Kingfishers only…..Bidadari Cemetery & Botanic Gardens Singapore

When:  November 2015                      Weather : hot 28C

Nikon P900

I was out on Saturday in the soon to be redeveloped Bidadari Cemetery to try and see and shoot the Ruddy Kingfisher and the Oriental Dwarf or Black backed Kingfisher….and then in the Botanic Gardens the next morning when we spotted and shot another two kingfishers….hence this kingfisher post…..

The migrant Ruddy Kingfisher isn’t seen all that commonly in Singapore but many pictures of the one migrant in Bidadari Cemetery by the Singapore birding community led me to try shooting it yesterday afternoon, after the rains had cleared.  Hearing that it was hanging out near the Bartley MRT and Maris Stella school area, I parked in the Jalan Rindu area and crossed the road to the forested area of Bidadari….soon I spotted a small group of photographers around a few trees…and sure enough the Ruddy Kingfisher was perched prettily posing for us…..after about ten minutes, it swooped down to the ground and picked something up……

Front view of Ruddy KF

Front view of Ruddy KF…it’s a largish KF and this was probably about bigger than 20cm

back view of Ruddy KF

back view of Ruddy KF

The wings show a hint of the typical violet colouration often seen....

The wings show a hint of the typical violet colouration often seen….

After the swoop to the ground....he emerged with this frog in his mouth!

After the swoop to the ground….he emerged with this frog in his mouth!

shifting grip on the frog....

shifting grip on the frog….

flies to another branch...

flies to another branch…

flogs the frog violently on the branch to kill it...

flogs the frog violently on the branch to kill it…

holding the now limp frog...

holding the now limp frog…

and my shot of the day with the despairing frog about to be swallowed....

and my shot of the day with the despairing frog about to be swallowed….

Having spent an hour or so shooting the RKF, I then found another group of photographers trying to shoot the tiny, shy but gorgeously coloured Oriental Dwarf  or black backed KF.  Another winter migrant, it’s also one of the less commonly seen KFs in Singapore….

First glimpse was of a flash of a brilliantly red coloured beak...

First glimpse was of a flash of a brilliantly red coloured beak…

It then very slowly and shyly inched out a little...the light was dreadful as it was under a dense canopy...but its brilliant colour could still be appreciated

It then very slowly and shyly inched out a little…the light was dreadful as it was under a dense canopy…but its brilliant colour could still be appreciated

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher with black markings on the forehead…

Both of these were lifers for me and I was a happy camper….walking back to my car I stopped by to have another look at the Ruddy KF again….

he was at it again! He'd caught yet another frog...

he was at it again! He’d caught yet another frog…

So not only did the Ruddy KF pose willingly, he also provided a great photo opportunity of his feeding habits!

So not only did the Ruddy KF pose willingly, he also provided a great photo opportunity of his feeding habits!

Not often do I get two lifers a day in Singapore!

So this morning, we decided to explore the SIngapore Botanic Gardens a little more thoroughly and were rewarded with quite a few sightings….but the kingfishers were outstanding….

Walking by the EcoLake, my birding kaki R spotted a night heron and the common kingfisher on the far side of the lake…

the tiny common KF across the water...

the tiny common KF across the water…

common KF

common KF

beautiful colours with blue speckling on the crown..

beautiful colours with blue speckling on the crown..

and finally at Symphony Lake, the commonly seen white throated KF was perched on a signboard...

and finally at Symphony Lake, the commonly seen white throated KF was perched on a signboard…

puffing his feathers..

puffing his feathers..

flying off in a whirl of colour he used his beak to pick at fish on the water surface...

flying off in a whirl of colour he used his beak to pick at fish on the water surface…

Returning triumphantly to his perch with a ? fish in his beak...

Returning triumphantly to his perch with a ? fish in his beak…

or actually 2 fish in his beak!  he'd managed to catch two fish in one swoop....

or actually 2 fish in his beak! he’d managed to catch two fish in one swoop….

and after swallowing the inner fish, it was obvious that the outer fish had been impaled by his lower beak...What a fisherman!

and after swallowing the inner fish, it was obvious that the outer fish had been impaled by his lower beak…What a fisherman!

so…4 kingfishers in two days…two uncommon lifers and two commoner but no less pretty local species…

6 thoughts on “Kingfishers only…..Bidadari Cemetery & Botanic Gardens Singapore

    • Haha…I fluked this one…in fact there were a number of photographers there at the time but most of them were using the DSLR/huge telephoto lens on big tripod combination… and they couldn’t readjust their cameras/lenses/tripods in the 1-2 seconds that the KF posed with the frog…I just raised my point and shoot Nikon P900 and zoomed in a little and snapped away as he flicked the frog around…just lucked out! I also hate the weight of the pro combinations….thanks for viewing…

    • Hi May, I use a very cheap but extraordinarily good point and shoot camera called a Nikon P900. It has a very powerful zoom lens that allows me to snap birds from afar. It’s quality is not as good as the big full frame DSLR cameras with the huge lenses that the professionals use but it’s plenty good enough for me and my fb posts and blog posts… Thanks for viewing!

  1. Hey! Ive came across your blog and it’s really cool!
    Me and my friends are doing a animal behaviour module for NUS school project and would like to ask you roughly what time did you spot the collared kingfisher at bidadari? We are a group of students who are interested about kingfishers! We would really appreciate your help in this as it would make it soooo much easier for us to observe the kingfisher!

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