Category Archives: Bird Report

NSS Pelagic Survey-September 2019.

We could not have asked for a better day to do the autumn pelagic on Saturday 28 September 2019. The sea was calm, with a light breeze blowing. The sun was shining through as the month-long haze seemed to have dissipated, in part due to the change in direction of the monsoon winds.

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Our first bird of the day, a crested tern flying over. We were blessed with good weather and calm seas today.

On the boat was also Audrey Tan, Environment Correspondent at the Straits Times, and her photo journalist Lim Yaohui. They had joined us on this trip to learn more about the research which the Nature Society (Singapore) and the National Parks Board are conducting to survey and study the seabirds which use the Strait of Singapore on their annual autumn and spring migrations.

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The happy NSS survey team at the end of the trip at Sentosa Cove. 

Three hours into the boat trip and we were cruising north of Batam Island when we saw a small flock of dark-shaped birds floating on the waters just ahead of us. They looked like the storm petrels which we had been seeing flying in small flocks westwards on their way to the Indian Ocean earlier. In total, we would have seen 118 of these Swinhoe’s Storm Petrels, Oceanodroma monorhis, when we finished the trip that day. This was a far cry from the 532 which we had on a similar pelagic last September.

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Part of a flock of 11 Red-necked Phalaropes we found floating on the waves. Photo: Lim Kim Keang.

The dark-shaped birds flew up as we got nearer, their white underwings and bodies gleaming in the bright sun. Kim Keang, our leader for the trip, shouted “Phalarope!” but it was lost to those on board!

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We got very close to these three Red-necked Phalaropes as they were busy feeding on the small marine crustaceans among the sea grasses. Photo: Lim Kim Keang. Their habit of swimming around in small circles helps to pool the food to the center for easy pickings.

Floating further on the water were 11 Red-necked Phalaropes, Phalaropus lobatus, while another 3 were much closer, allowing all on board to have good close-up views. As they were feeding and flying around the boat, there were ample opportunities to photograph them. This was the first sighting of multiple phalaropes in a flock as the previous three sightings were of single birds. Interestingly all were juveniles.

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The Red-necked Phalarope foraging among a sea of floating sea grasses out in the Straits. Photo: Shruti.

Terns also put up a good show. There were 55 Bridled Terns, Sterna anaethetus, with two flocks  of 18 and 7 flying eastwards in the direction of Horsburgh Lighthouse.

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A breeding Bridled Tern resting on a plank by Wilson Leung. The head pattern is similiar to the Aleutian but the dark plumage of the Bridled Tern is a good identification feature for this tern.

Aleutian Terns, Sterna aleutica, that migrated all the way from Alaska was a species which we hope we could show to the members on board. They did not disappoint. 15 adults, 8 of them still in their breeding plumage and a juvenile were present.

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An Aleutian Tern in breeding plumage. They are often seen resting on flotsams. Presence of a small wintering population recorded at the Karimun Islands in 1998.

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Aleutian Tern in non-breeding plumage showing the dark trailing edge of the secondaries, a good identification feature for this tern.

Also seen were 4 Common Terns, Sterna hirundo, comprising two adults and two juveniles. These uncommon terns (despite their name) were resting on flotsam and all were happy to manage close-up shots of them.

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One of the four Common Terns we saw during the trip. This one is in breeding plumage.

As the Crested Terns were in flight and at a distance, it took a while before they were separated and counted. There were 24 Swift Terns, Thalasseus bergii, (formerly Great Crested) and 10 Lesser Crested Terns, Thalasseus bengalensis, with four being unidentified. 6 Little Terns, Sterna albifrons, were also seen on the trip and these may be winter visitors.

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A hazy looking Swift Tern. It is a large tern that can be found flying along the Straits of Johor. Photo: Alan OwYong.

Other birds seen on the trip include a Great-billed Heron, Ardea sumatrana, on Sister’s Island, 5 Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica, flying south, an Intermediate Egret, Egretta intermedia, and a soaring Chinese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter soloensis.

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A Bridled Tern flying in the same direction of the tanker towards Horsburgh Lighthouse, where seven specimens were collected in October 1921, our first record of this tern.

A big thank you to Alfred Chia for making all the arrangements for this trip and to everyone for helping out with the count.

Many thanks to Lim Kim Keang, Alan OwYong, Shruti and Wilson Leung for the use of their photos.

Reference: A Field Guide to the Waterbirds of Asia. Wild Birds Society of Japan.          Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore) 2009.

Singapore Bird Report – May 2019

by Geoff Lim, Alan Owyong (compiler), Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

Undoubtedly the mega-sighting for the month of May was the rare Pheasant-tailed Jacana at Satay by the Bay, followed closely by the Buff-rumped Woodpecker on Pulau Ubin. This month also marks the tail end of the spring migration as our winter visitors make their way back to their breeding ground. Reports of resident species begin to dominate the scene as we reach the middle of the year.

Lily-trotter in an Urban Lily Pond

On 5 May 2019, a Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus flew over the lily pond around 8am at Satay by the Bay, alighted briefly on the plants, before taking off again into the skies.

1. PT Jacana, 050519, SBTB, Siew Mun

Pheasant-tailed Jacana at Satay by the Bay on 5 May 2019; photo taken by Siew Mun

Pheasant-tailed Jacanas are distributed across the Indian sub-continent, southern China, Myanmar, Thailand, the Mekong delta to the Philippines. Some northern population migrate and may winter as far as Yemen and the Greater Sundas islands; vagrants may even occur in Australia. The species is a non-breeding visitor in the Malay peninsula, preferring freshwater wetlands covered by water hyacinth and water lilies (Wells 1999: 267-268).

In recent years, records of this species remain sparse, with one recorded on 10 December 2016 at Kranji Marsh by Veronica Foo, and another on 15 May 2017 at Hindhede Quarry by Martin Kennewell, who spotted the bird while digiscoping.

Assessed by IUCN to be of Least Concern, the species is, however, on the decrease (IUCN, 2019).

2. PT Jacana, 050519, SBTB, Siew Mun

Pheasant-tailed Jacana flying over Satay by the Bay on 5 May 2019; photo taken by Siew Mun

 

3. PT Jacana, 050519, SBTB, Siew Mun

Pheasant-tailed Jacana flying around the lily pond within Satay by the Bay on 5 May 2019; photo taken by Siew Mun

Central Catchment Nature Reserve, BTNR, DFNP

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A Common Emerald Dove at DFNP on 1 May 2019. Photographed by Terence Tan.

As the year progresses towards the half-way mark, only a handful of migrants/ non-breeding visitors remain. A Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica was spotted on 4 May 2019 at Dairy Farm Nature Park by Goh Zai Fa, while a singing Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax was spotted on 12 May 2019 within the grounds of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) by Martin Kennewell.

Due to its accessibility and presence of good rainforest birds, Dairy Farm Nature Park attracted many birders and photographers during this month. A Common Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica was spotted on 1 May 2019 by Terence Tan, while an ensemble of Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella, Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps, Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra and Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii were spotted on 4 May 2019 by K. Saravanan, Goh Zai Fa, and Khoo MeiLin. Over the ensuing days, two species of Leafbirds were seen – the Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis was spotted on 5, 10 18 and 20 May 2019 by Art Toh, Vincent Chin, Herman Phua, and See Toh Yew Wai; while a Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati was seen on 12 May 2019 by Teo Lay Chong. A juvenile Red-crowned Barbet was also seen on 14 May 2019 by Julie Wee.

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Juvenile Red-crowned Barbet spotted on 14 May 2019 by Julie Wee.

Other species reported were a Banded Woodpecker Chrysophlegma miniaceum seen on 6 May 2019 by Steven Lee, a Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex feeding on a mulberry tree and a pair of Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis on 20 May 2019 by Geoff Lim, a Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris on 30 May 2019 by Oliver Tan, and a Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris on 31 May 2019 by Alan Owyong.

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Greater Green Leafbird on 12 May 2019 by Zhang Licong

Further afield, the combined cries of about 40-50 House Swift Apus nipalensis  captured the attention of Francis Yap on 6 May 2019 at Singapore Quarry. Francis described how he spotted the flock, a rare sighting as the species declined drastically in Singapore over the past 2-3 decades: “I initially saw 1-2 House Swifts and a few Plume-toed Swiftlets. After a short while, I heard something I have not heard in a very long time. A chorus of swift calls from a distance. I looked up I [sic] noticed they were far up and looked like House Swifts. I counted 7-8. A further scan up the treeline at the top of the quarry revealed that there were a whole large flock of them circling around. I think conservatively, there should be about 40-50 of them…”

Up to three Short-tailed Babbler Malacocincla malaccensis were heard within CCNR on 12 May 2019 by Martin Kennewell, while the false coffee tree at Mandai Track 7 started to attract Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii – two birds were seen feeding on 18 May 2019 by Francis Yap, who also spotted a Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera nearby that day. On 19 May 2019, a Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris was spotted at BTNR by Vincent Lao, while a Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis and a Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatrana were spotted at the woods behind Rail Mall by Art Toh.

Drongo Cuckoo, Vincent Lao

Drongo Cuckoo spotted on 19 May 2019 inside BTNR by Vincent Lao

Singapore Botanic Gardens

A House Swift Apus nipalensis was spotted within the Garden grounds on 10 May 2019 by Benson Brighton and Vincent Ng.

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A House Swift flying over SBG on 10 May 2019 by Benson Brighton.

Central Singapore

Eagle-hunters at Goldhill Avenue spotted more than the Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela. While the eagle was seen on 4 and 20 May 2019 by Khoo Meilin and Lim Hong Yao, respectively, a male Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus in adult plumage was seen on 1 May 2019 by Francis Yap; another Tiger Shrike was spotted on 17 May 2019 at Fort Canning Park by George Kamov. Birders seeking out sightings at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park noted a heronry of Purple Herons Ardea purpurea numbering about 10 birds on 3 May 2019 (Esther Tan) and White-headed Munia Lonchura maja on 4 May 2019 (Khoo Mei Lin), while a Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu was spotted further away at Bidadari on 8 May 2019 by T. Ramesh.

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A heronry occupied by Purple Heron at the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on 3 May 2019 by Esther Tan.

The young Blue-crowned Hanging Parrots Loriculus galgulus dwelling in the nest at the Whampoa Market eventually fledged on 13 May 2019 (Ang Siew Siew). Farther away, Little Tern Sternula albifrons were seen fishing at Pelton Canal on 9 May 2019 by Phua Joo Yang, who also spotted a Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis in the canal around noon on 14 May 2019; the bird was wet and subsequently moved to a shaded area.

BWP, Phua Joo Yang

A wet Blue-winged Pitta spotted inside Pelton Canal on 14 May 2019 by Phua Joo Yang.

On 5 May 2019, David Tan recovered a Thick-billed Pigeon Treron curvirostra that perished after colliding into a building at MacPherson.

TB Pigeo, DAvid Tan

Building collision casualties : Thick-billed Pigeon from MacPherson, photo by David Tan

Northern Singapore

Two noteworthy sightings in the north were of a flock of about 25 Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica on 5 & 6 May 2019 at the Halus area which was reported by Billy Goh, as well as two sightings of Eastern Barn Owl Tyto delicatula on 7 May 2019 at Montreal Drive by Martin Kennewell, Kwok Tuck Loong and Khong Yew, and on 12 May 2019 at Sumang Walk by Wong Chung Cheong.

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Eastern Barn Owl at Sumang Walk on 12 May 2019 y See Toh Yew Wai.

Some nesting Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis were reported at Punggol End on 6 May 2019 (Geoff Lim), as was a House Swift Apus nipalensis flying over Coney Island, and Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis at the Halus ponds as reported by Oliver Tan; the grebes were spotted at the same location on 25 May 2019 by Martin Kennewell. Barn Owl spotters at Montreal Drive on 7 May 2019 also spotted a male and female Laced Woodpecker Picus vittatus (Kei Yoo) and at least two Long-tailed Parakeet Psittacula longicauda (Kei Yoo).

On 18 May 2019, birder Fadzrun Adnan was driving along the Seletar Expressway when he spotted what he thought was a nocturnal macaque perched on the drain railings. As he came closer, the shape and colour was unmistakeably that of a Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus under the street light. Due to his being on the expressway, Fadzrun was not able stop his car anywhere to photograph it.

At the end of the month, two sightings of Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus were reported in the north. On 26 May 2019, one bird was spotted at Hougang hawking for bats by Minerva Maria-Sagan, while another bird was found perched outside the window of a HDB flat in Woodlands Street 41 on 30 May 2019 by Effkewkew Yakeru, a first for Woodlands.

During this period, David Tan recovered several casualties that perished from impact with building structures. On 5 May 2019, he collected a Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata near the Singapore Youth Flying Club. A von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus survived the collision on the same day at the Youth Flying Club and was reported by Jimmy Tan. One week later, a juvenile Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus was collected outside Nex at Serangoon.

Lanceolated Warbler, David Tan

Building collision casualties recovered by David Tan. Top left: Lanceolated Warbler near the Singapore Youth Flying Club

MNH, David Tan

Building collision casualties : Juvenile Malayan Night Heron from NEX at Serangoon (12 May 2019). Photo by David Tan.

Eastern Singapore

Pasir Ris Park (PRP) continued to support a good diversity of bird species. Apart from common garden species, birders and photographers reported the following species over the course of May: a Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea was spotted on 4 May 2019 by Yvo Goossens, as was a Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus on 10 May 2019 by Julie Wee, a Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulpurea on 11 May 2019 inside the mangrove broadwalk by Laura Berman, the regular Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji on 16 May 2019 by Terence Tan, and a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting on 25 May 2019 by Lionel Leong, the second record for the park so far.

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Sunda Scops Owl at Pasir Ris Park photographed by Terence Tan on 16 May 2019.

Pasir Ris Farmway 3 and the adjacent areas also proved to provide refuge for birds: White-headed Munia Lonchura striata were spotted on 1 May 2019 by T. Ramesh, while an extremely skittish Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa was seen foraging for food in the afternoon with egrets in a field on 4 May 2019 by Chen Boon Chong. Another Javan Pond Heron was spotted in the field outside Pasir Ris Camp on 5 May 2019 by Fadzrun Adnan, while a Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus was spotted on 7 May 2019 by Steven Cheong. Farther afield at the Tampines Canal, three more Little Tern Sternula albifrons were spotted on 6 May 2019 by Alvin Seng, after one was seen during the final week of April 2019. One adult Striated Heron Butorides striata was also seen interacting with a juvenile in the canal on 11 May 2019 by Chen Boon Chong.

Pulau Ubin, with its woodlands and mangroves, continued to support a good mix of species. Up to four White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus were reported to be on the island on and around 11 May 2019 (Geoff Lim), while the electrifying news of the sighting of the rare Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis gripped the community when one was photographed at Ketam Quarry on 25 May 2019 by Adrian Silas Tay and others. Also seen that day was a Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea at Ketam by Adrian Silas Tay, as well as a Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela, that was spotted calling over Ketam by Krishna Deepak. The next day, 26 May 2019, Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica and Grey Plover Charadrius squatarola were seen in the distance from Chek Jawa during the low tide by Martin Kennewell and T. Ramesh.

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The Ubin Buff-rumped Woodpecker photographed on 25 May 2019 by Adrian Silas Tay.

A Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was found expired at Tampines Street 43 and reported by David Tan. Coincidentally, another Cinnamon Bittern was picked up at this spot on 16 Jan 2018.

Cinnamon Bittern David Tan

A dead Cinnamon Bittern collected from Tampines by David Tan.

Southern Singapore

The park and open space complex comprising Gardens by the Bay (GBTB), Satay by the Bay (SBTB), Bay East, Marina Barrage and Marina East Drive has proven to be a productive area for birds. Apart from the surprise visit by the Pheasant-tailed Jacana featured above, many other species were observed to frequent this area. Three Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica were seen on 1 May 2019 at SBTB by Steven Cheong, as was a Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus on 2 May 2019 by Pary Sivaraman, an Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis consuming a chick it caught on 3 May 2019 and spotted by Brenda Chua LH, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot Loriculus galgulus and a Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca on 4 May 2019 by Siew Mun. Other species spotted include a Chestnut Munia Lonchura atricapilla on 5 May 2019 by Peter Lim, an Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis on 6 May 2019 by Julie Wee, a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nyticorax on 16 May 2019 by Khoo Meilin, as well as a late-staying Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis on 24 May 2019 by Guo Hui.

LWD, Siew Mun

Lesser Whistling Duck arriving at SBB; photo by Siew Mun.

Within GBTB, an Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis was heard on 9 May 2019 by Veronica Foo, while a pair of Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis were seen mating on 11 May 2019 by TM Ng. A Black-browed Reed-warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps was also seen in the garden’s grounds on 21 May 2019 by Wong Chung Cheong; another was spotted in a small reed bed farther afield at Bay East on the same day by Martin Kennewell, as was a white morph Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra by Lea Elpa and Martin Kennewell.

At Marina Barrage, a Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa in full adult splendour was seen on 1 May 2019 by Mike Hooper, while a Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrid paid a surprise visit to Marina Bay on 5 May 2019 and was spotted by Choong YT. Visitors to the Marina East shoreline were rewarded by the presence of an Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis and Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus, migrants leaving our shores, on 12 May 2019 (William Mahoney), as were rocky shore residents such as the Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra (William Mahoney), and the dimunitive Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronni on 10 and 20 May 2019 by Art Toh and Khoo Meilin, respectively. The grass field adjacent to the rocks harboured a male Greater Painted-Snipe Rostratula benghalensis who successfully defended his three chicks from a mob of House Crow on 18 May 2019 and witnessed by See Toh Yew Wai, as well as an Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia on 29 May 2019 by Steven Chong.

GPS, STYW

Remarkable photographs of a Greater Painted-Snipe’s spirited defence and hasty retreat at Marina East Drive on 18 May 2019. Photographed by See Toh Yew Wai.

 

GPS, STYW 2

Remarkable photographs of a Greater Painted-Snipe’s spirited defence and hasty retreat at Marina East Drive on 18 May 2019. Photographed by See Toh Yew Wai.

Other reports from the south include a pale morph Pacific Reef Heron on Pulau Buran, one of the southern islands, on 8 May 2019 by John Marriott, a Tiger Shrike on 15 May 2019 at the Telok Blangah Green Carpark on 15 May 2019 by Choong YT, and a Chinese Hwamei Garrulax canorus on Sentosa on 20 May 2019 by Khong Yew.

Western Singapore

During the month of May 2019, birders and photographers concentrated their effort around the Jurong Lake-Chinese-Japanese Garden region, the Kranji-Lim Chu Kang-Neo Tiew axis, and Pandan Canal.

Birders and photographers were drawn to the Jurong Lake area by the arrival of the rarely encountered Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii. First encountered at the end of April 2019, the bird continued to be seen on 1 May 2019, where an adult and a juvenile were seen by many feeding with other pond herons, such as a Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa, in the grass fields adjacent to the East-West MRT line, to 11 May 2019 by Adrian Silas Tay who made the last report of the bird. Other birds included two Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis flushed from the Japanese Garden ponds on 17 May 2019 and an Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis; both were spotted by Fadzrun Adnan.

IPH, Liz How

Adult Indian Pond Heron at Japanese Garden on 1 May 2019. Photograph by Liz How.

Over at Jurong Gateway, a confiding Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus was reported on 5 May 2019 by Sanmen Wong, and subsequently reported on social media until the end of May 2019. On 25 May 2019, a Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela was reportedly seen in overhead flight over Toh Tuck Road by Bijoy Venugopal.

SB Rail, Khong Yew

Slaty-breasted Rail at Jurong Gateway photographed by Khong Yew.

A stone’s throw away from the Jurong Lake district, photographers continued to visit Pandan Canal for bird-in-flight, and fish-in-feet photographs of a resident Grey-headed Fish-eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus. A park user (Krishnan Deepak) reported the presence of an Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus on 9 May 2019 along the Ulu Pandan Park Connector. One eagle watcher (Alan Owyong) reported the presence of a dark morph Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala, a Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis  and a White-headed Munia Lonchura maja on 16 May 2019.

Action around the Kranji hotspot kicked off with a report of two Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans spotted on 1 May 2019 at Kranji Marsh. Martin Kennewell and Eyzat Amer reported that two were perched in trees, one high while another stayed low; with both birds obscured by vegetation. The duo also reported seeing three Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus, and a high-flying House Swift Apus nipalensis. A Large-billed Crow Corvus splendens, was also seen that day along Turut Track by Pary Sivaraman.  Birders visiting New Tiew Harvest Lane reported a Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla (Fadzrun Adnan), and another House Swift (William Mahoney) on 4 May 2019, a Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus feeding with two Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia, as well as an Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschtschensis on 8 May 2019 (Adriana Dinu). Common Moorhen were also sighted at Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 on 11 May 2019, along with a juvenile Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus by Fadzrun Adnan, as was a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting on 16 May 2019, and a Rusty-breasted Cuckoo Cacomantis sepulcralis on 18 May 2019 at Kranji Marsh by Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan and Angie Cheong, respectively. A Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii was also seen at Turut Track on 16 May 2019 by Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan. On 20 May 2019, a male Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was seen at the Kranji Marsh by Martin Kennewell.

RBC, Angie Cheong

Rusty-breasted Cuckoo at Kranji Marsh; photographed by Angie Cheong on 16 May 2019.

The only other notable action in the west outside the three hotspots occurred during Labour Day evening, which saw birders and photographers congregating at Chestnut Avenue to admire a family of three Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo roosting in the rain trees above the road. The juvenile was fairly active at nightfall and sported fully developed pinions. It spent the evening clambering and flying from branch to branch within the same tree. The birds continued to be observed over the next few days. An expatriate residing at the area intimated that the owls started nesting in some Bird Nest Fern Asplenium nidus around March 2019 and that the owlet had fallen out from the nest, requiring intervention by ACRES.

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Pelagic

Two bands of birdmen visited the Singapore Strait in May 2019. The assembly on 4 May 2019 reported a Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel, Short-tailed Shearwater Puffinus tenuirostris, Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel Oceanodroma monorhis, and White-winged Tern Chlidonias hybrida (See Toh Yew Wai, and Adrian Silas Tay), while those who took to the sea on 19 May 2019 reported sighting a Brown Booby Sula leucogaster, two Short-tailed Shearwater, and two Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel (Francis Yap). Note that pelagic sightings might not be in Singapore waters.

Lesser Frigatebird, STYW

Lesser Frigatebird spotted in the Straits of Singapore on 4 May 2019 by See Toh Yew Wai.

ST Shearwater, Fryap

Short-tailed Shearwater in the Straits of Singapore on 19 May 2019 by Francis Yap.

Brown Booby, Fryap

Brown Booby spotted during a pelagic trip in the Singapore Strait on 19 May 2019 by Francis Yap.

Abbreviations:
BTNR: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park
JEG: Jurong Eco-Garden
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
TEG: Tampines Eco-Green

This report is written by Geoff Lim, adding to records compiled by Alan OwYong, and is 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 Siew Mun, Benson Brighton, Julie Wee, Vincent Lao, Esther Tan, David Tan, Phua Joo Yong, Terence Tan, Adrian Silas Tay, Liz How, Khong Yew, Angie Cheong, See Toh Yew Wai, Francis Yap for the use of their photos. 

References:

BirdLife International 2016. Hydrophasianus chirurgusThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22693543A93411790. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22693543A93411790.en. Downloaded on 18 June 2019.

Wells, D. R. (1999). The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula. London: Academic Press.

List of Species seen:

Family Species Date
Anatidae

 

Lesser Whistling Duck 1-May-19
Lesser Whistling Duck 2-May-19
Lesser Whistling Duck 5-May-19
Lesser Whistling Duck 11-May-19
Procellariidae

 

Short-tailed Shearwater 4-May-19
Short-tailed Shearwater 19-May-19
Podicipedidae

 

Little Grebe 6-May-19
Little Grebe 25-May-19
Ciconiidae Asian Openbill 4-May-19
Painted Stork 16-May-19
Ardeidae

 

Cinnamon Bittern 20-May-19
Cinnamon Bittern 26-May-19
Black Bittern 16-May-19
Black Bittern 17-May-19
Malayan Night Heron 12-May-19
Black-crowned Night Heron 16-May-19
Indian Pond Heron 1-May-19
Indian Pond Heron 2-May-19
Indian Pond Heron 3-May-19
Indian Pond Heron 4-May-19
Indian Pond Heron 5-May-19
Indian Pond Heron 11-May-19
Javan Pond Heron 1-May-19
Javan Pond Heron 2-May-19
Javan Pond Heron 4-May-19
Javan Pond Heron 5-May-19
Eastern Cattle Egret 8-May-19
Purple Heron 3-May-19
Intermediate Egret 29-May-19
Pacific Reef Heron 8-May-19
Pacific Reef Heron 11-May-19
Pacific Reef Heron 12-May-19
Pacific Reef Heron 21-May-19
Fregatidae Lesser Frigatebird 4-May-19
Sulidae Brown Booby 19-May-19
Pandionidae Western Osprey 8-May-19
Accipitridae

 

Oriental Honey Buzzard 11-May-19
Crested Serpent Eagle 4-May-19
Crested Serpent Eagle 20-May-19
Crested Serpent Eagle 25-May-19
Changeable Hawk-Eagle 16-May-19
Crested Goshawk 10-May-19
Crested Goshawk 26-May-19
Crested Goshawk 30-May-19
Rallidae

 

Slaty-breasted Rail 5-May-19
Slaty-breasted Rail 14-May-19
Baillon’s Crake 4-May-19
Ruddy-breasted Crake 4-May-19
Common Moorhen 1-May-19
Common Moorhen 11-May-19
Charadriidae

 

Grey Plover 26-May-19
Malaysian Plover 10-May-19
Malaysian Plover 20-May-19
Rostratulidae Greater Painted-Snipe 18-May-19
Jacanidae Pheasant-tailed Jacana 5-May-19
Scolopacidae Bar-tailed Godwit 26-May-19
Laridae

 

Little Tern 6-May-19
Little Tern 9-May-19
Columbidae

 

Common Emerald Dove 1-May-19
Jambu Fruit Dove 8-May-19
Green Imperial Pigeon 4-May-19
Cuculidae

 

Greater Coucal 19-May-19
Greater Coucal 20-May-19
Banded Bay Cuckoo 16-May-19
Rusty-breasted Cuckoo 18-May-19
Drongo Cuckoo 19-May-19
Drongo Cuckoo 30-May-19
Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo 12-May-19
Tytonidae

 

Eastern Barn Owl 5-May-19
Eastern Barn Owl 7-May-19
Eastern Barn Owl 12-May-19
Eastern Barn Owl 18-May-19
Eastern Barn Owl 19-May-19
Strigidae

 

Spotted Wood Owl 1-May-19
Spotted Wood Owl 2-May-19
Apodidae

 

House Swift 1-May-19
House Swift 4-May-19
House Swift 10-May-19
Alcedinidae

 

Blue-eared Kingfisher 16-May-19
Blue-eared Kingfisher 25-May-19
Common Kingfisher 17-May-19
Common Kingfisher 24-May-19
Meropidae

 

Blue-throated Bee-eater 6-May-19
Blue-throated Bee-eater 11-May-19
Megalaimidae

 

Red-crowned Barbet 4-May-19
Red-crowned Barbet 14-May-19
Red-crowned Barbet 18-May-19
Red-crowned Barbet 21-May-19
Picidae

 

Banded Woodpecker 6-May-19
Laced Woodpecker 7-May-19
Laced Woodpecker 10-May-19
Buff-rumped Woodpecker 25-May-19
Buff-rumped Woodpecker 26-May-19
Psittacidae

 

Long-tailed Parakeet 7-May-19
Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot 4-May-19
Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot 13-May-19
Pittidae Blue-winged Pitta 14-May-19
Pachycephalidae Mangrove Whistler 25-May-19
Laniidae

 

Brown Shrike 7-May-19
Brown Shrike 12-May-19
Corvidae Large-billed Crow 1-May-19
Pycnonotidae

 

Black-headed Bulbul 4-May-19
Black-crested Bulbul 31-May-19
Red-whiskered bulbul 25-May-19
Cream-vented Bulbul 20-May-19
Phylloscopidae

 

Arctic Warbler 9-May-19
Arctic Warbler 12-May-19
Arctic Warbler 17-May-19
Eastern Crowned Warbler 9-May-19
Acrocephalidae

 

Oriental Reed Warbler 2-May-19
Oriental Reed Warbler 6-May-19
Black-browed Reed Warbler 21-May-19
Black-browed Reed Warbler 21-May-19
Locustellidae Lanceolated Warbler 5-May-19
Timaliidae

 

Chestnut-winged Babbler 18-May-19
Chestnut-winged Babbler 19-May-19
Chestnut-winged Babbler 20-May-19
Pellorneidae Short-tailed Babbler 12-May-19
Leiothrichidae Chinese Hwamei 20-May-19
Irenidae Asian Fairy-Bluebird 3-May-19
Sturnidae Asian Glossy Starling 1-May-19
Muscicapidae Dark-sided Flycatcher 4-May-19
Chloropseidae

 

Greater Green Leafbird 12-May-19
Blue-winged Leafbird 5-May-19
Blue-winged Leafbird 10-May-19
Blue-winged Leafbird 18-May-19
Blue-winged Leafbird 20-May-19
Nectariniidae Little Spiderhunter 4-May-19
Estrildidae

 

Chestnut Munia 5-May-19
Chestnut Munia 6-May-19
Chestnut Munia 16-May-19
Motacillidae Eastern Yellow Wagtail 8-May-19

Singapore Bird Report – April 2019

by Geoff Lim, Alan Owyong (compiler), & Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

April continues to see the exodus of migratory species, while residents breed, nest and raise their young. This month also sees the appearance of the Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike at a previously unrecorded location.

BWFCS, Jan 2018, Jelutong, Thio Hb

Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike from Jelutong Tower taken on 20 January 2018 by Thio Hui Bing.

New Location for Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike

A Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus was spotted during the early morning hours of 22 April 2019 by Fadzrun Adnan at the Dairy Farm Nature Park. Here is Fadzrun’s own narrative of how he stumbled upon the bird:

On the morning of 22nd April, I dropped by Dairy Farm Nature Park hoping to see the scarce Jambu Fruit Dove. When I came to the False Curry Trees, the trees were indeed bearing fruit but the target bird refused to make any appearance at such an early hour. I turned around to have a better look at the clumsy Red-crowned Barbet that was feeding just above the corner of the Wallace Education Centre. As I was admiring the bird and chatting away with a fellow birder, a most inconspicuous but clearly black-and-white bird flew in to perch on some tall snags. A brief view on the binoculars showing the black upperparts and the white underparts readily confirmed its identity as the Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, a rare visitor to our forests. That sharp black-white delineation on the face is unmistakeable! 

From my experience with this species in Malaysia, this flycatcher-sized bird with a rather slim appearance keeps strictly to the canopy. It may occasionally descend to mid-storey to prey on insects. It is most easily seen when it perches quietly on some sparse snags, just as how I came across one that morning. It was rather unfortunate that the bird soon went out of sight just as some other birders hastily arrived, hoping to have a glimpse of this elusive bird.

Prior to this, this rare visitor was seen only at two other locales – Jelutong Tower, within the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, and at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin. The Jelutong sightings occurred on 11 February 2013 (Chan Tsan Tsai and Geoff Lim), on 23 August 2013 (Francis Yap), and 20 January 2018 (Martin Kennewell, Thio Hui Bing and Richard Carden). The Ubin sightings occurred on 28 June 2015, seen by by visiting German birdwatcher, Wolfgang Kraemer, and on 6 May 2018 by Lim Kim Seng during the Comprehensive Ubin Biodiversity Survey (CUBS). The bird was formally accepted into the Singapore list in 2013.

Wells (2009: 107 – 109) noted that the species is generally a loner, though they occur more commonly in pairs and less often in small parties. A lowland species that does not venture beyond 300m above sea level, the Flycatcher-shrike is more often found in the high open canopies of forests and tops of forest edge growth along clearings, logging tracks and other edge habitats. Generally known to be a gleaner that picks off small arthropods from the underside of leaves, the species also flies short sorties to snap at airborne prey before returning to the same perch.

Wells (2009: 109) suggested that evidence from observations of nest building, eggs and nestling suggests that egg laying occurs between February and July. Figure 1 provides a graphic representation of the sightings so far across the months of the year. While the sightings from April onwards could be possibly due to a post-breeding dispersal from Malaysia, the occurrences in January and February weaken this theory. Only time will tell whether these sightings are of non-breeding visitors from the north, or come from a local breeding population.

Figure 1

The following photographs from previous sightings in 2013 and 2018 serve to illustrate  Well’s points about the bird being mostly alone, and is usually perched in the open canopies of forests and vegetation along forest edge environments.

BWFCS, 2013, Jelutong, Chan Tsan Tsai

Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike from Jelutong Tower taken on 11 February 2013 by Chan Tsan Tsai

BWFCS, Aug 2013, Jelutong, Fryap

Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike from Jelutong Tower taken on 23 August 2013 by Francis Yap showing how dimunitive the bird is

Central Catchment, BTNR, DFNP & Bukit Brown

Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP) remains one of the more accessible and productive parks located at the fringes of the CCNR. During the month of April 2019, several resident and migratory species were spotted within the park. Besides Fadzrun’s Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, a Jambu Dove Ptilinopus jambu was spotted on 5 April 2019 by Lim Kim Seng, as was a Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus on 6 April 2019 by Martin Kennewell. The park also yielded a Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica on 19 April 2019 by YT Choong, a first for this year’s spring. A Common Iora Aegithinia tiphia was seen nesting on 24 April 2019 by Alan Owyong, while a juvenile male Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati was spotted on 27 April 2019 by Khong Yew.

Further afield, we had a report of a Siberian Blue Robin Larvivora cyane at Lower Pierce Trail on 5 April 2019 by Mei Hwang, while a Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata was spotted on 8 April 2019 at Upper Seletar by Lian Yee Ming. A Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus was reported at the Jungle Trail of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on 13 April 2019 by Kevin Choo; the bird was apparently present at this location since 30 March 2019. A Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis was also spotted at the Singapore Quarry pond on 14 April 2019 by Betty Shaw. During the Good Friday holiday on 19 April 2019, a Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealoides was heard calling beyond the stream next to Dillenia Hut by Yong Ding Li and Geoff Lim. The duo later joined Francis Yap and other birders to observe three Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps flying around the trees; one of which was a juvenile. A Pacific Swift Apus pacificus was spotted at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on 25 April 2019 by Richard White, while a Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus was seen at Bukit Brown on 27 April 2019 by Alvin Tan, a new location for this species of owl in Singapore.

BH Bulbul, 200419, Jelutong, Raymond Siew Kung Kiet

A Black-headed Bulbul taken on 21 April 2019 from Jelutong Tower by Raymond Siew Kung Kiet.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

A male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula xanthopygia was spotted at the Learning Forest on 7 April 2019 by Geoff Lim, who subsequently saw a  White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata at the Bambusetum on 21 April 2019.

YRFC, 070419, SBG, Geoff Lim

A Yellow-rumped Flycatcher seen on 7 April 2019 at the Learning Forest by Geoff Lim.

Central Singapore

Inter-specific interaction between a Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus and an Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus was observed on 4 April 2019 at Haig Road by Dawn Teo. The Falcon attacked the larger bird, which managed to escape.

PF, OHB, 040419, Haig Rd, Dawn Teo

Aerial combat between a Peregrine Falcon and Oriental Honey Buzzard captured by Dawn Teo over Haig Road on 4 April 2019.

A few days later on 7 April 2019, a Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata was seen at Bidadari, while David Tan reported that a Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis was found to have expired at the foot of a building on 13 April 2019 at Lorong Lew Lian, the first spring collision for 2019.

BWP, David Tan

The first spring collision casualty for 2019 – a Blue-winged Pitta recovered from Lorong Lew Lian on 13 April 2019 by David Tan.

Eastern Singapore

The eastern islands continue to be a haven for birds due to their relatively pristine condition. Several Pulau Ubin residents were seen. On 4 April 2019, a Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela was seen by Kelvin Ng and Michael Phua, a Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus was seen on 7 April 2019, while a Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha was spotted on 20 April 2019 by Goh Zai Fa.  

Pasir Ris and its environs also attracted several species of good birds, such as a male Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki at Pasir Ris Park on 4 April 2019, up to 33 Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocynus javanica at Pasir Ris Industrial Park area on 5 April 2019 by Alfred Chia, an oddly displaced Greater Racquet-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus on 7 April 2019 at Pasir Ris Farmway 3 by Adrian Silas Tay, and three Black-naped Terns Sterna sumatrana off Pasir Ris Park on 28 April 2019 by Norhafiani A Majid.

Further afield, we received a report of an Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus at Tampines Eco Green, which was spotted by Willam Mahoney on 28 April 2019, while David Tan brought the tragic news of Singapore’s third record of a Band-bellied Crake Porzana paykulli found dead on 29 April 2019, possibly 2-3 days after colliding with a window at Temasek Polytechnic. Also, a Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus was seen at Hougang Avenue 1 by Francis Chia on 30 April 2019.

BBC, 290419, Temasek Poly, found by Sunny Tan, pic by David Tan (3rd record)

The third record of the Band-bellied Crake in Singapore, found expired at Temasek Polytechnic on 29 April 2019 and collected by David Tan.

Southern Singapore

An Abbott’s Babbler Malacocincla abbotti was heard on 9 April 2019 at the Mount Imbiah Trail on Sentosa by John Marriott, while a Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela was spotted on 15 April 2019 by Isabelle Lee. Three Common Hill Myna Gracula religiosa, along with a Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchus on 17 April 2019 at Gilman Barracks by Alan Owyong. An adult male Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus was seen on 24 April 2019 by Tay Kian Guan.

Western Singapore

A number of species were encountered at West Coast Park during the first week of April 2019. A male Amur Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone incei with an elongated tail was spotted on 4 April 2019 by Vincent Ng, while another bird without long tail streamers was seen on the same day by Veronica Foo, who also spotted a Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata and a dark morph Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra. On the next day, 5 April 2019, a solitary Abbott’s Babbler Malacocincla abbotti was spotted within the Marsh Garden by Alan Owyong, while a Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris was spotted by Siew Mun within the park grounds.

Veteran birder, Alan Owyong, braved the wet fields around Bulim Drive on 3 April and spotted one male and three female Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis. He also heard five cryptic Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata, a species which is extremely difficult to see in the wild.

Few birders ventured to the vicinity around Kranji Marsh. Those who did on 7 and 10 April 2019 reported spotting the Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans; one bird was seen on the 7th at Harvest Lane by Jayden Kwek, while two were spotted on the 10th by Tan Eng Boo along Turut Track.

Asian Openbill, 150419, Turut Track, Tan Eng Boo

Two Asian Openbills at Turut Track on 15 April 2019 and photographed by Tan Eng Boo.

A stone’s throw away at SBWR yielded a white morph Asian-type Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone sp. with a long tail on 13 April 2019, which was spotted by Leong Peng Chor, while a Banded Woodpecker Chrysophlegma miniaceum was seen on 19 April 2019 by Kenneth Kee.

Some birders venturing into the western end of Singapore were amply rewarded. A Barred Button Quail Turnix suscitator and a Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda were spotted on 7 April 2019 at Tuas South by Fadzrun Adnan and Martin Kennewell; while a Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida was seen on 16 April 2019 inside a construction site at Gul Circle by John Marshall.

Towards the end of the month, an Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii delighted bird photographer Tuck Loong when he stumbled upon the bird in the lotus pond at Japanese Garden on 28 April 2019.

IPH, Tuck Loong

An Indian Pond Heron at Japanese Garden on 28 April 2019 and photographed by Tuck Loong.

=======================================================

Pelagic 

Two Short-tailed Shearwater Puffinus tenuiroistris were spotted on 28 April 2019 along the Straits of Singapore by Martin Kennewell and friends. Note that pelagic sightings might not be in Singapore waters.

STSW, 280419, Sg straits, Feroz

One of two Short-tailed Shearwater seen on 28 April 2019 along the Singapore Straits and photographed by Feroz.

Abbreviations:
BTNR: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park
JEG: Jurong Eco-Garden
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
TEG: Tampines Eco-Green

This report is written by Geoff Lim based on listings compiled by Alan OwYong, 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 Chan Tsan Tsai, Francis Yap, Thio Hui Bing, Raymond Siew Kung Kiet, Geoff Lim, Dawn Teo, David Tan, Tan Eng Boo, Tuck Loong and Feroz  for the use of their photos. 

 Reference:
Wells, D. R. (2009). The Birds of Thai-Malay Peninsula. Vol. 2. Passerines. London: Academic Press. 

List of Species seen:

Family Species Date
Anatidae Lesser Whistling Duck 5 Apr 2019
Procellariidae Short-tailed Shearwater 28 Apr 2019
Ciconiidae Asian Openbill 7 Apr 2019
Asian Openbill 10 Apr 2019
Ardeidae Von Schrenck’s Bittern 6 Apr 2019
Black Bittern 14 Apr 2019
Indian Pond Heron 28 Apr 2019
Pacific Reef Heron 4 Apr 2019
Accipitridae Crested Serpent Eagle 4 Apr 2019
Crested Serpent Eagle 15 Apr 2019
Rallidae Band-bellied Crake 29 Apr 2019
Turnicidae Barred Button Quail 7 Apr 2019
Rostratulidae Greater Painted Snipe 3 Apr 2019
Laridae Black-naped Tern 28 Apr 2019
Columbidae Jambu Fruit Dove 5 Apr 2019
Cuculidae Chestnut-winged Cuckoo 13 Apr 2019
Drongo Cuckoo 5 Apr 2019
Strigidae Barred Eagle-Owl 7 Apr 2019
Barred Eagle-Owl 7 Apr 2019
Barred Eagle-Owl 27 Apr 2019
Apodidae Pacific Swift 25 Apr 2019
Alcedinidae Ruddy Kingfisher 7 Apr 2019
Black-capped Kingfisher 4 Apr 2019
Black-capped Kingfisher 8 Apr 2019
Picidae Banded Woodpecker 19 Apr 2019
Falconidae Peregrine Falcon 5 Apr 2019
Peregrine Falcon 30 Apr 2019
Pittidae Hooded Pitta 16 Apr 2019
  Blue-winged Pitta 14 Apr 2019
  Mangrove Pitta 20 Apr 2019
Tephrodornithidae Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike 22 Apr 2019
Aegithinidae Common Iora 24 Apr 2019
Laniidae Tiger Shrike 24 Apr 2019
Dicruridae Greater Racquet-tailed Drongo 7 Apr 2019
Monarchidae Amur Paradise Flycatcher 4 Apr 2019
Amur Paradise Flycatcher 4 Apr 2019
Japanese Paradise Flycatcher 7 Apr 2019
Asian-type Paradise Flycatcher sp 13 Apr 2019
Corvidae Large-billed Crow 17 Apr 2019
Pycnonotidae Black-headed Bulbul 19 Apr 2019
Phylloscopidae Sakhalin Leaf Warbler 19 Apr 2019
Eastern Crowned Warbler 28 Apr 2019
Locustellidae Lanceolated Warbler 3 Apr 2019
Pellorneidae Abbott’s Babbler 5 Apr 2019
Abbott’s Babbler 9 Apr 2019
Sturnidae Common Hill Myna 17 Apr 2019
Muscicapidae Dark-sided Flycatcher 21 Apr 2019
Siberian Blue Robin 5 Apr 2019
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 7 Apr 2019
Mugimaki Flycatcher 4 Apr 2019
Chloropseidae Greater Green Leafbird 27 Apr 2019
Estrildidae White-rumped Munia 21 Apr 2019

Singapore Bird Report – March 2019

by Geoff Lim & Alan OwYong, edited by Tan Gim Cheong

March 2019 continues to witness the return migration of birds back to their northern breeding grounds. We were also treated to the arrival of a solitary Asian Openbill, a small species of stork that last visited us in January 2013.

Asian Openbill, Francis Yap

The Asian Openbill photographed at Sungei Buloh on 23 March 2019 by Francis Yap.

Openbill Visitation

On 14 March 2019, an Asian Openbill Anastomus ocsitans was spotted at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) by visiting Australian birders, Grant and Clare Morton, who sent an email to Nature Society (Singapore) to report the sighting. The bird was subsequently spotted again at SBWR,  sparking off an intense hunt for the bird in the days that ensued.

The first record of the species occurred three years ago, on 23 January 2013, when six birds were found feeding in a waterlogged grass patch close to Seletar Airport. These were thought to be part of larger groups of birds that flew southwards down Peninsula Malaysia. The appearance in 2013, along with the current record, represent the southernmost record of the species to date. Further information about the sighting can be found here.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR)

Migrants continued to be observed within the CCNR in the month of March. A Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka was seen on 5 March 2019 from Jelutong Tower by Kelvin Ng while Eastern Crowned Warblers Phylloscopus coronatus were spotted at Venus Drive and Windsor Nature Park on 10 March 2019 by Benson Brighton and Russell Boyman, respectively. On 15 March 2019, a juvenile Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus was seen at Hindhede Nature Park as it stalked along the forest floor and was stumbled upon by Fadzrun Adnan and Richard White. The last time we had a publicly recorded sighting of the heron was at the Singapore Botanic Gardens in April 2018.

MNH, Goh Yew Lin

A Malayan Night Heron photographed at Hindhede Park on 15 March 2019 by Goh Yew Lin and discovered by Richard White.

The following week yielded reports of flycatchers in Singapore’s central green core. A Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia was spotted at Dairy Farm Nature Park on 17 March 2019 by Zhang Licong, as was an Asian Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone species, which was fleetingly seen at Lower Pierce by Vincent Lao, who did not have sufficient time to identify it further. A Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda was seen at Venus Link on 22 March 2019 by Richard White, while a Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis was spotted at the Singapore Quarry on 24 March 2019 by Veronica Foo.

YRFC, ZLC

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher photographed at Dairy Farm Nature Park on 17 March 2019 by Zhang Licong.

Residents species observed include an Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster on 11 March 2019 at the Hindhede Quarry by Richard White, quite possibly the same bird as the one seen at the Singapore Quarry; three male Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus chasing and calling to a female for more than 30 minutes in the high boughs of a stand of Albizia trees in Hindhede Nature Park on 16 March 2019 by Alan Owyong; and a male Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu on 24 March 2019 at Dairy Farm Nature Park by Vincent Lao.

Jambu, Vincent Lao

Jambu Fruit Dove at Dairy Farm Nature Park on 24 March 2019 and photographed by Vincent Lao

Northern Singapore

A Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea was seen around the vicinity of Seletar Camp on 13 March 2019 by Timothy Chua, who also spotted a Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica on 17 March 2019 at Woodlands Town Park.

Eastern Singapore

Birders at Pasir Ris Park noted the movement of cuckoos during the month of March. A Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor was seen on 8 March 2019 by Wong Sangmen, as was another spotted on 26 March 2019 by Alvin Seng. Three sightings of a Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus were made on 17 March 2019 by Feroz, while a Large Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparveroides was seen on 19 March 2019 by Fabius Tan. The last week of March yielded a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia on 26 March 2019 by Wong Sangmen, a Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki on 28 March 2019 by Khoo Mei Lin and a Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythymus on 31 March 2019 by Wong Keng.

LHC, Fabius Tan

The Large Hawk Cuckoo photographed on 19 March 2019 by Fabius Tan.

Further afield, two Jerdons Baza Aviceda jerdoni was spotted at the Pasir Ris Farmway 3 on 10 March 2019 by Vincent Lao, while a Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes was seen on 23 March 2019 on Pulau Tekong by Frankie Cheong. Rare non-breeding visitors reported from this regions included a pair of Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis species on Pulau Ubin on 7 March 2019 by Chris Sanderson.

Central Singapore

A Hodgsons Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor was spotted lurking in the remnants of Bidadari on 10 March 2019 by Mike Hooper.

Southern Singapore

The southern green lung that is collectively formed by Gardens-by-the-Bay and Satay-by-the-Bay attracted several species of migratory and resident birds during the month of March 2019. On 2 March 2019, a Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus was spotted in the Gardens by Martine Ruane. A juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax was seen at the pond next to Satay-by-the-Bay on 14 March 2019 by Veronica Foo, while a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting made its appearance in the canals near the Meadow on 25 March 2019.

BEKF, Siew Mun

The Blue-eared Kingfisher at Gardens by the Bay. This photograph was taken on 27 March 2019 by Siew Mun.

A Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata appeared in a tree near the pond next to Satay-by-the-Bay on 26 March 2019 as reported by Andy Chew. This is an unusual location for the species which is usually seen/heard around the central forests only. It continued to be seen over the next few days until the last report on 31 March 2019 made in social media.

BHO, Herman

Brown Hawk Owl by the Bay and photographed in March 2019 by Herman Phua.

Farther afield, we received a report of a Pacific Swift Apus pacificus over Henderson Wave on 5 March 2019 by Keita Sin, who also reported movement across the hills of Kent Ridge Park on 8 March 2019 of one Common Buzzard Buteo buteo and three Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indus.

Western Singapore

The Kranji Marsh-Neo Tiew area continued to yield reports during this month as well. Social media continued to report the presence of wintering Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus at Harvest Lane, while five Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum were spotted on 22 March 2019 at the same location by Deborah Friets. Twelve Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola were also spotted at Harvest Lane on 24 March 2019 by Alan Chou, as was a “Swintail” Snipe Gallinago sp. on 26 March 2019 by Gabriel Koh, and a Stejnegers Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri on 29 March 2019 by Alan Owyong, which is later than the previous extreme date of 28 March for this species (note: the individual was still around well into April). Within Kranji Marsh, a Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa was spotted on 23 March 2019 by Lim Kim Seng.

STJ Stonechat, AOY

Alan Owyong captured this Stejneger’s Stonechat on 29 March 2019 at Harvest Link

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) continued to support shorebirds and waterbirds. Apart from the spectacular report of a solitary Asian Openbill mentioned above, the Reserve continued to attract species such as Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinerus on 23 March 2019 by Gabriel Koh, Khoo Mei Lin and friends, the regular congregation of Great Egrets Ardea alba reported on 30 March 2019 by Lee Van Hien, one male Japanese Paradise Flycatcher  Terpsiphone artrocaudata on 31 March 2019 by Marvin Heng, and five thermaling Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus, also on 31 March 2019 by Adrian Silas Tay.

Birders and photographers drawn by the Grey-headed Fish Eagle along Pandan Canal reported other species. A Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus was seen on 3 March 2019 by Steven Wong, as was an Abbotts Babbler Malacocincla abbotti and Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus on 20 March 2019 by Alan Owyong. A Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata was reported on 29 March 2019 by Ash Foo, a new record for the location.

Other species reported from this region include a pair of Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus sauluris on 6 March 2019 at Tuas Naval Base by Kerry Pereira,  a first for this part of Singapore. Within the compounds of the Jurong Bird Park on 31 March 2019, two Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis were seen together before one of them surreptitiously flew to an embankment and waited for about a minute and a half or so before walking into the undergrowth and disappearing into the thick scrub, leaving Geoff Lim to wonder if they were nesting.

Breeding-related activities

Nesting by Collared Kingfisher Todirhampus chloris was reported on 10 March 2019 at Queens Drive by Cheng Li Ai; another pair was followed by many bird photographers in Clementi during the same period, reported by Khoo Mei Lin, and the chicks fledged on 19 and 20 March 2019. Other breeding behaviour reported include the sighting of the critically endangered Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus on 9 March 2019 at Bukit Batok Nature Park by Lim Kim Chuah, who saw a pair with a juvenile, suggesting that breeding had taken place within the Park.

Abbreviations:
BTNR: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park
JEG: Jurong Eco-Garden
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
TEG: Tampines Eco-Green

This report is written by Geoff Lim based on listings compiled by Alan OwYong, 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 Francis Yap, Goh Yew Lin, Zhang Licong, Vincent Lao, Fabius Tan, Siew Mun and Alan Owyong for the the use of their photos. 

List of Species seen:

Family Species Date
Ciconiidae Asian Openbill 14-Mar-19
Asian Openbill 17-Mar-19
Lesser Adjutant** 31-Mar-19
Ardeidae Von Schrenck’s Bittern 31-Mar-19
Black Bittern 24-Mar-19
Malayan Night Heron 15-Mar-19
Black-crowned Night Heron## 14-Mar-19
Chinese Pond Heron 3-Mar-19
Javan Pond Heron 23-Mar-19
Great Egret 30-Mar-19
Chinese Egret 23-Mar-19
Anhingidae Oriental  Darter* 11-Mar-19
Accipitridae Jerdon’s Baza 10-Mar-19
Grey-faced Buzzard 8-Mar-19
Grey-faced Buzzard 13-Mar-19
Common Buzzard 8-Mar-19
Scolopacidae Swinhoe’s Snipe 26-Mar-19
Wood Sandpiper 24-Mar-19
Terek Sandpiper 23-Mar-19
Glareolidae Oriental Pratincole 22-Mar-19
Columbidae Jambu Fruit Dove* 24-Mar-19
Cuculidae Greater Coucal 31-Mar-19
Chestnut-winged Cuckoo 30-Mar-19
Violet Cuckoo## 16-Mar-19
Little Bronze Cuckoo 20-Mar-19
Plaintive Cuckoo 17-Mar-19
Large Hawk-Cuckoo 19-Mar-19
Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo 8-Mar-19
Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo 10-Mar-19
Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo 26-Mar-19
Strigidae Brown Hawk-Owl 26-Mar-19
Caprimulgidae Grey Nightjar 5-Mar-19
Apodidae Pacific Swift 5-Mar-19
Alcedinidae Ruddy Kingfisher## 22-Mar-19
Black-capped Kingfisher 29-Mar-19
Collared Kingfisher 10-Mar-19
Collared Kingfisher 20-Mar-19
Blue-eared Kingfisher## 25-Mar-19
Picidae Buff-rumped Woodpecker 7-Mar-19
Dicruridae Black Drongo 17-Mar-19
Monarchidae Asian Paradise Flycatcher 17-Mar-19
Japanese Paradise Flycatcher* 31-Mar-19
Pycnonotidae Straw-headed Bulbul##** 9-Mar-19
Phylloscopidae Yellow-browed Warbler 2-Mar-19
Eastern Crowned Warbler 10-Mar-19
Eastern Crowned Warbler 10-Mar-19
Pellorneidae Abbott’s Babbler 20-Mar-19
Muscicapidae Oriental Magpie-Robin## 6-Mar-19
Dark-sided Flycatcher 17-Mar-19
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 17-Mar-19
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 26-Mar-19
Green-backed Flycatcher 22-Mar-19
Mugimaki Flycatcher 28-Mar-19
Stejneger’s Stonechat 29-Mar-19
Motacillidae Grey Wagtail 13-Mar-19

Singapore Bird Report – February 2019

February continues to dazzle with exciting migratory species, such as the elusive Slaty-legged Crake at Admiralty,  rare Sakhalin Leaf Warbler & Green-backed Flycatcher; rare resident race Ruddy Kingfisher at SBWR, as well as unusual sightings of familiar residents in new places. Chinese New Year treats include the Crakes and Chestnut-winged Cuckoo at Lorong Halus Wetland.

Slaty-legged Crake, 070219, Admiralty Park, Bee Choo Ng-Strange

Slaty-legged Crake at Admiralty Park on 7 February 2019, by Bee Choo Ng-Strange.

Slaty-legged Crake at Admiralty Park

The Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides is rare winter visitor and passage migrant that is elusive and seldom encountered. Although listed as being of least concern (BirdLife, 2016), the species is said to be in decline. A rather large crake measuring about 25cm in length, the species is said to breed across South Asia to the Philippines, and certain populations is known to migrate within the region.

The most recent report concerned one that was photographed in a basement carpark at Haig Road in December 2018, as well as a hitherto unreported sighting at Admiralty Park on 3 December 2018 by Luke Milo Teo, who had been unsure of the species of crake he had photographed until the postings of the Haig Road bird. These were preceded by one found dead at Sentosa in December 2016, and a record on Jurong Island in January 2015. Thus, a sighting on 7 February 2019 at Admiralty Park by veteran birder Morten Strange, and his wife Bee Choo, was therefore greeted with much enthusiasm.

The crake was also seen on 8 February 2019 by Keita Sin. The last confirmed sighting of the crake was on 9 February 2019, reported by Khoo MeiLin, who noted that the crake, along with several White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus, frequented an evaporating pool during twilight hours to bathe before returning to the thick undergrowth within the vicinity.

Geoff 1

Photograph of one of several White-breasted Waterhen in the pond frequented by the crake at Admiralty Park at 7pm on 12 February 2019, illustrating the less-than-ideal state of the pond; taken by Geoff Lim.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR)

Sightings within the CCNR were confined to the initial days of February. On 2 February 2019, an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx erithaca (black-backed subspecies), Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans and an unidentified Hawk Cuckoo were spotted around the vicinity of Dillenia Hut by Thio Hui Bing. Another Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (black-backed subspecies) was spotted on 6 February 2019, as was a Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae by Raghav Narayanswamy. The same day also yielded a Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealoides at the MacRitchie Reservoir Park for Geoff Lim.

GBFC, Feb 19, Rifle Link, Fryap

This Green-backed Flycatcher was spotted sometime in February 2019 along Rifle Range Link, by Francis Yap.

Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG)

On 8 February 2019, a Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans was spotted at SBG’s Learning Forest by Karyne Wee. On 17 February 2019, two White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata were spotted feeding in the Bambusetum by visiting Dutch ecologist, Tessa van Vreeswijk and Geoff Lim.

CB Drongo, 080219, SBG, Karyne Wee

A Crow-billed Drongo spotted inside the Learning Forest by Karyne Wee on 8 February 2019.

Geoff 2

A White-rumped Munia at the Bambusetum on 17 February 2019. Photo by Geoff Lim

Northern Singapore

Prior to the Chinese New Year season, Lorong Halus was a hotbed of activity due to the continued appearance of two rallids and a charismatic cuckoo. A Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus on 2 February 2019 was reported by Lee Yue Teng, while a Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca was seen on the same day by Kok M Lee. Also spotted and posted on social media was the elusive Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla. The crake had been sighted in end December 2018 and continued to be seen in the reedbeds at the Lorong Halus Wetland during the Chinese New Year holidays.

CWC, 020219, Halus, Lee Yue Teng

A Chestnut-winged Cuckoo photographed at Lorong Halus on 2 February 2019 by Lee Yue Teng.

RB Crake, GEral KC Lim

A Ruddy-breasted Crake at Lorong Halus on 3 February 2019. Photo taken by Gerald KC Lim.

Visitors to Baker Street on 3 February 2019 noted the presence of two species of skulking bittern around the pond’s perimeter. A Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis was spotted by See Toh Yew Wai, while a Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was seen by Pan Denan. The pond also attracted a Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu, which was seen on 21 February 2019 by Khoo Mei Lin.

BFO, 210219, Baker St, Khoo MeiLin

A Buffy Fish Owl was spotted at Baker Street on 21 February 2019; photo by Khoo MeiLin

Apart from the Slaty-legged Crake reported on 7 February 2019 by Morten Strange, other species reported in the north included a spectacular roosting by about 600-700 Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus at Yishun Ring Road reported by Alfred Chia, a female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula xanthopygia at Admiralty Park on 11 February 2019 by Alan Owyong, two Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax at Serangoon Reservor on 13 February 2019 by Wong Keng, and a Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida provided some relief to students when it flew in and out of a classroom at Anderson Secondary School on 15 February 2019, reported by Mohd Nasir Sani.

Eastern Singapore

Visitors to Pulau Ubin in February 2019 reported the presence of a Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus at Chek Jawa on 3 February 2019 (Adrian Silas Tay), as well as four Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus on 8 February 2019 by Teo Kah Ming, Joseph Lai and Joseph Lin. A Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus was spotted at Pasir Ris Park on 12 Feb 2019 by Alvin Seng, while a Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni was seen on Coney Island on 28 February 2019.

Southern Singapore

A Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis found its way into an apartment at Geylang Lorong 29 on 12 February 2019 and injured itself during the process; the bird was reported by Kelvin Goh. A similar bittern was seen on 17 January 2019 at the Marine Parade Polyclinic and reported in last month’s report. A Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax turned up at Satay-by-the-Bay on 20 February 2019 and was reported by Sim Chip Chye. On the same day, a Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans was spotted on Sentosa by Alfred Chia. The island yielded an Orange-headed Thrush Geokichla citrina at Imbiah Falls on 28 February 2019 when Lim Kim Seng and David Mostardi visited the site.

Western Singapore

Western Singapore continued to provide an astonishing number of reports, given that many local Important Bird Areas are clustered in this part of the island nation.

The area around Kranj Marsh continues to support a wide variety of species. The marshes themselves hosted a Watercock Gallicrex cinerea, which was spotted on 3 February 2019 by Veronica Foo; while a Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis was encountered at Turut Track on 22 February 2019.

The nearby canal at Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 supported a variety of species; a Pintail Snipe Gallinago stenura on 2 February 2019 by Benson Brighton, a Greater Painted Snipe Rostatula benghalensis on 3 February 2019 by Lim Kim Seng, an Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis, two Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus, three White Wagtail Motacilla alba ocularis, four Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola, and five Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius  on 5 February 2019 by Yong Ding Li, Koji Ichiyama & Geoff Lim, as well as a Watercock Gallicrex cinerea on 6 February 2019 by Art Toh. Two adult and two juvenile Common Moorhen were spotted by Khoo Mei Lin on 6 February 2019 also.

Watercock, Art Toh

A Watercock spotted at Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 on 6 February 2019 by Art Toh.

Geoff 3

The environs of the Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 drain at low tide on 5 February 2019, visited by a Common Moorhen, a White-breasted Waterhen and a Little Egret, photo by Geoff Lim

GEoff 4

White Wagtail at Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 on 5 February 2019, spotted by Yong Ding Li, Koji Ichiyama and Geoff Lim

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) continued to surprise birders. On 4 February 2019, a rare resident race Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda minor with a strong purplish gloss to its back was photographed by Siew Mun. Several days later on 7 February 2019, seven Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus were seen by Low Choon How, the highest number to date. An Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster was seen on 11 February 2019 by Lim Kim Keang and Veronica Foo.

Ruddy KF, 040219, SBWR, Siew Mun

The Ruddy Kingfisher at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Photo taken by Siew Mun on 4 February 2019.

Farther afield in the west, we received news of a Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka along the railway track near Bukit Timah Drive by Richard White, who also noted the phenomenal congregation of about 660 Blue-throated Bee-eaters Merops viridis at Eng Kong Place on 9 February 2019.

Holland Drive yielded a Common Buzzard Buteo buteo on 4 February 2019 by Art Toh, a Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus on 5 February 2019 by Arasu Sivaraman and Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo on 25 February 2019 by Cedric Tan, an apparent first for the location.

Common Buzzard, 050219, Holland Dr, Art Toh

A Common Buzzard at Holland Drive on 4 February 2019 as photographed by Art Toh.

SWO, 260219, Holland Dr, Khoo MeiLin

Two Spotted Wood Owl at Holland Drive photographed on 26 February 2019 by Khoo MeiLin.

A fishing Grey-headed Fish-eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus at Pandan River attracted a steady following of bird photographers and birders alike, resulting in reports of a Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis and a Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus on 21 February 2019 by Alan Owyong.

The West Coast Park complex yielded three Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea on 21 February 2019 at the Pasir Panjang Canal by Alan Voo, as well as a Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor on 27 February 2019 by Steven Wong.

Abbreviations:
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
SBTB: Satay by the Bay

This report is based on records compiled by Alan OwYong, written by Geoff Lim, and edited by Tan Gim Cheong. The records are 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 Bee Choo Ng-Strange, Khoo MeiLin, Francis Yap, Karyne Wee, Lee Yue Teng, Gerald KC Lim, Art Toh, Siew Mun and Geoff Lim for the use of their photos. 

References
BirdLife International (2016). Rallina eurizonoidesThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22692317A93347854. Downloaded on 27 March 2019.

List of Birds seen in February 2019

Family Species Date Location
Ciconiidae

 

Lesser Adjutant 8-Feb Pulau Ubin
Lesser Adjutant 7-Feb SBWR
Ardeidae

 

Cinnamon Bittern 3-Feb Baker Street
Cinnamon Bittern 21-Feb Pandan Canal
Black Bittern 3-Feb Baker Street
Black Bittern 12-Feb Geylang Lor 29
Black Bittern 21-Feb Pandan Canal
Black-crowned Night-heron 20-Feb SBTB
Black-crowned Night-heron 13-Feb Serangoon Reservoir
Anhingidae Oriental Darter 11-Feb SBWR
Accipitridae

 

Jerdon’s Baza 28-Feb Coney Island
Grey-headed Fish-eagle 8-Feb Pandan Canal
Common Buzzard 4-Feb Holland Drive
Rallidae

 

Slaty-legged Crake 7-Feb Admiralty Park
Ruddy-breasted Crake 2-Feb Lor Halus
Watercock 3-Feb Kranji Marsh
Watercock 6-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Common Moorhen 5-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Common Moorhen 6-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Charadriidae Little Ringed Plover 5-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Rostratulidae Greater Painted Snipe 3-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Scolopacidae

 

Pin-tailed Snipe 2-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Wood Sandpiper 5-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Broad-billed Sandpiper 3-Feb Pulau Ubin
Cuculidae

 

Chestnut-winged Cuckoo 2-Feb Lor Halus
Banded Bay Cuckoo 12-Feb Pasir Ris Park
Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo 27-Feb West Coast Park
Hawk Cuckoo 2-Feb CCNR
Strigidae

 

Buffy Fish Owl 21-Feb Baker Street
Spotted Wood Owl 25-Feb Holland Drive
Caprimulgidae

 

Grey Nightjar 4-Feb Bukit Timah  Drive
Savanna Nightjar 22-Feb Turut Track
Alcedinidae

 

Ruddy Kingfisher 4-Feb SBWR
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher 2-Feb CCNR
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher 6-Feb CCNR
Meropidae

 

Blue-tailed Bee-eater 5-Feb Yishun Ring Road
Blue-throated Bee-eater 9-Feb Eng Khong Place
Falconidae Peregrine Falcon 5-Feb Holland Drive
Pittidae Hooded Pitta 15-Feb Anderson Sec School
Dicruridae

 

Crow-billed Drongo 2-Feb CCNR
Crow-billed Drongo 14-Feb Singapore Botanic Gardens
Crow-billed Drongo 20-Feb Sentosa
Phylloscopidae Sakhalin Warbler 6-Feb CCNR
Turdidae Orange-headed Thrush 28-Feb Sentosa
Muscicapidae

 

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 11-Feb Admiralty Park
Green-backed Flycatcher 6-Feb CCNR
Motacillidae

 

Eastern Yellow Wagtail 5-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Grey Wagtail 21-Feb Pasir Panjang Canal
White Wagtail 5-Feb Lim Chu Kang Ave 3
Estrildidae White-rumped Munia 17-Feb Singapore Botanic Gardens

Asian Openbill-Singapore’s 2nd Record

On 17 March 2019, Beng Neo’s facebook post of an Open-billed Stork, Anastomus oscitans, taken at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve caused a stir among the birding community here. The next day birders and photographers lined up on the main bridge, hoping to tick off their lifers. They were not disappointed and all went home happy with great sightings and shots.

1-Beng Neo

Beng Neo’s shot of the Open-billed on the 17 March at SBWR.

Apparently Clare and Grant Morton, visiting birders from Australia first spotted this stork flying over the main hide on 14 March. They reported by email to the Nature Society (Singapore) and later confirmed it with a photo on the 19 March. Their sighting constituted only our second record of this stork in Singapore.

1-DSCN1008

Heavily cropped shot of the Openbill flying over SBWR on the 14th March by Clare and Grant Morton.

Our first record was on 23 January 2013 when six birds were spotted feeding in an open flooded field at Seletar North. They were part of a larger flock that made its way down south from Thailand along the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. This movement may be due to the dry conditions back in Thailand and the lack of food sources.

Mei Ling Khoo

Mei Ling Khoo’s shot of the balancing stork taken from the main bridge. This month there were several postings of this stork on the Wild Bird Club Malaysia Facebook pages. 15th at Bota Kiri and Kinta NP on 3rd both in Perak and Tanjong Karang, Selangor on 11th. According to Tou Jing Yi they can be found in many parts of the West Coast and are still supplemented by migrants.

Mahesh Krishan

Mahesh Krishnan caught it flying towards him at the main pond. The Asian Openbill is a common resident of India and parts of Indochina. Hundreds can be seen roosting in temples in Bangkok.

1-DSC03318

The abundance of mollusc at the main ponds will hopefully prolong its stay here. This photo made it look like they are using the gap to crack the snails but they actually pick out the flesh with the curved tip of its mandible.

1-DSC03029

A curious Monitor Lizard checking out the new arrival.

Reference: B.W. Low et al. First Record of the First Asian Openbill in Singapore. 2013.

Many thanks to Beng Neo, Clare and Grant Morton, Mahesh Krishnan, Khoo Mei Ling and Alan OwYong for the use of their photos and to Clare and Grant Morton for their record.

 

 

 

 

 

Singapore Bird Report – October 2018

Extinct from Singapore since the 1940s, the Large Woodshrike re-appears after 70 years. October also marks the arrival of the charismatic, migratory black-backed race of the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, and migrant raptors. In concert with the World Migratory Bird Day celebrated in October, we will examine the importance of Singapore as part of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, as well as the issue of bird collisions into building structures.

Large Woodshrike, 22 Oct 2018, Jelutong, Fryap, crop

Large Woodshrike at Jelutong Tower on 22 October 2018, moments before it disappeared as quickly as it appeared, by Francis Yap.

Large Woodshrike : re-appears after 70 years

Extinct from Singapore since the 1940s, a Large Woodshrike Tephrodornis virgatus  made an amazing appearance at Jelutong Tower on 22 October 2018 for a few seconds, long enough for Francis Yap to capture a clear photo, before it flew and disappeared into the canopy of the trees. The lucky observers, including Oliver Tan, also noted that its loud calls in flight matched the recordings of this species.

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

The northern black-backed race of the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx erithaca started to trickle into Singapore in October. The first of the season report of the kingfisher was made on 4 October 2018 at Gardens by the Bay by Goh Bak Seng, and the bird remained there for several days, allowing many birders and photographers to view it. Another bird was spotted on Pulau Ubin on 6 October 2018 by Lim Kim Seng. On 18 October 2018, the species was reported at Satay by the Bay by Billy Tey and at Kallang Sector 2 by Richard Ngo.

ODKF,-071018,-GBTB,-Angela-Yeo,-w

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (black-backed race) at Gardens by the Bay. Photographed on 7 October 2018 by Angela Yeo.

The Gardens by the Bay kingfisher subsequently found itself in the local news after it was attacked by a White-breasted Waterhen while drying out on the floor of the reed bed on 6 October 2018, and was rescued by the Gardens staff and two NSS Bird Group members. The bird was subsequently released back to the Gardens by one of the Bird Group members on 7 October 2018.

3

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher rescued by staff at Gardens by the Bay. Photographed on 6 October 2018 by Geoff Lim.

Wells (1997:518-521) noted that the species migrates nocturnally, and that about 65 per cent of birds surveyed at lighthouses were first winter birds. This suggested that the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (black-backed race) has a relatively low rate of survival.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve

The first Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica of the season was spotted at Bukit Timah on 6 October 2018 by Richard White, who also spotted a Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis brunneatus on Bukit Timah Hill on 15 October 2018, along with a flock of about 11 Pacific Swift Apus pacificus; another flock of about 210 birds were subsequently spotted on 22 October 2018 over Jelutong Tower by Martin Kennewell.  Six Oriental Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis, possibly passage migrants, were seen flying high and southwards on 20 October 2018 from Bukit Timah Hill by Richard White. Another first of the season was an Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus seen at Jelutong Tower on 19 October 2018 by Francis Yap, who also spotted a first-of-the-season Silver-backed Needletail Hirundapus cochinchinensis on 26 October 2018 from the same tower.

Silver-backed Needletail, Fryap

A photo-montage of a Silver-backed Needletail taken from Jelutong Tower on 26 October 2018 by Francis Yap.

Residents spotted during October were a Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu at Singapore Quarry on 6 October 2018 by Yap Wee Jin, a flock of about 40 Plume-toed Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta from Bukit Timah Hill on 16 October 2018 by Richard White, and the rediscovery of the Large Woodshrike Tephrodornis virgatus, a former resident, as mentioned earlier.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

A solitary and skulking Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis brunneatus was spotted within the Evolution Garden on 28 October 2018, along with a female Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis at Symphony Lake by Geoff Lim.

BCJFC, posted 121018, Bida, Steven Cheong

Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, at Bidadari on 12 October 2018 by Steven Cheong.

Central Singapore

A Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda, first for the season, was spotted at Bidadari on 12 October 2018 by Kozi Ichiyama, and continued to be seen till 27 October 2018 by many observers. Also spotted on 12 October 2018 at Bidadari was a first winter Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis brunneatus by Art Toh and Steven Cheong; three more of the same species of Flycatcher were also seen along the former cemetery’s perimeter on 27 October 2018 by Tuck Loong and others. In addition, a Cinereous Bulbul Hemixos cinereus, a non-breeding visitor, was recorded at Bidadari on 29 October 2018 by Terry Chen.

Ruddy KF, 191018, Bida, Terence Tan

Ruddy Kingfisher at Bidadari on 19 October 2018, showing a glimpse of its bright blue rump, by Terence Tan.

4

Cinereous Bulbul spotted at Bidadari and photographed on 29 October 2018 by Terry Chen.

Northern Singapore

About 1,000 Barn Swallow Hirunda rustica were reported to be roosting at the HDB estate located within Yishun Avenue 7 on 10 October 2018 by Esther Ong, while about 200-plus Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea, along with a White Wagtail Motacilla alba of the rare lugens subspecies and a number of Forest Wagtail Dendroanthus indicus were spotted at Yishun Street 11 on 12 October 2018 by Veronica Foo and Henrietta Woo.

Eastern Singapore

Several rare and uncommon birds were spotted on Pulau Tekong. These include an Asian Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus (3 October 2018), Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus (6 October 2018), the rare and endangered Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes (10 October 2018), and a single Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata (13 October 2018), all by Frankie Cheong.

5

A Broad-billed Sandpiper photographed by Frankie Cheong on 25 October 2018.

The neighbouring island of Pulau Ubin yielded several notable species as well. A good find was a Black-winged Flycatcher-Shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus photographed at Jejawi Tower on 21 October 2018 by Diane Campbell. Since the first ever record of this species in Singapore in 2013, there are less than ten records of this rare non-breeding visitor. Participants of the joint NParks-NSS surveys noted a Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea on 6 October 2018 (See Toh Yew Wai), a Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis on 6 October 2018, a Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes and two Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica on 28 October 2018 (Lim Kim Keang). Other observers spotted a Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica at Chek Jawa on 14 October 2018 (Martin Kennewell), and a resident Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis at Balai Quarry on 28 October 2018 (Diane Campbell).  Two Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus, the firsts for the season, were also seen at Pulau Ubin on 14 October by Pary Sivaraman and a few others.

Other birds spotted in eastern Singapore include a Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata at Pasir Ris Park on 17 October 2018 by Wang Wen; a juvenile Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus rescued on the grounds of Bedok Green Primary School on 19 October 2018 by school staff and subsequently released by Isabelle Lee; a first-for-the-season flock of seven White-shouldered Starling Sturnia sinensis along Changi Coastal Road by Ramesh T.; and a Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata at Changi Point Ferry Terminal on 30 October 2018 by Lim Kim Seng.

6

Black-capped Kingfisher at Pasir Ris Park. Photographed by Danny Khoo on 17 October 2018.

Southern Singapore

A rare Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius was spotted on 2 October 2018 at the Labrador Power Station by Art Toh, while two Daurian Starlings Agrospar sturninus were seen at Satay-by-the-Bay on 28 October 2018, and a Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus at the nearby Marina Barrage on 31 October 2018 by Martin Kennewell.

The southern ridges also yielded a rare Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus on 20 & 21 October 2018 (Adrian Silas Tay & See Toh Yew Wai, respectively), 23 Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum on 21 October 2018 by Low Choon How, and up to five White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus on 28 October 2018 by Daniel Ong and Martin Kennewell.

A notable resident species spotted in the south was the House Swift Apus nipalensis at Kent Ridge Park and Henderson Wave on 20 October 2018 by Alan Owyong and Zacc HD, respectively.

Western Singapore

SBWR remains an important bird area in Western Singapore, attracting and holding residents and migrants alike. Notable migrants include two Long-toed Stint Calidris submimuta on 8 October 2018 by Stuart Campbell, a first-of-the-season Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis brunneatus on 9 October 2018 by Subha & Raghav, another first-of-the-season Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata by Feroz also on 9 October 2018, and a Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica on 16 October 2018 by Stuart Campbell. Notable residents/NBV include the Abbott’s Babbler Malacocinla abbotii and Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus, spotted on 2 October 2018 by Lawrence Eu.

7

Long-toed Stints photographed by Stuart Campbell on 8 October 2018 at SBWR.

Kranji Marshes and the adjoining grasslands a stone’s throw away yielded several species, including a first-for-the-season Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps over the Marshes on 6 October 2018 by Tan Kok Hui, two Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus at the Marshes on 20 October 2018 by Martin Kennewell, 18 Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum on 28 October 2018 by Pary Sivaraman & Martin Kennewell, as well as Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus in the fields adjacent to the Marshes on 30 October 2018 by Martin Kennewell.

Oriental Pratincole, 271018, off Turut Track, Pary Sivaraman

An Oriental Pratincole in flight off Turut Track on 28 October 2018. Photographed by Pary Sivarman.

Other birds spotted in the west include White Wagtail Motacilla alba on 14 October 2018 by Felix Wong, Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea on 18 October 2018 by Art Toh, more than 300 roosting Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis at Eng Kong Terrace on 21 October 2018 by Richard White, a juvenile Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor on 22 October 2018 by Amin (Last Romeo) at West Coast Park, and a flock of first-of-the-season Ashy Minivet Pericrocotus divaricatus seven strong at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) grounds on 31 October 2018 by James Lambert.

Bird Collisions into Buildings

The migratory Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis is a much sought after species by birders and photographers alike because of its strikingly beautiful plumage. Normally residing in wooded areas, the species could be found all over the country at the start of the migration season. It was unfortunate that the pitta, along with the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, attracted considerable attention in social media, as it is one of four ‘super colliders’, a term used for species whose fatalities exceeded 20 specimens collected during a period of study by Low, Yong, Tan, OwYong and Chia (2017) on migratory bird collisions in Singapore.

This season, one pitta was reported to have crashed but survived at Jurong West on 3 October 2018, by Serena Chew. Three others were not so fortunate on 13 October 2018. They were found dead at Bedok, Tampines and Joo Chiat, and collected by David Tan.

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One of the Blue-winged Pitta casualties collected by David Tan. Photographed on 14 October 2018 by David Tan.

Other collisions include a female Siberian Blue Robin Larvivora cyane, which survived a collision at MacPherson on 25 October 2018, reported by Peng Ah Huay; an Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus which survived a collision at Chinatown on 29 October 2018, reported by Kenneth Koh and a Pallas’ Grasshopper Warbler Locustella certhiola, which survived a collision on 29 October 2018 on Jurong Island, reported by Lim Kim Chuah.

Raptors

The month yielded a Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela on 16 October 2018 at Kent Ridge Park, by Veronica Foo, and the second half saw the onset of migratory raptors drifting into Singapore. Raptor watchers keeping vigil at Henderson Wave spotted Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus on 21 October 2018 (2 birds), 26 October 2018 (2 birds) and 27 October 2018 (2 bird) by See Toh Yew Wai & friends, Sandra Chia & Oliver Tan, and Francis Yap, respectively. A first-for-the-season Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes was spotted on 22 October 2018 by Zacc HD, while a kettle of 29 birds were spotted from Hindhede Nature Park on 29 October 2018 by Richard White. Other raptors included a first-for-the-season Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga at Henderson Wave on 27 October 2018 by Alan Owyong, and a first-for-the-season Rufous-bellied Eagle Lophotriorchis kienerii at Pang Sua Connector on 30 October 2018 photographed by Fadzrun Adnan, identified by James Eaton. For a more detailed report on raptors, please refer to the NSS Bird Group’s latest raptor report.

BB

A Black Baza flying over Henderson Wave on 22 October 2018. Photographed by Zacc HD.

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A Rufous-bellied Eagle (right) with an Oriental Honey Buzzard (left) flying over Pang Sua Park Connector on 30 October 2018. Photographed by Fadzrun Adnan.

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World Migratory Bird Day & the Conservation of the Mandai Mangroves & Mudflats

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Mr Richard Hale (right) discovered the ponds that was to become part of the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in 1986. He is examining the Flyway Game developed by Dr Yong Ding Li of BirdLife International, together with Mr Lim Kim Chuah (left), Chairman and Mr Alfred Chia (middle), committee member of the NSS Bird Group on 7 Oct 2018. Photo by Geoff Lim.

The World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) was initiated in 2006. Originally held once a year, the campaign is now held twice a year, on the second Saturday of May and October. The WMBD was celebrated at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on Saturday, 13 October 2018, with the participation of NSS Bird Group. There were daily programs during the week leading up to WMBD.

The East Asian Australasian Flyway (EAAF) is one of the world’s major flyways. Spanning 37 countries from Far Eastern Russia, China, Korea, Japan, South-east Asia and the western Pacific, used by about 50 million migratory waterbirds, and countless land bird species comprising 492 species (Birdlife, 2018). Singapore is used as a stopover for many species of land and water birds.

On 7 October 2018, which was the 25th anniversary of SBWR, NParks made an important announcement that the Mandai mangrove and mudflats would be conserved as a nature park as research has shown that shorebirds feed at these habitats during low tide, and return to roost at SBWR when the tides come in. The area will open as a nature park in 2022. You can read more about how these habitats were saved through the contribution of ordinary volunteers, in partnership with government authorities here.

Mandai Mudflats

Mandai Mudflats and Mangroves at low tide. It is part of the Kranji-Mandai IBA ( Important Bird and Biodiversity Area). Photo by NSS Bird Group.

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Pelagic Trip along Straits of Singapore

A pelagic trip organised by Martin Kennewell and friends on 13 Ocotber 2018 yielded a Common Tern Sterna hirundo and a Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus. Note that these may not have been in Singapore waters.

 

This report is compiled by Geoff Lim and Alan OwYong, and edited by Tan Gim Cheong 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 Francis Yap, Angela Yeo, Geoff Lim, Steven Cheong, Terry Chen, Frankie Cheong, Terence Tan, Danny Khoo, Stuart Campbell, Pary Sivaraman, David Tan, Zacc HD, and Fadzrun Adnan for the use of their photos. 

References

Birdlife (2018) East Asia Australasian Factsheet. Accessed from the Internet on 11 Nov 2018 at https://www.birdlife.org/sites/default/files/attachments/8_East_Asia_Australasia_Factsheet.pdf.

Wells, D. R. (1999). The Birds of Thai-Malay Peninsula. Vol. 1. Non-passerines. London: Academic Press.

 

List of Bird Sightings in report:

Ciconiidae Lesser Adjutant 2-Oct
Ardeidae Von Schrenck’s Bittern 19-Oct
Chinese Egret 10-Oct
Accipitridae Black Baza 22-Oct
Black Baza 29-Oct
Crested Serpent Eagle 16-Oct
Rufous-bellied Eagle 30-Oct
Greater Spotted Eagle 27-Oct
Eastern Marsh Harrirer 21-Oct
Grey-faced Buzzard 21-Oct
Grey-faced Buzzard 26-Oct
Grey-faced Buzzard 27-Oct
Charadriidae Kentish Plover 31-Oct
Scolopacidae Asian Dowitcher 3-Oct
Bar-tailed Godwit 16-Oct
Bar-tailed Godwit 28-Oct
Eurasian Curlew 13-Oct
Grey-tailed Tattler 28-Oct
Long-toed Stint 8-Oct
Broadbilled Sandpiper 6-Oct
Glareolidae Oriental Pratincole 21-Oct
Oriental Pratincole 25-Oct
Laridae Gull-billed Tern 14-Oct
Cuculidae Chestnut-winged Cuckoo 15-Oct
Rusty-breasted Cuckoo 13-Oct
Indian Cuckoo 19-Oct
Strigidae Buffy Fish Owl 6-Oct
Apodidae Glossy Swiftlet 16-Oct
White-throated Needletail 28-Oct
Sliver-backed Needletail 26-Oct
Brown-backed Needletail 20-Oct
Pacific Swift 15-Oct
Pacific Swift 22-Oct
House Swift 19-Oct
House Swift 20-Oct
Coraciidae Asian Dolllarbird 20-Oct
Alcedinidae Ruddy Kingfisher 12-Oct
Black-capped Kingfisher 9-Oct
Black-capped Kingfisher 17-Oct
Common Kingfisher 28-Oct
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher 4-Oct
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher 6-Oct
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher 6-Oct
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher 18-Oct
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher 18-Oct
Meropidae Blue-throated Bee-eater 21-Oct
Pittidae Blue-winged Pitta 3-Oct
Blue-winged Pitta 13-Oct
Blue-winged Pitta 13-Oct
Blue-winged Pitta 13-Oct
Tephrodornithidae Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike 21-Oct
Campephagidae Large Woodshrike 22-Oct
Ashy Minivet 31-Oct
Pycnonotidae Cinereous Bulbul 29-Oct
Hirundinidae Barn Swallow 7-Oct
Asian House Martin 20-Oct
Asian House Martin 21-Oct
Red-rumped Swallow 6-Oct
Phylloscopidae Eastern Crowned Warbler 29-Oct
Acrocephalidae Black-browed Reed Warbler 6-Oct
Locustellidae Lanceolated Warbler 30-Oct
Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler 29-Oct
Pellorneidae Abbott’s Babbler 2-Oct
Sturnidae Daurian Starling 28-Oct
White-shouldered Starling 21-Oct
Muscicapidae Ferrugious Flycatcher 6-Oct
Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher 9-Oct
Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher 10-Oct
Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher 12-Oct
Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher 15-Oct
Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher 28-Oct
Siberian Blue Robin 25-Oct
Blue Rock Thrush 2-Oct
Chloropseidae Lesser Green Leafbird 25-Oct
Motacillidae Forest Wagtail 12-Oct
Grey Wagtail 18-Oct
White Wagtail 12-Oct
White Wagtail 14-Oct
Red-throated Pipit 30-Oct

Singapore Bird Report – August 2018

Singapore celebrated our 53rd National Day on 9 August 2018. During the days preceding and following National Day, electrifying news of a juvenile Barred Eagle Owl, being seen together with its parents at the Singapore Quarry, captured the attention of birders and bird photographers in Singapore. August also continued to see reports of breeding activity, as well as many first reports of migrants arriving on our shores. 

1

One of the three Barred Eagle Owls at Singapore Quarry photographed by Mahesh Krishnan on 19 August 2018.

During the days preceding and following National Day, electrifying news of a juvenile Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus, seen together with its parents at the Singapore Quarry, captured the attention of birders and bird photographers in Singapore. Hitherto an elusive owl whose sightings in Singapore remain few and far in between, the sightings continue to surprise many with what birdlife Singapore could sustain.

Nature lover, Peter Ding, first spotted an adult on 24 May 2018 during one of his walks. He did not see the Barred Eagle Owl again until 7 August 2018. This time, it was a juvenile he spotted, trying to move from one branch to another. A day or two later, Peter saw the juvenile calling out to an adult perched in a separate tree. Puzzled as to what bird he had seen, Peter posted a photo of the bird and asked for help to identify it. That was how word got round social media and started the Barred Eagle Owl chase.  Today, Peter shares his happiness with birders all over Singapore that the rare and elusive owl has bred successfully in Singapore.

2

Barred Eagle Owl juvenile at Singapore Quarry photographed by Francis Yap in August 2018.

Two non-breeding visitors were also reported. A Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax was spotted on 16 August 2018 at Lower Peirce by Colin Trainor,  while another was seen at Pasir Ris Park on 21 August 2018 by Lim Kim Seng and on 29 Aug at Pasir Ris Park by Herman Phua. Kim Seng also spotted a Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone affinis at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) on 26 August 2018.

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Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo at Pasir Ris Park on 29 August 2018 by Herman Phua.

Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG)

An Asian Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus, more usually encountered in the central forests, was spotted on 7 August 2018 by Art Toh; while a male Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu and White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata were seen at the Learning Forest on 15 and 22 August 2018 by Reuben Braddock and Felix Wong, respectively. On 17 August 2018, Meilin Khoo photographed a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting, and on 22 August 2018 a Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus was recorded by Felix Wong and Eng Eng.

 Central Singapore

 A Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca was spotted at Bidadari on 19 August 2018 by Zacc HD, while a Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus was seen at OCBC Building on 30 August 2018 by Steven Wong. About 10 Grey-rumped Treeswift Hemiprocne longipennis were spotted at Kampong Java Park on 22 August 2018 by Henrietta Woo, Tok Sock Ling and James Chua.

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Zacc HD spotted a Ruddy-breasted Crake at Bidadari on 19 August 2018.

Northern Singapore

Two resident Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygnus javanica were spotted at Lorong Halus by Con Foley, Tan Kok Hui and Danny Lau. Several migratory species were sighted in the north. A Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii was seen at Seletar Dam on 5 August 2018  by Saravanan Krishnamurthy, while a Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus was spotted on 10 August 2018 at Seletar Club Road by Goh Cheng Teng and Lester Tan, about a month earlier than our previous record. A Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis was subsequentlly seen at Hampstead Road on 19 August 2018 by Art Toh and Meilin Khoo.  Meilin Khoo also reported receiving news concerning the arrival of Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea and Forest Wagtail Dendroanthus indicus roosting in Yishun on 31 August 2018.

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A Brown Shrike at Seletar Club Road on 10 August 2018 taken by Goh Cheng Teng.

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A Greater Sand Plover at Seletar Dam on 22 August 2018 taken by Geoff Lim.

Eastern Singapore

Species encountered during a joint NParks-NSS survey on 5 August 2018 included a Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis and a Great Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii, which was also reported at Chek Jawa on 26 August 2018 by YT Chong. A Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting was spotted at Pasir Ris Park on 20 August 2018 by Yew Chong.

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A Buff-rumped Woodpecker recorded during a survey on Ubin on 5 August 2018. Photograph provided by the NSS-NParks Ubin Survey Team.

Migrants had started to arrive in force. A Common Redshank Tringa totanus was spotted on 3 August 2018 at Pasir Ris Park by Martin Kennewell. During the Ubin Survey on 5 August 2018, NParks and NSS volunteers spotted Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus, Terek Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia, Red-necked Stint  Calidris ruficollis and Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus on the northern island. On 19 August 2018, a Watercock Gallicrex cinerea was sighted on the island by Ramesh T.

Farther afield, a flagged Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes was spotted on Pulau Tekong on 11 August 2018, one month earlier than the last extreme date, by Frankie Cheong.

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A Grey-tailed Tattler on 11 August 2018 taken by Frankie Cheong on Pulau Tekong.

Southern Singapore

In the south, residents continued to feature. On 2 August 2018, Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii were sighted at Marina Barrage by John Marriott. A Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus was seen being fed by a Golden-bellied Gerygone Gerygone sulphurea on 8 August 2018 at the Asian Civilisation Museum by Han YK. Lim Kim Seng’s foray into Pulau Semakau on 13 August 2018 yielded a White-headed Munia Lonchura maja and a Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea.

Western Singapore

Resident species encountered in the west included a Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis at the vicinity of Kranji Marsh on 3 August 2018 by Looi Ang Soh Hoon, an Abbott’s Babbler Malacocincla abbotti on 9 August 2018 at SBWR by Gerard Francis, and a Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnomomeus on 26 August 2018 at Lim Chu Kang by Martin Kennewell.

On 3 August 2018, a Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola and Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva, a first for the season, were seen at Lim Chu Kang on 4 August 2018 by Luke Milo Teo. By 26-27 August 2018, multiple sightings of the Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea were made at Lim Chu Kang by Martin Kennewell, Goh Cheng Teng and Lester Tan (Ramesh T. also recorded the wagtail at Changi Business Park on 26 August 2018). A first of the season Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa and Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis were reported on 29 August 2018 at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve by Geraldine Lee and David Li, and Veronica Foo, respectively.

Abbreviations:
BTNR: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park
JEG: Jurong Eco-Garden
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
TEG: Tampines Eco-Green

This report is compiled by Geoff Lim and Alan OwYong, edited by Tan Gim Cheong,  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 Mahesh Krishnan, Frankie Cheong, Francis Yap, Herman Phua, Goh Cheng Teng, Zacc HD, Geoff Lim and the NSS-NParks Ubin Survey Team  for the use of their photos. 

List of Bird Sightings in the report:

Family Species Date
Anatidae Lesser Whistling Duck 4-Aug
Ardeidae Cinnamon Bittern 26-Aug
Pandionidae Western Osprey 4-Aug
Rallidae

 

 

Slaty-breasted Rail 22-Aug
Ruddy-breasted Crake 19-Aug
Watercock 19-Aug
Charadriidae

 

 

 

 

 

Pacific Golden Plover 4-Aug
Pacific Golden Plover 30-Aug
Pacific Golden Plover 31-Aug
Malaysian Plover 2-Aug
Lesser Sand Plover 5-Aug
Greater Sand Plover 5-Aug
Scolopacidae

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black-tailed Godwit 29-Aug
Whimbrel 5-Aug
Common Redshank 3-Aug
Marsh Sandpiper 29-Aug
Common Greenshank 5-Aug
Wood Sandpiper 4-Aug
Grey-tailed Tattler 11-Aug
Terek Sandpiper 5-Aug
Red-necked Stint 5-Aug
Laridae Swift Tern 5-Aug
Columbidae Jambu Fruit Dove 15-Aug
Cuculidae Little Bronze Cuckoo 8-Aug
Malayan Hawk Cuckoo 16-Aug
Strigidae Barred Eagle Owl 8-Aug
Apopidae Grey-rumped Treeswift 22-Aug
Alcedinidae Common Kingfisher 19-Aug
Blue-eared Kingfisher 20-Aug
Picidae Buff-rumped Woodpecker 5-Aug
Falconidae Peregrine Falcon 30-Aug
Pittidae Blue-winged Pitta 3-Aug
Pachycephalidae Mangrove Whislter 13-Aug
Laniidae Brown Shrike 10-Aug
Monarchidae Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher 26-Aug
Pycnonotidae Asian Red-eyed Bulbul 7-Aug
Pellorneidae Abbott’s Babbler 9-Aug
Zosteropidae Oriental White-eye 30-Aug
Estrildidae

 

White-heaed Munia 13-Aug
White-rumped Munia 22-Aug
Motacillidae

 

 

 

Forest Wagtail 31-Aug
Grey Wagtail 27-Aug
Grey Wagtail 26-Aug
Grey Wagtail 31-Aug

Singapore Bird Report – July 2018

Breeding activities continue to be reported in July, while the first migrants from the northern hemisphere began to arrive at our shores. In the meantime, reports of three charismatic species of birds – the Blue-eared Kingfisher, the Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher and the Blue-winged Pitta feature in this month’s report.

1

A Blue-eared Kingfisher photographed by Amin at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 31 July 2018.

Birdwatchers and photographers are familiar with the Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting which is quite regularly seen at Kranji Marsh (KM); one was spotted on 2 July 2018 by Amin. It was therefore a pleasant surprise to note reports of this rather skittish species at Venus Loop on 13 July 2018 by Terence Tan, the Lower Pierce Reservoir on 15 July 2018 (1 adult & 1 juvenile) by Adrian Silas Tay, and Singapore Botanic Gardens on 30 July 2018 & 31 July 2018 by Peter Hosner and Amin respectively. This kingfisher is known to live in mangroves, understoreys of forests, peat swamps, and forest streams. They may move out from forest edges into abutting streams, and only rarely visits rivers open enough to attract Common Kingfishers (Wells, 1999:523).  It is therefore encouraging to know that the dimunitive kingfisher is increasingly encountered outside the Kranji Marsh and Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

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A Blue-winged Pitta photographed by visiting biologist from Canberra, Shoshana Rapley, at Pulau Ubin on 4 July 2018.

The charismatic Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis is more often encountered during the later part of the year. Two birds were reported – one on 4 July 2018 near Chek Jawa on Pulau Ubin by visiting Australian biologist, Shoshana Rapley, and another on 8 July 2018 at Ama Keng, which is situated in the western end of Singapore by Martin Kennewell. Lambert & Woodcock (1996:166-167) suggested that this Pitta breeds from southern Yunnan, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia through Thailand, to northern Peninsular Malaysia, and migrate southwards during the northern winter. The pitta’s breeding range has extended southwards since, reaching Taman Negara Kuala Tahan in 2005 and finally, Singapore in 2016.

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A Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 14 July 2018 photographed by Keita Sin.

The Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone affinis was spotted at Windsor Park on 5 July 2018 by Amin, and verified by Luke Milo Teo. Another was seen at the Singapore Botanic Garden’s Rainforest Broadwalk on 14 July 2018 by Keita Sin. This species of Paradise Flycatcher is one of the early migrants, with its close cousin the Amur Paradise Flycatcher probably coming through later.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR)

A number of residents were reported to be breeding in the CCNR and its environs.  A juvenile Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris was seen from Jelutong Tower on 1 July 2018 by Francis Yap, while a nesting Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus was spotted at Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP) on 11 July 2018 by Alan Owyong, and a juvenile Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus was seen within Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) on 13 July 2018 by John Marriott. Also spotted within the CCNR were twelve Blue-rumped Parrots Psittinus cyanurus, two of which were juveniles, at Old Upper Thomson Road on 22 July 2018 by Adrian Silas Tay.

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A juvenile Drongo Cuckoo photographed from Jelutong Tower on 1 July 2018 by Francis Yap.

Resident species observed include a Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps at BTNR on 1 July 2018 by Natelia Cyluk, Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera within CCNR on 6 July 2018 by Alan Owyong, a calling Red-legged Crake Rallina fasciata along Upper Thomson Road on 15 July 2018 by Swen Einhaus, Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii at DFNP on 29 July 2018 by Martin Kennewell, and a Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus on 31 July 2018 at Singapore Quarry by Lim Kim Chuah.

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A juvenile and adult Blue-rumped Parrot photographed by Adrian Silas Tay on 1 July 2018 inside the CCNR.

Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG)

Apart from the Blue-eared Kingfisher and Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher mentioned earlier, SBG yielded Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis, spotted on 24 July 2018 by Doug Armstrong, and an early Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis on 25 July 2018 by Shirley Ng at the Symphony Lake. The previous earliest arrival date for this kingfisher was 9 August.

Northern Singapore

On 14 July 2018, Jimmy Lee observed a juvenile Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii being fed by a Common Iora Aegithina tiphia at Lorong Halus. Other residents spotted include an Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus torquatus tweeddale morph at Springleaf Park on 10 July 2018 by Veronica Foo, a Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii on 29 July 2018 by Zacc, and a Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana on 30 July 2018 by Martin Kennewell, both at Seletar Dam.

Migratory species were also reported. Adrian Silas Tay reported a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus on the tiled floor of some Sembawang HDB flats on 17 July 2018, which is more than a month earlier than the known arrival dates – could  this individual be a true migrant or a released bird? Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus were seen on two days: 7 birds, some still in summer plumage, on 27 July 2018 and 31 birds on 29 July 2018, at Seletar Dam by Zacc. Two Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos were reported by David Li on 23 July 2018 at SBWR. All three represented the first arrivals for the season.

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Lesser Sand Plover at Seletar Dam photographed by Zacc HD on 27 July 2018.

Eastern Singapore

A Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus was spotted at Pasir Ris Park (PRP) on 3 July 2018 by Marc Ng, while a Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha was seen on Pulau Ubin on 4 July 2018 by William Mahoney. A Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus spotted at Changi Coastal Road on 25 July 2018 by Mike Smth was suspected to be of the resident ernesti race.

Migratory species included a Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea, which was spotted at Changi Business Park on 1 and 3 July 2018 by T. Ramesh, who also saw an Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia on 8 July 2018 at Pasir Ris Farmway 3. Two Oriental Honey Buzzards were seen: one juvenile at East Coast Park on 15 July 2018 by Zhang Licong, and a sub-adult male was spotted at Tampines Eco Green on 22 July 2018 by Pary Sivaraman.  Two Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos were spotted by Lim Kim Seng on 30 July 2018 on Pulau Ubin, and constitute the first record for the season.

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Oriental Honey Buzzard at Tampines Eco-Green photographed by Pary Sivaraman on 22 July 2018.

Southern Singapore

Alan Owyong spotted a Pied Triller Lalage nigra nest with two chicks on 29 July 2018 at One-north Crescent; one of the chicks was killed by an Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus that raided the nest, but the other chick survived. On 15 July 2018, at Gardens by the Bay, an active Malaysian Pied Fantail Rhipidura javanica nest with young chicks was discovered by Elena, and a Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata was building a nest (Khoo Meilin). A pair of Straw-headed Bulbul was spotted at Telok Blangah Hill on 19 July 2018 by Alan Owyong. Four Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana were seen at Marina Barrage on 27 July 2018 by William Mahoney, while a juvenile Drongo Cuckoo was found dead on the pavement next to Citilink Warehouse on 30 July 2018 by See Toh Yew Wai.

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One of two Straw-headed Bulbul photographed by Alan Owyong at Telok Blangah Hill on 19 July 2018.

In terms of migratory species in the south, John Marriott saw a Pond Heron Ardeola sp. still in its indeterminate non-breeding/juvenile type plumage on Sentosa on 6 July 2018.

Two possible escapees were reported – a White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata was seen in a mixed flock of Javan and other munia at Telok Blangah Heights on 9 July 2018 by Dean Tan, while a Ruby-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus dispar was seen on 16 July 2018 at Kent Ridge Park by Alan Owyong.

9

Western Singapore

A juvenile Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus was being fed by a Common Iora Aegithina tiphia on 27 July 2018 at Jurong Central Park, reported Lee Kia Chong, while a Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus was seen on 8 July 2018 at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) by Margaret Oorebeek.

Martin Kennewell spotted two firsts of the season – a Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica on 28 July 2018 at KM, and about four to five Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius on the same day at Kranji Golf Course; the birds were still in their summer plumage.

10

Little Ringed Plover at Kranji Golf Course photographed by Martin Kennewell on 28 July 2018.

Abbreviations:
BTNR: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park
JEG: Jurong Eco-Garden
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
TEG: Tampines Eco-Green

This report is compiled by Geoff Lim and Alan OwYong, edited by Tan Gim Cheong 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 Amin, Shoshana Rapley, Keita Sin, Francis Yap, Adrian Silas Tay,  Zacc HD, Alan Owyong, and Martin Kennewell for the use of their photos. 

References:
Lambert, F. & Woodcock, M. (1996) Pittas, Broadbills & Asites. London: Pica Press.

Wells, D. R. (1999). The Birds of Thai-Malay Peninsula. Vol. 1. Non-passerines. London: Academic Press.

List of Bird Sightings in report:

Family Species Date
Ciconidae Lesser Adjutant 8-Jul
Ardeidae Pond Heron 6-Jul
Great-billed Heron 30-Jul
Intermediate Egret 8-Jul
Accipitridae Oriental Honey Buzzard 10-Jul
Oriental Honey Buzzard 15-Jul
Oriental Honey Buzzard 22-Jul
Rallidae Red-legged Crake 15-Jul
Charadriidae Little Ringed Plover 28-Jul
Malaysian Plover 29-Jul
Lesser Sand Plover 27-Jul
Lesser Sand Plover 29-Jul
Scolopacidae Common Sandpiper 30-Jul
Laridae Black-naped Tern 27-Jul
Cuculidae Chestnut-bellied Malkoha 13-Jul
Chestnut-winged Cuckoo 17-Jul
Violet Cuckoo 31-Jul
Little Bronze Cuckoo 27-Jul
Banded Bay Cuckoo 14-Jul
Plaintive Cuckoo 3-Jul
Drongo Cuckoo 1-Jul
Drongo Cuckoo 30-Jul
Apodidae Asian Palm Swift 24-Jul
Alcedinidae Blue-eared Kingfisher 2-Jul
Blue-eared Kingfisher 13-Jul
Blue-eared Kingfisher 15-Jul
Blue-eared Kingfisher 30-Jul
Blue-eared Kingfisher 31-Jul
Common Kingfisher 25-Jul
Megalaimidae Red-crowned Barbet 29-Jul
Falconidae Peregrine Falcon 25-Jul
Peregrine Falcon 28-Jul
Psittacidae Blue-rumped Parrot 22-Jul
Pittidae Blue-winged Pitta 4-Jul
Blue-winged Pitta 8-Jul
Mangrove Pitta 4-Jul
Monarchidae Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher 5-Jul
Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher 14-Jul
Hirundinidae Barn Swallow 28-Jul
Pycnonotidae Straw-headed Bulbul 19-Jul
Straw-headed Bulbul 11-Jul
Black-headed Bulbul 1-Jul
Ruby-throated Bulbul 16-Jul
Timaliidae Chestnut-winged Babbler 6-Jul
Estrididae White-rumped Munia 9-Jul
Motacillidae Grey Wagtail 1-Jul

Singapore Bird Report – June 2018

Residents take centre stage while three species of straggling migrants continue to be reported. The key sightings for June are the arrival of the Austral migrant, the Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo, escaping the southern winter, and a nigrescens subspecies of the Ashy Drongo.

1 HBC

A Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo photographed by Carmen Hui at Satay by the Bay on 26 May 2018.

The most prominent Austral migrant to land on our shores in June is the Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx basalis. The first sighting of the cuckoo making landfall in Singapore was made by Carmen Hui last month, on 26 May 2018 at 1:29pm at Satay by the Bay, after she saw Martin Kennewell’s post of an adult and juvenile on 2 June 2018 from Punggol, and realised that her catch, which was photographed, was not a Little Bronze Cuckoo. Carmen’s report had preceded Martin Kennewell’s observation that the cuckoo had appeared in Bali and Java on 27 May 2018.

Reports of the cuckoo continued to stream through social media from 6 June 2018 onwards, largely coming from around the Punggol Promenade Nature Park, with additional reports of up to five birds at Halus on 10 June 2018 and the cuckoos were last seen on 19 June 2018.

2 HBC

A Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo, photographed at the Punggol Waterfront with its prey, showing a distinctive eyestripe and partly rufous-coloured outer tail feathers, which distinguishes it from the resident Little Bronze Cuckoo. Taken by Terence Tan on 6 June 2018.

While photographing the Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo, several birdwatchers and photographers spotted an Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus nigriscens, the resident race of the species from Peninsular Malaysia and Southern Thailand, at Punggol on 6 June 2018.

3 AD

The Ashy Drongo nigriscens subspecies photographed at Punggol on 6 June 2018 by Tuck Loong.

In his blog post, Alan Owyong quoted Malaysian birder, Tou Jing Yi’s comments about the bird’s key distinguishing characteristics (from the Black Drongo) – “lack of white spot on base of bill, long forked tail, very slender base on tail, non-glossy plumage that is not jet black but somehow greyish, these were all signs of an Ashy Drongo, the resident subspecies for the region, primarily resides mangrove areas in Peninsular Malaysia.” As noted by Alan, the last record of a nigrescens was at West Coast Park on 17 January 2004 (SINAV 18.1). Hence, this sighting represents a new date for this non-breeding visitor to Singapore.

Asian Palm Swift at Bishan, Adrian Silas Tay

A family of Asian Palm Swifts at their nest at Bishan, by Adrian Silas Tay

Successful breeding was reported for a number of residents. Adrian Silas Tay reported the nesting of the Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis at Bishan, with the first chick fledging on 3 June 2018 and the second fledging on 5 Jun 2018. At Jurong Eco Garden (JEG) on 10 June 2018, Doreen Ang saw Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus juveniles accompanied by adults; she also noted an immature Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus flying around with an adult.

5 DC

A juvenile Drongo Cuckoo, wings partly drooped, begging its Pin-striped Tit-babbler foster parents to feed it. Photographed at Upper Peirce on 30 June 2018 by Francis Yap.

On 15 June 2018, Khoo Meilin reported a Malaysian Pied Fantail Rhipidura javanica nest containing two young chicks, at JEG. On 28 June 2018, Khoo Meilin photographed a pair of Collared Kingfishers Todiramphus chloris found feeding their fledged, but dependent, albino chick at East Coast Park. On 30 June 2018, Francis Yap photographed a juvenile Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris  being fed by a Pin-striped Tit-Babbler Macronous gularis  at Upper Peirce.

6 BWP

A Blue-winged Pitta photographed on Pulau Ubin on 24 June 2018 by Lim Kim Chuah.

June yielded two separate reports of the Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis, several were seen and heard on Pulau Ubin during the NParks-NSS Ubin Survey on 3 June 2018, while another was spotted by Tan Kok Hui at Kranji Marsh on 30 June 2018.

8 BO

Barn Owl at Punggol photographed on 8 June 2018 by Terence Tan.

Other notable sightings include 25 Tanimbar Corella Cacatua goffiniana were spotted roosting near an Esso station along Dunearn Road on 4 June 2018 by Richard Saunders, a Barn Owl Tyto alba was spotted along Punggol Promenade Nature Park on 9 June 2018 by a jogger who alerted birders looking for the Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoos along our north-eastern shore, a White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata at Lorong Halus by Lee Chin Pong on 23 June 2018, a House Swift Apus nipalensis at Changi Business Park on 26 June 2018 by  T. Ramesh, a Black-crowned Night-heron Nycticorax nycticorax at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 28 June 2018 by Mark Campbell, and two Abbott’s Babbler Malacocincla abbotti were spotted by birdwatchers at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on 30 June 2018.

7 WRM

White-rumped Munia at Lorong Halus spotted on 23 June 2018 with some Scaly-breasted Munias by Lee Chin Pong.

Observers visiting the central catchment forest yielded a good number of residents. The  Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji was observed by Alan Owyong on 1 June 2018 at Hindhede (2 birds), and by Marcel Finlay at MacRitchie Park on 22 June 2018; two Thick-billed Pigeon Treron curvirostra by Kozi Ichiyama on 16 June at CCNR;  15 House Swift and 5 Plume-toed Swiftlet Collocalia affinis by Lim Kim Chuah on 22 June 2018 along the Rail Corridor near Hindhede. Also spotted were a Greater Coucal  Centropus sinensis by Tay Kian Guan on 24 June 2018 at Singapore Quarry; a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting by Luke Milo Teo on 25 June 2018 at Windsor Park; a Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii by Steven Cheong at Dairy Fairm Nature Park on 25 June 2018; and Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex from Jelutong Tower – one bird spotted by Deborah Friets on 26 June 2018, and two by Francis Yap on 27 June 2018. Also spotted from the tower were Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps, with one on 22 June 2018, and two on 27 June 2018, and four Blue-rumped Parrot Psittinus cyanurus on 27 June 2018 by Francis Yap.

9 BHB

A Black-headed Bulbul in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. Photographed on 22 June 2018 by Francis Yap.

In the meantime, a small number of overstaying northern migrants were reported. On 2 June 2018, Ruci Ong reported sighting an Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa latirostris at Braddell Road. This represents a new late date by a full month from previous records. On 15 June 2018, a late staying White Wagtail Motacilla alba was spotted by T. Ramesh at Changi Business Park, while an Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia was seen by Fadzrun Adnan at Kranji Marsh on 24 June 2018.  

Abbreviations:
BTNR: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park
JEG: Jurong Eco-Garden
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
TEG: Tampines Eco-Green

This report is compiled by Geoff Lim and Alan OwYong, edited by Tan Gim Cheong, 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 Carmen Hui, Tuck Loong, Adrian Silas Tay, Francis Yap, Terence Tan,  Lee Chin Pong and Lim Kim Chuah for the the use of their photos. 

 List of Bird Sightings in report

Family Species Date
Ardeidae Black-crowned Night-heron 28-Jun
Intermediate Egret 24-Jun
Accipitridae Brahminy Kite 10-Jun
Columbidae Thick-billed Pigeon 16-Jun
Cuculidae Greater Coucal 24-Jun
Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo 2-Jun
Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo 6-Jun
Little Bronze Cuckoo 1-Jun
Banded Bay Cuckoo 22-Jun
Plantive Cuckoo 5-Jun
Drongo Cuckoo 30-Jun
Tytonidae Barn Owl 9-Jun
Strigidae Sunda Scops Owl 1-Jun
Sunda Scops Owl 22-Jun
Apodidae House Swift 22-Jun
House Swift 26-Jun
Plume-toed Swiftlet 22-Jun
Asian Palm Swift 3-Jun & 5-Jun
Alcedinidae Blue-eared Kingfisher 25-Jun
Megalaimidae Red-crowned Barbet 25-Jun
Cacatuidae Tanimbar Corella 4-Jun
Psittacidae Blue-rumped Parrot 27-Jun
Pittidae Blue-winged Pitta 3-Jun
Blue-winged Pitta 30-Jun
Rhipiduridae Malaysian Pied Fantail 15-Jun
Pycnonotidae Black-headed Bulbul 22-Jun
Black-headed Bulbul 27-Jun
Cream-vented Bulbul 26-Jun
Pellorneidae Abbott’s Babbler 30-Jun
Zosteropidae Oriental White-eye 10-Jun
Muscicapidae

 

Asian Brown Flycatcher 2-Jun
Motacillidae White Wagtail 15-Jun
Estrildidae White-rumped Munia 23-Jun