It was part of the mentor-ship program for the Singapore Young Photographer Award winners, where we will be attached to a veteran photographer and learn from him for a 10 hour session. I was attached to Mr Lee Tiah Khee, chief photographer of Lianhe Zaobao, and also a veteran and experienced bird photographer. Also joining the outing is Nicholas Chew, who is the top winner in the nature category.
We met up at Changi Village before heading down to Changi Coast Road where there is an entrance into an off road trail. We looked out for signs of wildlife from the car, Tiah Khee told us to take note if the Sparrowhawk that was seen in the area. We managed to see it flew past but was unable to get any shots.
After awhile, we decided to stop and alight to look around. I took the initiative to get some landscape shots as I was mesmerized by the place. As my camera was mounted with a telephoto lens, I used my Samsung Galaxy S3 to capture this picture and post processed it on Photoshop.
Sadly, the birds were not cooperative and we did not get a shot and decided to move to another location to try our luck. We arrived at a restricted area in Changi where Tiah Khee had to apply for permit from PUB to enter. The place is full of Lalangs and I managed to get some shots of it.
Here the star bird to look for were the Harriers, a species of Bird of Prey. Once again we were disappointed by the lack of activity from the birds as Tiah Khee was surprised too as the Harriers were usually seen flying around frequently. But we decided to wait it out. We spotted a juvenile Changeable Hawk Eagle (Nisaetus cirrhatus) perched on a tree and decided to go after it on foot. As we are halfway through, the eagle took off and flew low above us. I immediately point my camera and burst the shots. A second CHE then followed from behind and flew past us as well.
After that moment of excitement, we continue to look for the Harriers, we managed to see it finally but it was too far away for a decent shot. We also saw Black-winged Kites (Elanus caeruleus) hovering around and White-headed Munias, and witness a White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) stealing the food from the Black-winged Kites high above the sky. Dark clouds were approaching and we decided to make our way back to the car, but before we leave I thought it would be really nice to get some landscape shots with the dark clouds. The light was just nice illuminating the foreground with the clouds at the back.
While the storm hits, we went for lunch, after which we went to Pasir Ris Park to look for Owls, but to no avail. Along the way we saw common birds such as Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris) and the Little Egret (Egretta garzetta).
We then head down to Lorong Halus for the Terns. This time, the birds did not disappoint. The moment we reach the location, we could see a group of White-winged Terns (Chlidonias leucopterus) and Little Terns (Sternula albifrons) flying around. I got ready and attempted to shoot them in flight. However, they prove to be really hard to shoot as they are small and fast, with unpredictable flight patterns. My camera had a hard time tracking them down. But I did not give up and slowly I began to get the hang of tracking the bird and soon I was firing hundreds of shots, some even flew just a few feet away from me. The day ended with a high note with me happy of what I had managed to get. It was a fun day out with the guys with new friendships been forged.
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