Even though most of the sightings for July were non-breeding visitors and residents, some of the rare and hard to find residents decided to show up. Topping the list was a family of the most sought after King Quails, Colurnix chinensis, at Punggol Barat grasslands. Alsten Ng first saw them early in the month. Er Bong Siong photographed a male a few days later on the 9th. A total of seven were counted and they gave many of us with first time photo records of this species in Singapore. Mick Price was driving along the Tampines Expressway near the Halus exit at 6pm on 31st when he saw a small dark raptor with a white throat. He reckoned that it was a Bat Hawk, Macheiramphus alcinus, a very rare forest resident. On the same day Robert Teo reported the sighting of the Barred Eagle Owl, Bubo sumatranus, at Pulau Ubin. This owl don’t seem to stay put at one place for long. Staying at Ubin, Francis Yap returned with a photo of a flying Black Hornbill, Anthracoceros malayanus, on 25th. This individual had been seen in Ubin for some months by the NParks staff. The previous three records from the mainland were listed in Category E and treated as escapees. The Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster, seemed to have made Pekan Quarry home. Over on the Changi Sailing Club, David Li posted a photo of the rare Green Imperial Pigeons, Ducula aenea, on 9th. Previous sightings were at Loyang but mostly in Pulau Ubin and Tekong.
Other notable residents reported were a pair of Chestnut-winged Babblers, Stachyris erythroptera, at Rifle Range Link by Lim Kim Keang, the Blue-eared Kingfishers, Alcedo meninting, at JEG on 18th by Lee Van Hien and another at Pekan Quarry on 31st by Francis Yap.
Our resident owls put on a great showing this month. It started off with sightings of the Sunda Scops Owls, Otus lempiji, at CCNR by Dean Tan on the first day. Then Richard White spotted a pair at the Palm Valley at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 17th. This pair soon became the darling of our local photographers. The pair of Buffy Fish Owls, Ketupa ketupu, was feeling very at home at the rain forest patch there. A pair of Brown Hawk Owls, Ninox scutulata, was reported by Anthony Nik at Venus Loop on 3rd. This had been their roost for quite a while. (Sunda Scops Owl left at Botanic Gardens by John Arifin )
A pair of Blue-winged Pittas, Pitta moluccensis, was heard dueting at P. Ubin on 3rd by Francis Yap. This is outside the extreme dates for this species which is still classified as a winter visitor to Singapore. With more observations we may yet find them breeding here. The widespread Ospreys Pandion haliaetus, were the first non breeding species for the month. One was seen over Venus Drive on 4th by Aldwin Recinto and another over Punggol Barat on 14th by Alan OwYong. The ernesti resident race Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus, returned to Church Street CBD to say hello to Lee Ee Ling. The rare non breeding Streaked Bulbuls, Ixos malaccensis, were spotted by Francis Yap on 18th at Bukit Timah Nature Reserves. The surprise was that it was a juvenile. He followed this up with an adult and juvenile pair at P. Ubin on 25th. Could they be breeding here? There were two reports of another non breeder, the colourful Jambu Fruit Doves, Ptilinopus jambu, one on 21st at Kallang Riverside by Kanchan Guggari and another on 24th at Central Forest by Francis Yap.
Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker nesting at JEG seen in this stacked photo by Lee Van Hien
Breeding of our resident species are in full swing. “Mr JEG” Lee Van Hien found four different species at the Jurong Eco Gardens on the 18th. Chestnut-bellied Malkohas, Phaenicophaeus sumatranus, Ashy Tailorbirds, Orthotomus ruficeps, Sunda Pygmy Woodpeckers, Dendrocopus moluccensis, and the Malaysian Pied Fantails Rhipidura javanica. Over at Punggol Barat, Lawrence Eu photographed a juvenile Little Tern, Sterna albifrons.
The first winter visitor arrived on 21st. Like all previous seasons it was the Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica, to herald the start of the migrant season. This sighting was reported by Richard White from the Singapore Botanic Gardens. No shorebirds were reported compared to the sightings of Lesser Sand Plovers and Common Redshanks on the last days of July.
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. 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, See Toh Yew Wai, Lee Van Hien and John Arifin for the use of the photographs.