Singapore Bird Report – December 2014

Oriental Scops Owl at BidaGrey Nightjar Bidadari

Oriental Scops Owl on a one day stop over on 15th while the Grey Nightjar stayed for a week at Bidadari.

December 2014 had to be the month of the Thrushes. Four species, two Zootheras/Geokichla, one Turdus and a Monticola were seen at various parts of the island. The uncommon winter visitor Orange-headed Thrush stayed for a day (14th) at Bidadari (FL), while the rare PM Siberian Thrush made a brief appearance at Dairy Farm NP on 30th (CF), much to the disappointment to many of the photographers. This was made up by up to four Eyebrowed Thrushes seen feeding on the False Curry Leaf and Ficus trees at Dairy Farm NP for the rest of the month (AOY). They were first seen on 5th at Tuas South (LKK). There were two sightings of the Blue Rock Thrush (CT), a very rare passage migrant, both on top of high rise Condominiums (Pinnacle at Duxton on 15th and Ascentia Sky on 30th). Both were females, recorded by Chloe Tan researching on high rise gardens. Since Bukit Timah Hill was closed, we were not able to check for the White-throated Rock Thrush for a full house.

Eye-browed Thrush at Dairy Farm

The Eyebrowed Thrush was the main attraction at Dairy Farm NP 

The biggest surprise for December was the sighting of a Scaly-breasted Bulbul at Dairy Farm NP on the last day (LKK). This bulbul has not been recorded in Singapore before. It is a locally common resident in central Peninsula Malaysia, The Records Committee will have to decide on its status and where it come from.

Large Hawk Cuckoo at Bida by Francis Yap

The Large Hawk Cuckoo is now more frequently seen than before during migration. Photo by Francis Yap taken at Bidadari.

The early excitement was provided by a one day wonder in the form of a rare migrating Oriental Scops Owl at Bidadari on the 15th (LC). Only those who turned up that afternoon were rewarded. On the same day, a juvenile Large Hawk Cuckoo arrived at Bidadari (FL) followed by a non-breeding visiting Malayan Hawk Cuckoo on 21st (LC). Also at Bidadari, a returning Grey Nightjar was seen roosting there on the 7th (HF). It stayed for a week. Another Grey Nighthjar was reported at Pasir Ris Park on the 10th (JC)

Due to the exceptionally wet weather, some parts of Punggol Barat were flooded. As expected the fresh water waders were quick to take advantage. Four Long-toed Stints and Little Ringed Plovers (DL,LJS,TKH) were seen on the 15th. By the 25th, the Little Ringed Plovers numbers had increased to 15 with more than 150 Yellow Wagtails feeding on the side (LKK, AOY).  We had reports of a few hundred of these wagtails roosting there. The uncommon winter visitor Red-throated Pipits and scarce resident Red-turtle Doves were also present (LKK). On the 27th a lone Common Kestrel (AOY) and a Chinese Sparrowhawk (JL) were seen hunting across the open areas. The Common Kestrel is the first for Punggol.

Malayan Night Heron

Malayan Night Heron. Tuas South has four sighting of this rare migrant this season. Photo by Francis Yap.

Other water birds include a Von Shrenck’s Bittern at Pasir Ris Park on the 5th (LE), a Black Bittern at Bidadari on the 10th (CTL), a dead female Watercock picked up at Jervios Hill on the 12th (DT) and a uncommon Malayan Night Heron at Tuas South on the 31st (LKS).

Both the Streaked and Cinereous Bulbuls were still showing up mostly at Dairy Farm with one Streaked Bulbul reported at Ubin on 8th (GZH). Up to four Jambu Fruit Doves were seen feeding on the False Curry Leaf Tree at Dairy Farm first seen on the 10th (DA). They were all immature or juveniles.

Barn Owl at Tuas by Lawrence Cher

Not often you will get to see an owl at its day time roost. Barn Owl at Tuas South by Lawrence Cher.

On the home front, a Barn Owl was using the roadside trees at Tuas South as its day roost. It was first observed on the 6th. A Tweeddale Oriental Honey Buzzard (SA) which mimics a Blyth’s Hawk Eagle was photographed at Pasir Ris Park on 18th followed by a Crest Goshawk on 24th (JWW)). This is a first for the Pasir Ris.

Voilet Cuckoo at JEG by Francis Yap

We are very fortunate that this Violet Cuckoo returned to Jurong Eco Gardens to feed again. Photo by Francis Yap.

Other notables include a calling Green-backed Flycatcher at Bukit Kalang Ranger’s Station on 10th (AL). Greater Green Leafbird at Dairy Farm on 28th (TJL) and Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo at Bidadari on 7th (AOY). The much sought-after Violet and Chestnut-winged Cuckoos returned to feed on the caterpillars at Jurong Eco Gardens on the 24th. Those who missed out on these uncommon cuckoos earlier got their second chance.

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),, See Toh Yew Wai (STYW), Lim Kim Seng (LKS), Lim Kim Keang (LKK), Lau Jiasheng (LJS), Lawrence Cher (LC), Low Choon How (LCH), Chung Yi Fei (CYF), Danny Lau (DL), Tan Kok Hui (TKH),  Jimmy Lee (JL), Laurence Eu, Horst Flotow (HF),Goh Zhao Han (GZH), Doreen Ang (DA), Jon Chan (JC), Albert Low, CT Lim (CTL) Frankie Lim (FL), Chloe Tan (CT), Jim Wei Woo(TWW), Tan Ju Lin (TJL) Con Foley (CF) and Alan OwYong (AOY). Many thanks for your records..                                                                               

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