23 April 2018

Ocean wanderers: pelagic birds in Singapore waters

In Singapore waters far from shore, fly amazing pelagic birds. Also dolphins and other fascinating marine creatures.
A juvenile Frigatebird seen during a Pelagic Survey.
From the Singapore Bird Group blog.
The Singapore Bird Group of the Nature Society (Singapore) conducts regular surveys to document pelagic birds. What are pelagic birds? Where can we find them? How can we join a pelagic survey?


What are pelagic birds?

Pelagic birds spend most of its life on the open ocean, rarely coming to dry land except to breed. They are powerful fliers that can remain in the air for hours. The Singapore Bird Group captures some of them resting on floating debris.
A Bridled Tern resting on floating styrofoam.
From the Singapore Bird Group blog.

Pelagic birds feed on fish and other marine creatures like squid, often diving into the water, or skimming over the surface.
Black-naped Tern flying off with
a freshly caught flying fish
from the Singapore Bird Group blog.

Because of their feeding habits, these birds can be harmed by floating plastic trash and other litter like balloons, as well as fishing nets.

Where can we find pelagic birds

The Singapore Bird Group conducts regular surveys out in the seas around Singapore. They travel far from shore to document these amazing birds and other animals found here.
General route of the survey by the Bird Group.
From the Singapore Bird Group blog.
Among the other amazing animals seen during these surveys are dolphins!
Indo-pacific Bottlenose Dolphins.
From the Singapore Bird Group blog.

How can I see pelagic birds in Singapore?

Join the next Singapore Bird Group Pelagic survey on 13 May (Sun). It is open only to Nature Society (Singapore) members. Simply join the Society to join the survey!

13 May (Sun): Pelagic Birdwatching

May's pelagic trip is undertaken to view seabirds on their spring migration northwards. We will sail the Singapore Strait and turn around between the end of Changi and north of Batam. We will be expecting Swift and Lesser Crested Terns and the uncommon Bridled and Aluetian Terns. Swinhoe's Storm Petrels should also be migrating at this time. With luck, we may also encounter Short-tailed Shearwaters and skuas.

More details and registration on the NSS website.

Time: 5.30 am to 2.30 pm
Location: Singapore Strait
Cost: $100 per person
Website: http://www.nss.org.sg/
Contact: email contact@nss.org.sg or call 6741 2036.

This article is written for Celebrating Singapore Shores as part of International Year of the Reef 2018.

Celebrating Singapore shores for IYOR 2018 logo

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