Second land record of a Red-necked Phalarope after 22 years absence photographed at P. Tekong by Frankie Cheong.
The reclaimed land at Pulau Tekong continued to attract unexpected rare migrants for October. A juvenile Red-necked Phalarope, Phalaropus lobatus, made a surprised landfall on the 8th (Frankie Cheong). This is only our second land record after an absence of 22 years. They normally migrate and winter at sea where we had our second record at the Singapore Straits on 17.4 2011. The stormy weather over the South China Sea may have forced it to land. On the same day Frankie Cheong photographed a juvenile Sanderling Calidris alba, feeding nearby. The stormy weather may also account for the sighting of a rare non-breeding Gull-billed Tern, Gelochelidan nilotica, at Tekong on the 1st.
A rare land shot of a Gull-billed Tern in non breeding plumage at P. Tekong by Frankie Cheong.
The other big find was a juvenile Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus, that made a short refueling stop at the Kranji Marshes on the 23rd. We had to thank Martin Kennewell for spotting it from the tower and the quick alert. This rare vagrant visited nearby SBWR on 5th November 2011 (Lim Kim Chuah). Last year Richard White reported one flying over the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 16th November.
The Grey-headed Lapwing hanging out with the Red Wattled Lapwings inside the core area of the Kranji Marshes digiscoped by Martin Kennewell.
Staying at Kranji Marshes, the rare Black-capped Kingfisher Halycon pileata, made a two-day appearance there on the 24th and 25th (Eyzat Amer Affandi). Terence Tan managed to get close for this shot on the second day.
Super close up shot of this shy and sensitive Black-capped Kingfisher at Kranji Marshes. Photo: Terence Tan.
Unfortunately efforts to locate it during the Bird Race was not successful. But we ended the month on a high note with Laurence Eu’s visit to the Zoo on 31st. He found the rare and much sought after Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocauda, feeding around the Garden Pavilion. It stayed for a week fattening itself up before resuming its migration. Many of us got some great images thanks to Laurence.
Laurence Eu’s photo of the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher at the Zoo earned WRS a few hundred dollars in new memberships and some great images for us.
Despite the on going forest clearing work at Bidadari, the incoming migrants and other visitors were still using the place as a rest stop. On the 1st the globally threatened Brown-chested Flycatcher Cyornis brunneata, (first arrival) and the uncommon Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica, were sighted by Richard White together with a rather tame non-breeding visiting Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax. Two days later he counted two more Brown-chested Jungle Flycatchers there. A first winter Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans, on 2nd (Koh Lian Heng), a Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris, on 5th (Veronica Foo) and an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx erithaca, on 10th (Frankie Lim) made up the list.
Photographer’s favorite, the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher was recorded across the island this month.
Two days later, another concussed and lost Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher was picked up at NIE and handed over to ACRES (Diana and Adrian Tan). On 23rd another very tired Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher landed at Tuas South (Lim Kim Keang) giving photographers a field day as did another at Hindhede Nature Park on 29th (Subha and Raghav Narayanswamy). Gil Jones had one that flew into her house at Ridout Road on the 28th. Five known records in one month!
I learnt that Marcel Finlay had created a small wetland marsh besides the Sport Hub with the blessings of the authorities. He was rewarded by a first of the season arrival of an Oriental Reed Warbler Acrophalus orientalis, on 4th and a skulking Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler Locustella certhiola, on 18th. It just shows that you can attract uncommon migrants with the right habitat even in a suburban setting.
A first winter male Siberian Blue Robin taken at Jelutong Tower by Adrian Silas Tay.
Other notable migrant passerines for October includes three Red-rumped Swallows, Cecropis daurica, flying over the Ecolake on 2nd at SBG (Richard White), three records of the Siberian Blue Robin Luscinia cyane: first at SBG on 3rd (Richard White), then a first winter male Siberian Blue Robin at Jelutong Tower on 9th (Adrian Silas Tay), and lastly three along the Petai Trail on 24th (Marcel Finlay). First arrivals Ruddy Kingfisher Halycon coromanda, at Jurong Eco Gardens on 10th (James Tann), White-shouldered Starling Sturnus sinensis, at Seletar on 14th (Dean Tan), Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Calamatar coromandus, at Tuas South on 26th (Robin Tan and Lim Kim Keang), a confiding Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata, at Tuas South on 29th (Lim Kim Keang). Chuin Ming Lee’s sighting of a juvenile White Wagtail Motocilla alba,at Marina Barrage on 31st was the second record of this wagtail there.
First arrival of the season, the White-shouldered Starling at Seletar on 4th. Photo: Dean Tan.
Records of the Blue-winged Pittas Pitta moluccenis, were coming in as expected. David Tan reported one that flew into a house at Woodlands on 12th, while James Tann spotted another at Kranji Marshes on 22nd. We can expect more crashes and sightings of this pitta in November.
As for the rest of the shore and sea birds, there were six Black-tailed Godwits, Limosa limosa, an Asian Dowitcher, Limnodromus semipalmatas, on 1st and 4 Eurasian Curlews Numenius arquata,on 22nd all at P. Tekong (Frankie Cheong), three Bar-tailed Godwits, Limosa lapponica, 34 Grey Plovers, Pluvialis squatarola, at P. Sekuda off Ubin on 5th (Lim Kim Keang and Willie Foo) and two more Bar-tailed Godwits at SBWR on 15th ( Martin Kennewell).
Geoff Lim’s record shot of the Oriental Pratincole roosting at the open land next to the Kranji Marshes was his lifer as well. We had records of this wader from Tuas to Changi this month.
Martin also reported several Oriental Pratincoles Glareola maldivarum, roosting at the construction site next to Kranji Marshes on the 15th. Diana Jackson photographed 5 Oriental Pratincoles flying over Changi on 17th while Zacc shot another two migrating over Taus South on 20th and 8 more Oriental Pratincoles were reported flying over Kent Ridge Park on 21st by Keita Sin. Good to see these insect feeding shorebird are coming through.
Two Ruddy Turnstones at the Marina Barrage were spotted by Atish Banerjee on 28th. Photo: Atish Banerjee.
During a pelagic trip to the West Singapore Straits, a Common Tern Sterna hirundo, was photographed on 15th by Francis Yap and company. A lone Grey Plover at Marina Barrage on 22nd (Robin Tan), 20 Curlew Sandpipers Calidris ferruginea, at SBWR 0n 23rd (Subha and Raghav Narayanswamy), a Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus, at Tuas South on 23rd (Lim Kim Keang) and 2 Ruddy Turnstones Arenaria interpres, also at Marina Barrage on 28th (Atish Banerjee and Jerold Tan) complete the list.
A former resident, the Barred Eagle Owl made a brief appearance at the BTNR on 31st October. Photo: Lim Kim Chuah.
We had several interesting reports of uncommon and rare residents in between, notably a pair of Thick-billed Pigeons Treron curvirostra, feeding over at DFNP on 4th (Mark Nelson Valino), a Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela, seen over Kent Ridge Road on 10th, 14th and 20th (Gavan Leong), a hard to find House Swift Apus nipalensis, flying past Kent Ridge Park on 20th (Keita Sin), a Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata, at Hindhede NP (Subha and Raghav Narayanswamy) on 31st.
October ended with a bang! Veteran birder Lim Kim Chuah found the returning Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus, by the BTNR’s biycle track. This former resident was on everyone’s most wanted list. It was recently added to the Singapore Checklist as a rare non-breeding visitor.
Legend: SBWR Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. BTNR Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. DFNP Dairy Farm Nature Park. SBG Singapore Botanic Gardens. NIE National Institute of Education
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.
A Field Guide to the Waterbirds of Asia. Wild Birds Society of Japan. 1993
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 Frankie Cheong, Martin Kennewell, Terence Tan, Laurence Eu, Alan OwYong, Adrian Silas Tay, Dean Tan, Geoff Lim, Atish Banerjee and Lim Kim Chuah for the use of their photos. If you have any earlier records than those reported here, please notify firstname.lastname@example.org.