Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lower Peirce Reservoir Park

Bryan and I have been to Lower Peirce before, but it's been a long time since we've been back. The past week, I was doing some field work at Lower Peirce, and I saw some pretty cool stuff there, including a wild boar mama with her piglets! So Bryan and I decided to go over the weekend.

When I was doing field work at Lower Peirce, I got really lucky and spotted two owls high in a tree. I was stoked because I think owls are some of the most fascinating creatures out there, and I haven't had many opportunities to see them in the wild. And I've never seen one in Singapore. The owls make me happy because they remind me of an owl that used to hoot outside my window at night when I was a little girl.

These guys are spotted wood owls. Spotted wood owls are apparently quite common in Southeast Asia. They eat small mammals and other birds, and apparently they're usually on their own or in pairs. The first time I saw them I saw two together, but when Bryan and I saw them, there were three perched in the same tree!
I can see how they came to be associated
with intelligence! They look so smart!

So with a sighting of three spotted wood owls, Bryan and I were off to a good start. We walked along a while and caught up with some monkeys. Of course. It's not hard to miss the monkeys around here!
Oh, hello there

If you read the blog often, you probably know that Bryan and I play a lizard-spotting game (one point for each lizard spotted, whoever has the most points by the time we get home wins). Well, the game recently got more sophisticated. Now there's a point system:
New Wildlife Spotting Game
1 point for a lizard
2 points for a colugo
3 points for a snake
1 bonus point for a species we've never seen
1 bonus point for a baby animal
So I was pretty pumped when I spotted a snake while we were watching the monkeys. THREE POINTS!
An elegant bronzeback. They have super skinny bodies that remind me of shoelaces!

This snake is pretty common in Singapore. In fact, I'd spotted the exact same type of snake earlier in the day at Bukit Timah. But seeing a snake is always exciting, and I really like the elegant bronzebacks. They're non-venomous for one thing. And I think their big eyes make them look like they're always babies. And who doesn't love a baby snake?! Well, lots of people, I guess. But I think they're cute.
Come on, you know he's cute

I figured we were having a pretty good wildlife day - three owls, a snake, lots of monkeys. But it was about to get a lot cooler. I was following the monkeys along a quiet path, and up ahead I saw some skinny little toothpick legs. Oh my gosh. I nearly squeezed Bryan's arm off as I whispered, "Is that a mouse-deer?! IT'S A MOUSE-DEER! LOOK AT IT!"
Mouse-deer, the most adorable of all the deer
and one of the smallest hoofed mammals in the world

It was indeed a mouse-deer, but those little guys frighten very easily, and it bounded off into the woods before Bryan could get a very good picture. But it was really exciting for us. We've never seen a mouse-deer in the wild (bonus point for me for spotting a new species!) and they are really cool. They look so strange with their rotund bodies supported by such spindly little legs. Bryan and I grew up seeing lots of big, hearty white-tailed deer. A deer the size of my parents' Shih Tzu jsut seemed silly!

We saw a bit more wildlife on our way out of Lower Peirce. But after a mouse-deer, it's hard to get worked up about forest snails and grasshoppers, even strangely patterned black and yellow ones!
Pretty neat! But a little anti-climactic after our mouse-deer...

So we had a pretty fun day at Lower Peirce! And I reigned supreme at our new version of the wildlife-spotting game. I crushed him 14 points to 7. Maybe he'll have better luck next time :-)