Albert Tan’s 24th Eric Tan’s 25th. Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo
May is the usual slow and quiet month as most of the migrants have left and the residents were in their post breeding period. But all these were shattered with an influx of the long awaited and rare Austral migrant, the Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx basalis.
Apparently it was photographed at Punggol Barat on the 10th by Vincent Lao, but was dismissed as the Little Bronze Cuckoo. Albert Tan and Eric Wang posted their exciting finds on 24th and 25th after reading a timely post by Francis Yap of Lim Kim Seng’s old Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo article.
The race was on to find them before they are gone. To everyone’s surprise, there were a bunch of them flying around at the Mimosa open waste land at Punggol Barat. This is Francis Yap’s excited text on 30th: “Got the horsy, Punggol Barat now”, “Lost track of it, near pond”, “Cannot find. Very hot now”, “Found again”, “3 birds now, near pond”, “ 4-5 birds”, “ Lost count liao after 10 birds”. Con Foley was calling this a “Cuckoo Convention”. It was just incredible. In June 2005 we had one adult and one juvenile that stayed for a week at Marina South. The past eight records, all were single birds. This is our chance to study their “wintering” behaviour.
The month started well with the sighting of a male white morphed Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone paradise, at Bidadari on the 2nd ( new extreme date?). Many of us were grateful for the instant alert from Vincent Ng as it was gone the next day, clearly on passage back. Two Von Schrenck’s Bitterns, Ixobrychus eurhythmus, were photographed at Pasir Ris Park on 5th by Billy Goh and 8th at SBWR on 8th by Alan OwYong. They are known to stay late till June. Another late migrant was an adult Tiger Shrike, Lanius tigrinus, picked up at Bidadari on 9th by Lim Kim Seng. A total of 49 Swinhoe’s Storm Petrels, Oceanodroma monorhis, on passage were counted during a private Pelagic trip to the Straits of Singapore on 10th ( Francis Yap). This was the largest flock recorded for the year, a low count compared to previous year.
Eric Wang managed to photograph all three Jambu Fruit Doves, Ptilinopus jambu, adult male, female and a juvenile feeding on the same tree at Bidadari on the same date. These are the uncommon non breeding visitors attracted by fruiting figs. Another uncommon non breeding visitor was an Cinererous Bulbul, Hemixos cinereus, recorded at Belukar trail on the 20th, another new extreme date.
Interesting resident records include a Lesser Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna javanica at the Japanese Gardens, reported by Laurence Eu , Buffy Fish Owls, Ketupa ketupu, one at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 8th ( Richard White) and another at Bidadari on 15th (Er Bong Siong). All are new for the location.
Two eggs belonging to the Large-tailed Nighjars, Caprimuigus macrurus, were found by Lucy Davies on 10th at Wessex, while the chick of the Changeable Hawk Eagle at Mount Faber fledged on the 12th, much to the delight of the many of its fans ( Johnson Chua). The young eaglet that was rescued and looked after by the vets in Sentosa turned out to be a Crested Goshawk, Accipiter trivigatus This is the first record of this rare resident raptor breeding there. It will be tagged before released back into the wild. Seng Alvin painstaking monitoring of the pair of Malaysian Pied Fantails, Rhipidura javanica, paid off. He documented the fledgling of two chicks on the 25th. Happy days.
Crested Goshawk chick rescued at Sentosa in April. Same chick a month later. Ready for tagging before release. Photos; Daniel Seah of SDC.
One crash record came from John Arifin who found a concussed female Jambu Fruit Dove, Ptilinopus jambu, at Winsland House off Orchard Road on 27th. He informed us that the dove managed to fly off on its own after a short recovery.
Reference: Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng. 2009. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-east Asia. Craig Robson Asia Books Ltd.2000. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Simpson and Day, Edited by Francis Yap. The above records are taken from the various bird FB groups. pages, reports and forums. Many thanks for your postings. Many thanks to Francis Yap, Vincent Ng, Seng Alvin, Daniel Seah, Albert Tan and Eric Wang for the use of the photographs.