Lena Chow: A new breed of nature videographer

posted in: Reports, Videography | 46

Lena Chow’s fascination with nature started in 2006 when she was introduced to the colourful world of birds. While observing birds, she was intrigued by Yellow-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus goiavier) darting out of treetops as if in a choreographed dance. No one could provide her with a credible explanation for such a strange behaviour. Undaunted, she continued with her observations to find an answer. In August 2006 she made her maiden contribution to the Bird Ecology Study Group’s website LINK to spread awareness. Lena suggested that the birds were drying off their wet plumage right after the rain. This was a new behaviour that must have happened hundreds of times but never reported by birdwatchers, if at all they noticed it.

Three years later she again encountered a similar “dance” but this time she had photographic evidence LINK. In July 2010 she posted a video clip of the “rain dance” LINK that eventually led to a possible answer to the Yellow-vented Bulbuls’ strange behaviour. The bulbuls were in fact darting out from the crown of the tree to feed on the alate termites that emerged from their nests after the rain LINK.

Her fascination with bird behaviour saw a regular stream of contributions that included the unusual nest of the Yellow-vented Bulbul that made use of masses of tissue paper LINK to a pair nesting in an artificial plant LINK.

From originally taking still shots, Lena has, since 2009, been taking video clips, first with her Lumix FZ18, then with her faithful compact Lumix FZ40, a camera with zoom and HD-video functions LINK. Examples can be seen In her recording of the calls of the White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) LINK and the duetting of the endangered Straw-headed Bulbuls LINK. Indeed, she is a local pioneer in documenting bird calls and songs embedded in video clips.

Of Lena’s more than 100 posts so far, I think the most fascinating was on the termite hatch she documented in Nepal LINK. The video clip shows breathtaking scenes of alate termites emerging from their nest in the ground to fly into the air and eventually land on the ground where they discard their wings and look for a mate.

Besides contributing snippets of bird behaviour to the BESG website, Lena actively contributes to the ‘Dragonflies of Singapore’ and the ‘Butterflies of Singapore and Malaysia’ Facebook pages with regular posts accompanied with photos and videos. In November 2012 she recorded a new butterfly species for Singapore – the Indian Nawab (Polyura jalysus) LINK. She is also the lead author of NSS’ Field Guide to the Dragonflies of Singapore LINK.

Lena is one of the few local amateur naturalists who takes a holistic view of nature. Her curiosity, attention to details as well as her use of digital technology to record things in the field that others would simply give a cursory glance, have made her a naturalist with few equals. Indeed Lena Chow has come a long way since her early encounters with bulbuls that shot out from tree-tops.

Lena is a lawyer by training. After more than a decade in the international corporate scene, she decided to share her knowledge of the law through teaching for a change, and has since 2008 been lecturing business law at Temasek Polytechnic.

YC Wee
October 2011
(Image by Amy Tsang, taken during a recent trip to Borneo)

46 Responses

  1. Hmmmm……. this place looks familiar !!!!

  2. Hehe as it should! Too bad this is the only pic of the place to contribute to this site…

  3. […] Lena Chow Singapore 2nd January 2012 […]

  4. […] Lena Chow’s video clip of the White-crested Laughingthrush (Garrulax leucolopus) having a very long laugh (above) complements Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS’s earlier audio recording of the calls of the Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush (Garrulax erythrocephalus peninsula) LINK. Related posts:Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush – calls “A friend was kind enough to invite us to visit… […]

  5. […] Lena Chow Singapore 25th May 2013 Related posts:Little Spiderhunter harvesting nectar from torch ginger Steven Chong sent in an image of a Little Spiderhunter… […]

  6. […] Lena Chow Singapore 12th April 2013 Related posts:Collared Owlet of Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia “This Collared Owlet (Glaucidium brodiei) at 16cm is considered among… […]

  7. […] Lena Chow Singapore 12th April 2013 Related posts:Collared Owlet calling “Frequently heard but hard to see at Fraser’s Hill, we… […]

  8. […] Lena Chow Singapore 24th May 2013 Related posts:Brown-throated Sunbird and the fruits of the Pagoda Flower Lena Chow‘s video clip shows a Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis)… […]

  9. […] Lena Chow Singapore 24th June 2013 Related posts:Straw-headed Bulbul contact call “Further to an earlier post LINK, I now have a… […]

  10. […] Lena Chow Singapore 22nd July 2013 Related posts:Collared Owlet calling “Frequently heard but hard to see at Fraser’s Hill, we… […]

  11. […] Lena Chow‘s video clip below shows a Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja) responding to another, which was calling on a nearby tree (you can hear the other call briefly at the start of the video). So this is probably a contact call? The images above shows the sunbird moments before the video, sipping from a Powderpuff Plant (Calliandra emarginata) sipping nectar from the flowers. […]

  12. […] Lena Chow Singapore 1st July 2013 Related posts:Crimson-rumped Waxbills in my garden “Coming back home after lunch today at about 3.30pm on… […]

  13. […] Lena Chow Singapore 28th August 2013 Related posts:Baby cuckoo fed by tailorbird “On July 28th, 2009, while conducting a bird survey at… […]

  14. […] Lena Chow Singapore 13th September 2013 Related posts:Eurasian Curlew at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve On 18th October 2008, photographers had a field day at… […]

  15. […] Lena Chow Singapore 23rd September 2013 Related posts:Asian Koel comfort call? “Taking a walk in the drizzle today, I heard the… […]

  16. […] Lena Chow documented a few Scaly-breasted Munias (Lonchura punctulata) feeding on Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’) seeds. This grass, originating from Africa, is a relatively recent introduction to Singapore’s Garden City. The purple inflorescence provides vibrant colour to our urban environment. […]

  17. […] Lena Chow Singapore 7th November 2013 Related posts:Oriental Pied Hornbill calls… Lena Chow‘s video clip of the calls of two Oriental… […]

  18. […] Lena Chow’s three studies of butterfly courtship behaviour are presented in video clips below that she recorded over the years. […]

  19. […] Lena Chow Singapore 20th November 2013 Related posts:Olive-backed Sunbird: mating dance K. C. Tsang, L. K. Wang & Y. C. Wee,… […]

  20. […] nature enthusiast Lena Chow’s series of video clips on nectaring plants add on to our limited knowledge of such […]

  21. […] Lena Chow Singapore 21st November 2013 Related posts:Video of Red-breasted Parakeet eating seeds of African tulip Francis Yap videoed a Red-breasted Parakeet (Psittacula alexandri) eating the… […]

  22. […] Lena Chow Singapore 29th November 2013 Related posts:Butterflies and Ants feeding on plant sap along the same branch “In a small patch of forest which remained between the… […]

  23. […] Lena Chow Singapore 21st December 2013 Related posts:A strange looking minivet “I came across this unusual looking ‘minivet’ whilst birding at… […]

  24. […] Lena Chow Singapore 28th December 2013 Related posts:Starlings and snails at Pasir Panjang Hill The following is an account that I wrote up in… […]

  25. […] Lena Chow sent in the video above to add visuals to an earlier account of the less common call of the White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) by Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS LINK. […]

  26. […] Loei’s two images above and Lena Chow’s video clip below show the second sighting of this crake in three […]

  27. […] We have posted a number of accounts with photographs of anting with ants as seen HERE. However Lena Chow has now provided video evidence of anting with tree […]

  28. […] Lena Chow Singapore 11th April 2014 Related posts:Bulbuls feeding on Acacia seeds/arils “I often find that I can miss bird behaviour if… […]

  29. […] Lena Chow Singapore 12th April 2014 Related posts:von Schrenck’s Bittern takes a frog In late March 2009, Tang Hung Bun was at a… […]

  30. […] Lena Chow Singapore 15th April 2014 Related posts:Rose-ringed Parakeet eating fruits of Caesalpinia pulcherrima var. Flava “Last Sunday (23rd December 2012) I took some photos of… […]

  31. […] all started when Lena Chow sent in an image of a male Pink-necked Green-pigeon (Treron vernans) feeding on a fig, which has […]

  32. […] Lena Chow Singapore 14th April 2014 Related posts:Oriental Pied Hornbill calls… Lena Chow‘s video clip of the calls of two Oriental… […]

  33. […] Lena Chow Singapore 17th April 2014 Related posts:Blue-crowned Hanging-parrot eating leaf galls Leaf galls are caused by very tiny gall-making insects (Family… […]

  34. […] Lena Chow Singapore 21st April 2014 Related posts:Crimson-rumped Waxbill, another exotic canary On 3rd February 2011 Francis Yap encountered another exotic canary…. […]

  35. […] Lena Chow Singapore 3rd May Related posts:Yellow Bittern feeding The above video clip is by Lena Chow, taken at… […]

  36. […] Lena Chow Singapore 28th June 2014 Related posts:Banded Woodpecker feeding “I watched this Banded Woodpecker (Chrysophlegma miniaceus) for a few… […]

  37. […] Lena Chow Singapore 30th June 2014 Related posts:Nectaring plants of butterflies Each butterfly species is generally associated with one or a… […]

  38. […] Lena Chow Singapore 12th August 2014 Related posts:Lesser Banded Hornets having a drink “I read with interest the previous article about Giant Honey… […]

  39. […] Lena Chow Singapore 9th September 2014 Related posts:Parrots, bagworm moth and cocoon We made an earlier post showing Red-Breasted Parakeets (Psittacula alexandri)… […]

  40. […] Lena Chow Singapore 25th December 2013 Related posts:CHANGEABLE LIZARD – MALE DISPLAYS “In mid-September 2014, I was visibly distracted by the advertisement… […]

  41. […] Lena Chow Singapore 6th March 2015 Related posts:Little Bronze Cuckoo processing a hairy caterpillar Lena Chow’s video clip of the Little Bronze Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx… […]

  42. […] Lena Chow encountered an evening drama on 11th April 2015 at Singapore’s Lorong Halus Wetlands. […]

  43. […] are altogether 30 video contributors, with Lena Chow topping the list, followed by Sun Chong Hong, Dr Leong Tzi Ming and Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh […]

  44. […] Lena Chow Singapore 12th January 2016 Related posts:Danainae butterflies – leaf scratching and withered plants “Many plants contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids as a defense mechanism against… […]

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