Birding at Kranji Marshes

The Kranji Marshes opened to the public in February 2016 but my schedule had not allowed me to check it out until now. This is a 56.8-hectare freshwater marshland that located along the northwestern shore of Kranji Reservoir and is one of the largest freshwater marshes in Singapore.

More than 170 species of birds, 54 species of butterflies and 33 species of dragonflies can be found here and it is an important habitat in the Kranji area for the conservation of biodiversity, especially marsh birds.

I decided to sign up for a two-hour guided walk organised by NParks for my first visit but it took me 4 attempts before I got a place on the walk!! There’s a limit of 20 people per slot and you’ll need to register your interest with NParks, after which all applications will be subjected to balloting and you will then be notified a few days before the walk as to whether you have been selected.

The sky was rather gloomy as I made my way there on a late Saturday afternoon and we met up with the NParks volunteers at the Kranji Gate. We were then split up into 2 groups for the walk.

The area immediately next to the Kranji Gate has a small pond with noisy frogs in it but they were so well hidden amongst the reeds that I couldn’t spot them although I could heard them croaking away!

This area has been quite tastefully landscaped with a nest-like archway at the end of the path.


We lingered here for a bit as we could hear various bird calls and thus tried to spot the feathered creatures. Unfortunately there was a lot of backlight and thus I couldn’t really make out all the bird species, as seen in my photographs below. I’ve attempted to identify them to the best of my knowledge.

Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis)

Pink-necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans)

Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus)

Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)

Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)

No idea what these are:

Scaly-breasted Munia??

I learnt from a signboard after the nest-like archway that this area is called “Neo Tiew Woods”. It’s about a 1km walk from here to the “Marsh Station”, where the observation tower is located.

Along the way, we spotted a few more birds and these were the noisy ones as we could hear them screeching away at the top of the voices!

This Long-tailed Parakeet (Psittacula longicauda) seemed to be waving hello! LOL!…

Couldn’t help taking more pictures of it! It’s supposed to be a common bird in Singapore but somehow this was my first time seeing it!

Red-breasted Parakeet (Psittacula alexandri)

This next bird was so well camouflaged and I wouldn’t have spotted it if not for our experienced NParks guide! Can you spot the bird in the picture below?

If you couldn’t find it, here’s a close-up of the Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus), which is a nocturnal bird and it appeared to be snoozing.

It rained heavily about 10min before we reached the Marsh Station and I later spotted an Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) which looked like it had been soaked from the rain.

Finally, we arrived at the Marsh Station…

…and the Kranji Tower can be found here.

There are some bird hides in this area too, but I didn’t manage to spot anything apart from swiftlets that flew too fast for me to photograph them.

As part of our guided walk, we were allowed access into the restricted area (i.e. core conservation area), which is for researchers only and thus not opened to the public (unless you are on a guided tour) as this part of the marshes is considered to be ecologically sensitive.


I found the place well sign-posted and it’s a good place to try to spot more birds, so it’s a shame that the public can’t gain access to it! NParks should at least consider allowing serious birders to enter (or perhaps follow the example of Mai Po Marshes in Hong Kong, where visitors need to apply for a permit to visit!)

There was a bird sitting on the railing at the far end of this link bridge and I have no idea what it is! (sorry, I’m still an amateur birder)

We went to the first bird hide (Duck Hide) in this area and couldn’t spot anything with our bare eyes.

Our experienced NParks guide then pointed out a Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis) perched on a branch at the opposite end of the lake.

This was the best shot that I could take as I didn’t bring a tripod with me.

Alas we couldn’t venture further into this area as time was running out and we had to make our way back to the Kranji Gate for those who needed to catch the last bus at 18:33 back to Kranji MRT.

This concludes my first visit to Kranji Marshes and it was a fruitful 2 hour visit considering that I managed to spot several different bird species, although not the ones that I hoped to see as found on the signboards at the various bird hides. Probably most of them went into hiding due to the rain.


Location:

Kranji Gate:
11 Neo Tiew Lane 2,
Singapore 718814.

Opening Hours: 7am to 7pm daily.

Access:
By MRT/Bus: Take the MRT to Kranji station, then take the Kranji Express shuttle bus and get off at Kranji Marshes.

Timetable and bus schedule:

By Car:
Drive to Neo Tiew Lane 2 and the car park at Kranji Gate is located just next to the D’Kranji Farm Resort.

[Map]

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