We may have a potential new addition to Singapore Check List when Joseph Tan B.K. photographed an Indian Pond Heron, Ardeola grayii at Bidadari on 11th if it is accepted by the Records Committee. He did not process it until he saw a post of the Indian Pond Heron a week later. Er Bong Siong shot the same Pond Heron on the 17th and posted it as a Javan Pond Heron. Francis Yap saw the photo and noticed the dark brown mantle and scapulars, diagnostic features of an Indian Pond Heron. Unfortunately the Indian Pond Heron took off the next day much to the disappointment of many birders. Our first record was a summer bird on 20th March 1994 at Senoko but was placed under Category D for wild birds where possibility of escapee or release cannot be ruled out. Before this record the most southern range for this Pond Heron was in Ipoh, Perak. Another potential addition to our Checklist was the third sighting of the Pied Cuckoo, Clamator jacobinus at Lorong Halus on 4th by Anthony Nik after Mark Oei’s at Halus Bridge and Lim Kim Chuah’s record at the Grebe pond last month.
We had been getting several rain storms in the late evenings and nights during the latter part of the month. As a result many of the migrants returning back north were forced to make a quick stop over here. We were pleasantly surprised that the migrants chose Bidadari Cemetery as their rest stop just as they did in the Autumn. The list included the Hooded Pitta, Pitta sordida on 9th ( Frankie Lim), Chinese Pond Heron, Ardeola bacchus, a breeding Tiger Shrike, Lanius trigrinus, and a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Ficedula zanthopygia, all on the 18th reported by Tan Kok Hui, a Dark-sided Flycatcher, Muscicapa sibirica, on 25th by Zacc HD and the star of Bidadari, a white morphed male Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone paradisi, on 29th (Paul Lee and Vincent Ng). Those who turned up that afternoon went away happy after getting this much sought after flycatcher on their sensors.
Returning migrants were also reported elsewhere. An incei Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone paradisi male was picked up at Tuas South on 9th by Chan Boon Hong on his way to work. Hooded Pitta, Pitta sordid, on 18th by Kweechang Ling, Crow-billed Drongo, Dicrurus annectans, and Black Bittern, Ixobrychus flavicollis, on 12th at the Gardens by the Bay, ( Kelvin Yong and David Awcock respectively), Green-backed Flycatcher, Ficedula elisae on 24th at Rifle Range Link by Lim Kim Seng, Black-capped Kingfisher on 24th at P. Ubin by Scarlet Lee, another Dark-sided Flycatcher, Muscicapa sibirica, on 25th at Sime Forest by See Toh Yew Wai and a Grey Nightjar, Caprimulgus jotaka, on 28th at Tampines Eco Green by Ang Teck Leng. The Green-backed Flycatcher sighting may be our new extreme date, the last being 9th April.
Non-breeding visitors reported were a Crested Serpent Eagle, Spilornis cheela, at P.Ubin on 4th by Amanda Tay and a male and female Jambu Fruit Dove, Ptilinopus jambu, at the MacRitchie Boardwalk on 22nd by Laurence Eu.
April is the month when most of our resident species were busy bringing up new broods. We have several nesting records all over the island. Lucy Davis put out a nesting box in her garden at Wilton Close a few years back and now a pair of Oriental Magpie Robin, Copsychus saularis, finally decided to use it on the 5th. Lee Van Hein reported a pair of Greater Racket-tailed Drongos, Dicrurus paradiseus, nesting high up in the Albizia at Hindhede Nature Park. He also photographed Oriental White-Eyes, Zosterops palpebrosus, nesting at Jurong Eco Gardens on 15th. A pair of Common Flamebacks Dinopium javanense, were digging a nest hole at Pasir Ris Park on 18th (Lim Kim Keang) and Blue-throated Bee-eaters, Merops viridis, nesting at Jalan Kayu on 18th by Heather Gwach.
Interesting and notable resident species sightings include a Sunda Scops Owl, Otus lempiji, ( left ) at Hindhede NP during the day on 2nd by Frankie Lim, two grey morphed Pacific Reef Heron, Egretta sacra, at Sungei Buloh New Extension feeding during low tide on 3rd by Alan OwYong.
An introduced Black-Crested Bulbul, Pycnonotus melanicterus, at Bukit Timah NR on 4th by Raghav and Subha, Abbott’s Babbler, Malacocincia abbotti, at West Coast Park on 16th by Francis Yap, a lone House Swift, Apus nipalensis, hawking for insects over at Labrador NP on 20th by Alan OwYong, Brown Hawk Owls, Ninox scutulata, off Mandai Road (L. Neo) and West Coast Park by Lim Kim Keang, five active and calling Mangrove Pittas, Pitta megarhyncha, and an Asian Drongo Cuckoo, Suniculus lugubris, at Pulau Ubin on 24th by David Tan, a rare Lesser Green Leafbird, Chloropsis cyanopogon, MacRitchie Forest on 26th by Lim Kim Seng and a Ruddy Kingfisher, Halcyon coromanda, at Pasir Ris Park on 28th by Lim Kim Chuah. Good record for the Abbott’s Babbler returning to this part of the island. Both the Asian Drongo Cuckoo and Ruddy Kingfisher are also winter visitor and passage migrant respectively to our island. The House Swift is highlighted as their population have crashed in recent years.
Those who went out on the 2nd NSS Bird Group Pelagic Survey to the Straits of Singapore on 26th were rewarded with a rare sighting of a juvenile Lesser Frigatebird, Fregata ariel, and an adult Parasitic Jaeger, Stercorarius parasiticus. Other seabirds seen were Swinhoe’s Storm Petrels, Oceanodroma monorhis, and Lesser Crested, Thalasseus bengalensis, and Swift Terns, Thalasseus bergii.
Reference: The Avifauna of Singappore. Lim Kim Seng 2009. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-East Asia. Craig Robson. Asia Books Co. Ltd 2000. Edited by Francis Yap. The above records are taken from the various bird FB groups. pages, reports and forums. Many thanks for your postings. Thanks to Joseph Tan, Francis Yap, Frankie Lim, Chan Boon Hong, Raghav and Alan OwYong for the use of your photos.