The forest Blue-eared Kingfisher fishing at the canal at Kranji Marshes. Photo: Mark Nelson Valino.
There were less excitement this month compared to last June. Then we had the first record of a White-tailed Tropicbird at Tuas, an Oriental Darter at Ubin and the wintering Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoos at Punggol Barat to keep us busy. This June, we had to be contented with the King Quails, Excalfactoria chinensis, at Punggol Barat, Blue-eared Kingfishers, Alcedo meninting, at Kranji Marshes and Red-crowned Barbets, Megalaima rafflesii at Seletar to keep our shutters clicking. On the plus side we had many interesting nesting records including a first from all over the island.
Wendy Lin and friends Peter Okimi, Chai Lee Fung and Edwin Choy were at Seletar Revervoir Park on 30th May looking for the Chestnut-winged Babblers when they chanced upon the Red-crowned Barbets feeding on the fruits of the Green Coffee Tree. Photo: Wendy Lin showing the barbet squeezing the pulp out of the fruit.
The most surprising record came from Cashew area on 20th when a member of the public reported a baby owl at the foot of a rain tree on her way to work. NParks staff rescued the owlet and subsequently put it back into its Bird-nest Fern nest much to the relief of a pair of Spotted Wood Owl, Strix seloputo, parents. This is a rare nesting record for this uncommon owl and confirmed that they also use Bird-nest Ferns to nest just like the Buffy Fish Owls.
A perfect shot of the Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker leaving the nest. Photo: Danny Khoo.
There were several important nesting records from Ubin. A pair of Stork-billed Kingfisher, Pelargopsis capensis was found nesting in an old termite nest on 4th. The nest was attached to a bamboo (Lim Kim Chuah). This could be the first confirmed nesting of this kingfisher in Singapore. A failed nesting of the Mangrove Pittas, Pitta megarhyncha, there, probably due to predation; and the nesting of the most common bird in Ubin the Olive-winged Bulbul, Pycnonotus plumosus, (12th Lim Kim Keang). Elsewhere another failed nesting of the Pied Triller, Lalage nigra, at Punggol Point on 15th (Seng Alvin); two Crested Goshawks, Accipiter trivirgatus, fledged at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 18th (Laurence Eu); Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker, Dendrocopus moluccensis, at Taman Jurong; Pacific Swallows, Hirundo tahitica, at Stagmont Park on 21st (Timothy Chua) and the Blue-throated Bee-eaters, Merops viridis, at Punggol end.
Second calendar year Oriental Honey Buzzard spending the summer in the region. Taken at Satay by the Bay by Andrew Tan.
Winter visitors recorded for the month include a Greater Crested Tern, Thalasseus bergii, photographed off Pulau Pawai by Francis Yap and his friends during a mini pelagic trip to Raffles Lighthouse on 25th. This is a new extreme date (previous late date: 18 June 1990). Another winter visitor still present was the Blue-winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis. At least three were heard calling at the edge of the Western Catchment on the 19th (Alfred Chia). Will they spend the summer and even breed here? Time will tell. Egrets are known to over summer in our wetlands. All three species were recorded this month. Intermediate at Lorong Halus (Lim Kim Keang), Little and Great at SBWR (Lim Kim Seng) all on the 12th.
Greater Crested Tern photographed off Pulau Pawai on 25th June set a new late date for this visiting tern. Photo: Francis Yap.
We know that the second calendar year Oriental Honey Buzzards, Pernis ptilorhynchus, stay over during summer and do not migrate back north. Two were photographed, on 11th over SBTB by Andrew Tan and the other at Ubin by Lim Kim Chuah on 12th. Both were juveniles. A dead Black Bittern, Dupetor flavicollis at Aljunied Avenue on 10th was picked up by David Tan.
Resident ernesti race Peregrine Falcon flying over Punggol Barat captured by Lee Tiah Khee.
Other notable sightings were three Black-naped Terns, Sterna sumatrana, flying across Keppel Harbour on 8th (Richard White) and three more near the southern island of Pulau Senang on 25th (Francis Yap). These resident terns were more common in the northern straits where they have been nesting at a rocky out crop since 1949.. Francis also recorded ten Pied Imperial Pigeons, Ducula bicolor, flying pass Pulau Sudong on the same day. These are the wild pigeons that spend most of their time around the southern islands. A Buffy Fish Owl, Ketupa ketupa, was photographed at Hindhede Quarry by Raghav Narayanswany on 19th confirming the further spreading of this uncommon owl. A second in two months of a resident ernesti race Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus was photographed by Lee Tiah Khee on 15th over Punggol Barat. The locally rare Crested Serpent Eagle, Spilornis cheela, was photographed by Jan Roberts on the 4th at Chancery Lane.
Buffy Fish Owl at Hindhede Quarry. Photo: Raghav Narayanswany
Seng Alvin reported three to four Plaintive Cuckoos, Cocomantis merulinus, at Pasir Ris Park on 3rd. Could be that foster parents like the Malaysian Pied Fantails are plentiful there? The on-off Black Hornbill, Anthracoceros malayanus was seen flying around the Pekan Quarry at Ubin on the 4th (Lim Kim Chuah). It is still listed under Category E for suspected escapees and released birds. The introduced Javan Munias, Lonchura leucogastroides were back at SBWR on 7th (How Sung Lee).
Over at the Hindhede Park, mother and son team, Subha and Raghav Narayanswany sent in records of Black-crested, Pycnonotus flaviventris, and Asian Red-eyed Bulbuls, Pycnonotus brunneus, Blue-winged Leafbird, Chloropsis cochinchinensis and a pair of Jambu Fruit Doves, Ptilinopus jambu feeding on a fruit tree. Due to the closure of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Hindhede Nature Park was also hardly visited. This may account for the increased bird activity there.
Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. 2009 Nature Society (Singapore).
Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2013. John Beaufoy Publishing Limited.
Craig Robson. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South East Asia. 2000.
This report is compiled by Alan OwYong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong from selected postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums and individual reports. Some were not verified. We wish to thank all the contributors for their records. Many thanks to Mark Nelson Valino, Wendy Lin, Danny Khoo, Andrew Tan, Lee Tiah Khee and Raghav for the use of their photos.