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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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.