Posted On 9 October 2019
Last Updated on 3 August 2020
A relatively less well known reservoir in Singapore, the Pandan Reservoir is actually pretty huge – covering an area of 176 hectares or almost 243 soccer fields – and built way back in the 1970s.
When it was constructed back in 1974, a dyke was built enclosing the original course of the Pandan estuary, and a tidegate was set-up so that freshwater is pumped from Sungei Pandan to the reservoir.
A walk around the perimeter of the reservoir will cover 6.2 km, which is a pretty decent distance for working up a good sweat.
The best time to tackle this route is during a cloudy day, as there is hardly any tree shade. But if you are looking forward to getting a good sun tan, then any time of the day would be fine.
Don’t be fooled by the distance marker that reads 15 km. One loop around the reservoir is merely 6.2 km.
Just as we were about to embark on our hike around the reservoir, we were distracted by a flock – or I should say swarm – of birds that looked nothing like mynas or pigeons.
Upon closer inspection, we realised that these were Daurian Starlings (Agropsar sturninus), a species of starlings not native in Singapore.
These Daurian Starlings come from faraway places like Mongolia and Russia, and they fly all the way down to Southeast Asia and Singapore to spend their winter holidays every year.
These are highly gregarious birds and they often travel together in massive numbers. There must have been at least a thousand birds we saw in the swarm that day. A more accurate term to describe their flocking behaviour is “murmuration”, which refers to the phenomenon where thousands of starlings fly in swooping and coordinated patterns through the sky.
We were awed to witness the murmuration of Daurian Starlings that day as they tore through the sky in perfectly choreographed swooping patterns. The whole flock would swoop down onto several neighbouring trees, perch there for a while, and then take off again in one decisive swoop.
When we finally set off on our hike, the sun was already beginning to set.
A band of Pied Imperial Pigeons (Ducula bicolor) were looking like they were getting themselves ready for bed.
But the White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) was still out and about, all poised for his next big catch.
While walking along the sandy reservoir trail, we were able to spy on the marsh birds hanging out on the muddy banks of Sungei Pandan, looking like they were having a picnic party. Disappointed that we were not invited to the party, we could only contend ourselves with observing them from afar.
It was rather far away and kind of dark, but with our spy cam we could make out profiles that looked like that of the Grey Herons, Milky Storks, and Little Egrets.