Category Archives: Monthly Bird Reports

Singapore Bird Report – June 2019

by Geoff Lim, & Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

Resident species dominate this month’s report. Of note is the report of 11 newly hatched Lesser Whistling Duck at Gardens by the Bay, the preponderance of forest species at Dairy Farm Nature Park, as well as the stars of Pulau Ubin – the Buff-rumped Woodpecker, Mangrove Pitta and the Black-winged Flycatcher-Shrike.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) & DFNP

The bulk of sightings in this area took place at Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP) as birds were drawn to several fruiting mulberry and false curry leaf trees near Wallace Centre. Between 3 and 22 June 2019, a variety of forest species were spotted:

  • A Common Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica was spotted on 22 June by Saravanan Krishnamurthy;
CED, Saran

Common Emerald Dove at DFNP on 22 June 2019 by Saravanan K.

  • Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu; a male and female were spotted on 3 June 2019 by Steven Cheong, a female on 5 June by Betty Shaw, a female on 6 June by Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan, a female on 9 June by Nicholas Lim and a female again on 13 June by Peter Lim;
Jambu, Steven Wong

Male Jambu Fruit Dove at DFNP on 3 June 2019 by Steven Wong.

  • Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus: two sightings of this non-parasitic cuckoo were reported on 3 June (Steven Cheong) and 5 June (Terence Tan);
CBM, Terence Tan

Chestnut-bellied Malkoha at DFNP on 5 June 2019 taken by Terence Tan.

  • Both species of Barbets were observed. The resident Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii and introduced Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata were spotted on 7 June by Terence Tan. The Lineated Barbet sighted was a juvenile;
  • A Banded Woodpecker Chrysophlegma miniaceum was spotted on 7 June by Terence Tan;
  • Both trees attracted the Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris, which is more commonly seen at the summit of Bukit Timah Hill, from 2 to 10 June by various observers such as Siew Mun, Dean Tan, Raymond Bong, Terence Tan and Steven Lee, the Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex on 8 June by Yong Ding Li and Geoff Lim, and the Asian Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus on 5 June by Betty Shaw and 7 June by Peter Lim, who also spotted the critically endangered Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus (BirdLife 2018) on 6 June;
BCB, Siew Mun

Black-crested Bulbul at DFNP on 2 June 2019 by Siew Mun.

SRB, Betty Shaw

Asian Red-eyed Bulbul at DFNP on 5 June 2019 by Betty Shaw.

  • Two species of Leafbirds were observed. A female Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati was seen on 5 June by Betty Shaw and Terence Tan feeding on the false curry leaf tree, and a male on 8 June by Yang Chee Meng. This species occurs in lower densities. Currently listed as being Vulnerable (Birdlife 2016), the bird’s singing abilities have made it a target of songbird poachers in Indonesia (Chng et al, 2017). The more colourful Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis was spotted on 4 June and 10 June (male) by Desmond Yap, 11 June (male) by Vincent Chin and 16 June (male) by Angela Yeo. All sightings involved the bird feeding on a mulberry tree.
GGLB, Terence Tan

Female Greater Green Leafbird at DFNP on 5 June 2019 by Terence Tan.

BWLB, AY

Blue-winged Leafbird at DFNP photographed by Angela Yeo on 16 June 2019.

  • The Van Hasselt’s Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana was reported on 5 June (Terence Tan) and 13 June (Kok M Lee), the Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja on 9 June (Liu Xiao Dong; juvenile bird) and 13 June (Kok M Lee), and the Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra on 16 June (Angela Yeo).
LSPH, AY

Little Spiderhunter at DFNP on 16 June 2019 by Angela Yeo.

A short distance away at the Singapore Quarry, the Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster was reported on 26 June 2019 by Benson Brighton, while a juvenile Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus was spotted on 28 June 2019 by Art Toh – good indication of successful breeding for the year. The regular pair of Brown Hawk-Owl Ninox scutulata was seen at Hindhede Nature Park on 26 June 2019 by Khoo MeiLin.

darter, BB

Oriental Darter at Singapore Quarry on 26 June 2019 by Benson Brighton.

1 j BEO

Juvenile Barred Eagle-Owl photographed at SG Quarry Road on 28 June 2019 by Art Toh.

BHO, KML

Brown Hawk Owl at Hindhede on 26 June 2019 taken by Khoo Mei Lin.

Mandai Track 7 held the Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera, which was spotted on 5 June (Steven Cheong), 9 and 16 June (Angela Yeo) and 22 June (Francis Yap), as well as the Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii, which was spotted on 9 June 2016 by Angela Yeo.

CWB, AY

Chestnut-winged Babbler at Mandai Track 7 on 16 June 2019 by Angela Yeo.

RCB, AY

Red-crowned Barbet at Mandai Track 7 on 9 June 2019 by Angela Yeo.

Other birds reported within the CCNR include Plume-toed Swiftlet Collocalia affinis reported on 11 June 2016 by Oliver Tan, a Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera, which was heard on 14 June 2019 by Oliver Tan, a Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus on 16 June 2019 by Francis Yap, and a juvenile Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris on 16 June 2019 by Vincent Lao.

2 j drongo c

Juvenile Drongo Cuckoo inside CCNR on 16 June 2019 by Vincent Lao.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

A pair of Common Hill Myna Gracula religiosa was spotted on 8 June 2019 in the Gardens by Cheng Li Ai.

Northern Singapore

A Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis was spotted on 6 June at the Baker Street pond by Veronica Foo. Two Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis were seen at the pond behind the Lorong Halus wetland centre on 18 June 2019 by Feroz Ghazali, while one was seen on 22 June 2019 at Lorong Halus by Darren Leow. A Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica was seen at the Lorong Halus Wetland vicinity on 30 June 2019 by Martin Kennewell. The bird was said to be flying east at 10:10am.

Eastern Singapore

On 4 June, two Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea were spotted within the grounds of Pasir Ris Park by Fadzrun Adnan; two birds were subsequently seen within the mangrove broadwalk on 22 June by Graham Risdon. The resident Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo was seen on 5 June by Charlie Pitts, while two female Common Flameback Dinopium javanense were observed fighting on 7 June by Jimmy Ng. The Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri was observed on 14 June by Alvin Seng. Further afield, Little Tern Sternula albifrons, which were reported since 5 June, continued to receive the attention of photographers at the water bodies around Pasir Ris Town Park.

RRP, alvin

Rose-ringed Parakeet spotted at PRP on 14 June 2019 by Alvin Seng.

About 1.5 kilometres away at Tampines Eco-Green, a Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis was seen on 8 June by Ken Joree Tan and on 15 June by Wang HM, while up to two Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus were spotted on 9 and 13 June by Wang HM.

P cockoo, Wang HM

Plaintive Cuckoo at TEG on 13 June 2019 by Wang HM.

Visitors to Pulau Ubin seeking out the rare Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis were rewarded by sightings of the bird on 2, 5, 8 and 23 June (Jerold Tan, Francis Yap, Adrian Silas Tay and Arasu Sivaraman, respectively). During this period, the Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha was seen on 1 June (Desmond Yap) and nesting activities observed on 8 June (Khoo Meilin), while the Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus was spotted on 2 June (Jerold Tan) and 8 June (Marvin Heng and Khong Yew). Visitors also saw the White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus, including one juvenile on 8 June by Khoo Meilin, and an adult on 11 June by Leong Kaikee. A rare Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus was seen on 22 June by Ben Keen, who noted that it was “seen clearly from top of viewing tower on east side of island around 8am. Flew into tree next to tower all white underneath, all dark on top. No white on wings. Recently saw some bar-winged flycatcher-shrike [sic] so I had a point of reference.”

Mp, FY

Mangrove Pitta at Pulau Ubin on 8 June 2019 by Francis Yap.

3 brw

Buff-rumped Woodpecker at Pulau Ubin on 5 July 2019 by Vincent Lao.

4 bh

Black Hornbill photographed on Pulau Ubin on 8 June 2019 by Khong Yew.

Also spotted on Ubin were four Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus during the joint NParks-NSS Bird Group survey on 23 June 2019, as well as a Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon Treron fulvicollis on Ubin Day on 29 June 2019 at the entrance of Butterfly Hill by Kerry Pereira.

Other birds seen in the east included more than thirty Red-breasted Parakeet Psittacula alexandri on 3 June 2019 at the vicinity of Loyang Villa by a friend of Julie Wee, and feeding Coconut Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus on 18 June at Eastwood Estate by Herman Phua.

5 rbp

Red-breasted Parakeet at Loyang Villa on 3 June 2019 through Julie Wee.

Southern Singapore

Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica were sighted at Gardens by the Bay on 8 June 2019 by Kay Aik. Subsequently a pair were seen with 11 ducklings at the Garden grounds on 27 June 2019 by Steven Wong.

LWD, Steven Wong

Lesser Whistling Duck with young at Gardens by the Bay on 27 June 2019 by Steven Wong.

A Chinese Hwamei Garrulax canorus was spotted at the nature park area of Sentosa on 12 June 2019 by Choong YT, while a House Swift Apus nipalensis was seen at the vicinity of Imbiah at Sentosa on 18 June 2019 by Dick Dallimore.

Western Singapore

Considerable attention was paid to the Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting at Jurong Eco Garden (JEG); the bird was seen on 9, 11 and 18 June by Leong Kaikee, Alok Mishra and Terence Tan, respectively. Visitors to JEG also observed the presence of a female Laced Woodpecker Picus vittatus on 12 June (Kok M Lee) and Coconut Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus on 16 June (Desmond Yap). A Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus was spotted on 19 June by Terence Tan.

BEKF, TT

Blue-eared Kingfisher at Jurong Eco Garden on 18 June 2019 by Terence Tan.

A family of three Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu, comprising a juvenile and two adults was spotted at Jurong Lake Garden on 9 and 12 June (Siew Mun and Dave Koh, respectively) indicates successful nesting for the species.  One of the adults appeared to have some abnormality in its left eye. Also, a family of Lesser Whistling Ducks with 7 ducklings were recorded on 28 June (Khoo Meilin).

BFO, siew mun

Buffy Fish Owl at Jurong Lake Garden on 9 June 2019 by Siew Mun.

 

6 bfo

A Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis was reportedly found at the grounds of Chinese Garden on 7 June and left at an animal lover’s home at a nearby HDB estate in Jurong West in the morning. The incident was reported by Xin Yan, who reported that the bird remained weak and died during the night.

7 snj

Savanna Nightjar at Jurong West on 7 June. Photograph provided by Xin Yan.

There were no reports on bird activities around Kranji Marsh, save for one of a Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus seen on the ground foraging on 17 June by Tan Eng Boo. Further away, visitors at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) reported the presence of up to three Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus on 7 and 15 June (YK Han), while a Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana was reported on 9 June by Angela Chua. A pair of Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus were reported at Sungei Kadut during the evening of 16 June by Koh Tse Hsien.

Pandan River, which continued to attract photographers, saw Little Tern Sternula albifrons on 6 June (David Chan) while looking for the resident Grey-headed Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus.

Little Tern

Little Tern at Pandan River on 6 June 2019 taken by David Chan.

Further afield, we received continuing reports of the Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus at Jurong East on 6 June (Steven Chong), the House Swift Apus nipalensis at West Coast Drive on 20 June (Tay Kian Guan) and the Abbott’s Babbler Malacocincla abbotti at West Coast Park on 27 June (Steven Wong).

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 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 Saravanan K., Steven Cheong, Terence Tan, Betty Shaw, Angela Yeo, Art Toh, Khoo Mei Lin, Alvin Seng, Wang HM, Marvin Heng, Steven Wong, Siew Mun, Benson Brighton, Julie Wee, Vincent Lao, Francis Yap, Xin Yan, and David Chan for allowing us to use their photographs.

REFERENCES

Chng, S. C. L.; Eaten, J. A., and Miller, A. E. (1997) “Greater Green Leafbird – the trade in South-east Asia”. TRAFFIC Bulletin Vol. 29 (1): 4-8.

https://www.traffic.org/site/assets/files/…/traffic_pub_bulletin_29_1_greater-green.pdf

Downloaded on 10 July 2019.

BirdLife International 2016. Chloropsis sonnerati. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22704950A93992403. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22704950A93992403.en. Downloaded on 10 July 2019.

BirdLife International 2018. Pycnonotus zeylanicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T22712603A132470468. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T22712603A132470468.en. Downloaded on 10 July 2019.

LIST OF BIRDS REPORTED IN JUNE 2019

Family Species Scientific Name Date
Anatidae Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica 8 Jun 19
Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica 27 Jun 19
Podicipedidae Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 18 Jun 19
Ardeidae Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis 6 Jun 19
Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana 9 Jun 19
Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra 17 Jun 19
Anhingidae Oriental  Darter Anhinga melanogaster 26 Jun 19
Accipitridae Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus 17 Jun 19
Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus 10 Jun 19
Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus 11 Jun 19
Rallidae Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus 6 Jun 19
Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus 16 Jun 19
Recurvirostridae Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 23 Jun 19
Scolopacidae Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 7 Jun 19
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 15 Jun 19
Laridae Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica 30 Jun 19
Little Tern Sternula albifrons 7 Jun 19
Little Tern Sternula albifrons 6 Jun 19
Columbidae Common Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica 22 Jun 19
Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon Treron fulvicollis 29 Jun 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 3 Jun 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 3 Jun 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 5 Jun 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 6 Jun 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 9 Jun 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 9 Jun 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 10 Jun 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 11 Jun 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 13 Jun 19
Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea 4 Jun 19
Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea 22 Jun 19
Cuculidae Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus 3 Jun 19
Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus 5 Jun 19
Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus 19 Jun 19
Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus 16 Jun 19
Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus 9 Jun 19
Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus 13 Jun 19
Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris 16 Jun 19
Strigidae Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 28 Jun 19
Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu 9 Jun 19
Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu 12 Jun 19
Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo 5 Jun 19
Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo 4 Jun 19
Brown Hawk-Owl Ninox scutulata 26 Jun 19
Caprimulgidae Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis 8 Jun 19
Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis 15 Jun 19
Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis 7 Jun 19
Apodidae Plume-toed Swiftlet Collocalia affinis 11 Jun 19
House Swift Apus nipalensis 18 Jun 19
House Swift Apus nipalensis 20 Jun 19
House Swift Apus nipalensis 30 Jun 19
Alcedinidae Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting 9 Jun 19
Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting 11 Jun 19
Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting 18 Jun 19
Bucerotidae Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus 2 Jun 19
Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus 8 Jun 19
Megalaimidae Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata 7 Jun 19
Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii 7 Jun 19
Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii 9 Jun 19
Picidae Banded Woodpecker Chrysophlegma miniaceum 7 Jun 19
Laced Woodpecker Picus vittatus 12 Jun 19
Common Flameback Dinopium javanense 7 Jun 19
Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis 2 Jun 19
Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis 5 Jun 19
Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis 8 Jun 19
Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis 23 Jun 19
Psittacidae Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri 14 Jun 19
Red-breasted Parakeet Psittacula alexandri 3 Jun 19
Coconut Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus 18 Jun 19
Coconut Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus 16 Jun 19
Pittidae Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha 1 Jun 19
Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha 8 Jun 19
Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha 14 Jun 19
Tephrodornithidae Black-winged Flycatcher-Shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus 22 Jun 19
Pycnonotidae Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus 6 Jun 19
Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris 4 Jun 19
Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris 6 Jun 19
Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris 7 Jun 19
Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris 10 Jun 19
Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex 8 Jun 19
Asian Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus 7 Jun 19
Timaliidae Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera 14 Jun 19
Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera 5 Jun 19
Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera 9 Jun 19
Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera 16 Jun 19
Pellorneidae Abbott’s Babbler Malacocincla abbotti 27 Jun 19
Leiothrichidae Chinese Hwamei Garrulax canorus 12 Jun 19
Sturnidae Common Hill Myna Gracula religiosa 8 Jun 19
Muscicapidae White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus 8 Jun 19
White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus 11 Jun 19
Chloropseidae Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati 5 Jun 19
Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati 5 Jun 19
Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati 8 Jun 19
Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis 4 Jun 19
Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis 10 Jun 19
Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis 11 Jun 19
Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis 16 Jun 19
Nectariniidae Van Hasselt’s Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana 5 Jun 19
Van Hasselt’s Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana 13 Jun 19
Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja 9 Jun 19
Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja 13 Jun 19
Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra 16 Jun 19
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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

Emerald Dove, 010519, DFNP, Terence Tan

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.

RCB, 140519, DFNP, Julie Wee

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.

GGLB, ZLC

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.

House Swift, Benson Brighton

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.

X Purple Heron, Esther Tan

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.

Barn Owl, STYW

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.

SSO, Terence Tan

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.

Buff-rumped Woody, AST

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

Singapore Bird Report – January 2019

Migratory and resident species are seen all over the island as the former settle down in Singapore after their arduous journey from the northern hemisphere. One remarkable species encountered this month was the Yellow-vented Flowerpecker, a rare resident; up to two birds were seen at the summit of Bukit Timah Hill, sparking an uphill climb by many birders to see and photograph this rare gem. As a result, several other species of migrants were also spotted during the first half of the month.

Yellow-vented FP, 120119, BT hilltop, Feroz

Yellow-vented Flowerpecker at the summit of Bukit Timah Hill on 12 January 2019 by Feroz.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR)

New Year’s Day began with continuing reports of a Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealoides at MacRitchie Reservoir Park, as well as a Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida at the foot of Bukit Timah Hill, as seen by N. Movin and others. The next day yielded a Siberian Blue Robin Larvivora cyane spotted at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on 2 January 2019 by Veronica Foo. Up to two Yellow-vented Flowerpeckers Dicaeum chrysorrheum were spotted at the summit of the hill by Yong Ding Li and Francis Yap, sparking a frenzied race by many birders and photographers up the hill over several days to spot this rare gem feeding on the ripe fruit of a fig tree. The flowerpecker at the summit was first seen and photographed by William Mahoney on 5 January.

2, EBT


Eye-browed Thrush at the summit of Bukit Timah Hill on 10 January 2019 by James Tann.

The combination of a fruiting fig tree and presence of many birders and photographers at the summit yielded several interesting species over the ensuing days; an Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus was spotted on 9 January 2019 by Francis Yap, as were several Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris, followed by a Siberian Thrush Geokichla sibirica on 10 January 2019 by James Tann, as well as an Orange-headed Thrush Geokichla citrina and a Lesser Green Leafbird Chloropsis cyanopogon on 12 January 2019 by Lester Tan and See Toh Yew Wai, respectively. On 26 January 2019, a Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae was spotted within the CCNR by N. Raghav.

3, ST


Siberian Thrush at the summit of Bukit Timah Hill on 10 January 2019 by James Tann.

Central Singapore

An ernesti race Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus visited Bishan on 6 January 2019, after an apparent hiatus of four years (Sun Chong Hong), while a two White Wagtail Motacilla alba were seen in Pelton Canal on 30 January 2019 by Drew Su.

4, LGLB


Lesser Green Leafbird spotted at the summit of Bukit Timah Hill on 12 January 2019 by See Toh Yew Wai.

Northern Singapore

On 24 January 2019, a pair of Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla were spotted at Lorong Halus by Veronica Foo. Further afield on 26 January 2019, a White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata was seen on Coney Island by Julie Wee, while a female Cotton Pygmy Goose Nettapus coromandelianus was spotted at the pond at Baker Street on 28 January 2019 by Alfred Chia. On 29 January 2019, an ocularis White Wagtail Motacilla alba was spotted in Sembawang in full breeding regalia by Luke Milo Teo, while an injured Watercock Gallicrex cinerea was rescued on 30 January 2019 at Hougang Secondary School by Eric Tan.

6, WC


Watercock rescued at Hougang Secondary School on 30 January 2019 by Eric Tan.

5, OHT


Orange-headed Thrush at the summit of Bukit Timah Hill on 12 January 2019 by Lester Tan.

Eastern Singapore

During the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC2019) on 19 January 2019, several shorebird species were spotted in sizeable numbers at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin by Lim Kim Keang. These included 2 Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica, 9 Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea, 61 Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis and 3 Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus. Pulau Ubin continued to yield interesting species to birders willing to undertake the sea crossing and arduous inland journeys. On 20 January 2019, five Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris and five Sanderling Calidris alba were spotted at Chek Jawa by Fadzrun and his companions. An Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus was seen on 26 January 2019 by Khoo Mei Ling, while an Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster and Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus were spotted on 31 January 2019 by Lim Kim Keang, Jacky Soh and Veronica Foo.

7, OHB


Ashy Drongo and Oriental Honey Buzzard at Changi Business Park on 21 January 2019. Photo taken by Herman Phua

Changi Business Park continued to support interesting bird species. Apart from the Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus first spotted by T. Ramesh in December 2018 and had continued to linger in the area, a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nyticorax as well as a Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus were spotted at Changi Business Park on 5 January 2019 by Feroz and Eyzat Amer, respectively. A Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu and Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu were subsequently reported there on 31 January 2019 by Thio Hui Bing.

Southern Singapore

Two Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis were spotted in the south, one bird was seen at the Marine Parade Polyclinic on 17 January 2019 by Dawn Teo, while another was seen at Satay by the Bay on 19 January 2019 by Kelvin Leong.

8, BBit


Black Bittern at Marine Parade Polyclinic on 17 January 2019 spotted by Dawn Teo.

Western Singapore

January opened on a sad note for western Singapore with a report from David Tan concerning a Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla reported by Pan Hanseng and collected from NTU’s The Hive on 3 January 2019, a possible road kill. Other parts of the west yielded three Cinereous Bulbul Hemixos cinereus on 16 January 2019 at Kent Ridge Park, as well as six Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola lurking in the fields at Bulim Avenue on 30 January 2019 by Alan Owyong.

9, BC


Baillon’s Crake collected by David Tan on 3 January 2019 from NTU.

The Kranji-Lim Chu Kang area continued to attract birders, who in turn noted the presence of the following species; a Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata was observed at Turut Track, while Long-toed Stint Calidris submunita were spotted at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 by Keita Sin, Sandra Chia, Movin and Dillen Ng. On 22 January 2019, a Watercock Gallicrex cinerea was seen at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 by Yeo Seng Beng, while Martin Kennewell reported seeing a Band-bellied Crake Porzana paykullii briefly as it flew up and popped down into the vegetation at Kranji Marsh on 25 January 2019.

10, GPS


Greater Painted Snipe at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 on 26 January 2019 by T. Ramesh.

On 26 January 2019, a female Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis was seen at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3, while a male was spotted a few days later by T. Ramesh. A few days later at the same location on 31 January 2019, up to two Pin-tailed Snipe Gallinago stenura were seen by Wong Weng Fai and See Toh Yew Wai.

11, PTS


Probable Pin-tailed Snipe at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 on 27 January 2019 by Vincent Ng.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) and the adjacent Mandai mudflats continued to host various species of land and shore birds. On 18 January 2019, a Barn Owl Tyto alba was reported from the reserve by Wang HM, while AWC2019 on 19 January 2019 yielded a Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata, a Forest Wagtail Dendroanthus indicus and three Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus by Yap Wee Jin and his fellow surveyors. Several days later on 26 January 2019, a Copper-throated Sunbird Leptocoma calcostetha was spotted within SBWR by James Tann.

12, LA


Three Lesser Adjutant seen from SBWR on 19 January 2019 by Yap Wee Jin.

This report is compiled and written by Geoff Lim and Alan OwYong, and edited by Tan Gim Cheong. It is based on selected postings in various Facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from eBird. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified. We wish to thank all the contributors for their records. Many thanks to Feroz, James Tann, See Toh Yew Wai, Lester Tan, Eric Tan, Herman Phua, Dawn Teo, David Tan, T. Ramesh, Vincent Ng and Yap Wee Jin for the the use of their photos.

List of bird sightings in report

Family Species Date
Anatidae Cotton Pygmy Goose 28 Jan 2019
Ciconiidae Lesser Adjutant 19 Jan 2019
Ardeidae Von Schrenck’s Bittern 31 Jan 2019
Black Bittern 17 Jan 2019
Black Bittern 19 Jan 2019
Malayan Night Heron 5 Jan 2019
Black-crowned Night Heron 5 Jan 2019
Anhigidae Oriental Darter 31 Jan 2019
Rallidae Baillon’s Crake 3 Jan 2019
Baillon’s Crake 24 Jan 2019
Band-bellied Crake 25 Jan 2019
Watercock 22 Jan 2019
Charadridae Grey Plover 19 Jan 2019
Rostratulidae Greater Painted Snipe 26 Jan 2019
Scolopacidae Pin-tailed Snipe 31 Jan 2019
Bar-tailed Godwit 19 Jan 2019
Wood Sandpiper 30 Jan 2019
Terek Sandpiper 19 Jan 2019
Great Knot 20 Jan 2019
Sanderling 20 Jan 2019
Red-necked stint 19 Jan 2019
Curlew Sandpiper 19 Jan 2019
Long-toed Stint 17 Jan 2019
Columbidae Jambu Fruit Dove 31 Jan 2019
Cuculidae Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo 26 Jan 2019
Indian Cuckoo 26 Jan 2019
Tytonidae Barn Owl 18 Jan 2019
Strigidae Buffy Fish Owl 31 Jan 2019
Alcedidae Black-capped Kingfisher 19 Jan 2019
Falconidae Peregrine Falcon 6 Jan 2019
Dicruridae Ashy Drongo 21 Jan 2019
Pycnonotidae Black-crested Bulbul 9 Jan 2019
Cinereous Bulbul 16 Jan 2019
Phylloscopidae Sakhalin Leaf Warbler 1 Jan 2019
Eastern-crowned Warbler 6 Jan 2019
Locustellidae Lanceolated Warbler 17 Jan 2019
Turdidae Orange-headed Thrush 12 Jan 2019
Eye-browed Thrush 9 Jan 2019
Siberian Thrush 10 Jan 2019
Muscicapidae Siberian Blue Robin 2 Jan 2019
Green-backed Flycatcher 26 Jan 2019
Chloropseidae Lesser Green Leafbird 12 Jan 2019
Dicaeidae Yellow-vented Flowerpecker 5, 7 Jan 2019
Nectariniidae Copper throated Sunbird 26 Jan 2019
Estrildidae White-rumped Munia 26 Jan 2019
Motaciliidae Forest Wagtail 19 Jan 2019
White Wagtail 29 Jan 2019
White Wagtail 30 Jan 2019

Singapore Bird Report – December 2018

The Eurasian Wigeon reappears in Singapore after 31 years! December marks the end of peak annual migration season, and the year-end holidays. As holiday makers make their way to colder climes, birds continue to stream into Singapore, yielding surprises like the Eurasian Wigeon, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, and the Oriental Scops Owl duo.

wigeon

Photograph of the Eurasian Wigeon at Kranji Marshes on 23 December 2018 by Alan Ng.

Eurasian Wigeon 

On the morning of 23 December 2018, an Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope was spotted within the confines of Kranji Marsh by Martin Kennewell. This remarkable sighting represents one of only two records of the Wigeon in Singapore; the last being an immature female associating with Whimbrel flocks in the ponds, mudflats and mangroves around Sungei Buloh between December 1986 and February 1987. It also underscores the importance of the Kranji freshwater habitat in supporting wetland species sensitive to human activity.  The closest known breeding territory for the bird is in Mongolia, although the species occurs throughout Asia and southeast Asia. Although listed as being of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, this species is sensitive to human activity and faces pressure from habitat loss and hunting (Birdlife 2017).

4

Eurasian Wigeon at Kranji Marshes on 23 December 2018 by Martin Kennewell showing the duck in the natural environment.

Cotton Pygmy Goose

While many were still reeling from the appearance of the mega-rare Eurasian Wigeon, news of a scarce Cotton Pygmy Goose Nettapus coromandelianus arriving at Lorong Halus on Christmas Eve rippled across social media. The last known appearance of the dimunitive duck in Singapore took place on 15 February 2016 at Satay by the Bay’s main pond; as the 2016 occurrence turned out to be a one-day bird, many birders and photographers abandoned their Christmas Eve plans for the afternoon to descend on the ponds of Lorong Halus. They were not disappointed as the bird continued to stay through Christmas till the end of 2018.

6

Photograph of the Cotton Pygmy Goose at Lorong Halus on 29 December 2018 by Lim Swee Kin.

The Cotton Pygmy Goose is found across India, southern China, southeast Asia, parts of Papua New Guinea and northern Australia. Listed on IUCN’s Red List as being of Least Concern, research is still needed to better understand threats and conservation issues regarding the bird (Birdlife 2016).

Oriental Scops Owl

1

The rufous morph Oriental Scops Owl at Dairy Farm Nature Park on 10 December 2018. Photo taken by Lee Chin Pong

To the delight of many birders, the grey and rufous morph Oriental Scops Owl Otus surnia returned to the trees adjacent to Wallace Centre at Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP). On 5 December 2018, Lim Kim Keang spotted the rufous morph, which was joined by the grey morph on 9 December 2018. On 19 December 2018, David Tan reported the collection of a dead rufous morph Oriental Scops Owl from the vicinity of Eng Neo Avenue, an area abutting the CCNR. The bird may have crashed into a window before landing into a water feature, where it was subsequently retrieved from.

2

A portrait of the grey morph Oriental Scops Owl at Dairy Farm Nature Park. Taken on 13 December 2018 by David Fur.

3

A dead rufous morph Oriental Scops Owl obtained from the vicinity of Eng Neo Avenue on 19 December 2018. Photograph by David Tan.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve

As expected, reports of migrants dominate in the month of December. Apart from the reports of the Oriental Scops Owl and Sakhalin Leaf Warblers Phylloscopus borealoides, a Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae was observed just before Jelutong Tower on 17 December 2018 by Oliver Tan. Just before the year ended, a Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida appeared at the foot of Bukit Timah hill on 30 December 2018, as reported by Chin Yee Hong.

Central Singapore

A Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was sighted at Bishan Park on 10 December 2018 by Ng Kian Chye. An unhappy report on 30 December 2018 was made by Nicholas Chiam, who found a Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor that had expired at the base of Cathay Building along Dhoby Ghaut; a casualty from possibly colliding with the building while in flight. An uncommon Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni was photographed at Gardens by the Bay on 26 December 2018 by Ng Wei Khim.

Northern Singapore 

Apart from the Cotton Pygmy Goose reported on Christmas Eve and described above, Halus Wetland Centre also yielded a Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla, which was spotted on 27 December 2018 by Alfred Chia, and subsequently photographed over the next few days by an assembly of photographers searching for the goose. A Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida was reported from Rivervale Cresent on 4 December 2018 by Jeff Long.

7

Photograph of the Baillon’s Crake at Lorong Halus on 30 December 2018 by Lim Swee Kin.

Eastern Singapore

A rare Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides was reported to be in a basement carpark at Haig Road area on 29 December 2018, by Martin Kennewell. Another Hooded Pitta was reported from Simei Block 147 on 6 December 2018 by David Tan. Arising from the Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus reported in November, several interesting species were reported from the vicinity of Changi Business Park. These include a Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus reported on 5 December 2018 by Melinda Chan, a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus on 8 December 2018 by Lim Kim Keang, a White-shouldered Starling Sturnia sinensis on 11 December 2018 by Joseph Lim, and a Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni on 13 December 2018 by Stuart Campbell.

Further afield, a Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola and Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus were seen on Pulau Tekong on 19 December 2018 by Frankie Cheong, while a pair of Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeons Treron fulvicollis and another Jerdon’s Baza were spotted on Pulau Ubin on 30 December 2018 by Diane Campbell.

8

Photograph of the Short-toed Snake Eagle at Changi Business Park on 8 December 2018 by Chan Yoke Meng.

Southern Singapore

A Common Buzzard Buteo buteo was seen at Holland Road on 1 December 2018 by Art Toh, a first for the location. Arising from a fruiting fig tree at Telok Blangah Hill Park, several species of birds were reported from the location, including a Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea on 5 December 2018 and a Zappey’s or Blue-and-White Flycatcher Cyanoptila cumatilis or C. cyanomelana on 12 December 2018 by Anthony Nik and Jeremiah Loei, respectively. These were first for the location as well. A House Sparrow Passer domesticus was spotted at Gardens by the Bay on 23 December 2018 by Anthony Nik.

Western Singapore

A juvenile Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus spotted at Chinese Garden on 8 December 2018 by Loke Peng Fai. An Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca was reportedly seen on 15 December 2018 at Harvest Lane by Lim Kim Seng. The Eurasian Wigeon described above was seen at Kranji Marsh on 23 December 2018 by Martin Kennewell, while a Watercock Gallicrex cinerea was spotted at the same Marsh on Christmas Day (25 December 2018) by Art Toh. Boxing Day (26 December 2018) birding yielded a Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves for Feroz, while an Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus was seen at West Coast Drive on 28 December 2018 by Tay Kian Guan. Finally, we received delightful news of a male Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis with three chicks at Kranji Marsh on 30 December 2018 by Hongxun.

9

Watercock on Christmas Day (25 December 2018) at Kranji Marshes. Photo by Art Toh.

Sakhalin Leaf Warbler

Birders and scientists acknowledge that Phylloscopus warblers represent one of the most difficult species to identify. The Pale-legged and Sakhalin Leaf Warblers are cases in point as both are remarkably similar, in fact they were previously considered conspecific, i.e. same species.

12

Sakhalin Leaf Warbler at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, 14 Janaury 2019, photo by Koh Lian Heng.

Pale-legged Leaf Warblers largely come from northeast Asia, and spend their winter months in southeast Asia. Sakhalin Leaf Warblers are found from the Sakhalin Island, down large swathes of Japan, as well as along coastal China from Weihai to an area the south of Xiamen. Wintering records of the species sparsely dot places in Vietnam, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia. As it stands, only the Sakhalin Leaf Warbler is in the NSS bird checklist, the Pale-legged has yet to be recorded.

In 2014, a team of Singapore birders comprising Lim Kim Keang, Francis Yap, Yong Ding Li, Albert Low and Con Foley worked with NUS scientists to firmly establish the species as a rare accidental visitor to Singapore (Yap, et al, 2014). Then, Lim Kim Keang heard a Leaf Warbler calling in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve; conventional wisdom suggested that this was probably a Pale-legged Leaf Warbler. However, analysis of the recorded calls and comparisons with the known calls of the two species in question showed that the bird was a Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, as the calls were at a frequency lower than that of the Pale-legged Leaf Warbler.

10

Detective work by our Singaporean birders. Extract of sonographic records from Yap et al, (2014) showing how the calls of the Pale-legged Leaf Warbler may be distinguished from the Sakhalin Leaf Warbler by distinct differences in their frequencies.

On 27 December 2018, when several high-frequency calls were heard by Lim Kim Chuah while jogging around MacRitchie Reservoir Park, several birders ventured to determine which Leaf Warbler species that was. Their effort revealed that up to three birds were calling within an area measuring about 500m by 250m. Detailed examination by Yong Ding Li of one of the calling birds revealed that it was a Sakhalin Leaf Warbler.

11

Sonogram of the Sakhalin Leaf Warbler at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve on 31 December 2018 (Yong, 2018).

Photographing the birds proved harder as they tended to be more furtive and often skulked in the darker sections below the canopies of trees, as well as descending to the darkened forest floor to forage. Several photographers managed to obtain decent photos, to reveal a bird that superficially resembles the common Arctic Warbler, but has distinguishing marks such as pinkish legs and a conspicuously long buffy eye-stripe that extends almost to the nape. The bird’s skulking behaviour, as well as its propensity to descend to the ground level, contrasts greatly with the canopy-loving Arctic Warbler.

13

Sakhalin Leaf Warbler at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, 15 January 2019, demonstrating that the warbler’s propensity for the cover of the canopy. Photo by Koh Lian Heng.

References

BirdLife International 2017. Mareca penelope (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22680157A111892532.  http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-1.RLTS.T22680157A111892532.en. Downloaded on 23 January 2019.

BirdLife International (2016a). Nettapus coromandelianusThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22680090A92842427. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22680090A92842427.en. Downloaded on 23 January 2019.

BirdLife International (2016b). Phylloscopus tenellipesThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22715324A94448249. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22715324A94448249.en. Downloaded on 23 January 2019.

BirdLife International (2016c). Phylloscopus borealoidesThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22715329A94448458. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22715329A94448458.en. Downloaded on 23 January 2019.

Robson, C. (2005) A field guide to the birds of South-East Asia. London: New Holland.

Wells, D. R. (2007) The birds of the Thai-Malay peninsula, 2. London: Academic Press.

Yap, Francis & Yong, D. L., Low, W. B., Cros, E., Foley, C., Lim, K. K.  & Rheindt, E. F. (2014). “First wintering record of the Sakhalin Leaf Warbler.” Phylloscopus borealoides in South- East Asia, with notes on vocalisations. BirdingAsia. 21. 76-81.

Yong, D.L. (2018)  Audio Recording XC448228 of Sakhalin Leaf Warbler on 31 December 2018. Accessible at http://www.xeno-canto.org/448228.

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, and edited by Tan Gim Cheong. It is based on selected postings in various Facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from eBird. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified. We wish to thank all the contributors for their records. Many thanks to Lee Chin Poh, David Fur, David Tan, Martin Kennewell, Ng Alan, Lim Swee Kin, Koh Lian Heng and Art Toh for the use of their photos. 

 List of bird sightings in report

Family Species Date
Anatidae Cotton Pygmy Goose 24 Dec 2018
Eurasian Wigeon 23 Dec 2018
Ardeidae Cinnamon Bittern 10 Dec 2018
Great Egret 2 Dec 2018
Accipitridae Jerdon’s Baza 13 Dec 2018
Jerdon’s Baza 30 Dec 2018
Short-toed Snake Eagle 5 Dec 2018
Imperial Eagle 15 Dec 2018
Grey headed Fish Eagle 8 Dec 2018
Common  Buzzard 1 Dec 2018
Rallidae Slaty-legged Crake 29 Dec 2018
Ballion’s Crake 27 Dec 2018
Watercock 25 Dec 2018
Charadriidae Grey Plover 19 Dec 2018
Rostratulidae Greater Painted Snipe 30 Dec 2018
Scolopacidae Terek Sandpiper 19 Dec 2018
Strigidae Oriental Scops owl 5 Dec 2018
Oriental Scops owl 19 Dec 2018
Columbidae Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon 30 Dec 2018
Cuculidae Chestnut-winged Cuckoo 8 Dec 2018
Hodgson’s Hawk cuckoo 30 Dec 2018
Pittidae Hooded Pitta 4 Dec 2018
Hooded Pitta 6 Dec 2018
Hooded Pitta 30 Dec 2018
Dicruridae Ashy Drongo 2 Dec 2018
Phylloscopidae Sakhalin Leaf Warbler 27 Dec 2018
Sturnidae White-shouldered Starling 11 Dec 2018
Turdidae Eye-browed Thrush 28 Dec 2018
Muscicapidae Brown-streaked FC 26 Dec 2018
Ferruginous Flycatcher 5 Dec 2018
B&W/Zappey’s FC 12 Dec 2018
Green-backed Flycatcher 17 Dec 2018
Passeridae House Sparrow 23 Dec 2018
Motacillidae Forest Wagtail 26 Dec 2018

Singapore Bird Report – November 2018

November 2018 sprang a number of surprises, with the first record of an Eurasian Skylark, followed by many other rarities. As migration continued in earnest, news of surprise visits by rare species with patchy records such as the Citrine Wagtail, Green Sandpiper, Stejneger’s Stonechat, etc, made for an exciting time. This season also marks the return of the Indian Paradise Flycatcher at Sungei Buloh. Will the later months bring back the Booted Warbler and Band-bellied Crake? Birders, keep your eyes peeled!

Eurasian Skylark, Angela Chua, 031118, Pandan Res 2, crop

Eurasian Skylark in a classic pose showing a structure that is quite different from pipits, 3 November 2018 at Pandan Reservoir, photo by Angela Chua.

Passerine Surprises in the West

On 3 November 2018 at Pandan Reservoir, Angela Chua photographed a brown bird that looked like the common Paddyfield Pipit, however Martin Kennewell recognised it as an Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis, a first for Singapore. The bird was present till 17 November 2018. This species has a wide range that stretches from Europe, across North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia, through the Indian subcontinent to China and Korea (Birdlife, 2018a), and is vagrant to Borneo.

2. Eurasian Skylark

Another view of the Eurasian Skylark photographed on 11 November 2018 at Pandan Reservoir by Chan Kum Chun.

On Bird Race Day, 11 November 2018, Team “Friends of Buloh” saw a Stejneger’s Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri at Harvest Lane and subsequently some other teams were fortunate to catch up to it. This species is a rare passage migrant and winter visitor. The last records of the stonechat’s occurrence in Singapore were in February 2015 and February 2012.

3. Stejneger Stoneshat

Stejneger’s Stonechat photographed on 18 November 2018 by Lee Van Hien.

A week later on 18 November 2018, an early morning post on social media by Martin Kennewell and Adrian Silas Tay on a Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala found at Harvest Lane galvanised many birders who flocked to the waterlogged fields overgrown with Neptunia shrubs to see it. Essentially a Central Asian bird, this species is more usually encountered in south-eastern Europe through the Balkans to Iran and western India, though there have been reports of vagrants appearing in China, Taiwan, Japan and Sabah (Copete, 2018). In the overgrown fields, the bird concealed its origins well. However, a few birders managed to get exceptionally clear photos, which showed that the bird suffered from unusual feather wear of the type commonly seen in captive birds.

4. Black-headed Bunting

A typical, beguiling view of the Black-headed Bunting in the vegetation, photographed on 18 November 2018 by Thio Hui Bing.

Black-headed Bunting, Pary Sivaraman, 181118, Harvest Lane

A clearer view of the Black-headed Bunting showing feather wear that captive birds often suffer from, photo by Pary Sivaraman, 18 November 2018.

Also on the same day, 18 November 2018, we were greeted by the surprising news of an Indian Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi, our second record for this species. Spotted by Kozi Ichiyama at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR), this species made waves in local birding circles when it was first reported at the same location around 25 March 2018, during the spring migration period.

5. IPFC

Indian Paradise Flycatcher photographed on 26 November 2018 by Daniel Tan.

There must be something about 18 November 2018, for Tiak Lee photographed an unusual looking wagtail amongst the many Yellow Wagtails at the National Service Resort and Country Club’s Kranji Sanctuary Golf Course. When the photos were processed several days later, Alfred Chia identified it as a very rare first winter Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola! On reviewing his photos, Lim Kim Keang discovered that he had photographed the same bird at the same locality four days earlier, on 14 November 2018. The last record of the species in Singapore was in December 1994, making this a 24-year gap until its latest appearance.

6ab

Citrine Wagtail photographed in Singapore. The photograph on the left was taken in December 1994 at Tuas South Avenue 1 by Alan Owyong, while the one of the right was taken on 18 November 2018 at NSRCC by Tiak Lee.

Shorebird Surprise

Local birders were surprised when a photograph of a rare Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus taken on 2 November 2018 by Daniel Loh at Hide 1C Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) surfaced on social media several days later, identified by Martin Kennewell. The species breeds in the northern latitudes across Scandinavia to Siberia and winters in the Mediterranean, Africa, Middle East, Indian subcontinent, south Japan, east China, the Philippines and northern Borneo (Van Gils, Wiersma & Kirwan, 2018) and is listed as being of Least Concern by IUCN (Birdlife, 2018c).

1. Green Sandpiper

A Green Sandpiper was spotted at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on 2 November 2018 and photographed by Daniel Loh.

Chinese Egrets

Singapore continued to host the vulnerable Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes. Two birds were seen on 7 November 2018, and another was spotted on 24 November 2018 on Pulau Tekong by Frankie Cheong.  Preferring marine coastal and intertidal habitats, this species is known to breed in China, both Koreas, and Far Eastern Russia. However, key threats come from habitat loss from reclamation of tidal flats, estuarine habitats and other human developmental activities.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR), BTNR & DFNP

Migrants seen within these boundaries include a Black Kite Milvus migrans photographed on 8 November 2018 at Hindhede Nature Park (James Mustafa), a Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis and a Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka on the same day at the same locality (Richard White), the latter being the first-for-the-season. A Blue-and-White/Zappey’s Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana/cumatilis was seen at Mandai Zoo on 12 November 2018 (CK Tang). Two Siberian Thrush Geokichla sibirica were spotted on 17 November 2018 (Lim Kim Chuah & Art Toh) at Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP). DFNP proved to be productive towards the end of the month, with an Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus spotted on 24 November 2018 (Yeo Seng Beng), and three groups of Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus, numbering 31 in total, on 26 November 2018 (Martin Kennewell).

7. GNJ

A Grey Nightjar photographed at Hindhede Park on 8 November 2018 by Richard White.

8. Siberian Thrush

Siberian Thrush photographed on 17 November 2018 at Dairy Farm Nature Park by Art Toh.

Resident species spotted here included a Thick-billed Pigeon Treron curvirostra on 2 November 2018 at Jelutong Tower (Francis Yap), three to six Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus moving south-west together on 8 November 2018 at Bukit Timah Hill (Richard White) and a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting on 8 November 2018 at Hindhede Nature Park (Richard White & Alan Owyong). An Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster was spotted in CCNR on 9 November 2018 (Lim Kim Seng), while a flock of eight Blue-rumped Parrot Psittinus cyanurus was seen on 15 November 2018 flying over the entrance of Venus Park (Shirley Ng). Mandai Zoo proved to be fruitful also for residents, with a Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps, being spotted on 16 November 2018 (Thio Hui Bing).

9. BH Bulbul

Black-headed Bulbul photographed in the leafy compounds of the Zoo on 16 November 2018 by Thio Hui Bing.

Central Singapore

Sightings of migratory species dominated the records for locations within Central Singapore. A Blue-and-White/Zappey’s Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana/ cumatilis was spotted on 18 November 2018 at Ang Mo Kio Town Park by Loke Peng Fai, while Bidadari continued to attract interesting species, such as a female hepatic Himalayan Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus on 22 November 2018 by Con Foley and Pary Sivaraman, a rare Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae on 24 November 2018 by Goh Cheng Teng, and a Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka on 26 November 2018 (T. Ramesh).

10. GB FC

A Green-backed Flycatcher photographed on 24 November 2018 at Bidadari by Goh Cheng Teng.

11. Himalayan Cuckoo

A Himalayan Cuckoo photographed on 23 November 2018 at Bidadari by Con Foley.

Northern Singapore

A sub-adult Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela was spotted on 6 November 2018 at Serangoon Reservoir by Jack Lai, while a juvenile Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus was seen on 9 November 2018 at Seletar Aerospace Drive by Dean Tan.

12. Moorhen juv

A juvenile Common Moorhen photographed on 8 November 2018 by Dean Tan

Eastern Singapore

Five to six Daurian Starling Agropsar sturninus were seen on 3 November 2018 at Pasir Ris Park (Alvin Seng). A Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga was photographed on 4 November 2018 around Changi Business Park (Zacc HD), while a Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax was seen at Pasir Ris Park on 17 November 2018 (Alvin Seng); a few days later on 23 November 2018, at nearby Tampines Eco-Green, a female Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki was spotted (Alvin Seng). Further afield, two Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres were seen on 24 November 2018 on Pulau Tekong (Frankie Cheong), while a Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni was photographed on 30 November 2018 at Changi Business Park (James Gan).

Notable residents recorded in the east was a Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu spotted feeding with a mixed flock comprising Thick-billed Pigeon Treron curvirostra and Pink-necked Pigeon Treron vernans on 15 November 2018 at Pasir Ris Park by Alvin Seng.

13. Jambu

A juvenile Jambu Fruit Dove photographed on 16 November 2018 at Pasir Ris Park by Alvin Seng.

Southern Singapore

The southern-most hills attracted many observers as raptors and other migrants arrived in or passed through Singapore. An uncommon Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus was spotted on 2 November 2018 at Henderson Wave (See Toh Yew Wai), while five rare White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus were seen on 3 November 2018 at Telok Blangah Hill Park (Francis Yap).

15. GSE

A Greater Spotted Eagle photographed on 5 November 2018 at Henderson Wave by See Toh Yew Wai.

A Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus was seen on 4 November 2018 at the same park (Daniel Ong). The next day, a Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga was photographed at Henderson Wave after a rainy and slow start (See Toh Yew Wai, George Presanis and Geoff Lim). A Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor was spotted on 8 November 2018 at Gardens by the Bay (David Fur), while another was seen on 13 November 2018 at Jurong Island (Lim Kim Chuah). Again, on Jurong Island, an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx erithaca (black-backed subspecies) had the misfortune of crashing into a glass window on 22 November 2018. Fortunately, it survived and the bird was subsequently released somewhere safer by Lim Kim Chuah.

odkf

The Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher that survived a crash into a window on Jurong Island on 23 November 2018. Photographed by Lim Kim Chuah.

Raptors continued to ply along the ridge line through the month; notable sightings included about 200 Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes on 8 November 2018 and an Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus on 12 November 2018 at Telok Blangah Hill Park (Tan Gim Cheong); a Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni on 19 November 2018 at Preston Road (Mag Pie); a rare Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus on 20 November 2018 (Oliver Tan) and another Jerdon’s Baza on 23 November 2018, both at Henderson Wave (See Toh Yew Wai).

16. STSE

A Short-toed Snake Eagle taken on 20 November 2018 from Henderson Wave by Oliver Tan.

Passerine migrants encountered during this season included a Siberian Thrush Geokichla sibirica found dead on 13 November 2018 at Tanglin Trust School (David Tan), a female Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata on 24 November 2018 at Telok Blangah Hill Park (Tay Kian Guan), and an Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus on 27 November 2018 at the same locality (Zacc HD). Possibly a first for Telok Blangah Hill Park was the sighting of a female Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella on 25 November 2018 (See Toh Yew Wai).

17. AFBB

See Toh Yew Wai’s photograph of a female Asian Fairy Bluebird at Telok Blangah Hill Park on 25 November 2018.

Western Singapore

Apart from the spectacular western discoveries described at the beginning of this report, this region also yielded a long list of observations. A Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus was spotted on 2 November 2018 at West Coast Park (Angie Cheong, confirmed by Martin Kennewell), while the same park yielded a Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana on 6 November 2018 in the Marsh Garden (Zhang Licong); a female, first-for-the-season Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki on 10 November 2018 (Nicholas Lim), followed by a male on 20 November 2018 (Lawrence Eu).

18. GBH

The Marsh Garden yielded a surprise in the form of a Great-billed Heron on 6 November 2018. Photographed by Zhang Licong.

A first-for-the-season Black Kite Milvus migrans was seen during Raptor Watch 2018 on 3 November 2018 at Tuas South (Tan Gim Cheong), as was a Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus on 4 November 2018 at the same locality (Low Choon How). This western-most region of Singapore also yielded a rare Rosy Starling Pastor roseus on 23 November 2018 (Martin Kennewell), as well as a Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata on 24 November 2018 (Angie Cheong).

The area around Kranji Marshes, including Turut Track and Neo Tiew Lane, yielded several delights. At Turut Track on 4 November 2018, an adult male Eastern Marsh Harrier Circus spilonotus that flew high up was photographed by Low Choon How, while a Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago was spotted by Pary Sivaraman. On 5 November 2018, a juvenile Eastern Marsh Harrier Circus spilonotus was photographed at Turut Track (Francis Yap), a first-for-the-season Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus recorded at Kranji Marshes (Martin Kennewell) and an exhausted Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus found along the road at Ama Keng (Low Choon How).  A Watercock Gallicrex cinerea was seen on 17 November 2018 at Harvest Lane (Khoo Mei Lin), as was a first-for-the-season Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus on 18 November 2018 at Kranji Marshes (Andy Burns & Lim Kim Seng). Several sightings of the elusive Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata were made on 21 November 2018 at Turut Track (Lim Ser Chai) and Kranji Marshes (See Toh Yew Wai). An uncommon Sand Martin Riparia riparia was seen on 28 November 2018 at Turut Track (Fadzrun Adnan), as was a Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus on 29 November 2018 at the nearby Neo Tiew Lane (Zacc HD).

19. EMH

Eastern Marsh Harrier at Turut Track on 5 November 2018 photographed by Francis Yap.

20. Lanceolated

The elusive and difficult to photograph Lanceolated Warbler taken on 23 November 2018 at Turut Track by Lim Ser Chai

Other westerly sightings included a juvenile Pied Harrier Circus melanoleucos on 11 November 2018 (Adrian Silas Tay), two Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus on 13 November 2018 (Henrietta Woo) and a Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis on 16 November 2018 (Siew Mun) at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve; a rare juvenile Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus on 11 November 2018 at Chinese Gardens (Kwek Swee Meng) and five Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola on 18 November 2018 at Bulim (Alan Owyong).

21. PH

A juvenile Pied Harrier taken on Bird Race Day (11 November 2018) at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve by Adrian Silas Tay.

Notable residents included a Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo on 5 November 2018 at Japanese Garden (Kok M Lee) and a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax on 9 November 2018 at West Coast Park (Lim Khoon Hin).

22. B Bittern

Black Bittern taken on 18 November 2018 at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve by Josh Wong.

Other records

There was a report of an immature Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle Lophotriorchis kienerii found by NParks on 4 November 2018 at an HDB estate (it would be interesting to examine the photo, if any, as this species is often confused with the Changeable Hawk Eagle), and a report of a Northern Boobook Ninox japonica collected on 10 November 2018 at a private residential estate (David Tan).

Abbreviations:
BTNR – Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
DFNP – Dairy Farm Nature Park

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 Angela Chua, Daniel Loh, Chan Kum Chun, Lee Van Hien, Thio Hui Bing, Pary Sivaraman, Daniel Tan, Alan OwYong, Tiak Lee, Richard White, Art Toh, Goh Cheng Teng, Con Foley, Dean Tan, Alvin Seng, Francis Yap, Lim Kim Chuah, See Toh Yew Wai, Oliver Tan, Zhang Licong, Lim Ser Chai, Adrian Silas Tay and Josh Wong for the use of their photos. 

 

References

BirdLife International. (2018a). Alauda arvensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T102998555A132039889. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T102998555A132039889.en. Downloaded on 12 December 2018.

BirdLife International. (2018b). Egretta eulophotes. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22696977A93596047. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22696977A93596047.en. Downloaded on 12 December 2018.

BirdLife International. (2018c). Tringa ochropus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22693243A86680632. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22693243A86680632.en. Downloaded on 12 December 2018.

Copete, J.L. (2018). Black-headed Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/61893 on 12 December 2018).

Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/53908 on 12 December 2018).

 

List of bird sightings in report 

Family Species Date
Ardeidae Cinnamon Bittern 5-Nov
Black Bittern 16-Nov
Malayan Night Heron 4-Nov
Malayan Night Heron 11-Nov
Black-crowned Night Heron 9-Nov
Great-billed Heron 6-Nov
Chinese Egret 7-Nov
Chinese Egret 24-Nov
Anhingidae Oriental Darter 9-Nov
Accipitridae Jerdon’s Baza 19-Nov
Jerdon’s Baza 23-Nov
Jerdon’s Baza 30-Nov
Black Baza 8-Nov
Crested Serpent Eagle 6-Nov
Short-toed Snake Eagle 20-Nov
Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle 4-Nov
Greater Spotted Eagle 4-Nov
Greater Spotted Eagle 5-Nov
Eurasian Sparrowhawk 12-Nov
Eastern Marsh Harrier 4-Nov
Eastern Marsh Harrier 5-Nov
Pied Harrier 11-Nov
Black Kite 3-Nov
Black Kite 8-Nov
Grey-headed Fish Eagle 8-Nov
Rallidae

 

Watercock 17-Nov
Common Moorhen 9-Nov
Scolopacidae Common Snipe 4-Nov
Green Sandpiper 2-Nov
Wood Sandpiper 18-Nov
Ruddy Turnstone 24-Nov
Columbidae Pink-necked Pigeon 15-Nov
Thick-billed Pigeon 2-Nov
Thick-billed Pigeon 15-Nov
Jambu Fruit Dove 15-Nov
Cuculidae Chestnut-winged Cuckoo 13-Nov
Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo 17-Nov
Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo 8-Nov
Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo 13-Nov
Himalayan Cuckoo 22-Nov
Strigidae Spotted Wood Owl 5-Nov
Northern Boobook 10-Nov
Caprimulgidae

 

Grey Nightjar 8-Nov
Grey Nightjar 28-Nov
Apodidae

 

White-throated Needletail 3-Nov
Brown-backed Needletail 2-Nov
Alcedinidae Blue-eared Kingfisher 8-Nov
Falconidae Common Kestrel 29-Nov
Psittacidae Blue-rumped Parrot 15-Nov
Pittidae Blue-winged Pitta 8-Nov
Dicruridae Black Drongo 5-Nov
Ashy Drongo 18-Nov
Ashy Drongo 24-Nov
Monarchidae Japanese Paradise Flycatcher 24-Nov
Japanese Paradise Flycatcher 24-Nov
Indian Paradise Flycatcher 18-Nov
Pycnonotidae Black-headed Bulbul 16-Nov
Alaudidae Eurasian Skylark 6-Nov to 17-Nov
Hirundinidae Sand Martin 28-Nov
Phylloscopidae

 

Yellow-browed Warbler 3-Nov
Yellow-browed Warbler 4-Nov
Locustellidae

 

Lanceolated Warbler 21-Nov
Lanceolated Warbler 21-Nov
Irenidae Asian Fairy Bluebird 25-Nov
Sturnidae

 

Daurian Starling 3-Nov
Rosy Starling 23-Nov
Turdidae Siberian Thrush 13-Nov
Siberian Thrush 17-Nov
Eye-browed Thrush 26-Nov
Eye-browed Thrush 27-Nov
Muscicapidae Blue and White/Zappey’s Flycatcher 18-Nov
Blue and White/Zappey’s Flycatcher 12-Nov
Blue and White/Zappey’s Flycatcher 28-Nov
Green-backed Flycatcher 24-Nov
Mugimaki Flycatcher 10-Nov
Mugimaki Flycatcher 20-Nov
Mugimaki Flycatcher 23-Nov
Stejneger’s Stonechat 11-Nov
Motacillidae Citrine Wagtail 18-Nov
Emberizidae Black-headed Bunting
(likely escapee)
18-Nov

 

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.

8

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.

9

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.

——————————————————————————————————-

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

10

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.

=============================================================
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 – September 2018

A rare, globally threatened Chinese Egret, and a Grey-headed Fish Eagle preying on a Cinnamon Bittern capped this month’s sightings. A steady stream of migratory birds continue to reach Singapore as the northern hemisphere cools with the onset of autumn. Migratory passerines like flycatchers, Tiger Shrike and the ubiquitous Arctic Warbler begin to be seen on our shores. Resident species continue to be observed, notably the presence of an Oriental Darter at the Singapore Quarry.

Oriental Darter

On 2 Sep 2018, Subha and Raghav Narayanswamy observed an Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster at Singapore Quarry. The next day, Diana Jackson saw the shape of a Darter flying over Rail Mall. These reports rippled across the birding community and drew many to the vicinity for photo opportunities. The bird continued to be seen through September, fishing, swimming and flying at the farther reaches of the quarry. There were also several anxious moments as onlookers sometimes wondered if Grey-headed Fish Eagles perched nearby had any nefarious designs on the more ungainly bird. The bird continued to be seen and photographed on 29 Sep 2018.

1, Oriental Darter, Lee Van Hien

The Oriental Darter at the Singapore Quarry with its piscine prey. With its body submerged and only its sinuous head and neck visible, this species is also called the Snakebird. Photo by Lee Van Hien taken on 8 Sep 2018.

2, Oriental Darter, Siew Mun

The Oriental Darter taking flight at the Singapore Quarry on 8 Sep 2018. Photo taken by Siew Mun.

3, Oriental Darter, Zhang Licong, 080918

The distinct silhouette of the Oriental Darter flying over the Singapore Quarry on 9 Sep 2018. Photographed by Zhang Licong.

Chinese Egret

As a fitting tribute to the 25th anniversary of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, a rare and globally threatened Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes make an appearance at the reserve on 13 Sep 2018, YT Choong and Deborah Friets were the lucky ones to bump into the elegant egret, and managed to obtain some images which were then identified by Dave Bakewell.

Two Featured Flycatchers

The male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia, also called the Korean Flycatcher, is a visually delightful bird with its contrasting colours of black, yellow and white wing patch. Females and juveniles have somewhat distinct wingbars and a rather distinct yellow rump that separates them from Common Ioras. The species breeds across eastern Mongolia, the Russian Far East,  and China from Inner Mongolia, Gansu and Sichuan to the Changjiang valley and is known to winter regularly in peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Java (Wells, 2007:533). It is currently deemed to be of Least Concern by IUCN due to its extensive range range and stable population.

This flycatcher is known to be active at dusk, and hunts mostly at crown-level, much to the chagrin of those who wish to photograph the species, though birds were known to venture down to scrub or in areas overlooking an open space from which birds would perch and aerial-sally for flying insect prey (Wells, 2007:534).

A male was spotted in Bidadari on 2 Sep 2018 by Goh Cheng Teng, followed a female spotted by Ramesh T on 4 Sep 2018, a male and female on 10 Sep 2018 by Martin Kennewell, and a male and female on 15 Sep 2018 by Terence Tan. One bird was also spotted at Hort Park on 12 Sep 2018 by Tay Kian Guan, while a female was spotted on 28 Sep 2018 at Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP) by Terence Tan, and another female was seen on 29 Sep 2018 at Kranji Marsh by Geoff Lim.

4, Yellow-rumped FC, Terence, Tan

A male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher at Bidadari on 15 Sep 2018 by Terence Tan.

5, Yellow-rumped FC, Terence Tan, female

The yellow rump of a female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher shows up distinctly in this photo by Terence Tan, taken at Bidadari on 15 Sep 2018.

6, Yellow-rumped FC, Geoff Lim, female

A distant photo of a female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher showing the distinctive yellow rump and wing bars in this photo Geoff Lim, taken at Kranji Marsh on 23 Sep 2018.

The less photogenic Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni is sometimes considered a sub-species of the Asian Brown Flycatcher superspecies (Wells 2007:578). A sighting on 7 Sep 2018 at Bidadari by Martin Kennewell represented the first of the season this year, while a second sighting was made on 14 Sep 2018 at Singapore Quarry by Wiliam Mahoney.

7, BSFC,-crop

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR)

Migratory species encountered within CCNR during September include an Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus on 12 Sep 2018 at Upper Peirce Reservoir by Veronica Foo, the aforementioned Brown-streaked Flycatcher at the Singapore Quarry and a Pacific Swift Apus pacificus at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on 14 Sep 2018 by William Mahoney and John Ascher, Daurian Starling Agrospar sturninus on 15 Sep 2018 at Venus Loop by Sandra Chia and a Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica at Dairy Farm Nature Park on 25 Sep 2018 by Diana Jackson.

Resident species sighted in this region include the Oriental Darter featured earlier on 2 & 3 Sep 2018 at the vicinity of the Singapore Quarry, a young male Thick-billed Pigeon Treron curvirostra on 11 Sep 2018 at Singapore Quarry by Alan Owyong, a Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera on 29 Sep 2018 at MacRitchie Reservoir Park, a Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex at Lower Peirce Reservoir by Art Toh and Peach Won,  up to three Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella and a pair of Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata at Hindhede Park by Geoff Lim on 30 Sep 2018.

8, AFBB

Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG)

SBG yielded one record of a migrating Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis on 22 Sep 2018 by Stuart Campbell, and the resident Grey-headed Fish-eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus on 15 Sep 2018 by Geoff Lim and Kozi Ichiyama.

9, GHFE

Grey-headed Fish-eagle at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 15 Sep 2018. Photo by Geoff Lim

Central Singapore

The parks and gardens of Central Singapore hosted migratory species such as the Yellow-rumped Flycatcher on 2, 4 & 10 Sep 2018 as mentioned above. Bidadari held Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus on  3 & 9 Sep 2018 by Oliver Tan and Feroz, respectively; an Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa latirostris on 7 Sep 2018 by Khoo MeiLin; the aforementioned Brown-streaked Flycatcher on 7 Sep 2018; an Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis on 10 Sep 2018 by Steven Cheong; and a Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica on 11 Sep 2018 by Terence Tan.

10, Arctic Warbler

An active Arctic Warbler photographed by Herman Phua at Bidadari on 9 Sep 2018.

11, Tiger Shrike

Resident species spotted include about 20 House Swifts Apus nipalensis wheeling above Ngee Ann City at Orchard Road on 11 Sep 2018 by Geoff Lim

Northern Singapore

A Forest Wagtail Dendroanthus indicus was seen on 2 Sep 2018 at Yishun St 11 by Oliver Tan, while Tay Kian Guan and Ramesh T spotted a Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida at Lorong Halus on 19 and 30 Sep 2018.

12, Whiskered Tern, Tay Kian Guan

Eastern Singapore

The September Ubin survey on 16 Sep 2018 yielded four species of owl – the Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji, the Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus, the Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu, and the Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo.

An Amur Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone incei was also spotted on Pulau Ubin on 16 Sep 2018 by Feroz and Francis Kayano Chia. Farther east, Frankie Cheong spotted a Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii and Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus on Pulau Tekong on 17 Sep 2018, while a Chinese Sparrowhawk Accipiter soloensis was spotted at Tampines on 19 Sep 2018 by Lawrence Cher, representing a first for the season.

Southern Singapore

Migratory species seen in southern Singapore include the previously mentioned Yellow-rumped Flycatcher spotted by Tay Kian Guan at Kent Ridge Park on 12 Sep 2018.  Also seen were a Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus at Hort Park on 13 Sep 2018, by Art Toh, and a juvenile Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica was seen at Telok Blangah on 26 Sep 2018 by Art Toh.

13, DSFC, Art Toh, crop

A Dark-sided Flycatcher seen at Telok Blangah on 26 Sep 2018 by Art Toh. The streaked breast is a distinctive feature of the juvenile this species.

A resident Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus was reported to be nesting at Wessex Estate on 2 Sep 2018 by Isabellle Desjeux and two eggs were observed, while a Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis  was seen at Kent Ridge Park on 12 Sep 2018 by Tay Kian Guan.

Western Singapore

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) yielded an Eastern-crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus on 1 Sep 2018 by Russell Boyman, a first-for-the-season Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia on 2 Sep 2018 by Martin Kennewell, Great Egrets Egretta alba – one sighted on 3 Sep 2018 by Martin Kennewell, and four on 4 Sep 2018 by Veronica Foo, Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis on 15,  17 and 30 Sep 2018 (Pary Sivaraman, Deborah Friets & Martin Kennewell, respectively), and the uncommon Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea on 17 Sep 2018 (Deborah Friets). A Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans was subsequently seen on 19 Sep 2018 by Lim Hong Yao.

The only note-worthy resident at SBWR was a juvenile Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus, fed by its host, an Ashy Tailorbird Orthotomus ruficeps, on 18 Sep 2018, spotted by John Marriott.

The area bound by Kranji Marshes, Neo Tiew and Lim Chu Kang also yielded a substantial number of sightings. Kranji Dam yielded a Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida on 9 Sep 2018 (Martin Kennewell), while Kranji  Marshes yielded a Watercock Gallicrex cinerea on 2 Sep 2018 (Martin Kennewell), 38-50 Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia in the adjacent field on 8 Sep 2018 (Veronica Foo), a Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone affinis on 23 Sep 2018 (Geoff Lim & Kozi Ichiyama) and Pallas’ Grasshopper Warbler Locustella certhiola on 22 , 23, 25 and 28 Sep 2018 by Fadzrun A. (2 birds), Geoff Lim (1 bird), Martin Kennewell, and Geoff Lim & Kozi Ichiyama (1 bird), respectively.

Kranji Sanctuary Golf Course supported species such as the Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis and Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta, sighted on 15 Sep 2018 by Martin Kennewell, and nineteen Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius on 19 Sep 2018 by Lim Kim Keang & Veronica Foo. Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 yielded another Little Ringed Plover on 2 Sep 2018 (Kozi Ichiyama and Geoff Lim), Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus on 12 Sep 2018 (Luke Milo Teo), Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea on 15 Sep 2018 (Martin Kennewell) and Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis on 26 Sep 2018 (Dillen Ng).  

14, Little Ringed Plover

A Little Ringed Plover photographed at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 on 2 Sep 2018 by Geoff Lim.

Other species seen in the west include a Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus taken by a Grey-headed Fish-eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus at Pandan Canal on 13 Sep 2018 (Chan Yoke Meng & Melinda Chan); and on 15 Sep 2018, two House Swift Apus nipalensis at West Coast Drive (Tay Kian Guan) and a Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis at Chinese Garden (Dani M Queddeng).

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Pelagic Trips along Straits of Singapore

Lim Kim Keang, Alan OwYong and participants of the NSS pelagic trip along the multi-national straits between Singapore and Batam on 22 Sep 2018 hit the peak of the migration of the Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel Oceanodroma monorhis with 532 birds counted; they also spotted eight Aleutian Tern Onychoprion aleuticus, 136 Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus, 18 Greater Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii, 25 Lesser Crested Tern Thalasseus bengalensis, a juvenile Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida, a juvenile Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel, and a single Pacific Swift Apus pacificus. Another private pelagic trip on 30 Sep 2018 along the same Straits yielded a Common Tern Sterna hirundo (Tan Kok Hui et al). Note that these sightings might not be in Singapore waters.

15, Frigatebird 220918

Lesser Frigatebird at the Straits of Singapore on 22 Sep 2018. Photo by Mahesh Krishnan

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 Lee Van Hien, Siew Mun, Zhang Licong, Terence Tan, Feroz, Martin Kennewell, Art Toh, Herman Phua, Tay Kian Guan, Mahesh Krishnan  and Geoff Lim for the use of their photos. 

References: 

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
Ardeidae

 

Cinnamon Bittern 13-Sep
Chinese Pond Heron 12-Sep
Great Egret 4-Sep
Great Egret 3-Sep
Intermediate Egret 1-Sep
Intermediate Egret 8-Sep
Chinese Egret 13-Sep
Anhingidae Oriental Darter 2-Sep
Oriental Darter 3-Sep
Accipitridae

 

 

Chinese Sparrowhawk 19-Sep
Japanese Sparrowhawk 22-Sep
Grey-headed Fish-eagle 15-Sep
Rallidae Watercock 2-Sep
Charadriidae Little Ringed Plover 2-Sep
Little Ringed Plover 19-Sep
Greater Sand Plover 17-Sep
Rostratulidae Greater Painted Snipe 26-Sep
Scolopacidae

 

 

 

 

 

Marsh Sandpiper 15-Sep
Marsh Sandpiper 17-Sep
Marsh Sandpiper 30-Sep
Terek Sandpiper 17-Sep
Long-toed Stint 15-Sep
Curlew Sandpiper 17-Sep
Laridae

 

Whiskered Tern 9-Sep
Whiskered Tern 19-Sep
Whiskered Tern 30-Sep
Columbidae Thick-billed Pigeon 17-Sep
Cuculidae

 

Greater Coucal 12-Sep
Plantive Cuckoo 18-Sep
Strigidae

 

 

 

Sunda Scops Owl 16-Sep
Barred Eagle Owl 16-Sep
Buffy Fish Owl 16-Sep
Spotted Wood Owl 16-Sep
Brown Hawk Owl 30-Sep
Caprimulgidae Large-tailed Nightjar 2-Sep
Apodidae

 

 

 

 

Pacific Swift 9-Sep
Pacific Swift 13-Sep
House Swift 11-Sep
House Swift 15-Sep
Alcedinidae Common Kingfisher 15-Sep
Pittidae Blue-winged Pitta 20-Sep
Laniidae

 

 

Tiger Shrike 3-Sep
Tiger Shrike 9-Sep
Tiger Shrike 13-Sep
Dicruridae Crow-billed Drongo 19-Sep
Monarchidae

 

Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher 23-Sep
Amur Paradise Flycatcher 16-Sep
Pycnonotidae Cream-vented Bulbul 30-Sep
Phylloscopidae

 

 

Arctic Warbler 10-Sep
Eastern Crowned Warbler 1-Sep
Eastern Crowned Warbler 12-Sep
Locustellidae Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler 22-Sep
Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler 23-Sep
Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler 25-Sep
Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler 28-Sep
Timaliidae Chestnut-winged Babbler 29-Sep
Irenidae Asian Fairy Bluebird 30-Sep
Sturnidae Daurian Starling 15-Sep
Muscicapidae

 

Dark-sided Flycatcher 11-Sep
Dark-sided Flycatcher 25-Sep
Dark-sided Flycatcher 26-Sep
Asian Brown Flycatcher 7-Sep
Brown-streaked Flycatcher 7-Sep
Brown-streaked Flycatcher 14-Sep
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 2-Sep
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 4-Sep
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 10-Sep
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 12-Sep
Estrildidae Java Sparrow 29-Sep
Motacillidae Forest Wagtail 2-Sep
Eastern Yellow Wagtail 15-Sep
Grey Wagtail 15-Sep