Monthly Archives: November 2015

Singapore Bird Report – October 2015

October normally marks the peak passerine migration period for Singapore. Unfortunately it was also the peak time for peatland forest fires in Indonesia resulting in prolonged haze in the region. This is not a rant about our own inconvenience, but before we proceed further, spare a thought for the lost habitat for these migrants that have flown thousands of kilometres to find their wintering ground destroyed.

The globally threatened Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher at Bidadari on 3 October

The globally threatened Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher at Bidadari on 3 October

The list of migrants that came to our shore this month is a long one. Among the notable ones are the ever popular Black-backed Kingfisher that landed at Bidadari on 6 October. Bidadari, which is widely considered as the best place in Singapore to see migrant forest birds also played host to numerous Brown-chested Jungle Flycatchers. This globally threatened species made its first appearance on 3 October and a few seemed to have made it their wintering ground. The Siberian Blue Robin, another attractive species that occupy the same bushes and ground as the jungle flycatchers also made its first appearance on 5 October.

Ferruginous Flycatcher at Bidadari

Ferruginous Flycatcher at Bidadari

Other notable sightings at Bidadari include the Asian Paradise Flyacatchers that made their first appearance on 2 October, the attractive Ferruginous Flycatcher on 28 October. The short range migrant from Malaysia, the Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo made an appearance at Bidadari on 15 October. It’s cousin the similar looking Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo came from further north and consequently made its first appearance on 18 October. Another charismatic species, the Blue-winged Pitta was reported on 18 October.

Blue-winged Pitta at Bidadari.

Blue-winged Pitta at Bidadari.

Bidadari wasn’t the only place where migrants appeared. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve continue to play host to migrant shorebirds, with sighting of the Bar-tailed Godwits starting on 4 October. These godwits are known to migrant birds with the longest known non-stop flight, and also the longest journey without pausing to feed by any animal (link). Shorebirds weren’t the only species that landed in Sungei Buloh. A Dark-sided Flycatcher was recorded there on 20 October, and a flock of Oriental Pratincoles on 27 October.

Shorebirds were also sighted at Pulau Tekong with the globally vulnerable Great Knot on 21 October, 2 Grey Plovers on 27 October and 4 Ruddy Turnstones on 30 October.

Swinhoe's Plover at Marina East. This is a subspecies of Kentish Plover.

Swinhoe’s Plover at Marina East. This is a subspecies of Kentish Plover.


Another area with shorebirds reported is at Marina East Drive, with sightings of 6 Kentish Plovers (a mixture of nominate subspecies alexandrinus and dealbatus also known as Swinhoe’s Plover) and Malaysian Plovers on 24 October. These species are normally sandy beach specialists, but they seem to have stayed on at the breakwater. Across the barrage at Gardens by the Bay, the first Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler was reported on 14 October. Photographers were also having a field day photographing the confiding Common Kingfisher at that locality.

Slightly further away, the locally very rare Lesser Frigatebird was found by workers at Marina South Pier with a hook in the stomach on 9 October. It was sent to ACRES but did not survive.

On the raptor front, Peregrine Falcons were reported at three localities. At Pulau Ubin on 1 October, Japanese Garden on 15 October, and Millennium Tower on 29 October. The Pulau Ubin and Millennium Tower birds were of the ernesti race, which are rare residents, while the Japanese Garden bird is believed to be of the japonensis race that migrate from the north.

Female Chinese Sparrowhawk at Jelutong Tower

Female Chinese Sparrowhawk at Jelutong Tower

Juvenile Japanese Sparrowhawk at Tuas South

Juvenile Japanese Sparrowhawk at Tuas South

At Tuas South and Jelutong Tower, the migrant raptors, swifts and swallows were reported flying past. Chinese Sparrowhawks were seen at Tuas South on 6 October, and Jelutong Tower on 7 October together with, Japanese Sparrowhawks (7) , Oriental Honey Buzzards (7) and a Pacific Swift. On the same day (7 October), a large flock of Oriental Honey Buzzards totaling 42 were seen at Tuas South. On 15 October, the Red-rumped Swallows made an appearance at Jelutong Tower. On 28 October, there were 21 Oriental Honey Buzzards, 2 Japanese Sparrowhawks, 8 Oriental Pratincoles and 2 Pacific Swifts at Tuas South. On 29 October, a Black Bittern and an Indian Cuckoo were also seen at Tuas South.

Female Oriental Honey Buzzard at Jelutong Tower

Female Oriental Honey Buzzard at Jelutong Tower

Over at the freshwater ponds at Turut Track, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 6 Little Ringed Plovers and a Grey Wagtail were reported on 25 October.

Finally, below is the summary of the birds reported and relevant comments in a tabular format. Thank you for your continued feedback and support.

 

Date   Species No. Locality Reported By Comments
01 Peregrine Falcon 1 P. Ubin Andrew Tan ernesti race
02 Asian Paradise Flycatcher 1 Bidadari Frankie Lim White morph.
03 Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher 2 Bidadari Francis Yap Photo. First for the season
04 Bar-tailed Godwit 1 SBWR Ben Lee Photo. Two were counted a few days later.
04 Whiskered Tern 1 Serangoon Reservoir See Toh Photo. Juvenile
05 Western Osprey 1 Dairy Farm Low Choon How Photo
05 Siberian Blue Robin 1 Bidadari Robin Tan Photo. Female. Also posted by Frankie Lim.
06 Black-backed Kingfisher 1 Bidadari Er Boon Siong Photo. Another new arrival
06 Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 1 Joo Chiat David Tan Photo. Crashed on to 3rd Floor window. Died.
06 Chinese Sparrowhawk 1 Tuas South Tan Gim Cheong Photo.
07 Chinese Sparrowhawks 4 Jelutong Tower Francis Yap Photo.
07 Japanese Sparrowhawks 7 Jelutong Tower Francis Yap Photo.
07 Oriental Honey Buzzards 7 Jelutong Tower Francis Yap Photo.
07 Pacific Swift 1 Jelutong Tower Francis Yap Photo.
07 Oriental Honey Buzzard 42 Tuas South Tan Gim Cheong First big flock of migrating OHB reported.
07 Amur Paradise Flycatcher 1 Bidadari Francis Yap Photo
09 Lesser Frigatebird 1 Marina South Pier David Tan Found with hook in the stomach. Sent to ACRES but died.
11 Aleutian Terns 4 Straits of Singapore Francis Yap Photo.
11 Swinhoe’s Storm Petrels Straits of Singapore Francis Yap Photo. On migration
11 Bridled Terns 100 Straits of Singapore Francis Yap Photo.
14 Blue-winged Pitta 2 Bukit Batok Sec School David Tan Died after crash.
14 Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler 1 Gardens by the Bay Vinchel Budihardjo Report. First for the season.
15 Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo 1 Bidadari Francis Yap Photo
15 Red-rumped Swallow 1 Jelutong Tower Francis Yap Photo. First arrival for the season
15 White Wagtail 1 Farmway 3 Canal Aldwin Recinto Photo. leucopsis race.
15 Peregrine Falcon 1 Japanese Gardens Boon Hong Chan Photo. First for JG
16 Black Bittern 1 Tuas South Low Choon How Reported by Lim Kim Keang. First for the season
16 Indian Cuckoo 1 Tuas South Low Choon How Reported by Lim Kim Keang. First for the season
16 Thick-billed Pigeon 1 Mount Faber Sarah Chin Photo. Pigeon crashed into window but survived.
18 Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo 1 Bidadari Liz How Photo
18 Snipe spp 3 Tuas South Francis Yap Photo. Swintail?
18 Blue-winged Pitta 1 Bidadari Tom Wilson Report
18 Intermediate Egret 1 Sentosa Sarah Chin Report
20 Dark-sided Flycatcher 1 SBWR Fadhi Admah/Mishak Shunari Photo
21 Great Knot 1 P. Tekong Frankie Cheong Photo.
23 Oriental Pratincole 1 SBWR See Toh Photo
24 Kentish Plover 2 Marina East Drive Loke Peng Fai Photo. One of the plovers looks like a Malaysian.
25 Kentish Plover 2 Marina East Drive See Toh Photo. Looks like a subspecies dealbatus
25 Wood Sandpiper 1 Turut Pond Subha Photo
25 Little Ringed Plover 6 Turut Pond Subha Report
25 Grey Wagtail 1 Turut Pond Subha Report
25 Savanna Nightjar 1 Tuas South Ave 16 See Toh Photo.
25 Malaysian Plover 1 Marina East Drive KC Ling Photo
26 Oriental Pratincole 1 Seletar East Link Henriette Woo Photo
27 Grey Plover 2 P. Tekong Frankie Cheong Photo
27 Oriental Pratincole 150 SBG See Toh Photo. 4th record of more than 100 birds.
28 Ferruginous Flycatcher 1 Bidadari Alan Ng Photo. First for the season
28 Oriental Honey Buzzards 21 Tuas South Francis Yap Photo
28 Japanese Sparrowhawk 2 Tuas South Francis Yap Photo
28 Pacific Swifts 2 Tuas South Francis Yap Photo
28 Oriental Pratincoles 8 Tuas South Francis Yap Photo
29 Von Schrenck’s Bittern 1 Taman Jurong Lee Van Hien Photo. Crashed into flats but recovered and flew off
29 Peregrine Falcon 1 Millennium Tower Zhang Zicong ernesti race eating a Yellow Bittern on window ledge
29 Ruddy Kingfisher 1 Parc Centennial Condo Chung Cheong Photo. Adult.
29 Asian Paradise Flycatcher 1 Telok Kurau Lor M Ng Chay Tuan Photo.
30 Ruddy Turnstone 4 P. Tekong Frankie Cheong Photo. First for the season.
31 Oriental Pratincole 59 Tuas South Francis Yap Photo.On migration south.
31 Blue-and-white Flycatcher 2 Tuas and Bidadari Low Choon How / Lim Ser Chai Photo. Female and male respectively

Note: This edition of the monthly bird report was compiled by Alan OwYong. The above records are taken from the various bird FB groups. pages, reports and forums. Many thanks for your postings. Photos and editing by Francis Yap.

Advertisements

Nature Society (Singapore) hosting the 6th Asian Bird Fair.

12190885_10153674855348704_6657676338713343090_n

Group photo of the delegates representing their Bird Societies and Clubs. Photo: ABF.

The Nature Society (Singapore) hosted the 6th Asian Bird Fair at the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ Botany Center over the weekend. The fair was declared opened by the Guest of Honor Senior Minister of State for National Development and Home Affairs Mr. Desmond Lee. 22 bird clubs, societies and affiliates came down to promote their country’s natural attractions and bird watching activities.

20151101_100157

The start of the Mini Bird Race flagged off by Wing Chong the Chair of the Bird Group.

The Nature Society organised a series of nature walks for the public around the grounds of the Botanic Gardens to highlight this year Fair’s theme: “For People, For Nature, For Future”. The main event for Sunday was the Mini Bird Race for the delegates to see which team spotted the most number of bird species within 90 mins. We had two days of slide talks where the delegates presented snap shots of the bird life and nature conservation in their respective country.

Mike Lu

The crooners from the Nature Society (Singapore) getting the sing along started at the Fellowship Dinner. Photo by Mike Lu.

After the fair the delegates let their hair down with a sing along at the Fellowship dinner hosted by the NSS. The Crimson Sunbird was named as the National Bird of Singapore at the dinner based on a public vote in 2002. The Turnover Dinner on Sunday was more formal where Andrew Sebastian of the ABF announced that the Jingshan County Birdwatching Association will be next host for the 7th ABF in November 2016. Our congratulations to Jingshan.

20151031_092034

Our honored guests from the Jingshan County Birdwatching Association and Cun Cao Xin Rural Environment Protection Agency.

12 delegates stayed back for a post birding tour led by Lim Kim Keang. They visited P. Ubin, Sungei Buloh, the Central Catchment Forest, Pasir Ris Park and Bidadari. The Spotted Wood Owl at Pasir Ris Park was the star bird for the tour.

The Fair at the Botany Center

The Fair at the Botany Center

Thanks to the clear skies and the hard work put in by the organising committee of the Society and the Bird Group headed by Willie Foo, the Fair was a great success judging from the compliments received from the delegates.

SMS Desmond Lee declaring the 6th ABF open.

SMS Desmond Lee declaring the 6th ABF open.

The Nature Society (Singapore) wish to thank The National Parks Board for the use of the Botany Center for the Fair, The Lee Foundation for their generous donation, The Public Utilities Board, Leica Camera Asia Pacific and Swarovski Optics for their sponsorship and support. Till we meet again in 2016.

The hosts with the logo for the 7th ABF with SMS Desmond Lee

The next host Jingshan County Birdwatching Association unveiled the logo for the 7th ABF with SMS Desmond Lee

Founding Members of the ABF

Founding Members of the ABF

20151101_132543

Alex Tiongco and friends from the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines.

Our Friends from the Chinses Wild Bird Federation

Our Friends from the Chinses Wild Bird Federation with ABF’s Victor Yu.

Our friends from MNS and Sabah

Our friends from across the Causeway MNS and Sabah

6th ABF Sponsors Leica Camera Asia Pacific

6th ABF Sponsors Leica Camera Asia Pacific

Swarowski Optics - Long time Sponsors of the NSS Bird Group

Swarowski Optik – Long time Supporter of the NSS Bird Group

Crimson Sunbird is now the National Bird of Singapore

Picture1

Crimson Sunbird. This was the photo used for the voting of the National Bird in 2002.

The Crimson Sunbird, Aethopyga siparaja was declared as the National Bird of Singapore when Dr. Shawn Lum, President of the Nature Society (Singapore) announced and shared this with fellow delegates at the 6th Asian Bird Fair Fellowship Dinner at the Quality Hotel Marlow on the 31st October 2015. The Common Rose, Pachliopta aristolochiae asteris, was also named as the National Butterfly of Singapore based on 7,603 votes that were cast by members of public from 21-March-30 April 2015’

The 6th Asian Bird Fair is a regional gathering of bird clubs and societies from Asia to promote bird watching and nature tourism in each other’s country. Singapore is hosting this for the first time. It was the most appropriate time for the Nature Society (Singapore) to make the “first claim” and to reflect on the wishes of the people after 13 long years. It will generate greater awareness of our natural heritage.

On 25th May 2002, the public was invited to vote for the National Bird of Singapore at the Nature Society (Singapore) 1st Nature Day at Parco Bugis Junction. Out of a total of 1,038 persons who voted at the 3 days event, the Crimson Sunbird came up tops with 400 votes ( 38%). The White-bellied Sea-eagle was second with 236 votes, Black-naped Oriole with 200 , Olive-backed Sunbird with 157 and the Greater-Racket-tailed Drongo with 45 votes. 

 

Picture3

The Common Rose has been voted as the National Butterfly of Singapore.

Those who voted for the Crimson Sunbird commented that it was small, active and red befitting the “Little Red Dot” coined by the former President of Indonesia. But most did not know that there was a historical link to our founder Sir Stamford Raffles. He was the one who collected, named this Sunbird, “Siparaja” and published the findings in a journal. 

The Nature Society (Singapore) has engaged the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and other agencies on this matter and is hoping for their support.

We hope that this will add to our national identity, enhance our image as a Garden in a City, promote our biodiversity and benefit the commercial sector.