beautiful Blue-Eared Kingfisher flew and perched gracefully for me and 2 other photographers at Hindhede Nature Park lookout point. I quickly took a few photographs of this beautiful Blue-Eared Kingfisher and I was very happy to get a nice photograph of this kingfisher.

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I would continue to explore different areas in Singapore, to photograph and document the bird species living in the different areas. This would take a certain period of time and this is where I can contribute towards bird/wildlife photography, bird census, documentation and nature conservation in my own personal capacity. While Singapore has a “concrete jungle” reputation, she is still a Garden in the City and has rich nature reserves that are home to beautiful birds like the Blue-Eared Kingfisher. There are many green outdoors areas for you to explore and I encourage you all to go and explore our nature reserves in Singapore! Do check out my Wildlife/Animal Photography collection on Flickr and Avian set on 500px!

Nostalgic Photography Walk @ Sembawang Park

A beautiful park and beach tucked away in the northern part of Singapore; brought back many memories for me when I joined fellow photography and heritage friends Jerome, Juria, Kamal and Francis for a photography walkabout at the Sembawang Park and Sembawang Beach area. Jerome had organized a few different photography walkabouts of different heritage interests. I was happy to join him for a few walks to explore more of Singapore’s heritage, history and culture together with like-minded people.

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Walking at Sembawang Park, down the beach and walking along it. Enjoying the sea breeze while it was low tide, the call of the wildlife nearby the green lush forest. Listening to the waves coming in towards the shore, the peace and tranquility that make the Sembawang Beach something special. Sembawang Park and its beach is a popular spot for families to go fishing and catching crabs. Besides, it’s also a fun place for family outings and picnics too. This location was very nostalgic for me too, when I was a Boy Scout 20+ years ago, this was where we stopped for a exploration/hike test. I remembered that time there were three of us and I was there to be a companion to my friend who was taking his Advanced Scout Standard exploration test that lasted 2D1N.  The memories were priceless and I missed those days!

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Jerome and Kamal had many experiences and stories about the Sembawang Park/Beach and Kampung Wak Hassan beach area since they grew up in the neighbourhood. Listening to their stories was really amazing and intriguing. They have so much to share their stories with the future generations about the lifestyle and culture in the early days of Singapore’s independence. With modernization taking place around Sembawang Park/Beach and Kampung Wak Hassan area, more private housing units coming up, things would never be the same again.

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Walking up towards the green lush forest in the Kampung Wak Hassan area, Kamal showed us an old gateway and told us about passing by this gateway when he was in Primary School. We saw the old gateway and were amazed, it was still standing there, yet there were no signs or indications that would help us find who was the owner that stayed there. After taking photos, we walked towards the mosque Masjid Petempatan Melayu Sembawang, a historical landmark dating back to the 1960s, it’s probably “the last kampong mosque in Singapore” and let’s keep it this way, preserve the greenery and surroundings. There were two swings tied to the tall trees nearby the mosque and we were like a bunch of kids again, playing on the swing. Jerome, Kamal, Juria and myself couldn’t resist not playing on the swing. It was so fun, my childhood memories flooding back to me, I missed my old childhood playgrounds a lot, that’s why one of my personal projects was discovering and photographing old playgrounds in Singapore.

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Hiking along the road towards Sungei Simpang, the river/canal, there is a park connector nicely built there. Watching the people at the river/canal bed during low tide and digging clams/mussels (I used to do it with my fellow Venture Scouts!), there are still people enjoying the activities that I seen less nowadays. I still remember camping with my fellow Venture Scouts at the mangrove swamp near Jalan Mempurong, where the current Simpang Kiri Park Connector lies.  We used to play at the canal during low tide and it was great fun, carefree and without the stress and pressure of today’s society.

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As we walked back along the road towards the main road and Sembawang Park, we passed by one of the few remaining street name signboards with 4-digit postal code in Singapore. That’s priceless, considering the modern street name signboards don’t have the postal code on it anymore. Reaching Sembawang Park, Jerome and Kamal led us to discovering the roots of Sembawang Park being part of the British Naval Base during her early days.

Do check out Jerome’s posts on Sembawang Park and Kampung Wak Hassan, he has great knowledge and stories about these areas –

Moonscapes – Kampung Wak Hassan Beach

A Final Frontier

Sembawang beyond the slumber 

While we can see some changes happening to Sembawang Park, let’s hope they still can keep most of its original aura and uniqueness, along with her lush greenery and kampong feel. Let’s keep it this way, status quo and preserve something uniquely Singaporean, culturally and historically. We will have our own unique strong heritage and stories to pass on to out future generations of Singaporeans.


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Outdoor and Bird Photography Adventure @ Satay By The Bay

The Gardens By The Bay South, Singapore’s latest iconic landmark and destination, attracted many local and international visitors. It was officially opened on 28/06/2012 and I was there to be part of the official opening event.  Prior to that, I was also given the opportunity to visit and photograph parts of the Gardens By The Bay South when she was in the final phase of her construction and one of my photographs was selected for the official opening and roving photography exhibition around Singapore.

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I had been back there a few times and it was great to see the second phase of the Gardens By The Bay South completion finishing soon, making the connectivity to Marina Barrage and Gardens By The Bay East fully connected. Take a look at the map of Gardens By The Bay South here; you can see that there is a lake called the Kingfisher Lake and the eating area known as Satay By The Bay. The Kingfisher lake area is nearing completion while Satay By The Bay is already opened and receiving visitors to their food haven.

This area recently became a new and popular spot for birding photographers, partly due to the arrival of a single female Daurian Redstart that is neither a resident bird nor a migrant bird into Singapore. This is a first time that the Daurian Redstart is being sighted and reported in Singapore! It’s pretty amazing that a bird that is native to temperate countries such as Taiwan and Japan flew down to Singapore and chose to reside at Gardens By The Bay South, right in the area of Satay By The Bay and Kingfisher Lake area.  The Daurian Redstart was a “star attraction” and attracted a number of bird photographers flocking down to Satay By The Bay to photograph her presence in Singapore. The number of photographs and mentions about this star attraction bird and her location helped to rally more bird photographers down to Gardens By The Bay area for bird photography. Thus, this made Gardens By The Bay a new place for bird photographers in Singapore.

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Besides this special star bird, the Daurian Redstart, there were other bird species spotted in the area of Satay By The Bay and Kingfisher Lake. Some of the bird species spotted are –

  • Whistling Duck
  • Collared Kingfisher
  • Yellow Bittern
  • White-Breasted Waterhen and her young chicks
  • Olive-Backed Sunbird
  • Pink-Necked Green Pigeon
  • Black-Headed Munia
  • Brahminy Kite (it’s the unofficial resident bird of Marina Bay, quite easily spotted flying above the Bay area)

Considering that Gardens By The Bay South was first and foremost never a natural land/nature park area, the Marina South area whereby the Gardens By The Bay is located is built on reclaimed land. She received her fair share of both praises and criticisms. Personally, I would like to give credit where it is due and highlight that Gardens By The Bay South had transformed into a new nature sector with her trees, flora and fauna, thus attracting different bird species to reside in the area. While the numbers may not be many and plentiful yet, the arrival of different bird species is a testimonial to how an artificial location can be transformed and attracts wildlife (different species of birds into the area).

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I would love to go back again and photograph the area around Satay By The Bay and Kingfisher Lake, hoping to discover more bird species residing around Gardens By The Bay South and Gardens By The Bay East. Some raptors in the sky above Gardens By The Bay and Marina Bay area had been spotted and photographed, I would love to capture them in action and share which of the raptors were there in flying action.

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Besides being a great place for photography (wildlife, landscape), it’s a great place to relax by the Marina Bay, enjoying the breeze, peace and tranquility. It’s definitely an ideal venue for running, walking, picnic and family activities time there.  I like to hang out by the water body with the trees, flora and fauna around it such as Marina Bay and Gardens By The Bay. The Marina Bay area does have her leisure and outdoor recreational sectors that complements the business, offices and retail sectors, with the Gardens By The Bay South.

Do check out Marina Bay Singapore and Gardens By The Bay for more information and updates!


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Outdoor and Birding Photography Adventure @ Sungei Ulu Pandan

The Sungei Ulu Pandan Park Connector Network is part of the wider networks of Park Connectors Network managed by National Parks (NParks) Singapore. Our Park Connector Networks is a great idea for people to be able to access to the outdoors for leisure and recreational activities. Some of the Park Connector networks connects the green belt to the community, allowing them to enjoy the outdoors and wildlife spotting.

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This particular network, the Sungei Ulu Pandan segment, is one of my favourite areas due to its proximity to my home (not too far away), it’s part of my childhood growing up years since my former Primary School is just around the corner nearby there and lastly, it’s part of the Old Jurong Line/Green Corridor network that I personally took a strong interest and support in. It’s not just for walking, running and cycling along the Sungei Ulu Pandan Park Connector, it’s great for wildlife photography too!

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I had been there quite a number of  times and slowly exploring the various areas along the Sungei Ulu Pandan, Clementi Woodlands, Community Farm at Clementi and Old Jurong Line (from the Sunset Way pedestrian bridge, heading towards Sunset Way Railway Bridge and heading towards the Ayer Rajah Expressway whereby another smaller Old Railway Bridge of the Old Jurong Line is (the river forms a Y-shaped there before heading towards Pandan Reservoir direction. Here’s a handy map by NParks for your reference! If you love to capture sunsets, walking down along Sungei Ulu Pandan Park Connector does give you the opportunity for a beautiful sunset! Take a leisure stroll and enjoy the quiet time and tranquility of the Green Corridor surroundings.

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Here are some of the birds and wildlife spotted along Sungei Ulu Pandan, Clementi Woodlands and Old Jurong Line

– Egret family

– Grey Heron

– Purple Heron

– Striated Heron

Brahminy Kite

– Common Kingfisher

– White-Throated Kingfisher

– Collared Kingfisher

– Long-Tailed Parakeet

– Water-Breasted Waterhen

– Slaty-Breasted Rail

– Oriental Dollar bird

– Black-Naped Oriole

– Malayan Monitor Lizard

There are definitely more species of birds and wildlife that I have yet to spot and photograph them! Hopefully, as time goes by, I would be able to fill up more photographs of the bird sightings at Sungei Ulu Pandan in my Flickr collection! Do check out my Clementi Railway Track collection and my adventure when a few of us trekked from Teban Gardens to Sunset Way!

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The photographs and adventures brought back many memories, from trekking along the Old Jurong Line and the Green Corridor that were part of the Sungei Ulu Pandan Park Connector Network, documenting and photographing memories of history, heritage, community and culture. Adding in the wildlife, leisure and recreational memories here sums it up the importance of such places in Singapore!


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