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Exciting Bird Sightings and 1st Volunteer Pond Maintenance

Exciting Bird Sightings

After much restoration work to the Kranji Marshes, as part of NSS’ adoption of the Kranji Reservoir, the uncommon Common Moorhen was spotted at the marshy pond on two occasions. Three birds were seen by Leslie Fung on 9 March 2010 and one bird was recorded by myself on 18 March 2010.

Leslie even observed that one of the moorhens was a juvenile. This is good news as the Common Moorhen, which was supposedly common at one time, is hard to come by nowadays. Bird species that were previously not recorded before the restoration are also making a comeback. These include the Yellow-billed or Intermediate EgretYellow Wagtail and Von Schrenck’s Bittern.

The best sighting to date is of 2 Cotton Pygmy Goose seen by Lim Kim Seng on 29 January 2010. The one-off appearance of this rare and critically endangered bird is highly significant as it has not been seen for many years. As one of only two wild duck species in Singapore, the Cotton Pygmy Goose may sadly be headed for local extinction. The challenge is to make the Kranji Marshes attractive to them so that they will continue to survive and make regular appearances. We also await the return of the Lesser Whistling Duck.

Cotton Pygmy Goose (or Cotton Teal) & Whistling Duck

Pond Maintenance

Twenty students from River Valley High School were down at the Marshes on 24 March 2010 to lend their muscles in clearing the overgrown vegetation at the marshy pond. Teacher-in-charge Mr Azmi and NSS Vice-President Leong Kwok Peng were there to coordinate the effort. Work began at 3 pm but after about an hour and a half, it began to pour heavily. Students quickly sought refuge in their nearby school bus, which acted as a rain and lightning shelter. Maintenance work resumed the following week on 31 March 2010 from 3 pm to 6 pm.

These helpful students concentrated their efforts in clearing the dry edges of the marshy pond as well as the shallower portions of the water body. The accumulated mass of vegetation was collected by Green Circle Farm’s Evelyn Lim-Eng and her workers for composting.

This is the first volunteer effort in maintenance of the restored marshy pond. Students enjoyed the backbreaking work despite getting soaked, caked in mud, and scratched by thorny Giant Mimosa shrubs. Somebody even had a leech bite! A dab of Tiger Balm was enough to dislodge the bloodsucker. The Conservation Committee would like to thank River Valley High School students for a job well done.

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