Tampines Eco Green is a green lung in the east. Sometimes I’ll jog within the lush green landscape itself just breathing in the fresh air. Inspired by Lavanya and Nikita, this week I decided to take an hour to stroll to see what I could capture on camera. Thanks to these two posts and this guide from National Parks, I manage to identify a majority of the animals I photographed.
To be honest, I was quite surprised that I actually managed to put the skills learnt in doing Birdwatching at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve to capture some birds on film! This post lists 6 photographs I took while I was there and some tips you may find useful.
Tampines Eco Green is an Eco-friendly park that was developed with minimal disturbances to the natural environment. They have eco-friendly toilets and benches that were made from tree cut down other Parks.
In terms of habitats, there are wetlands and some patches of secondary forest. Take note that the park does not have lights so do be advised not to visit at night.
And now, the pictures…
1. White-breasted Waterhen
The white-breasted Waterhen is one of the first chance encounters of my short 1 hour walk. Generally I’ve noticed they tend to stick to the fringes of bushes near the start point of the Eco Green. They also scurry across the paths.
One tip about photographing wild animals is to have a camera with a long zoom. This is because most of them would be startled and beat a hasty retreat before you can get near them. For most of the pictures I captured, I used a Sony camera with 20X zoom.
Also greeting me near the start of the trail are butterflies! The morning I was there I only captured one on film but I actually saw many more just fluttering away. This picture was taken near the first shed.
The trick to photographing these beautiful butterflies is to catch them when they are perched motionless on a branch or leaf. This takes a little patience . I also used my camera’s soft focus mode to ensure that only the butterfly is sharp, throwing the entire background into a blur, achieving a nice Bokeh effect.
3. Yellow-vented Bulbul
This next subject for my photograph I found quite by accident. As I was walking along the path, I heard a bird call to my left and to my surprise, the Bulbul was just there, not 3 metres from where I was and what was more- it was at eye level!
Where is the yellow-vented part of the Bulbul you ask? It’s just above the start of the tail, hiding under the leaf.
For this shot, I took an inordinate amount of time trying not to startle my new friend. I stopped walking and slowly, I raised my camera and started to zoom. Once I got her framed nicely, I took 5-6 shots. It was a lucky thing I stopped where I did. Once I advanced, she flew away.
One tip to take away from here: use all your senses to aid you in looking for your subject – predominantly your eyes and your ears! Also, avoid jerky movement that may frighten the animals.
I noticed the olive-backed sunbird flinting from branch to branch, probably looking for insects to feed on.
I admit that it is difficult to see birds in the trees unless they happen to be moving around. One tip is to looking for any erratically moving branches or leaves as this may mean a bird just left its perch and if luck allows, may be back again for you to photograph.
5. Oriental Magpie Robin
This is the male oriental Magpie Robin as it has a striking contrast of black and white feathers. The female has black upper parts but a dark grey breast.
As luck would have it, I encountered this particular bird species again but on a branch near the ground not too long after sighting this one. Because I took these pictures at different angles, I only realized this when I scrutinized the photographs at home!
Discoveries like this and researching the particular bird species is one of the true joys of photographing wildlife.
6. Changeable lizard
This one took me by surprise not once but twice.
When I was about to conclude the walk, I realized that there was a weird shape on the bench that was ahead. Upon inspection, it was actually this particular reptile. As before, I did my best to not startle the resident and pushed my camera’s zoom to its limits. This trick also caused the nice blurred background.
The second surprise came when I was researching about this reptile. The blogs aforementioned all referred to it as a changeable lizard but I had one question.
Isn’t a Changeable Lizard another name for Chameleon?
The short answer is no.
The Changeable Lizard are related to Iguanas and look completely different from Chameleons (which has a bulbous head)! And yes, the Changeable Lizards do also change colours to camouflage with their surroundings.
Before I took a walk at Tampines Eco Green with an intention to capture the wildlife inspired by the two blogs, I was ignorant of the beauty that can be found in our backyard. Appreciation of nature , I think starts with taking time to really see what’s around us and enjoy it’s beauty.
Here are some other tips to ensure a comfortable walk:
- Bring your water bottles, snacks , mosquito repellent and camera/binoculars
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothes
- Go to the park when it is cooler: 8- 10 am or 3-5 pm- the birds appear during that time too!
Do you live close to Tampines Eco Green? Visit the park today and try to take some pictures. Share the photos you have taken in the comments section if you have and keep the conversation going !