Bidadari is just a small patch of woodlands in our concrete jungle. Yet year after year the returning flycatchers are able to find the place after flying thousands of miles from their northern breeding grounds. Not only that they are able to zoom in to the exact tree or perch that they used the previous years. Morten Strange, our professional bird photographer was able to take his famous photo of the Ferruginous Flycatcher at Bukit Timah Nature Reserves by setting up and focusing his remote camera on a stump in the middle of a quiet trail where the flycatcher had been using year after year. Peter Ericsson was able to tell when the Mugimaki Flycatcher will be visiting his garden in Bangkok, almost to the day.
Yesterday Zacc HD photographed the Asian Paradise Flycatcher (above) at Bidadari, the first posted record for the season. As they breed in Central Asia, with resident populations in Indochina, they would normally arrived earlier, in mid July and August. Why are they so late this year?
This morning this female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher ( first reported by Lawrence Cher on 30th August) was seen moving around the same ticket at Bidadari where they usually spent the winter. How do the do this?
Bernd Heinrich wrote in his definitive book “The Homing Instinct” that the birds migrate using the sun in the day and the stars at night. On cloudy days and nights, they can even use magnetic lines to find their way. But this cannot explain how with such a small brain they are able to zoom in to the same spot every year.
The Bird Group conducted several migrants surveys last year using a GPS Tracking App. A google map pin pointing the locations where the migrants were seen was produced. We passed this map to the HDB during one of the meetings to finalise the planning of the site, Lets hope that the migrants will find some of their favorite perches and trees when they return during the next migration.