Goodbye Mandai Orchid Garden

December 31, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Posted in itchy mouth | 2 Comments
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Today is the last day of operation for the Mandai Orchid Garden. News of its closure due to expiry in lease was out some times back but Itchyfingers only found time to revisit it again two weeks ago. According to the news and from the staff there, they will be moving to the Kranji area. But to Itchyfingers, it would not be the same anymore. It was at Mandai Orchid Garden that we spent hours waiting for and photographing the birds, especially the sunbirds. It was at Mandai Orchid Garden that Tisu Girl and Tisu Boy, or rather, the mascot of Tisu Girl and Tisu Boy were born.

In recent years, we have not been visiting the garden due to few reasons – more photographers seemed to have discovered the place, making it less conducive for close observation of the birds. Later on, we found the state of the garden deteriorating… No doubt they had tried to spruce up the place as well as business by adding a restaurant and later on a science discovery place. But the condition of the plants seemed to be not as good as when we first started birdwatching and photographing there. Fewer birds species seemed to visit the place. One of the mistakes they made was to remove a pavilion at one end of the garden…


We used to sit and chit chat in the pavilion while waiting for birds to come.
There were many torch ginger plants around the area and many birds were
attracted there…It was at the pavilion that Tisu Girl and Tisu Boy were born…
So when we found the pavilion gone, we were quite sad


Besides the sunbirds, the pavilion also provided an easy birding and
photography spot for spiderhunters. This is the
Little Spiderhunter
(Arachnothera longirostra). We would know about their arrival as
they would often make a distinct call…


There was also the less common
Yellow-eared Spiderhunter
(Arachnothera chrysogenys) dropping by for a nectar meal…


These stairs led you to another row of torch ginger plants to find more
sunbirds. But it was not as comfortable as sitting in the pavilion…


The
Plain-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis) is the biggest
sunbird found in Singapore. This is a male with iridescent green and purple
upperparts with chestnut on the wing-coverts and scapulars; it is primarily
yellow below


The Plain-throated Sunbird is also known as the Brown-throated Sunbird


The female Plain-throated Sunbird is olive-green above and yellowish below


You could always find resting areas in ‘secret’ spots like this…


And still find birds like this
Olive-backed sunbird (nectarina jugularis).
This is the more attractive male


Another common visitor to the garden – the
Crimson Sunbird
(Aethopyga siparaja)


The juvenile male Crimson Sunbird – notice the red colours that are
appearing?

Of course, we used to see other birds like the Pink-necked Green Pigeons and also the Gray-headed Fish Eagle soaring in the sky. I also remembered being nearly attacked by a wary Racket-tailed Drongo when we were observing its nest under a tree outside the garden. And of course, I also remembered having to climb out the gate after being locked up in the garden when we missed its closing time…Not forgetting the gardening lady who would tell us about nesting birds around the garden…Didn’t see her in our last visit though…Sigh…so much memories…


We spent some time looking back at time and the changes around the
garden from the first time we visited…This view showed the restaurant
which I had only visited once with some friends from my volunteering
programme


Turning to our left was this path leading to the wooden steps. This was
added later…


Taking the steps up brought us to this wooden platform with chairs for
alfresco dining at the restaurant near the entrance…should be quite nice…
except being a mossy magnet, I would be bitten and sucked dry…hahah…


The view from the platform…


Ironically, we seldom venture into the cultivated orchid garden area as
it was an open area without any shelter…we preferred the other side of the
garden with more shade…


Also most of the time, we were busy looking and photographing birds at
the other side….I think I only walked this part about two or three times…


I do like orchids and find them beautiful and hardy plants…


But I can never tell the species apart…haha….Last night’s news said one
of the precious species was being cut and stolen!


Was surprised to see the Dragonfruit here among the orchids! It was the
first time I see it so near! When we were driving back from Malaysia on
one of our birding day trip, we saw one dragonfruit plantation but didn’t
stop to take photos as we were tired and wanted to get back to the custom
earlier to avoid jams….


If it reminded you of cactus, then you are right, for Dragonfruit belongs
to the cactus species…It just reminded us of our Vietnam trips where
the fruit was a must-have at meal!

It was kinda nice to be able to revisit the Mandai Orchid Garden again before its closure. I think we were not the only ones who will miss the place, as there was a preparation for a wedding function at night…I think “the Government has identified the plot to be part of a 30ha site, about three times the size of VivoCity mall, to be developed as a nature-themed attraction in Mandai.” Sigh…Actually I am not sure if it is a good idea…nature should be left as it is….

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2 Comments »

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  1. wah i didn’t know it hold so much memories for you… but yah, nature should be left as it is… sigh…

    • There are also other nature areas that Itchyfingers had left our footprints…some of them are gone or restricted to public liao…less and less places to see nature in Singapura. Even if there is, the no. of wildlife are also not as many as before…


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