Monthly Archives: December 2014

The False Curry Leaf Tree, a bird magnet.

 

 False Curry Leaf Plant ( Clausena excavata) by Angie Ng. 

Bird watchers know that a fruiting fig or a flowering tree in our parks and forests are magnets for frugivores birds like bulbuls and pigeons. Many will trek up to the summit of Bukit Timah Hill when the big ficus tree fruits to tick some of the rarer resident forest species. But now another tree the False Curry Leaf is attracting the bird watchers and photographers and some of the hard to find species at the Dairy Farm Nature Park.

The False Curry Leaf Tree (Clausena excavata)  is a small slender tree that looks like the Curry Leaf plant. Native from India to Indochina down to Malaysia, its leaf has a slight curry smell when crushed. Small green berries formed at a terminal cluster from tiny white flowers. They turn pink when ripe and has a taste of grapes. This seems to attract many of the forest species that find this berry irresistible, They in turn will help to disperse the seeds.

Some of the birds seen feeding on this plant at Dairy Farm Nature Park after alert from Doreen Ang on the Jambu Fruit Dove. Other species that were also seen feeding on the berries  were Asian Glossy Starlings, Red-crowned Barbet, Black-naped Oriole and Red-eyed Bulbuls.

Eye-browed Thrush by Lee Van Hien

Eye-browed Thrush by Lee Van Hien. An uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor first seen at Bidadari on 27th November.

 

Cinereous Bulbul by See Toh

Cinereous Bulbul by See Toh Yew Wai. A uncommon non-breeding visitor and wanderer from Peninsular Malaysia. This season we are seeing a broad dispersal across the island.

Jambu Fruit Dove at Wallace Center

Jambu Fruit Dove Juvenile by Alan OwYong. Uncommon non-breeding visitor and resident that is globally neared threatened.

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Streaked Bulbul by Alan OwYong. Non-breeding visitor most probably from the hill forests of Malaysia partly due to its nomadic behavior.

Asian Fairy Bluebird by See Toh

Asian Fairy Bluebird by See Toh Yew Wai. Common forest resident. Mid canopy feeder mostly seen at fruiting trees. Sharp one or two notes witt calls.

Straw-headed Bulbul by Lee Van Hien

Straw-headed Bulbul by Lee Van Hien. We are lucky that this globally vulnerable and nationally threatened species is doing well in our parks and forest when they are poached to extinction in their range.

Reference; A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2013.Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee.

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Singapore Bird Report – November 2014

Yellow-eared Spiderhunter FY

A very rare resident Yellow-eared Spiderhunter at Dillenia Hut by Francis Yap.

The Central Catchment Forest was the center of attention this November with the appearance of  four mega rare resident species. The Yellow-eared Spiderhunter was spotted (FY) feeding on a flowering Eugenia tree near the Dillenia Hut on 20th. It was last seen 8 years ago at Rifle Range Link (YDL). Two days later two rare flowerpeckers, the Thick-billed and the Yellow-vented followed the spiderhunter out to check on a flowers on 22nd (DL,LJS,TKH). It was good to know that they are still around in our central forests besides Bukit Timah NR. Even the rarely seen Lesser Green Leafbird was attracted by the flowers. It came out on the 23rd together with the larger Greater Green Leafbird giving us (LKS, LKK, AOY) a few brief views.

Thick-billed FP See Toh

Another rare resident the Thick-billed Flowerpecker at Dillenia Hut by See Toh Yew Wai.

Elsewhere there were many notable sightings include a Gull video swimming at the main pond at SBWR on 7th (LeC). Unfortunately it was too far away for a proper id. An irruption of over 200 Ashy or Cinereous Bulbul was seen over at Chek Java on 4th (LKK,WT). We are still looking for answers as to where they come from. They were later reported all over the island throughout the month. The first Common Kestrel was seen over Tuas South on 1st (LC) with more sightings in the following days. A Greater Spotted Eagle over at Tuas on 13th (AOY) was the third sighting of the year. The Japonensis Peregrine Falcon returned to the CDB on14th (LEL) after a year of absence.  A very rare non-breeding visitor the Streaked Bulbul was seen feeding with the Ashy Bulbuls at Canterbury Road on 13th (LKK). Two days later another two were photographed at Tuas South Ave16 bush (FY) and another on 23rd at the same area (LJS). The rare Japanese Paradise Flycatcher passed through at Bida on 28th (FY,STYW). A surprise Green Broadbill was seen feeding at East Coast Park on 27th (STYW) and 28th. This former resident is now extinct. The Records Committee will have to deliberate on its status.  And right up to the last day, an Oriental Darter was seen at the Ketam Quarry, Ubin (AL). Will this find help to determine the status of one seen in August at the Seng Chew Quarry?

Green-backed FC Alan Ng

Rare migrant Green-backed Flycatcher, male, at Bidadari by Alan Ng.

Bidadari remains the top spot for incoming migrants while we had some surprises from Tuas South.

First the migrants at Bidadari. A juvenile Oriental Cuckoo seen on the first two days of the month (AL) could very well be the same cuckoo reported last month. A passing Black-backed Kingfisher was a good find on 1st (BQ) followed by a late Dark-sided Flycatcher on the 2nd (AR) and 20th (KLH). An early Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo was photographed on the 8th (AR). This was followed by another Hodgson’s at SBWR on the 15th (LKK).  The Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoos are normally seen towards the end of November. Female Mugimaki Flycatchers made their land fall on the 12th (FY) followed by a few males later on. They were still around at the end of the month. The long awaited Hooded Pitta appeared on 24th (LKK). An Eye-browed Thrush on 27th (LKS) was the first for the season while a male Green-backed Flycatcher was seen on the same day (AN). A skittish uncommon Malayan Night Heron was reported on 28th (STWY), rounding off with a Eastern Crown Warbler on 30th (KLH)

Streaked Bulbul See Toh

A very rare non-breeding visitor Streaked Bulbul at Tuas South by See Toh Yew Wai.

Over the skies at Tuas South we had a few surprises. A Brown Hawk Owl was photographed flying over on 1st (LCH). Could this be the northern migrant race of Boobook that is not on our Checklist. A Eurasian Curlew on 7th (TGC), a Black-capped Kingfisher on 9th (STYW) and flocks of Oriental Pratincoles were still coming in with 12 on 13th (AOY) and 73 counted on 15th (LCH). Three Little Ringed Plovers flying pass on 16th (STYW). A single Black Drongo at Tuas Avenue 9 on 20th (RA). The bush in the middle of the open field at Tuas South seems to be the preferred land fall for the passerine migrants with at least two Malayan Night Herons seen on 21st (FY) and 28th (LCH). A juvenile Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo on 22nd (LKS, AOY). STYW photographed his Streak Bulbul here on the 23rd after being alerted by LJS.

Reports from other parts of the island include a warbler was mist-netted at the Ecolink on 8th by NParks team (CYF, DT) and appeared to be the Sakhalin Leaf Warbler. Blood samples are being analysed.  Flocks of migrating Fork-tailed or Pacific Swifts were seen all over the island,  40 over Kent Ridge Park feeding on flying termites on 4th (AOY), 50+ thermaling over Telok Blangah Hill on the 9th (AOY). A juvenile Rosy Starling was seen together with the Glossy Starlings at Kent Ridge Park on 10th (FY).  It stayed for a few days. A first winter male Blue and White Flycatcher was reported at Tampines Eco Park on 11th (JA) and later a female on 21st (SA). The White Wagtails of both Leucopsis and Ocularis races were seen at Seletar Dam on 14th (GP). A Green-backed Flycatcher was photographed at Bishan Park on 23rd related by YDL.  The Reed Warblers are back with the Black-browed  seen at Bishan Park on 23rd (JL) and the Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler at Sengkang Wetlands on 27th (AC). A first of the season Black Bittern was seen at Bishan Park on 27th (LKS).

Pomarine Jaeger FY

Probable rare Pomarine Jaeger at the Straits of Singapore by Francis Yap.

The only pelagic trip to the Straits of Singapore on the 23rd was organised by STYW and the lucky day trippers photographed a probable rare Pomarine Jaeger and a Common Tern besides the usual Swift and Lesser Crested Terns.

The casualties continued to mount as expected. A Lanceolated Warbler crashed into a window at Sengkang Square on 9th, recovered after resting, but was eaten by a House Crow much to DT dismay. A Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, first winter male found dead at Jervios Hill on 14th.  A Black Bittern found dead at Jurong West on 16th and a dead Cinnamon Bittern, probably a migrant at NTU Building the next day. The globally threatened Brown-chested Flycatcher was also a casualty crashing into a flat at Woodlands Ave 8 on the 26th (KK). Meanwhile over at Jurong Island, LKC nursed back to health a Blue-winged Pitta that crashed into his office on 22nd but was not able to save a Hooded Pitta that was found dead on 24th.

A comprehensive Raptor Report for November will be published by Tan Gim Cheong at a coming date.

Reference: The Avifauna of Singapore Lim Kim Seng 2009.  Edited by Francis Yap. Bird crashed records are from David Tan. All other records were taken from postings in the various facebook, bird forums and individual facebook pages belonging to Francis Yap (FY), Seng Alvin (SA), Rey Aguila (RA), See Toh Yew Wai (STYW), Lim Kim Seng (LKS), Lim Kim Keang (LKK), Wellington Tan (WT), Lau Jiasheng (LJS), Lawrence Cher (LC), Lena Chow (LeC), Ben Quek (BQ), Low Choon How (LCH), Aldwin Recinto  (AR), Tan Gim Cheong (TGC), Chung Yi Fei (CYF), David Tan (DT), Danny Lau (DL), Tan Kok Hui (TKH), Janice Ang (JA), Koh Lian Heng (KLH),  George Persanis (GP), Jimmy Lee (JL), Kennneth Kee (KK) and Alan OwYong. Many thanks for your records..