Birding in the forests in Singapore has other rewards if you tune your senses to things happening around you. It was one of those days at Hindhede Nature Park this morning when the birds were slow and everything was quiet. Even the resident Colugos were hiding. That was until I saw a small mammal running along a dead tree truck on the ground. I thought it was a Plantain Squirrel. Then I saw the long pointed snout and realized that it was a Common Tree Shrew Tupia glis. This is the only tree shrew in Singapore and are found inside the Central Catchment and mature secondary forests. It is active during the day moving around looking for seeds, fruits and insects. Despite its name it is not that commonly seen as they are wary of any movements. This my first decent photo of this tree shrew, which is placed in a genus of its own: Scandentia.
Not to be left out this Slender Squirrel was jumping from branch to branch a few meters away. As you can see it has a more rounded head when compared to the tree shrews. The tail is long and bushy. It is also smaller than the more common Plantain Squirrels and does not move out of the mature secondary forests. The greyish white underside is one feature to separate it from the Plantain. These are the only two native squirrel species in Singapore.
This nature park is full of surprises and is a great birding spot during the migration season. The Orange-headed Thrush stayed around for two weeks last month together with the more skittish Hooded Pitta. One of the easiest place to see the globally threatened Straw-headed Bulbuls.
Reference: Wildlife Singapore. Ecology Asia.