Night at the CemeteryApril 7, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
Tags: Animals, Birdwatching, Nature, Uniquely Singapore
The time was close to a quarter to nine at night. Although there were street lights nearby, they seemed to be too dim and weak to compete with the Darkness. The road was almost pitch dark to urban folks like Itchyfingers who are so used to having bright lights around. As we drove past the gate into the territory of the Dead, all we could hear were the sound of the insects and our car engine. Suddenly, we saw something reflective on the ground…
“Oh, a cat…” I said. My first thought was that it came from the reflective eye shine of a cat…
“No! It’s an owl!” Exclaimed Tisu Boy, who had acclimatised faster to the low light. “Buffy….!!!!!”
Oh my goodness!!! So, the moment Itchyfingers drove past the gate of the Bukit Brown Cemetery, we saw a Buffy Fish Owl sitting on the open patch of tarmac road! What great luck! It was not the first time we saw the Buffy Fish Owl in the wild but it is always exciting to see an owl…any owl!
But darn! It stayed only for two seconds before it flew and perched on a nearby tree!
We quickly jumped out of the car, trying not to make too much noise. Although we saw where it perched, but by the time Tisu Boy set up his camera, I was too blind to track his movement. We had lost him! 😦 Nevertheless, it was still great to see the owl again.
A Buffy Fish Owl that Itchyfingers saw some time ago in our nature reserve
Our friends arrived shortly and we started our night walk at the cemetery. Itchyfingers have visited Bukit Brown Cemetery numerous times for bird watching and also visited the many big tombs of various prominent figures of Singapore. But all those trips were made in bright day light. This was the first time we came for a night walk. Our friend had hoped to spot the highly elusive Sambar Deers that were sporadically sighted before in the area.
The most abundant sightings of the night must be the Large-tailed Nightjars. We saw so many of them that I had lost count. Must had been at least 10 or more…
Like owls, these nocturnal birds have large eyes and irises that reflect light
where ever the torch shone. Most of these nightjars were lying motionless
on the road. Maybe it was warmer? Some were spotted perching on tombs,
but we didn’t photograph them out of respect to the deceased. Of course
if you are the superstitious kind, you wouldn’t want to have something extra
(and whitish perhaps) appearing on your photo! Hahah….
I think he got nervous with so many giant eyes spying at him that he
dropped his big fat dinner….Luckily he got hold of it with the trusty web
Another spider with an egg sac…We also saw the tarantula….
Look carefully and you can see baby scorpions on the mother’s back! It
was a bit too high to get a closer picture…
Our sharp-eyed friend kept spotting this small owl, probably because he had done many night walks before. Most of the time the owls were quite far and flew off very quickly before we could take a better look. This one stayed the longest for us….
The Collared Scops Owl was relatively common at cemetery, but being so
small, it was hard to spot! This one was the most obliging. Isn’t he cute? 😀
It was the first time we saw this owl at night…
We didn’t manage to see or even hear the Sambar Deers, but it was still a good trip as we managed to see two species of owls. Bukit Brown Cemetery will be developed soon for road work by early next year. Eventually all the tombs would be exhumed for housing development in another few years’ time. Along with it, the many majestic trees would have to go too. Where would these wonderful creatures go then….? 😦
Also see related posts:
> Seeing Red in a Tent – Spidey Galore #3
> Revisiting the Old Residents @ Bukit Brown
> Saving the Old Residents at Coffee Hill
> Eating Its Own Kind? – Spidey Galore #2
> Jaws – Spidey Galore #1