Sunday, February 14, 2016

Kranji Marshes

With no powerful lens, I couldn't see what the photographers saw. :(

Took a jaunt to Kranji Marshes. Didn't expect it to be that small, but it is. Okay, it's a 56.8 hectare area that includes Kranji Reservoir. But only eight hectares (or 80,000sqm) are accessible to the public. The core conservation area isn't accessible to the public unless you sign up for the guided tour (limited to 20 persons each Saturday). Even so, that would be barely a 3.5km walk. It's a really quick sprint if you can be quiet and not scare the birds.

There're a few small shelters built along the way which provided information on the birds that inhabit these marshes and how they build their nests. Anyone could easily stroll there, including young children, prams and strollers and wheelchairs. The ground is flat and relatively easy to walk. Comfortable sandals sufficed. Don't even need track shoes since there isn't any kind of mud or gravel to traipse through, unless you're doing the guided walks. It was crowded that morning. Most people seem to come before 9am and many left by 10am when it's heated up.

Giant weavings that replicated the birds' nests.
By the time we got to the Raptor Tower (or simply 'viewing tower') that's only one kilometer away, I was tickled pink and couldn't stop laughing at how I've completely underestimated the size of the marshes and how easy this walk is. Literally a stroll in the park. Trust NParks to make this so sanitized. Still, it definitely made for a really nice morning walk. Except we went on a day that's super crowded. DOHHH.

Walking along the 1km stretch of road from the carpark to the Raptor Tower, we were accompanied by the motorized cacophony of the bulldozers on the next parcel of land barely five meters away. Haizzz. I hope they're at least sort of cleaning up for conservation or to pull electricity. Whatever it is, conservation in Singapore seems to be how we want to fiddle and define it instead of leaving the natural environment as it is. What an ironic reminder.

Do not expect the marshes to be like Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. They aren't. It isn't. This is Singapore, prettified. Kranji Marshes are a rather scenic urban park. It's apparently got fantastic bird activity. Most people are carrying a camera. At the end of the 1km road where the Raptor Tower is, there were photographers gathered on the observation bridge, looking like they were enthusiastically snapping shots of bulldozers at work. LOL.

There're observation huts sited around the Raptor Tower. Visitors aren't supposed to actually walk to the marshes to scare the wildlife. Many amateur and professional photographers were in the huts stalking out wildlife. Mostly the birds. The photographers must have been there since first light. Wasn't about to jostle with them for space. They already took up all prime spots.

I'm not much of a bird-watcher and didn't bother bringing a pair of binoculars. I certainly don't own a telescopic lens. Oof. Ogling at what the other photographers have is enough. Whatever I saw that morning, was plenty of zoom gear! Giant telephoto lens fatter than my face. I did spot migratory swallows and bitterns. The woodpeckers and kingfishers were hiding in the heat. So were the moorhens and Lesser whistling ducks. I want to get a slot on the guided tours. That should be quite lovely.

For a lark, after we walked back to the arrival center at the carpark, I did another sprint up and down. Less than 2km in 15 minutes lah, but at least it got the heart rate going. Heh. It was to be a nasi lemak lunch after this, so I certainly had to burn off a little more than what a short slow walk could.

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