Monthly Archives: January 2021

Singapore Bird Report – October 2020

by Geoff Lim & Isabelle Lee.
Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

The highlight of October 2020 was the discovery of a new species for Singapore – the Common Swift, plus the rare Chinese Blue Flycatcher and Red-footed Booby. Most of the action was centred around Henderson Waves, as many birders welcomed the arrival of migratory raptors, among other birds. More about the major sightings of raptors can be found here in the October Raptor Report.

Common Swift – new species for Singapore

Common Swift, 271020, HW, TGC

Common Swift photographed at Henderson Waves on 27 Oct 2020 by Tan Gim Cheong

The Common Swift, Apus apus, is a large swift with a long, deeply forked tail and sharply pointed wings, and a small off-white throat patch. There are two subspecies, the nominate A. apus apus which is distributed in Europe and winters from Congo, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Mozambique in Africa, and A. apus pekinensis, which is found in Central Asia, through the Himalayas and North China, and wintering in South and East Africa, particularly in Botswana and Namibia (Chantler et al, 2020).  The race pekinensis is found in the Himalayas at 1500–3300 m, foraging to 4000 m, and recorded migrating at 5700 m in Ladakh.

Incredibly, not one, but two sightings, with photographs, were reported – one on 9 October 2020 by Richard White, Francis Yap & Martin Kennewell from Jelutong Tower, which was the first record for Singapore; followed by another on 27 October 2020 by Keita Sin, Tan Gim Cheong & Deborah Friets from Henderson Waves. There were no prior records of the species in Singapore. A long-distance migrant, reports of vagrants have been noted in oceanic islands (Chantler et al, 2020). It remains to be seen if we would see more visits by this wandering species in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) and Fringe Parks

A Blue-rumped Parrot, Psittinus cyanurus, was reported from Venus Loop on 5 October 2020 by Khoo Meilin. Other reports included the already mentioned first record of the Common Swift, Apus apus, on 9 October 2020 at Jelutong Tower by Richard White, Francis Yap & Martin Kennewell; a Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Cyornis brunneatus, on 13 October 2020 by Joseph Lim, a Dark-sided Flycatcher, Muscicapa sibirica, on 17 October 2020 by Desmond Yap, a Ferruginous Flycatcher, Muscicapa ferruginea, on 20 October 2020 by Andy Teo, and a Crow-billed Drongo, Dicrurus annectans, on 30 October 2020, by Ho Siew Mun, at Dairy Farm Nature Park.

2 BRP, 051020, Venus, Norhafiani

Blue-rumped Parrot feeding on starfruit at Venus Loop on 5 October 2020 by Norhafiani A. Majid

Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG)

Migratory species were also reported at SBG, with the sighting of a Crow-billed Drongo, Dicrurus annectans, and a white-morph Terpsiphone by Hoi Yew Khong and an Amur Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone incei, by Geoff Lim on 10 October 2020. A Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Cyornis brunneatus, was spotted on 12 October 2020 by Alan Owyong, while an Eastern Crowned Warbler, Phylloscopus coronatus, was spotted on 28 October 2020 by Victor Tan.

Central Singapore

A Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Merops philippinus, was reported from Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on 9 October 2020 by Terence Tan, while a Chinese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter soloensis, was reported from Ang Mo Kio on 30 October 2020 by Chew Serteck.

Northern Singapore

An Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Ceyx erithaca, (Black-backed subspecies) was found at Kampong Admiralty on 4 October 2020 by Hazel Ling and subsequently released in Admiralty Park. At nearby Marsiling Drive on 1 October 2020, a pair of Golden-bellied Gerygones, Gerygone sulphurea, were feeding a Little Bronze Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx minutillus, (Loh Wei).

3 Whiskered, WWT, 101020, Seletar Club Rd, Herman

Over at Seletar Reservoir, a number of Whiskered Tern, Chlidonias hybrida, and White-winged Tern, Chlidonias leucopterus, were spotted on 10 October 2020 from Seletar Club Road by Herman Phua, while during Global Birding Weekend on 17 October 2020, an estimated 152 Grey wagtail, Motacilla cinerea, were counted at Yishun St 11 by Isabelle Lee and her friends. A pair of Banded Woodpecker, Chrysophlegma miniaceum, was seen at Hampstead Wetlands on 27 October 2020 by Jimmy Lim, while the male Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker, Dendrocopus moluccensis, with long bill was seen again on 26 October 2020, by Paul Lee. On 31 October 2020, a Lanceolated Warbler, Locustella lanceolata, was spotted within the allotment gardens of Punggol Park by Andy Chew and this difficult to see skulker drew many other birders, but promptly disappeared the next day.

Lanceolated Warbler, 311020, Punggol Park, Andy Chew

Lanceolated Warbler, Punggol Park, 31 October 2020, by Andy Chew

Eastern Singapore

Among the waders arriving on Pulau Ubin, a Black-tailed Godwit, Limosa limosa, was reported on 5 October 2020 by Tay Kian Guan; while a rare Oriental Plover, Charadrius veredus, was photographed at Chek Jawa on 19 October 2020 by Oliver Tan and friends, and the plover was reported again on 20 October 2020 by T. Ramesh and others. The last record of this bird occurred in October 2012 at Seletar Dam. At Chek Jawa on 19 October 2020, Oliver Tan and friends also recorded approximately 800 Lesser Sand Plovers, Charadrius mongolus, two Greater Sand Plovers, Charadrius leschenaultii, one Bar-tailed Godwit, Limosa lapponica, seven Curlew Sandpipers, Calidris ferruginea, one Terek Sandpiper, Xenus cinereus, and 46 Red-necked Stints, Calidris ruficollis.

Also discovered in the east during its peregrinations is a Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus, spotted at Bedok South on 19 October 2020 by Kwok Tuck Loong, while a rare Blue Rock Thrush, Monticola soltarius, was spotted at Marine Parade on 24 October 2020 by Thio HB. A wandering juvenile Mangrove Pitta, Pitta megarhyncha, was reported on 28 October 2020 at Pasir Ris Park by Terence Tan.

4 DSFC, Veronica Foo

Dark-sided Flycatcher at Telok Blangah Hill Park on 13 October 2020 by Veronica Foo

Southern Singapore

Among the various birds seen at Henderson Waves, the sighting of the second Common Swift, Apus apus, for Singapore on 27 October 2020 by Keita Sin, Tan Gim Cheong & Deborah Friets was of significance. The raptor sightings from this location can be viewed here in the October Raptor report.

Other southern sightings included a Dark-sided Flycatcher, Muscicapa sibirica, at Telok Blangah Hill Park on 13 October 2020 by Veronica Foo, a rare Blue Rock Thrush, Monticola soltarius, at Pinnacle@Duxton on 15 October 2020 by Chen Boon Chong, a Crow-billed Drongo, Dicrurus annectans, on Sentosa on 17 October 2020 by Ros Qian, a Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Cyornis brunneatus, at Berlayer Creek on 26 October 2020 by Khoo Meilin, and a Grey-faced Buzzard, Butastur indicus, at Lazarus Island on 30 October 2020 by Tan Gim Cheong.

6 BCJFC, 121020, JLG, Joseph Lim

A Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher spotted on 12 October 2020 at JLG by Joseph Lim

Western Singapore

Visitors to Tuas on 3 October 2020 reported seeing a Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Ficedula zanthopygia, at Tuas Bay (Khoo Meilin) and a Bridled Tern, Onychoprion anaethetus, at Tuas West (Tan Kok Hui). 

Jurong Lake Gardens yielded a rare male Chinese Blue Flycatcher, Cyornis glaucicomans, on 11 October 2020 (a 1-day bird), as discovered by Keita Sin and Dillen Ng, a Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Cyornis brunneatus, on 12 October 2020 by Joseph Lim, and a Blue-winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, on 22 October 2020 by Jimmy Lim.

Chinese Blue FC, 111020, JLG, Peh Chee Ee

Chinese Blue Flycatcher, Jurong Lake Gardens, 11 October 2020, by Peh Chee Ee

Over at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, a Marsh Sandpiper, Tringa stagnatilis, was spotted among the regular waders on 18 October 2020 by Alfred Chia, while a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax, was seen on 29 October 2020 by Ho Siew Mun. Further away at Kranji Marsh, an Asian Openbill, Anastomus oscitans, was reported on 31 October 2020 by Martti Siponen.

Singapore Strait

Two pelagic trips were made in October 2020, on the 4th & 18th, by Francis Yap with two different groups of birders. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, these pelagic trips were kept within Singapore port limits. For the second month, practically all the seabirds recorded could be treated as Singapore records. The most significant find was an immature Red-footed Booby, Sula sula, spotted by Martin Kennewell, during the trip on 4 October 2020.

Booby, 041020, SG Straits within port limits, Angie Cheong, same

Red-footed Booby, within port limits, 4 Oct 2020, by Angie Cheong

Booby, 041020, SG Straits within port limits, Angie Cheong

Red-footed Booby, within port limits, 4 Oct 2020, by Angie Cheong

The Aleutian Tern, Onychoprion aleuticus, was recorded on both trips, with approximately 24 birds on the 4th, and between 22-28 birds on the 18th. At least 34 White-winged Terns, Chlidonias leucopterus, were recorded on the 4th, and 113 birds on the 18th when a flock of 40 were feeding around the boat and a second group of 64 were roosting on a buoy. One Common Tern, Sterna hirundo, was recorded on the 4th, and two on the 18th.

Approximately 19 Greater Crested Terns, Thalasseus bergii, were recorded on the 4th, and 14 birds on the 18th. At least three Little Terns, Sterna albifrons, were recorded on the 4th, and 16 birds on the 18th. The Lesser Crested Terns, Thalasseus bengalensis, were recorded only on the 18th (10 birds), as were the Black-naped Terns, Sterna sumatrana, (2 birds).

Abbreviations:
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens

This report is compiled/written by Geoff Lim and Isabelle Lee, and edited by Tan Gim Cheong. We are grateful for the birders and photographers whose postings in various Facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from eBird make up this report. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified.

Many thanks to Norhafiani A. Majid, Herman Phua, Andy Chew, Veronica Foo, Joseph Lim, Peh Chee Ee, and Angie Cheong for allowing us to use their photographs.

REFERENCES

Chantler, P., P. F. D. Boesman, and G. M. Kirwan (2020). Common Swift (Apus apus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.comswi.01

Singapore Bird Report – September 2020

by Geoff Lim & Isabelle Lee.
Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

September heralded the start of the autumn-winter passage migration, with reports of migratory songbirds reaching Singapore as passage migrants, as well as pelagic species transiting between their breeding and wintering grounds.

YRFC,-300920,-Tuas-Bay-Lane,-TGC,-denoise-x-4

A female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher at Tuas Bay Lane on 30 Sep 2020 by Tan Gim Cheong

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) and Fringe Parks

The parks and forests fringing the CCNR yielded a Forest Wagtail, Dendronanthus indicus, on 4 September 2020 (Veronica Foo) at Upper Seletar Reservoir; two Sunda Scops Owl, Otus lempiji, on 16 September 2020, at MacRitchie Reservoir Park (Marcel Finlay); a Chestnut-winged Babbler, Stachyris erythroptera, on 23 September 2020 at Upper Seletar Reservoir Park (Martin Kennewell); eleven Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Ficedula zanthopygia, on the same day (23 September 2020) at Mandai Park Connector (Veronica Foo); an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Ceyx erithaca, (Black-backed subspecies), on 24 September 2020 along the Lower Peirce Boardwalk (Alfred Chia); and a Brown-streaked Flycatcher, Muscicapa williamsoni, on 27 September 2020 at Bukit Brown Cemetery (Lim Hong Yao).

Visitors to the Hindhede-Bukit Timah Nature Reserve park complex reported seeing a Brown Hawk-Owl, Ninox scutulata, on 16 September 2020 (Martin Kennewell); a Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Cyornis brunneatus, on 21 September 2020 (Richard White); a Common Emerald Dove, Chalcophaps indica, on 25 September 2020 (Raghav Narayanswamy, at Hindhede); and a Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Phaenicophaeus sumatranus, on 27 September 2020 (Lim Kim Chuah). A birding blitz on 30 September 2020 yielded three Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Treron curvirostra, one Red-crowned Barbet, Megalaima rafflesii, one Banded Woodpecker, Chrysophlegma miniaceum, two Black-crested Bulbul, Pycnonotus flaviventris, two Cream-vented Bulbul, Pycnonotus simplex, two Asian Red-eyed Bulbul, Pycnonotus brunneus, two Arctic Warbler, Phylloscopus borealis, three White-crested Laughingthrush, Garrulax leucolophus, one Dark-sided Flycatcher, Muscicapa sibirica, two Asian Brown Flycatcher, Muscicapa latirostris, and two Blue-winged Leafbird, Chloropsis cochinchinensis, (Alfred Chia).

The area around Jelutong Tower yielded a Blue-winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, on 1 September 2020 (Steven Cheong), one Blue-rumped Parrot, Psittinus cyanurus, and one Short-tailed Babbler, Malcocincla malaccensis, on 30 September 2020 (Oliver Tan). The forest cover along Rifle Range Link yielded two Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Ficedula zanthopygia, and one Little Spiderhunter, Arachnothera longirostra, on the same day along Rifle Range Link. About two weeks prior to this report on 18 September 2020, a Drongo Cuckoo, Surniculus lugubris, was seen being fed by a Pin-striped Tit-Babbler, Macronus gularis (Art Toh).

Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP) yielded a Blue-eared Kingfisher, Alcedo meninting, on 1 September 2020 (Tay Kian Guan), a Van Hasselt’s Sunbird, Leptocoma brasiliana, on 4 September 2020 (Richard Davis), a Rufous-tailed Tailorbird, Orthotomus sericeus, and a Violet Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus, on 29 September 2020 (Martin Kennewell).

YRFC, 230920, SBG, HSM

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher at SBG on 23 Sep 2020 seen by Ho Siew Mun

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Over at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, an Asian Palm-Swift, Cypsiurus balasiensis, was spotted on 15 September 2020 by Oliver Tan, a Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Ficedula zanthopygia, on 23 September 2020 by Ho Siew Mun, and two Red-legged Crake, Rallina fasciata, on 26 September 2020 by Krishna Gopagondanahalli.

CPH, Kerry

Chinese Pond Heron seen along Kallang River on 7 September 2020 by Kerry Pereira

Central Singapore

An early arriving Chinese Pond Heron, Ardeola bacchus, in transition between summer and winter plumage, was spotted on 7 September 2020 along Kallang River by Kerry Pereira. A report of an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Ceyx erithaca, (Black-backed subspecies), was made from Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 on 22 September 2020 by Jonathan Wu, while the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park (BAMK) delivered four Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Merops philippinus, on 28 September 2020 (Oliver Tan) and four Purple Heron, Ardea purpurea, on 30 September 2020 (Calista Tan).

Northern Singapore

Two locations in the north are popular with birders, viz. the area between the Halus Wetlands and Coney Island, and the Seletar Dam and area around Seletar Airport.

Visitors to the Halus-Coney complex reported five Baya Weaver, Ploceus philippinus, on 19 September 2020 (Tan Kok Hui at Coney Island), while a Banded Bay Cuckoo, Cacomantis sonneratii, and Whiskered Tern, Chlidonias hybrida, were spotted on 23 and 25 September at the Halus Wetlands by Mike Hooper and Alfred Chia, respectively.

Over at Seletar, an Asian Openbill, Anastomus oscitans, was seen at Seletar Club Road on 20 September 2020 (Oliver Tan), while waders were spotted along the tidal mudflats at the sea-ward side of Seletar Dam. These included Little Ringed Plover, Charadrius dubius, on 21 September 2020 (Martin Kennewell), a Red-necked Stint, Calidris ruficollis, on 22 September 2020 (Steven Cheong) and a Greater Sand Plover, Charadrius leschenaultii, on 24 September 2020 (Mike Hooper). A Western Osprey, Pandion haliaetus, was spotted on the same day (24 September 2020) by Mike Hooper. On 4 September 2020, Khoo Meilin photographed the chicks of the Greater Painted-Snipe, Rostratula benghalensis, hiding under the vegetation in a wet area, and the grass fields at Piccadilly yielded two of these Painted-Snipes, on 26 September 2020 (Martin Kennewell).

At Hampstead Wetlands on 18 September 2020, Michael Kwee photographed a female Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker, Dendrocopus moluccensis, with an unusually long bill. Interestingly, Peh Chee Ee photographed a male with a longer than normal bill (though not as long as the female) at the same place on 13 June 2020.

Sunda PWP, posted 13 June 2020, Peh Chee Ee

Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker, male, with unusually long bill, Hampstead Wetlands, 13 Jun 2020, by Peh Chee Ee

Other reports from the north include the sighting of a Forest Wagtail, Dendronanthus indicus, at Yishun Street 11 on 8 September 2020 (Fadzrun A), and a Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea, at Jalan Ulu Sembawang on 27 September 2020 (Evelyn Lee).

Eastern Singapore

Shorebirds began their stop-over at Pulau Ubin as early as 6 September 2020, with the report of 430 Lesser Sand Plovers, Charadrius mongolus, four Red-necked Stints, Calidris ruficollis, and one Ruddy Turnstone, Arenaria interpres, spotted at Chek Jawa by Martin Kennewell. Other waders included thirty-two Grey Plover, Pluvialis squatarola, and four Bar-tailed Godwit, Limosa lapponica, on 22 September 2020 by Oliver Tan, who also saw a Great-billed Heron, Ardea sumatrana, on the same day. Besides the waders, a Gull-billed Tern, Gelochelidon nilotica, was reported on 20 September 2020 by Krishna Gopagondanahalli.

Visitors to Pasir Ris Park reported a Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis, on 27 September 2020 (YK Han); the regularly seen Buffy Fish Owl, Ketupa ketupu, on 30 September 2020; as well as a pair of Crested Goshawk, Accipiter trivirgatus, (Ryan Lim). A Plaintive Cuckoo, Cacomantis merulinus, was also spotted on the same day (Tan Hong Kai). In addition, Ko Engwee photographed a Collared Kingfisher, Todiramphus chloris, feeding its fledgling on 10 September 2020. Over at Tampines Eco Green, a Lesser Coucal, Centropus bengalensis, and a Rufous Woodpecker, Micropternus brachyurus, were spotted on 30 September 2020 by Kee JY.

Over at Changi Business Park, we received reports of two Green Imperial Pigeon, Ducula aenea, occurring at the canal by Ryan Lim, while an Amur Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone incei, was seen on 28 September 2020 by T. Ramesh working one of his regular patches.

Southern Singapore

Gardens by the Bay yielded sightings of six Lesser Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna javanica, two Little Bronze Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx minutillus, one Ruddy-breasted Crake, Porzana fusca, one Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone affinis, and six White-headed Munia, Lonchura maja, on 28 September 2020 (Oliver Tan).

Over at Marina East, three Lesser Sand Plover, Charadrius mongolus, and Malaysian Plover, Charadrius peronii, were spotted on 27 and 28 September 2020 by John Marriott and Yip Jen Wei, respectively. Further away at the Pinnacle@Duxton, eight House Swift, Apus nipalensis, were seen on 29 September 2020 by Oliver Tan. At Kent Ridge Park, a Japanese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter gularis, was recorded on 30 September 2020 by Zahidi Hamid.

WSS, 250920, JLG, TGC

White-shouldered Starling at Jurong Lake Gardens on 25 Sep 2020 by Tan Gim Cheong

Western Singapore

Sightings were made at predominantly three areas – Jurong Lake Gardens, the Neo Tiew-Kranji Marshes, and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

Noteworthy sightings at Jurong Lake Gardens included a Brown-streaked Flycatcher, Muscicapa williamsoni, on 22 September 2020 (Ho Siew Mun), a Spotted Wood Owl, Strix seloputo, (Krishna Gopagondanahalli) and a Javan Munia, Lonchura leucogastroides, (Sandra Chia) on 27 September 2020, eight White-shouldered Starling, Sturnia sinensis, that fed on several flowering Syzygium trees (Chen Boon Chong), a Barred Buttonquail, Turnix suscitator,(Wong Wai Loon) and two Long-tailed Parakeet, Psittacula longicauda,(Wong Wai Loon) on 29 September 2020. Also spotted were four Slaty-breasted Rail, Gallirallus striatus (Norhafiani A. Majid) and two Grey-rumped Treeswift, Hemiprocne longipennis, (Sreekar Rachakonda) on 30 September 2020. A pair of Zitting Cisticola, Cisticola juncidis, were photographed during their brief mating moment on 12 September 2020 by Nigel Tan.

WBC, 120920, NTHL, JL

White-browed Crake at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane on 12 Sep 2020 by Joseph Lim

A Cinnamon Bittern, Ixobrychus cinnamomeus, was reported from Neo Tiew Harvest Lane on 4 September 2020 by Martin Kennewell, while two Long-toed Stint, Calidris subminuta, were spotted within the same area the next day on 5 September 2020 by Raghav Narayanswamy, while a White-browed Crake, Porzana cinerea, was spotted on 12 September 2020 by Joseph Lim. On 20 September 2020, two Abbott’s Babbler, Malacocincla abbotti, were seen at Kranji Marsh by Sreekar Rachakonda, a Wood Sandpiper, Tringa glareola, was spotted at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane on 26 September 2020 by Tan Kok Hui, while a Large-billed Crow, Corvus macrorhynchos, was seen within Kranji Marsh on 30 September 2020 by Yip Jen Wei.

LA, 290920, SBWR, LKS

Over at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, a pair of displaying Great-billed Heron, Ardea sumatrana, were seen on 20 September 2020, as was a Lesser Adjutant, Leptoptilos javanicus, on 29 September 2020; both sightings were made by Lim Kim Seng,  while several numbers of Marsh Sandpiper, Tringa stagnatilis, Common Greenshank, Tringa nebularia, 160 Pacific Golden Plover, Pluvialis fulva, 120 Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus, 110 Common Redshank, Tringa totanus, three Common Sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos, and one Terek Sandpiper, Xenus cinereus, were reported on 30 September 2020 by Spencer Yau and Yip Jen Wei.

GBH, 200920, SBWR, LKS

Great-billed Heron displaying at SBWR on 20 September 2020; photo by Lim Kim Seng

Other notable species spotted in the west included a Crested Honey Buzzard, Pernis ptilorhynchus, over Holland Plain on 1 September 2020 by George Presanis. At Tuas South, Khoo Meilin recorded a Dark-sided Flycatcher, Muscicapa sibirica, on 19 September 2020, and Tan Gim Cheong recorded a female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Ficedula zanthopygia, on 30 September 2020. 

Singapore Strait

Three pelagic trips were made in September: on 20 September 2020 by Francis Yap & friends, and on 19 & 27 September 2020 by Oliver Tan & friends. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, these pelagic trips were kept within Singapore port limits. For once (in a long while), practically all the seabirds recorded could be treated as Singapore records. The records from these three pelagic trips within our port limits are particularly valuable as the majority of the sightings from the previous pelagic trips had occurred on the Indonesian / Malaysian side of the Strait.

Notably, the Aleutian Tern, Onychoprion aleuticus, was recorded on all three pelagic trips: 2 birds on the 19th, ‘good numbers’ on the 20th, and 2-3 birds on the 27th. This species was rarely recorded on the Singapore side of the Strait before September 2020.

Aleutian Tern, 200920, port limits, Adrian Silas Tay

Aleutian Tern, within Singapore port limits, 20 Sep 2020, by Adrian Silas Tay

The Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel, Oceanodroma monorhis, was recorded on two trips, with at least 28 birds on the 19th, and few birds on the 20th. The White-winged Tern, Chlidonias leucopterus, was also recorded on two trips: a few on the 20th, and two on the 27th. The Bridled Tern, Onychoprion anaethetus, was recorded only on the 19th, when at least 3 birds were encountered. 

The pelagic on the 19th headed towards the south on their last leg and recorded twenty Little Terns, Sternula albifrons, plus approximately fifty Black-naped Terns, Sterna sumatrana, off Pulau Satumu. In addition, one Pacific Swift, Apus pacificus, was seen flying low over the waters on the 27th.

Abbreviations:
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve


This report is compiled/written by Geoff Lim and Isabelle Lee and edited by Tan Gim Cheong. We are grateful for the birders and photographers whose postings in various Facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from eBird make up this report. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified.

Many thanks to Ho Siew Mun, Kerry Pereira, Peh Chee Ee, Joseph Lim, Lim Kim Seng, and Adrian Silas Tay for allowing us to use their photographs.