Migratory and resident species are seen all over the island as the former settle down in Singapore after their arduous journey from the northern hemisphere. One remarkable species encountered this month was the Yellow-vented Flowerpecker, a rare resident; up to two birds were seen at the summit of Bukit Timah Hill, sparking an uphill climb by many birders to see and photograph this rare gem. As a result, several other species of migrants were also spotted during the first half of the month.
Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR)
New Year’s Day began with continuing reports of a Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealoides at MacRitchie Reservoir Park, as well as a Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida at the foot of Bukit Timah Hill, as seen by N. Movin and others. The next day yielded a Siberian Blue Robin Larvivora cyane spotted at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on 2 January 2019 by Veronica Foo. Up to two Yellow-vented Flowerpeckers Dicaeum chrysorrheum were spotted at the summit of the hill by Yong Ding Li and Francis Yap, sparking a frenzied race by many birders and photographers up the hill over several days to spot this rare gem feeding on the ripe fruit of a fig tree. The flowerpecker at the summit was first seen and photographed by William Mahoney on 5 January.
The combination of a fruiting fig tree and presence of many birders and photographers at the summit yielded several interesting species over the ensuing days; an Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus was spotted on 9 January 2019 by Francis Yap, as were several Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris, followed by a Siberian Thrush Geokichla sibirica on 10 January 2019 by James Tann, as well as an Orange-headed Thrush Geokichla citrina and a Lesser Green Leafbird Chloropsis cyanopogon on 12 January 2019 by Lester Tan and See Toh Yew Wai, respectively. On 26 January 2019, a Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae was spotted within the CCNR by N. Raghav.
An ernesti race Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus visited Bishan on 6 January 2019, after an apparent hiatus of four years (Sun Chong Hong), while a two White Wagtail Motacilla alba were seen in Pelton Canal on 30 January 2019 by Drew Su.
On 24 January 2019, a pair of Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla were spotted at Lorong Halus by Veronica Foo. Further afield on 26 January 2019, a White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata was seen on Coney Island by Julie Wee, while a female Cotton Pygmy Goose Nettapus coromandelianus was spotted at the pond at Baker Street on 28 January 2019 by Alfred Chia. On 29 January 2019, an ocularis White Wagtail Motacilla alba was spotted in Sembawang in full breeding regalia by Luke Milo Teo, while an injured Watercock Gallicrex cinerea was rescued on 30 January 2019 at Hougang Secondary School by Eric Tan.
During the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC2019) on 19 January 2019, several shorebird species were spotted in sizeable numbers at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin by Lim Kim Keang. These included 2 Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica, 9 Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea, 61 Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis and 3 Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus. Pulau Ubin continued to yield interesting species to birders willing to undertake the sea crossing and arduous inland journeys. On 20 January 2019, five Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris and five Sanderling Calidris alba were spotted at Chek Jawa by Fadzrun and his companions. An Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus was seen on 26 January 2019 by Khoo Mei Ling, while an Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster and Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus were spotted on 31 January 2019 by Lim Kim Keang, Jacky Soh and Veronica Foo.
Changi Business Park continued to support interesting bird species. Apart from the Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus first spotted by T. Ramesh in December 2018 and had continued to linger in the area, a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nyticorax as well as a Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus were spotted at Changi Business Park on 5 January 2019 by Feroz and Eyzat Amer, respectively. A Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu and Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu were subsequently reported there on 31 January 2019 by Thio Hui Bing.
Two Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis were spotted in the south, one bird was seen at the Marine Parade Polyclinic on 17 January 2019 by Dawn Teo, while another was seen at Satay by the Bay on 19 January 2019 by Kelvin Leong.
January opened on a sad note for western Singapore with a report from David Tan concerning a Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla reported by Pan Hanseng and collected from NTU’s The Hive on 3 January 2019, a possible road kill. Other parts of the west yielded three Cinereous Bulbul Hemixos cinereus on 16 January 2019 at Kent Ridge Park, as well as six Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola lurking in the fields at Bulim Avenue on 30 January 2019 by Alan Owyong.
The Kranji-Lim Chu Kang area continued to attract birders, who in turn noted the presence of the following species; a Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata was observed at Turut Track, while Long-toed Stint Calidris submunita were spotted at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 by Keita Sin, Sandra Chia, Movin and Dillen Ng. On 22 January 2019, a Watercock Gallicrex cinerea was seen at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 by Yeo Seng Beng, while Martin Kennewell reported seeing a Band-bellied Crake Porzana paykullii briefly as it flew up and popped down into the vegetation at Kranji Marsh on 25 January 2019.
On 26 January 2019, a female Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis was seen at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3, while a male was spotted a few days later by T. Ramesh. A few days later at the same location on 31 January 2019, up to two Pin-tailed Snipe Gallinago stenura were seen by Wong Weng Fai and See Toh Yew Wai.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) and the adjacent Mandai mudflats continued to host various species of land and shore birds. On 18 January 2019, a Barn Owl Tyto alba was reported from the reserve by Wang HM, while AWC2019 on 19 January 2019 yielded a Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata, a Forest Wagtail Dendroanthus indicus and three Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus by Yap Wee Jin and his fellow surveyors. Several days later on 26 January 2019, a Copper-throated Sunbird Leptocoma calcostetha was spotted within SBWR by James Tann.
This report is compiled and written by Geoff Lim and Alan OwYong, and edited by Tan Gim Cheong. It is based on selected postings in various Facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from eBird. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified. We wish to thank all the contributors for their records. Many thanks to Feroz, James Tann, See Toh Yew Wai, Lester Tan, Eric Tan, Herman Phua, Dawn Teo, David Tan, T. Ramesh, Vincent Ng and Yap Wee Jin for the the use of their photos.
List of bird sightings in report
|Anatidae||Cotton Pygmy Goose||28 Jan 2019|
|Ciconiidae||Lesser Adjutant||19 Jan 2019|
|Ardeidae||Von Schrenck’s Bittern||31 Jan 2019|
|Black Bittern||17 Jan 2019|
|Black Bittern||19 Jan 2019|
|Malayan Night Heron||5 Jan 2019|
|Black-crowned Night Heron||5 Jan 2019|
|Anhigidae||Oriental Darter||31 Jan 2019|
|Rallidae||Baillon’s Crake||3 Jan 2019|
|Baillon’s Crake||24 Jan 2019|
|Band-bellied Crake||25 Jan 2019|
|Watercock||22 Jan 2019|
|Charadridae||Grey Plover||19 Jan 2019|
|Rostratulidae||Greater Painted Snipe||26 Jan 2019|
|Scolopacidae||Pin-tailed Snipe||31 Jan 2019|
|Bar-tailed Godwit||19 Jan 2019|
|Wood Sandpiper||30 Jan 2019|
|Terek Sandpiper||19 Jan 2019|
|Great Knot||20 Jan 2019|
|Sanderling||20 Jan 2019|
|Red-necked stint||19 Jan 2019|
|Curlew Sandpiper||19 Jan 2019|
|Long-toed Stint||17 Jan 2019|
|Columbidae||Jambu Fruit Dove||31 Jan 2019|
|Cuculidae||Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo||26 Jan 2019|
|Indian Cuckoo||26 Jan 2019|
|Tytonidae||Barn Owl||18 Jan 2019|
|Strigidae||Buffy Fish Owl||31 Jan 2019|
|Alcedidae||Black-capped Kingfisher||19 Jan 2019|
|Falconidae||Peregrine Falcon||6 Jan 2019|
|Dicruridae||Ashy Drongo||21 Jan 2019|
|Pycnonotidae||Black-crested Bulbul||9 Jan 2019|
|Cinereous Bulbul||16 Jan 2019|
|Phylloscopidae||Sakhalin Leaf Warbler||1 Jan 2019|
|Eastern-crowned Warbler||6 Jan 2019|
|Locustellidae||Lanceolated Warbler||17 Jan 2019|
|Turdidae||Orange-headed Thrush||12 Jan 2019|
|Eye-browed Thrush||9 Jan 2019|
|Siberian Thrush||10 Jan 2019|
|Muscicapidae||Siberian Blue Robin||2 Jan 2019|
|Green-backed Flycatcher||26 Jan 2019|
|Chloropseidae||Lesser Green Leafbird||12 Jan 2019|
|Dicaeidae||Yellow-vented Flowerpecker||5, 7 Jan 2019|
|Nectariniidae||Copper throated Sunbird||26 Jan 2019|
|Estrildidae||White-rumped Munia||26 Jan 2019|
|Motaciliidae||Forest Wagtail||19 Jan 2019|
|White Wagtail||29 Jan 2019|
|White Wagtail||30 Jan 2019|