February 26, 2013

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Wetland Park

When we visit the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve we would aim to include Routes 1 and 2 within the reserve plus the Mangrove Boardwalk just next to the Visitor Centre and the Kranji Nature Trail. We would then achieve our target of close to 10km for our weekly walk. Some visitors may miss the Kranji Trail if they visit on the weekend as the bus would drop them off at Neo Tiew Crescent near the entrance to the reserve. If they were in a hurry to enter the trails they would also miss the entrance to the Mangrove Boardwalk at the Nature Gallery as well.

Mangrove Boardwalk
Kranji Nature Trail
At this time we did not walk the trail as it was closed for renovation. It will be redeveloped as an extension to the reserve and renamed the Sungei Buloh Wetland Park. Expected completion will be late 2014. The Kranji Nature Trail is a 2 km relaxing walk. It starts from opposite the the Kranji Reservoir Car Park B, leads toward the coast then turning left toward the reserve. The car park is where bus service 925 let passengers alight on weekdays before turning back to its final destination of either Choa Chu Kang or Woodlands.

Main Bridge

The Kranji Nature Trail is left wild and you would have walked past grasslands then a secondary forest and finally reaching the shore along the Johor Straits. There are signs posted to remind us to look out for crocodiles so I would cheekily remind my companions to walk in front or at the back to protect me!

Main Hide
The Walk
We gathered at the Marsiling MRT Station and walked to Block 304 at Woodlands Ave 1 for an early lunch. Then we proceeded to the bus stop along Woodlands Ave 3 to take bus service 925 that brought us to Kranji Reservoir Car Park B just after the Kranji Tidal Gates beside the Kranji Reservoir Park. On Sundays and public holidays the bus will drop visitors at Neo Tiew Crescent near the reserve entrance.
One Of Several Ponds

After alighting at the car park. we walked along Neo Tiew Road and then turned into Neo Tiew Crescent to the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
The Resident Monitor Lizard Making Way For Us

Mangrove Boardwalk
After entering the Visitor Centre, we accessed the Mangrove Boardwalk through the Nature Gallery. The Gallery is where exhibits show the different themes in the reserve. Along the 500m Boardwalk we could see varieties of mangrove plants, mud-skippers, crabs and if we were lucky the Kingfisher and the White-bellied Sea Eagle. There are several shelters along the walk where we can relax and enjoy the view and breeze coming from the Johor Straits. We can also see across the Straits to Johor Bahru.

Routes 1 and 2
We returned to the Visitor Centre in order to access the mudflats where the birds roost and feed. First we crossed a Main Bridge with a shelter in the middle. After crossing the bridge you can see the Main Hide, the first hide that has a view of both ponds. Here is where you can have a closeup view of the birds feeding. Once we saw a lot of birds feeding when suddenly they all rose into the air. Some of the photographers with pro camera were busy bursting their shutters. The reason was the birds sensed a bird of prey in the sky and rose in a fright. This gave us a chance for aerial shots of the birds in flight.

Birds Feeding on the Mudflat
There are a number of hides along the routes and they are numbered based on the route number and sequentially so we can easily tell our progress as we moved along the trail. We should consult the map frequently or we may miss the entrance to Route 2 between Hide 1.15 and 1.16. The Aerie is located here also. Climb up to the top for an aerial view of the mudflats and a lesson on bird identification through the posters hung up here. This is where a long lens or binoculars will come in handy.

Mangrove Arboretum
Along the trails watch out for monitor lizards. Sometimes they bask in the sun and when they hear us, they will head for the water. On one occasion we saw a big one feasting on a fish it just caught. We carefully walked past it to avoid interrupting its meal. Another time we saw one that was wounded in the face. It was slow and laid almost motionless.

Mangrove Arboretum
While at Route 2 lookout for the Mangrove Arboretum. This is a 575m boardwalk that will bring you close to the mangrove.

"A Guide to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve" published by NParks.

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