Holland Green Linear Park

Last Updated on 11 July 2023

Tucked away within the Holland Road residential estate is the Holland Green Linear Park, a long and narrow strip of green space running parallel to a large canal beside Holland Plain. Although the park is not large, it has become one of our favourite places to seek out the elusive forest birds that love to hide inside the thick dense forest surrounding the park.

One way to access the park is from the eastern end via Garlick Ave. From the Garlick lookout point, we’d always stop to enjoy the bird’s-eye-view of the lovely green space that unfolds before us.

As we enter the park, we will approach a playground where not only the kids…

…but also the garden birds come out to play.

The ever-present Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum) is usually out and about early in the morning, having its pick of the juiciest berries.

When it has chosen the tastiest-looking fruit, it will squeeze the fruit and consume the sweet juice, discarding the skin after it is done. This particular flowerpecker had selected a fruit that seemed almost as big as its head and it took an exceptionally long time to suck the juicy contents, giving us ample time to enjoy the show.

Hidden amongst the leafy foliage is where we might catch the Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot (Loriculus galgulus) chilling out while in a food coma after having eaten too many fruits.

A walk along the paved path leads us to the huge canal known as the Bukit Timah First Diversion Canal.

The 3.2km long diversion canal was originally constructed in the 1960s-70s to help alleviate flooding in the Upper Bukit Timah catchment area. Storm water from the area is channelled through the canal and eventually pours out into the Sungei Pandan canal.

The thick green creepers hanging down the sides of the canal…

…was where we found the Slaty-breasted Rail (Lewinia striata) creeping around looking for grub.

Inside the canal, we are also very likely to find other longkang-loving birds such as the Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

…the Striated Heron (Butorides striata)

…the White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)

…and the Red-wattled Lapwings (Vanellus indicus). The calls of these lapwings always sound like they are asking each other, “did he do it?”.

And usually we would enjoy eavesdropping on their conversation that typically goes like this:
Lapwing A: Did he do it?
Lapwing B: Did he do it?
Lapwing C: He did! He did! He did! He did do it!

Often seen hanging out on the railing of the canal is the White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis), standing ready to swoop into the canal for its prey.

Heading over to the western side of the park…

…the path running parallel to the canal continues…

…and leads us to the Holland Green Linear Park Wetland System. Low marsh and aquatic plants planted in the wetland pond help to clean up the water before it gets channelled into the canal, making sure the fishes get to swim in fresh water and the birds get to eat fresh fish.

In the surrounding grasslands, it is always a delight to spot some grass birds such as the White-headed Munia (Lonchura maja).

Our northern visitor, the Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus), who travels to Singapore on his annual winter holidays has also made this park his holiday home. This was a particularly friendly Brown Shrike who allowed us to take front row seats while watching him hunt for insects on the grassy field.

Beyond the western end of the park, the paved path continues into the forested area…

…and provides a convenient access point to the Greenway and Clementi forest.

The dense forested area is where the elusive forest birds are usually hiding.

While walking along this forest path, we would usually see or hear the gregarious family of White-crested Laughingthrushes (Garrulax leucolophus) hopping and laughing as they search for food.

The native Straw-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus) is listed as critically endangered, although they seem to be thriving here in Singapore and can be regularly seen in the forested areas of our nature reserves including at Holland Green.

Lying behind the forest is a large expansive field, known as Holland Plain, which is popular for dogs and drones alike. We might also find the occasional Red-wattled Lapwing wandering around the field, asking the million-dollar question, “did he do it?”.

A hike along Holland Green Linear Park can be extended by hopping onto the Greenway (Rail Corridor), or if feeling particularly adventurous, embarking on a trek through Clementi Forest.