Berlayer Creek

Probably not many people would have heard of the name Berlayer Creek, or even imagine that such a place exists in Singapore. Located right next to the Labrador Park MRT station, Berlayer Creek is a part of the Labrador Nature Reserve and comprises 5.61 hectares of mangrove forest, mudflats and rocky shore.

A 0.9km boardwalk traces the creek through lush mangrove vegetation, which houses close to 30 species of native mangrove plants and 60 species of birds as well as other exciting wildlife.

A walk through the Berlayer Creek Boardwalk would almost always reveal some of the hidden inhabitants of the mangrove forest. More often than not, we would first hear the “chrrt-chrr” of the Pin-striped Tit-Babblers (Macronus gularis)

…before we see them hopping about the mangrove vegetation or sitting around preening or being frisky.

Often hanging out with the babblers are the Ashy Tailorbirds (Orthotomus ruficeps)

…and the Olive-winged Bulbuls (Pycnonotus plumosus), who are permanent residents of the mangroves.

Sometimes, the loud screeches of the Tanimbar Corella (Kakaktua Tanimbar) would stop us in our tracks. Also known as the Goffin’s Cockatoo, these boisterous birds are not actually native to Singapore but has been introduced here. They have now made their home on our island and we sometimes hear their raucous calls even in our neighbourhood.

The cackles of the Oriental Pied Hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris) would at times also waft through the creek and alert us to their presence. It would be hard to miss these conspicuous birds especially when they swoop in and show off their alluring casques.

We were fortunate to meet this young fledgling who, although already flying independently, was still being fed by its parent.

A variety of woodpeckers and barbets also make their home in Berlayer Creek and we were lucky to see a family of Laced Woodpeckers (Picus vittatus) raise their young here. Like all the other woodpeckers and barbets, the Laced Woodpecker would excavate dead tree trunks for nesting. This particular prolific pair managed to bring up three young chicks, which is no mean feat!

A rare resident bird in Singapore, the Mangrove Whistler (Pachycephala cinerea) used to be found only in offshore islands such as Pulau Hantu, Pulau Tekong and Pulau Ubin. However, a lone bird recently made its way to Berlayer Creek and decided to stay here permanently.

A variety of migrant birds frequently visit Berlayer Creek and reside there during the winter months. Birds such as the Arctic Warbler (Phylloscopus borealis) come from as far north as Siberia or Alaska and take refuge here on our warm tropical island.

Other migrant birds also sighted at Berlayer Creek include the Mugimaki Flycatcher (Ficedula mugimaki)

…the Yellow-rumped Flycatcher (Ficedula zanthopygia)

…the Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher (Rhinomyias brunneatus)

…and the Ruddy Kingfisher (Halcyon coromanda).

The dense vegetation along Berlayer Creek hides an abundant population of squirrels, who can usually be heard gnawing on their prized nut, or seen skipping furtively away as we approach.

Occasionally, the Long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis) may also decide to come out to play…

…or show off their new young.

Check out our blog on Labrador Nature Reserve to find out more about the other wildlife in this park.