Singapore has the distinction of being the shortest birding stop for Noah Strycker in his Global Big Year quest on 27th December. He had a couple of hours layover enroute from Perth to New Delhi. Instead of relaxing in the airport, Noah checked out and ended up with four ticks here with the help of Con Foley and other members of the Bird Group. He now needs eleven more species to hit the 6,000 mark before the year end.
When he first contacted Con in early December, his target species included the Hodgon’s Hawk Cuckoo, Lanceolated Warbler, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Grey Nightjar, Straw-headed Bulbul and some rare flycatchers among others.
Con took up the challenge and enlisted the bird group members for help to locate some of the target species. Not leaving anything to chance, Con spent a few days checking out Bidadari Cemetery, Bukit Batok and Changi Village for the wanted species.
On the day itself, the trip was executed with military precision. The first stop was Bukit Batok after picking up Noah from the airport. Low Choon How had already staked out the Straw-headed Bulbuls there. A quick stop and a great start for Noah. This is the most reliable place to see this globally threatened species. A third study on this bulbul will begin next year.
Our top migrant site Bidadari was next. Con had the roosting Grey Nightjar “tagged” but Wong Chung Cheong was on hand to make sure it did not moved to another tree. One more tick down. Another team led by Lim Kim Keang combed the rest of Bidadari for the Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo, Green-backed, Narcissus and Japanese Paradise Flycatchers that were wintering there earlier this month. But they must have all moved on.
The Sengkang floating Wetlands is the most likely place to tick the Lanceolated Warbler but this super sulker did not give in so easily. All Noah got was a nice photo of our urban nature parks which he used as his cover photo in his blog “Birding without Borders”. Kim Keang suggested nearby Punggol Barat for the Ruddy-breasted Crake. Again it did not show, but at least it called, good enough for the tick.
The last stop was for the Tanimbar Corellas at Changi Village, which is close the the Changi airport. This feral species can be seen from the carpark compared to a long trek at its Tanimbar Island home in Indonesia.
We are glad that Singapore made a small contribution to Noah’s Global Big Year. All of us at the Bird Group wish Noah safe journeys and breaking the 6,000 species mark before the end of the year.
All photos: Con Foley. You can read about his trip here at https;//www.audubon.org/news/day-361-birding-singapore.