Rare Slaty Woodpecker Spotted At Botanic Gardens on 12 Mar
It’s not unusual to see birdwatchers pointing their camera lenses toward the canopies at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
But things were seemingly different on Sunday (12 Mar) as there were more birdwatchers than usual, and excitement was palpable in the air.
It turns out an elusive woodpecker had decided to grace the venue, drawing hordes of bird lovers who wanted to catch a glimpse of the rare bird.
One of the birdwatchers was, in fact, a groom who was holding his wedding solemnisation nearby — he left the ceremony briefly to catch shots of the woodpecker.
Rare woodpecker likely came from Johor
On Sunday (12 Mar), a slaty woodpecker was spotted at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
With its bald head, large beak, and grey feathers, the rare woodpecker certainly bore a resemblance to the pterodactyl from the Jurassic period and also Aerodectyl from Pokémon.
Speaking to The Straits Times (ST), a committee member of the Nature Society’s (Singapore) Bird Group shared that the slaty woodpecker was one of eight species that vanished from Singapore’s forest since the 1950s.
The chairman of the same group speculated that the bird came to Singapore due to habitat loss in Johor, and served as a reminder of the importance of preserving nature here:
Its visit reminds us of the importance of our forests for biodiversity.
According to Singapore Birds Project, a slaty woodpecker was last seen in Singapore in May 2018 at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.
Before that, the feathered creature was spotted over 100 years ago in 1904 and 1899, respectively.
Groom rushed to catch a shot mid-speech during solemnisation
Given the bird’s rarity, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the woodpecker drew hordes of birdwatchers keen on seeing it in the flesh.
ST reported that the bird attracted about 40 people at the Botanic Gardens, many of whom had lenses pointed toward the skies.
One of them was 28-year-old Mr Hong Yijun, who happened to be holding his wedding solemnisation nearby.
According to another birdwatcher who attended the ceremony, Mr Hong was about to deliver his speech when the slaty woodpecker flew right outside the wedding venue.
Still clad in his navy suit, Mr Hong dashed out to shoot pictures of the rare woodpecker.
He later returned to complete his speech with his wife, who shares a common interest in birdwatching.
Rare slaty woodpecker captures attention of many
In an island city like Singapore, we rarely see many new types of wildlife.
It’s no wonder that the appearance of this rare slated woodpecker excited so many bird enthusiasts.
For Mr Hong, the incident most likely made his wedding day even more memorable.
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