Category Archives: Monthly Bird Reports

Singapore Bird Report- February 2017

BRT Seng Alvin

The return of the Blue Rock Thrush to the Pinnacle@Duxton. Photo: Seng Alvin

The buzz of the month had to be the return of the Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius to the Pinnacle@Duxton on 19th. This time two males, thanks to Seng Alvin’s vigilance during his temporary stay. It stayed around into the end of the month giving many birders their lifers. The next excitement was another returnee to the fig tree at DFNP, a male adult Blue and White Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanonmelana on 10th ( Alan OwYong). The main interest was whether this could be a recently split Zappey’s. It was last seen on 20th by Vernoica Foo.

BWFC Con Foley

Con’s photo of the Blue and White Flycatcher taken at DFNP clinched its identification.

Besides these two most wanted winter visitors,  there were other less rare visitors like Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus from SBWR photographed by James Tann on the 2nd. Another Forest Wagtail was seen along Venus Loop by Veronica Foo on 8th and Thio Hb on 12th. Marcel Finlay had one more along the Lower Pierce Boardwalk on 13th.

Siberian Blue Robins Luscinia cyane were showing well this month especially inside the CCNR. Marcel Finlay alone counted 4 birds (2 males, 1 adult female, and 1 immature female) along the Petai Trail on 2nd, 15th, 27th and 28th. A family group wintering together? Earlier Terence Tan reported one along Venus Loop on 7th.

Black Drongo at PB by Danny Lau

A rare visiting Black Drongo taken at Punggol Barat by Danny Lau. 

Notable visitors passing through were a Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea back at the Bulim Canal on 3rd (James Tann) and a rare visiting Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus at Punggol Barat on 4th ( Danny Lau, Tan Kok Hui et al). Two were later photographed at the Seletar side by Martin Kennewell on 24th. A Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis was photographed at the Belayer Creek Mangroves by Kwek Jun Yi on the 8th. This is not its preferred habitat which is fresh water wetlands. It may have just made landfall.

Three sightings of the Crow-billed Drongos Dicrurus annectans were reported, one at CCNR by Lim Kim Seng on 8th, a first winter male at SBG on 15th by Richard White and another at Jelutong on 24th by Marcel Finlay.

Red rumped Swallow at KM Martin K.

A seldom seen perched photo of a Red-rumped Swallow taken at Kranji Marshes by Martin Kennewell.

Smaller migrant passerines include Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica at Mandai on 10th by Lim Kim Seng and a very tame individual at the SBG on 6th (Richard White). A female Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae at Jelutong Tower was photographed by Laurence Eu on 22nd and a Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia at Kranji Marshes of all the places on 25th (Martin Kennewell and Richard Carden). Martin was clocking 80-90 species at Kranji Marshes at this time of the year picking out uncommon species like the House Swifts Apus nipalensis (3 birds) on 18th and Red-rumped Swallows Cecropis daurica on 19th and 26th.

DSFC Richard White

A very tame Dark-sided Flycatcher refueling at the Singapore Botanic Gardens before making its flight back north. Photo Richard White.

Eastern Crowned Warblers Phylloscopus coronatus were singing their hearts out in our forests at this time of the year. That was how Tan Kok Hui found one at DFNP on 11th. A White-shouldered Starling Sturnus sinensis was expertly picked out by Terence Tan among a flock of Daurian Starlings Agropsar sturninus at Seletar Crescent on 17th.

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Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo making a stop over at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Alan OwYong.

The Singapore Botanic Gardens is getting its fair share of migrants stopping over like the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx erithaca that made a short stop at the SBG on 2nd (Serena Chew). A Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor distracted the photographers temporary from the released Lady Amherst’s Pheasant on the 19th (Andrew Tan) and a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus was photographed there by Lee Chuin Ming on 25th.

Swintail Snipe Marcel

A “Swintail” Snipe shot flying over the flooded grasslands at Seletar. Photo: Marcel Finlay

Much of Punggol Barat is now over grown but fortunately a nearby patch is more open and has short grasses as cover. With the recent wet weather, parts of it were water logged, an ideal habitat for snipes to roost. No less than 150 Gallinago snipes were counted with at least half of them identified as Common Snipes Gallinago gallinago on 22nd (Martin Kennewell).  He also managed to find a good number of resident Greater Painted Snipes Rostratula benghalensis hiding among the taller sages. Visting Watercocks Gallicrex cinerea were also sighted with the most recent seen on 27th by Marcel Finlay.

Interesting shorebirds came from Frankie Cheong’s records at the reclaimed foreshore at Pulau Tekong. Two Chinese Egrets Egretta eulophotes, 10-12 Red-necked Stints Calidris ruficollis, 8 Curlew Sandpipers Calidris ferruginea, two Terek Sandpipers Xenus cinereus and 1 Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola. Most frustrating is that it is a restricted site.

Resident species that merit noting were an injured Barn Owl Tyto alba picked up near MBS on 6th ( Joe Lim). This could be from the family living under the Sheares Bridge. Two other owls, the Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji returning to the SBG to roost reported by Richard White on 14th and a surprise sighting of a Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo flying towards the buildings at Seletar Airport on 22nd evening (Martin Kennewell). Thick-billed Pigeons Treron curvirostra were photographed at the Chinese Gardens on 7th by Lee Chuin Ming, confirming their spread. Zacc HD picked up a House Swift Apus nipalensis flying over Seletar on 23rd. Keep a look out for these resident swifts to see if their numbers are increasing

The Oriental Pied Hornbills Anthracoceros albirostris at SBG successfully raised two chicks which fledged on 2nd (Millie Cher) and so did the Crested Goshawks Accipiter trivirgatus  on 19th at Bedok North. But the nesting of Oriental Pied Hornbills at Holland Drive somehow failed . The female was seen breaking out on 3rd by Lee Kia Chong but no chicks were seen feeding after that.

Legend: DFNP Dairy Farm National Park, SBWR Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, CCNR Central Catchment Nature Reserve

References:

Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. 2009 Nature Society (Singapore). 

Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2013. John Beaufoy Publishing Limited. 

Craig Robson. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South East Asia. 2000.

This report is compiled by Alan OwYong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong from selected postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums and individual reports. Not all the records were verified. We wish to thank all the  contributors for their records. Many thanks to Seng Alvin, Con Foley, Danny Lau, Martin Kennewell, Richard White, Alan OwYong and Marcel Finlay for the use of their photos. Please notify alan.owyong@gmail.com if you find errors in these records.

 

Singapore Bird Report-January 2017

 

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Our second record after 25 years, a rare vagrant Grey-streaked Flycatcher brilliantly captured at Pasir Ris Park by Aldwin Recinto. 

We kick-started the Year of the Rooster with a very rare vagrant, a Grey Streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa griseisticta photographed by Aldwin Recinto at Pasir Ris Park on 13th. This is only our second record. Our first record was on 21 April 1991 at Poyan (IORA 1), more than 25 years ago. It winters in Borneo and the Philippines. Unfortunately it did not stay more than a day.

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This photo of a young Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon moulting into adult male plumage, by Loke Peng Fai, got us heading to Ubin on the second day of the New Year.

On the first day, Low Choon How photographed a Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus flying over the Straits of Johor and Loke Peng Fai had an exciting find, a Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon Treron fulvicollis at Ubin near Ketam Quarry. The next day Con Foley and See Toh Yew Wai counted no less than 12 Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeons there. This is the largest flock of these rare pigeons ever recorded in Singapore and most probably in Johor as well.

Staying in Ubin, a rare Large Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides was seen by See Toh Yew Wai on 2nd.  Daniel Ong found a pair of Great-billed Herons Ardea sumatrana sitting on a stick nest inside the mangroves near Chek Jawa on 3rd.  If nesting is confirmed this will be our first nesting record since 2005 at Pulau Bukom Kechil. A Jambu Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus jambu photographed by Tan Gim Cheong on the 5th near Ketam Quarry. Two Jerdon’s Bazas Aviceda jerdoni were photographed by Khaleb Yordan with Lim Kim Chuah on the 14th. Nearby at Chek Jawa, 3 globally near-threatened Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica were reported by Wing Chong on the same day while Andrew Chow came in with reports of Lesser Crested Terns Thalasseus bengalensis roosting at Pulau Seduku on 2nd.

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A handsome male Little Ringed Plover in full breeding plumage taken at P. Tekong by Frankie Cheong.

Nearby at Pulau Tekong, Frankie Cheong sent in reports of Little Ringed Plovers Charadrius dubius, Red-necked Stints Calidris rufficollis and an endangered Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes on 21st. It would seem that Pulau Tekong has become the favourite stop over for the Chinese Egrets. During the Asian Waterbird Census, Lim Kim Keang counted 67 Red-necked Stints at Mandai Mudflats. A sizable flock for this globally near-threatened shorebird under the IUCN listing mainly due to the loss of wetlands in the Yellow Sea.

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Wang Bin’s clever seamless two-in-one photo montage of both morphs of the Oriental Scops Owl taken on different days from Dairy Farm NP 

On the mainland, the most intriguing find was a pair of Oriental Scops Owls Otus Sunia at DFNP by Keita Sin on the 10th. One was a grey morph and the other was rufous, both roosting on the same tree. Did they meet on migration or flew in together? We may have to wait for further sightings for the answer.

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Male Orange-headed Thrush at the Singapore Botanic Gardens by Solomon Anthony.

Interesting passerine visitors include two Orange-headed Thrushes Geokichla citrina at the Rainforest at Singapore Botanic Gardens photographed by Solomon Anthony on 10th, a female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia at Belayer Creek at Labrador on 12th, new for Labrador NR (Alan OwYong), a Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans on the 15th at PRP by Tan Gim Cheong, a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus at PRP on 16th by Tan Gim Cheong, a female Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae at Terangtang Trail by Keita Sin on 17th, a returning Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida flying into an apartment at Park East on 17th (Lee Li Er) and a Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus at the BTNR summit on 18th by Francis Yap.

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Not often you get to see a Grey Nightjar roosting so low and open. Taken at Chinese Gardens by Looi Ang Soh Hoon.

Others were a Large Hawk Cuckoo at Bidadari on 20th by Tan Gim Cheong,  a Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka back at the same tree as the previous season at Bidadari on 20th by Tan Gim Cheong and another at the Chinese Gardens on 23rd by Looi Ang Soh Hoon, a Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata at Kranji Marshes seen during a Bird Group trip on 22nd by Lee Ee Ling, a Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 25th by Laurence Eu and a juvenile Hodgon’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor from the Canopy Walk at Kent Ridge Park on 29th by Alan OwYong.

Of the water species, two Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus were reported, first a juvenile on 15th at the PRP boardwalk by Lim Kim Keang and the second an adult at Satay by the Bay on 31st by Alan OwYong. This is new for the Bay Gardens. James Tann reported the return of the snipe to the Cattail pond at Chinese Gardens on 18th. This could be the Pin-tailed Gallinago stenura that was identified roosting there the past few years. A secretive Watercock Gallicrex cinerea was photographed at Kranji Marshes by Adrian Silas Tay on 22nd.

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A hard to find Watercock taken at Kranji Marshes by Adrian Silas Tay. 

Notable residents for the month were 4-5 Green Imperial Pigeons Ducula aenea feeding on red palm nuts at Changi Business Park reported on 1st by Ted Lee, Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps from Jelutong Tower by Keita Sin on 3rd and around 20 House Swifts Apus nipalensis flying over Kent Ridge Road reported by Keita Sin on 26th. This was by far the largest flock of this swift ever reported for a long while. We hope that this will signal a comeback.

Legend: DFNP Dairy Farm National Park, PRP Pasir Ris Park, BTNR Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

References:

Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. 2009 Nature Society (Singapore). 

Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2013. John Beaufoy Publishing Limited. 

Craig Robson. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South East Asia. 2000.

This report is compiled by Alan OwYong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong from selected postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums and individual reports. Some were not verified. We wish to thank all the  contributors for their records. Many thanks to Aldwin Recinto, Loke Peng Fai, Frankie Cheong, Wang Bin, Solomon Anthony, Looi Ang Soh Hoon and Adrian Silas Tay for the use of their photos. If you have any earlier records than those reported here and found some errors, please notify alan.owyong@gmail.com. 

 

 

 

Singapore Raptor Report – December 2016

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Eastern Imperial Eagle, juvenile, Pulau Ubin, 28 Dec 2016, by Robin Tan

Summary for migrant species:

An uncommon Grey-faced Buzzard (adult) photographed by Thio Hui Bing on the 1st on Pulau Ubin after rain was a good start for the month. The next day, on the 2nd, two rare raptors showed up: a grey morph Oriental Scops Owl photographed by Gavan Leong in the daytime, also on Pulau Ubin and a juvenile Black Kite photographed by Francis Yap at Jelutong Tower.

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Grey-faced Buzzard, Pulau Ubin, 1 Dec 2016, by Thio Hui Bing

Not to be outdone, a very rare Amur Falcon was photographed by Yip Peng Sun at Yishun Dam on the morning of the 16th – this being the second record for Singapore since the first occurrence on 21 Nov 2007.

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Amur Falcon, Yishun Dam, 16 Dec 2016, by Yip Peng Sun

The streak of rarities culminated with a juvenile Imperial Eagle, again on Pulau Ubin. The last record being on 18 Nov 2001, 15 years ago. First photographed on the 19th, the Imperial Eagle was relocated on the 27th at the same spot and appeared there everyday till the 31st, giving birders here a great opportunity to see this rarity. A juvenile Imperial Eagle photographed on the 24th at the eastern part of Singapore main island was most likely the same individual. As is the case with migrant eagles, this individual was occasionally mobbed by resident House Crows and Brahminy Kites.

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Eastern Imperial Eagle, juvenile, Pulau Ubin, 28 Dec 2016, by Frankie Cheong

A dark morph Booted Eagle was still wintering at Pulau Punggol Barat and the nearby areas, being recorded on the 3rd, 10th, 17th and 26th. Two Ospreys were recorded around the usual areas near the northern coast of Singapore. For the Accipiters, six Japanese Sparrowhawks were recorded, but none for the Chinese Sparrowhawk. Five Peregrine Falcons (3 juveniles, 1 adult, 1 un-aged) were recorded around the island, quite a good number for this uncommon species.

A total of 36 Black Bazas were recorded on the northern areas from Sungei Buloh to Pasir Ris, the largest flock being 15-strong at Punggol Barat. For the Oriental Honey Buzzard, 45 were recorded, the largest flock comprised 11 birds at Sungei Buloh on the 3rd, probably on migration. On the 15th, there was a sight report of a juvenile Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle, which cannot be verified due to the possibility of confusion with other similar-looking species.

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White-bellied Sea Eagle, immature, Pulau Ubin, 27 Dec 2016, by Tan Gim Cheong

Highlights for sedentary species:

By the 22nd, the Grey-headed Fish Eagle chick on the nest at Little Guilin had fledged – another successful nesting for the species at the same locality. Other records of this fish eagle came from Kranji Marshes (on 10th & 26th) and Pulau Ubin (on 15th & 29th).

The Crested Goshawk was recorded from the Botanic Gardens (adult on 3rd & 13th), West Coast Park (juvenile on 7th & 20th) and Sengkang Floating Wetlands (juvenile on 17th).  There were 2 torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzzards; the adult tweeddale morph recorded at Pasir Ris Park the previous month was still around on the 10th, 17th and 21st, while a juvenile tweeddale morph first recorded last month at Ang Mo Kio was photographed at the nearby Bishan Park on the 24th and 25th.

For the Changeable Hawk-Eagle, it was notable that nesting was observed at Mount Faber on the 20th. The White-bellied Sea Eagle, Brahminy Kite, and Black-winged Kite completed the roundup for the month.

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Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Robin Tan, Yip Peng Sun, Thio Hui Bing and Frankie Cheong for the use of their photos.

For a pdf version with more details, please click singapore-raptor-report-dec16

 

 

Singapore Bird Report-December 2016

 

We cannot asked for a more exciting end to the year than having a rare montane species turning up at our forest. A Mountain Imperial Pigeon Ducula badia was spotted by Lim Kim Seng feeding on the figs next to NParks office at Pulau Ubin on new year’s eve. Being long distance flyers Ubin is probably within its range from the Central Highlands of Malaysia. Kim Seng was there to look for the Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus. The Mountain Imperial Pigeon is only our third record, the second for Ubin (previous sighting on 11.11.2012).

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Mountain Imperial Pigeon – A year end lifer for many birders here. Photo: Lee Tiah Khee.

Kim Seng had earlier reported an Aquila eagle being mobbed by our White-bellied Sea-eagles Haliaeetus leucogaster and House Crows Corvus splendens at the rocky Pulau Seduku on the 19th. It turned out to be a juvenile Asian Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca, last recorded at Tanah Merah on 18.11.2001, 15 years back. These two rare sightings caused a stampede of birders and photographers to Ubin hoping to tick off their lifers. Most were successful. Staying at Ubin, a first of the season Himalayan Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus was photographed by Keita Sin at Butterfly Hill on 28th.

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A rare Himalayan Cuckoo, formerly known as Oriental Cuckoo, first for the season.                   Photographed by Keita Sin at Butterfly Hill Ubin.

Earlier in the month on the 2nd, Gavan Leong stumbled on an Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia in broad daylight near Pekan Quarry, another first for the season.

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Gavan Leong was fortunate to find this rare Oriental Scops Owl near Pekan Quarry.

At the same quarry, Atish Banerjee spotted the on-off Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster  on the 5th. It was seen again on the 10th by Francis Yap who went over to check on the Mangrove Pittas Pitta megarhyncha. He found a few individuals at their usual haunt. On the same day, Millie Cher spied a shy Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata wintering at the nearby mangroves. A Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus was seen flying over Ketam Quarry on the 20th by Birding Dawn. It must have come over from Danga Bay further west of Ubin. This is the most easterly record for this threatened species. Just showed how rich and attractive Pulau Ubin is for these rare species. The decision to keep as much of the island as it is cannot be more timely.

Not to be outdone, SBWR came up with a male non-breeding Ruff Philomachus pugnax photographed by Robin Tan on 2nd. Our last records were in 2001 at Tanah Merah.

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After a long absence of 15 years, this Ruff was photographed at SBWR by Robin Tan 

Another Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus, this time an adult, was also photographed at SBWR on 20th by Tan Chee Keon. It later flew over to Kranji Marshes and stayed for a few days (Lim Kim Chuah 25th).

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An adult Grey-headed Lapwing photographed at SBWR by Tan Chee Keon.                                         This is the second record for the year. 

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This rare winter visitor Slaty-legged Crake had an unfortunate ending at Sentosa. Photo credit: SDC and Tan Kok Yeang.

Other rarities include a dead Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides that crashed into the fence at Pulau Selegu, now part of Sentosa, on the 5th. Tan Kok Yeang forwarded a photo of the dead crake taken by his staff.

A Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanophus at Tuas South on 9th was reported by Low Choon How, a Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka at Bidadari on 10th (Lim Kim Keang), Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus at Kranji Marshes on 10th identified from a photo by Veronica Foo. This is the type of waterbirds that NParks hopes to attract back to the Marshes and this sighting is an indication that it is succeeding.

An Amur Falcon Falco amurensis on 16th at Seletar by Yip Peng Sun was an unexpected sighting, being only the second record for Singapore. Other interesting winter visitors reported include a Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor at Upper Pierce Reservoir on 2nd (Veroica Foo), Orange-headed Thrush Geokichia citrina, a first for the season, below Jelutong Tower on 3rd (Lim Kim Seng), another Orange-headed Thrush at BTNR Tabun Loop on 9th (Lim Kim Keang), an Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis at Jurong Eco Garden on 3rd (Veronica Foo), up to four White Wagtails Motacilla alba at Marina Barrage on 4th (Alan OwYong), an Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus (leucogenis) race at Bidadari on the 8th (Xu Weiting), 4 Chinese Egrets Egretta eulophotes at Tekong on 10th (Frankie Cheong) and a Blue and White Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana at Dairy Farm seen from Hill View Station on 12th by George Presanis. More than 200 Blue-tailed Bee-eaters Merops philippinus were seen roosting at the Nassim area on 11th by Richard White.

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The obliging Hooded Pitta at the Ginger Garden was the darling of many photographers               early in the month. Photo: Diamondo Sutjipto.

Hooded Pittas Pitta sordida made a strong showing at the Botanic Gardens this season starting with Lee Chuin Ming and James Tann’s sighting on the 7th. Three days later Atish Banerjee saw one at Symphony Lake and another at the Rain Forest while Richard White also reported another at the Dell. Richard confirmed that there were at least 3 Hooded Pittas and one Blue-wigned Pitta Pitta moluccensis at the gardens on the 12th. On the same day Daniel Ong reported another Blue-winged Pitta  at Tampines.

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Watercock found dead at Changi Business Park.   Photo: Mick Price.

Bird crashes were coming in fast and furious for the month. Three Watercocks Gallicrex cinerea, first at Riverdale alive on 1st, second at Changi Business Park on 2nd – dead (Mick Price) and the last at Hougang, which survived, on 8th.

Two dead Red-legged Crakes Rallina fasciata both at Ubin, first on 2nd and the other on 3rd. Two Blue-winged Pittas, at UWC SEA Tampines on 2nd and another at NUS Ridge View Residences on 3rd. An adult Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus, probably a migrant at Sentosa Beach Station 0n 2nd (Sarah Chin).  A Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka flew into a house at Changi but recovered and flew off on its own. A first winter male Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki found dead at Nepal Park and a dead Hooded Pitta at Kent View both on the 8th. A Thick-billed Pigeon Treton curvirostra crashed into an apartment at One-North on 9th (Alan OwYong). Fortunately it recovered the next day and was released. (All crash records from David Tan unless stated). (Received a late note from Joe Lim that a Hooded Pitta was found at Hospital Drive a little concussed. It was later released in the nearby forest.)

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This sub-adult male Thick-billed Pigeon survived the crash at One-North. Alan OwYong

Interesting resident sightings came from the Botanic Gardens as well. Richard White reported a Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis, a forest species there on 7th. It may have been pushed out of Bukit Brown where a new highway is being built. There were old records of this coucal at the gardens in the 90s. A confused Western Barn Owl Tyto alba was taking refuge at Temasek Poly on the 8th, much to the amusement of the students there (Wong Chung Cheong). A rare Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea was photographed at Pasir Ris Park on 11th by Alfred Chia. A small group frequented the Loyang area on a regular basis.

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Up to 8 House Swifts Apus nipalensis were seen flying over the Eco Lake at SBG by Keita Sin on 21st. A very good record as we normally get single bird sightings here and there. Signs of recovery for this species? An Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis was seen among them according to Keita. They used to nest at the Palm Valley nearby up to the 80s. A limping Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana flew onto the Marina Barrage on the 26th, a first for this location. Also first for the area were 4 Red-wattled Lapwings Vanellus indicus and a Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis seen on the open grassland there. This seafront is getting its fair share of uncommon species and waders.

Green Imperial Pigeon photographed at Pasir Ris Park by Alfred Chia.

Two early nesting records were from a male Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris seen regurgitating figs to feed the entombed female at SBG by Yang Pah Liang and a pair of Red-crowned Barbets Megalaima rafflesii at CCNR (Lim Kim Seng).

Legend: SBWR-Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. CCNR-Central Catchment Nature Reserve. SBG-Singapore Botanic Gardens. UWC-United World College. NUS-National University of Singapore.

References:

Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. 2009 Nature Society (Singapore). 

Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2013. John Beaufoy Publishing Limited. 

Craig Robson. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South East Asia. 2000.

This report is compiled by Alan OwYong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong from selected postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums and individual reports. Some were not verified. We wish to thank all the  contributors for their records. Many thanks to Lee Tiah Khee, Keita Sin, Gavan Leong, Robin Tan, Tan Chee Keon, Tan Kok Yeang, Diamondo Sutjipto, Mick Price, Alan OwYong and Alfred Chia for the use of their photos. If you have any earlier records than those reported here and found some errors, please notify alan.owyong@gmail.com. 

 

Singapore Bird Report-October 2016

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Second land record of a Red-necked Phalarope after 22 years absence photographed at P. Tekong by Frankie Cheong.

The reclaimed land at Pulau Tekong continued to attract unexpected rare migrants for October. A juvenile Red-necked Phalarope, Phalaropus lobatus, made a surprised landfall on the 8th (Frankie Cheong). This is only our second land record after an absence of 22 years. They normally migrate and winter at sea where we had our second record at the Singapore Straits on 17.4 2011. The stormy weather over the South China Sea may have forced it to land. On the same day Frankie Cheong photographed a juvenile Sanderling  Calidris alba, feeding nearby.  The stormy weather may also account for the sighting of a rare non-breeding Gull-billed Tern, Gelochelidan nilotica, at Tekong on the 1st.

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A rare land shot of a Gull-billed Tern in non breeding plumage at P. Tekong by Frankie Cheong.

The other big find was a juvenile Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus, that made a short refueling stop at the Kranji Marshes on the 23rd. We had to thank Martin Kennewell for spotting it from the tower and the quick alert. This rare vagrant visited nearby SBWR on 5th November 2011 (Lim Kim Chuah). Last year Richard White reported one flying over the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 16th November.

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The Grey-headed Lapwing hanging out with the Red Wattled Lapwings inside the core area of the Kranji Marshes digiscoped by Martin Kennewell.

Staying at Kranji Marshes, the rare Black-capped Kingfisher Halycon pileata, made a two-day appearance there on the 24th and 25th (Eyzat Amer Affandi). Terence Tan managed to get close for this shot on the second day.

black-capped-kf-terence-tan

Super close up shot of this shy and sensitive Black-capped Kingfisher at Kranji Marshes. Photo: Terence Tan.

Unfortunately efforts to locate it during the Bird Race was not successful. But we ended the month on a high note with Laurence Eu’s visit to the Zoo on 31st. He found the rare and much sought after Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocauda, feeding around the Garden Pavilion. It stayed for a week fattening itself up before resuming its migration. Many of us got some great images thanks to Laurence.

jpfc-laurence-eu

Laurence Eu’s photo of the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher at the Zoo earned WRS a few hundred dollars in new memberships and some great images for us.

Despite the on going forest clearing work at Bidadari, the incoming migrants and other visitors were still using the place as a rest stop. On the 1st the globally threatened Brown-chested Flycatcher Cyornis brunneata, (first arrival) and the uncommon Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica, were sighted by Richard White together with a rather tame non-breeding visiting Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax. Two days later he counted two more Brown-chested Jungle Flycatchers there. A first winter Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans, on 2nd (Koh Lian Heng), a Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris, on 5th (Veronica Foo) and an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx erithaca, on 10th (Frankie Lim) made up the list.

pa230188

Photographer’s favorite, the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher was recorded across the island this month.

Two days later, another concussed and lost Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher was picked up at NIE and handed over to ACRES (Diana and Adrian Tan). On 23rd another very tired Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher landed at Tuas South (Lim Kim Keang) giving photographers a field day as did another at Hindhede Nature Park on 29th (Subha and Raghav Narayanswamy). Gil Jones had one that flew into her house at Ridout Road on the 28th. Five known records in one month!

I learnt that Marcel Finlay had created a small wetland marsh besides the Sport Hub with the blessings of the authorities. He was rewarded by a first of the season arrival of an Oriental Reed Warbler Acrophalus orientalis, on 4th and a skulking Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler Locustella certhiola, on 18th. It just shows that you can attract uncommon migrants with the right habitat even in a suburban setting.

sbr-adrian-silas-tay

A first winter male Siberian Blue Robin taken at Jelutong Tower by Adrian Silas Tay.

Other notable migrant passerines for October includes three Red-rumped Swallows, Cecropis daurica, flying over the Ecolake on 2nd at SBG (Richard White), three records of the Siberian Blue Robin Luscinia cyane: first at SBG on 3rd (Richard White), then a first winter male Siberian Blue Robin at Jelutong Tower on 9th (Adrian Silas Tay), and lastly three along the Petai Trail on 24th (Marcel Finlay). First arrivals Ruddy Kingfisher Halycon coromanda, at Jurong Eco Gardens on 10th (James Tann), White-shouldered Starling Sturnus sinensis, at Seletar on 14th (Dean Tan), Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Calamatar coromandus, at Tuas South on 26th (Robin Tan and Lim Kim Keang), a confiding Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata, at Tuas South on 29th (Lim Kim Keang). Chuin Ming Lee’s sighting of a juvenile White Wagtail Motocilla alba,at Marina Barrage on 31st was the second record of this wagtail there.

ws-starling-dean-tan

First arrival of the season, the White-shouldered Starling at Seletar on 4th. Photo: Dean Tan.

Records of the Blue-winged Pittas Pitta moluccenis, were coming in as expected. David Tan reported one that flew into a house at Woodlands on 12th, while James Tann spotted another at Kranji Marshes on 22nd. We can expect more crashes and sightings of this pitta in November.

As for the rest of the shore and sea birds, there were six Black-tailed Godwits, Limosa limosa, an Asian Dowitcher, Limnodromus semipalmatas, on 1st and 4 Eurasian Curlews Numenius arquata,on 22nd all at P. Tekong  (Frankie Cheong), three Bar-tailed Godwits, Limosa lapponica, 34 Grey Plovers, Pluvialis squatarola, at P. Sekuda off Ubin on 5th (Lim Kim Keang and Willie Foo) and two more Bar-tailed Godwits at SBWR on 15th ( Martin Kennewell).

oriental-practincole-geoff-lim

Geoff Lim’s record shot of the Oriental Pratincole roosting at the open land next to the Kranji Marshes was his lifer as well.  We had records of this wader from Tuas to Changi this month.

Martin also reported several Oriental Pratincoles Glareola maldivarum, roosting at the construction site next to Kranji Marshes on the 15th. Diana Jackson photographed 5 Oriental Pratincoles flying over Changi on 17th while Zacc shot another two migrating over Taus South on 20th and 8 more Oriental Pratincoles were reported flying over Kent Ridge Park on 21st by Keita Sin. Good to see these insect feeding shorebird are coming through.

rts-atish

Two Ruddy Turnstones at the Marina Barrage were spotted by Atish Banerjee on 28th. Photo: Atish Banerjee.

During a pelagic trip to the West Singapore Straits, a Common Tern Sterna hirundo, was photographed on 15th by Francis Yap and company.  A lone Grey Plover at Marina Barrage on 22nd (Robin Tan), 20 Curlew Sandpipers Calidris ferruginea, at SBWR 0n 23rd (Subha and Raghav Narayanswamy), a Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus, at Tuas South on 23rd (Lim Kim Keang) and 2 Ruddy Turnstones Arenaria interpres, also at Marina Barrage on 28th (Atish Banerjee and Jerold Tan) complete the list.

barred-eagle-owl-lkc

A former resident, the Barred Eagle Owl made a brief appearance at the BTNR on 31st October. Photo: Lim Kim Chuah.

We had several interesting reports of uncommon and rare residents in between, notably a pair of Thick-billed Pigeons Treron curvirostra, feeding over at DFNP on 4th (Mark Nelson Valino), a Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela, seen over Kent Ridge Road on 10th, 14th and 20th (Gavan Leong), a hard to find House Swift Apus nipalensis, flying past Kent Ridge Park on 20th (Keita Sin), a Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata, at Hindhede NP (Subha and Raghav Narayanswamy) on 31st.

October ended with a bang! Veteran birder Lim Kim Chuah found the returning Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus, by the BTNR’s biycle track. This former resident was on everyone’s most wanted list. It was recently added to the Singapore Checklist as a rare non-breeding visitor.

Legend: SBWR Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. BTNR Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. DFNP Dairy Farm Nature Park. SBG Singapore Botanic Gardens. NIE National Institute of Education

Reference:

Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. 2009 Nature Society (Singapore). 

Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2013. John Beaufoy Publishing Limited. 

Craig Robson. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South East Asia. 2000.

A Field Guide to the Waterbirds of Asia. Wild Birds Society of Japan. 1993

This report is compiled by Alan OwYong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong from selected postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums and individual reports. Some were not verified. We wish to thank all the  contributors for their records. Many thanks to Frankie Cheong, Martin Kennewell, Terence Tan, Laurence Eu, Alan OwYong, Adrian Silas Tay, Dean Tan, Geoff Lim, Atish Banerjee and Lim Kim Chuah for the use of their photos. If you have any earlier records than those reported here, please notify alan.owyong@gmail.com. 

 

Singapore Bird Report-September 2016

Following the arrival of the Forest Wagtails, Yellow-rumped, Asian Brown and Asian Paradise Flycatchers last month, we had another thirteen passerine species arriving this month. Starting on the 4th with an Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Motacilla tschutschensis, picked up at Mandai Mudflats by Martin Kennewell with Lim Kim Keang, David Li and Andy Dinesh during the Fall Migration Bird Census and a Tiger Shrike, Lanius tigrinus, at the Japanese Gardens on the 6th  (Timothy Chua). An Eastern Crown, Phylloscopus coronatus, and an Arctic Warbler, Phylloscopus borealis, at the Rifle Range Link were reported by Francis Yap on 7th and a Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea, at Kranji Marshes by George Presanis on 8th.

The most interesting arrival of the month was a White Wagtail, Motacilla alba, photographed by Richard White at the flooded fields besides the Marina Barrage on the 19th. This is more than a month earlier than the previous arrival date of 21st October.

white-wagtail-richard-whiteA female non breeding leucopsis White Wagtail photographed by Richard White near Marina Barrage on 19th is more than a month earlier than the previous extreme date.

A sub-adult Indian Cuckoo, Cuculus micropterus, photographed at Bidadari on 10th by Marcel Finlay, signalled the return of the migrant to this soon to be developed site. Francis Yap at his favourite Jelutong Tower photographed a passing Pacific Swift, Apus pacificus, and a Dark-sided Flycatcher, Muscicapa sibirica, on the 23rd.

pacific-swift-fyapPacific Swift photographed migrating over Jelutong Tower by Francis Yap.

David Tan retrieved a dead Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Ceyx erithaca, from River Valley High on 23rd. This is the second Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher to hit the school in two years. He reported that a weakened Cinnamon Bittern, Ixobrychus cinnamomeus, was picked up by ACRES from Hougang on 28th. This is most probably a migrant.

On 24th Lim Kim Chuah shared a photo of another casualty from his office at Jurong Island. This time it was an uncommon and hard to see Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler, Locustella certhiola, found dead by his colleague Nisha Begum. Unfortunately we will be seeing more migrants crashing into buildings during this period as they migrate at night.

pallass-grasshopper-warbler-lkc

The dead Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler showing the streaked upper parts. Photo: Lim Kim Chuah

Rounding off this month’s arrivals were the returning Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, Merops phillippinus, reported at Serangoon Tidal Gates 0n 28th by Lim Kim Seng, a Squared-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo, Surniculus lugubris, from Tuas South on 29th by Robin Tan and a Ferruginous Flycatcher, Muscicapa ferruginea, at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on 30th by Lim Kim Chuah. (A earlier Squared-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo was reported at MacRitchie Trail on 23rd by Marcel Finlay, but its status is not clear as we also have a resident population there).

@ sime track

You can just make out the buffy crowned stripe of this Eastern Crowned Warbler, but the yellow undertail is very obvious. Taken at Terangtan Trail on 21st by Laurence Eu.

Other migrants of note were another Eastern Crowned Warbler at Terangtan Trail on 21st (Laurence Eu) and three Yellow-rumped Flycatchers, Ficedula zanthopygia, at Gardens by the Bay on 21st (Dawn Birding). This is a new record for GBTB. Still at the Gardens, two adult Rosy and Brahminy Starlings created much excitement during the month. Both birds were either released or escapees.

We had only one non-breeding visitor, a Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo, Hierococcyx fugax, photographed by Zacc at Dillenia Hut inside our Central Forest.  A Brown-streaked Flycatcher, Muscicapa williamsoni, was reported at Kranji Marshes on 13th by Joseph Tan K. B. This flycatcher has its status revised from a non-breeding visitor to a winter visitor in our 2015 Checklist based on the recent arrival dates. It is listed as a resident and a migrant in Malaysia.

bsfc-joseph-tan-kb

Brown-streaked Flycatcher, a Winter Visitor, at Kranji Marshes on 13th. Photo: Joseph Tan Kok Beng.

We added five newly arrived shorebirds and one tern this month. A non-breeding Grey-tailed Tattler, Tringa brevipes, was photographed at SBWR on the 1st ( Zacc HD). It stayed for a few days, long enough for most of us to tick it. Another Grey-tailed Tattler photographed at Seletar Dam on 7th by Lawrence Cher may be the same bird.

grey-tailed-tattler-zaccGrey-tailed Tattler dropping in to SBWR on 1st Sept. Photo: Zacc HD.

An adult Red-necked Stint, Calidris ruficollis, was counted at Mandai Mudflats by David Li and Lim Kim Keang during the Fall Migration Bird Census on the 4th. Two days later Frankie Cheong reported two more Red-necked Stints at Pulau Tekong. Both were in non-breeding plumage. Another was sighted at the Marina Barrage on the 16th morning by Lim Kim Keang but it did not stay. We found out later from TT Koh that he photographed a Red-necked Stint in transition plumage at Seletar Dam on 23rd August. His record marked the first arrival of this stint.

red-necked-stint-tt-koh

TT Koh shot this Red-necked Stint (right) in a transition plumage from breeding to non breeding at Seletar Dam on 23rd August, making it the first arrival for the season.

Red-necked Stint at MB LKK

Red-necked Stint (left) at Marina Barrage on the 16th. Photo: Lim Kim Keang

The five globally threatened Bar-tailed Godwits, Limosa lapponica, flying past Seletar Dam on 11th ( Lawrence Cher) and the two Broad-billed Sandpipers, Limicola falcinellus, at the Marina Barrage on 15th (Lim Kim Seng) made a one day appearance and could be on passage.

bar-tailed-godwits-lawrence-cherBar-tailed Godwits flying across the Seletar Dam. Their threat status had been uplisted by Birdlife in the latest IUCN Red List update due to the reclamation of their refueling site at Yellow Sea mudflats 

But the single Swinhoe’s Plover, Charadrius dealbatus, a distinct sub species of the Kentish Plover, sighted by Robin Tan at the Marina Barrage on the 19th was joined by another on the 23rd. Acceptance of this species to our checklist is pending.

swinhoes-plover-robin-tanThe Swinhoe’s Plover was first seen on the 19th at the Marina Barrage. Photo: Robin Tan

A single Whiskered Tern, Chlidonias hybrida, was reported at the Kranji Marshes by Martin Kennewell on the 3rd. This was 6 days earlier than the earliest arrival date of 9th September. Richard White also reported three Whiskered Terns flying near the Marina Barrage on the 19th.

The numbers of Curlew Sandpipers, Calidris ferruginea, arriving here have declined drastically over the years. Only one was photographed at P. Tekong by Frankie Cheong on 21st and another two at SBWR reported by David Li on 26th.

img-20160921-wa0008A single Curlew Sandpiper photographed at Pulau Tekong by Frankie Cheong.

Long-toed Stints, Calidris subminuta, and Wood Sandpipers, Tringa glareola, were still around at Kranji on 10th (Alfred Chia and Lim Kim Keang). Both these waders were also seen at Pulau Tekong at a fresh water patch on 21st by Frankie Cheong together with two juvenile Ruddy Turnstones, Arenaria interpres.

Uncommon and notable residents for the month came from Bukit Kalang Service Reservoir in the Central Catchment where Keita Sin photographed a Crested Serpent Eagle, Spilornis cheela, flying overhead on the 23rd, a Great-billed Heron, Ardea sumatrana, was spotted at the West Coast Park Marshes on 12th (Kristel Yeong). Kieta Sin recounted that he had seen this heron there on 15 September 2015.

Others include a juvenile Crested Goshawk, Accipter trivirgatus, at GBTB on 14th (Danny Khoo), a Chestnut-winged Babbler, Stachyris erythroptera, at Terangtan Trail on 21st (Laurence Eu), a hard to find House Swift, Apus nipalensis, over at Punggol Barat on 27th (Joseph Tan KB) and an adult Rusty-breasted Cuckoo, Cacomantis sepulcralis, photographed at SBWR by Zacc on 27th.

  1. List of first arrivals for the Season recorded in September.
Date Species Location Observer Remarks
         
1st Grey-tailed Tattler SBWR Zacc HD Non-breeding
1st Whiskered Tern x 2 Kranji Marshes Martin Kennewell New arrival date.
4th Yellow Wagtail Mandai Mudflats David Li & Lim KK FMBC
4th Red-necked Stint* (Adult) Mandai Mudflats David Li & lim KK FMBC
6th Tiger Shrike Japanese Gardens Timonthy Chua Juvenile
7th Eastern-crowned Warbler Rifle Range Link Francis Yap
7th Arctic Warbler Rifle Range Link Francis Yap
8th Grey Wagtail Kranji Marshes George Presanis
10th Indian Cuckoo Bidadari Marcel Finlay Sub adult
11th Bar-tailed Godwit x 5 Seletar Dam Lawrence Cher In flight
15th Broad-billed Sandpiper x2 Marina Barrage Lim Kim Seng
19th White Wagtail Marina Barrage Richard White New arrival date
19th Swinhoe’s Plover Marina Barrage Robin Tan
21st Curlew Sandpiper P. Tekong Frankie Cheong Breeding
23rd Dark-sided Flycatcher Jelutong Tower Francis Yap
23rd Pacific Swift Jelutong Tower Francis Yap
23rd Black-backed Kingfisher River Valley High David Tan Dead. Crashed
24th Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler Jurong Island Nisha Begun Reported by Lim Kim Chuah
28th Blue-tailed Bee-eater Halus Barrage Lim Kim Seng Winter visitor
29th Squared-tailed Drongo-cuckoo Tuas South Robin Tan Winter Visitor
30th Ferruginous Flycatcher BTNR Lim Kim Chuah

*TT Koh later reported that he photographed a Red-necked Stint at Seletar Dam on 23rd

August. This marked the first arrival for this shorebird for the season.

Legend: SBWR-Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. BTNR- Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. FMBC Fall

Migration Bird Census 2016. GBTB-Gardens by the Bay.

Reference:

Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. 2009 Nature Society (Singapore). 

Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2013. John Beaufoy Publishing Limited. 

Craig Robson. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South East Asia. 2000.

A Field Guide to the Waterbirds of Asia. Wild Birds Society of Japan. 1993

This report is compiled by Alan OwYong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong from selected postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums and individual reports. Some were not verified. We wish to thank all the  contributors for their records. Many thanks to Richard White, Francis Yap, Lim Kim Chuah, Laurence Eu,  Joseph Tan Kok Beng,  Mohamad Zahidi, TT Koh, Lim Kim Keang, Lawrence Cher, Robin Tan and Frankie Cheong, for the use of their photos.

 

 

Singapore Bird Report-August 2016

The Autumn migration is well underway this month with the arrival of the shorebirds early in the month followed by a flood of passerine migrants on the very last day. The wader stops are at Seletar Dam, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR), Kranji Marshes and Pulau Tekong. The star was the globally endangered Great Knot, Calidris tenuirostris, arriving on 13th and staying around the Seletar Dam for a few days.

Great Knot FYap

The Wader of the Month is this Great Knot in partial breeding plumage taken at Seletar Dam by Francis Yap. It had been recently upgraded to globally endangered due to the loss of refueling wetlands at East Asia. 

The newly reclaimed land off Pulau Tekong is turning into a preferred stop for many of the waders. Four globally threatened Chinese Egrets, Egretta eulophotes, on 6th and an Eurasian Curlew, Numenius arquata, on 5th were recorded there. A big thank you to Frankie Cheong for monitoring this restricted location where he also found a family of 2 Malaysian Plovers, Charadrius peronii, adults with two chicks there on the 13th.

frankie-cheongThe newly reclaimed land at Pulau Tekong getting its fair share of rare waders this season. The Asian Dowitcher was the first record here. Three Grey Plovers in breeding plumage and a Greater Sand Plover are next to the Dowitcher. Photo: Frankie Cheong. 

IMG-20160827-WA0006

An unmistakable Ruddy Turnstone in breeding plumage arrived at P. Tekong on the 27th. Thanks again to Frankie Cheong for getting this on record.

Parts of the construction site next to Kranji Marshes were flooded and shallow pools of fresh water attracted many of the waders that were looking for water fleas and larvae there. 13 Long-toed Stints, Calidris subminuta, (Alan OwYong) were counted on 31st. This is a high number for this uncommon plover as past records were in the single numbers.  Also present were at least two Wood Sandpipers, Tringa glareola, and up to 13 Little-ringed Plovers, Charadrius dubius, (Martin Kennewell).

Eurasian Curlew Millie Cher

These two juvenile Eurasian Curlews arrived at SBWR on 25th. The first arrival was recorded at P. Tekong on the 5th by Frankie Cheong. Photo: Millie Cher.

Here is the list of some of the first arrivals.

Species Date Location Observer/s Remarks
Wood Sandpiper x 2 3rd Kranji Marshes Martin Kennewell First reported on 31/8
Common Redshank x 30 5th SBWR Lim Kim Seng
Eurasian Curlew 5th P. Tekong Frankie Cheong. Two birds reported at SBWR by David Li on 25th
Chinese Egret x 4 6th P. Tekong Frankie Cheong
Black-tailed Godwit 7th SBWR Adrian Gopal One reported on 13th at Seletar Dam by Francis Yap.
Pacific Golden Plover 9th Seletar Dam Francis Yap Most in breeding plumage.
Great Knot 13th Seletar Dam Francis Yap Partial breeding plumage.
Greater Sand Plover 18th Seletar Dam KC Ling, Timothy Chua Timothy Chua. Another reported at Seletar Dam on 31st.
Terek Sandpiper 19th Seletar Dam Zacc HD Another seen at P. Tekong on 27th by Frankie Cheong.
Marsh Sandpiper 19th SBWR David Li
Common Greenshank 19th SBWR David Li
Asian Dowitcher 20th SBWR Keita Sin With a Black-tailed Godwit.
Intermediate Egret 23rd SBWR Veronica Foo
Ruddy Turnstone 27th P. Tekong Frankie Cheong One bird in breeding plumage.
Little-ringed Plover x 7 27th Kranji Marshes Martin Kennewell Numbers increased to 13 on  30th by Martin Kennewell
Long-toed Stint x 2 27th Kranji Marshes Martin Kennewell Numbers increased to 13 on 31st by Alan OwYong
White-winged Tern 27th SBWR Martin Kennewell
Grey Plovers x 12-15 31st P. Tekong Frankie Cheong All in breeding plumage together with an Asian Dowitcher.

 

GSP FYap

The Greater Sand Plover taken at Seletar Dam on 22nd by Francis Yap showing all the identification features.

Then on the last day of the month, we had a furry of passerine making their first landfall here. Forest Wagtail, Dendronanthus indicus, at Dillenia Hut from Francis Yap, a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Ficedula zanthopygia, at Venus Loop from Goh Juan Hui and a Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis, at the Gardens by the Bay from Danny Khoo. Earlier in the month an Asian Brown Flycatcher,  Muscicapa latirostris, was photographed at the Japanese Gardens by Kristie Yeong on 20th, four Daurian Starlings, Agropsar sturninus, were seen flying around at Seletar Dam on 21st by Keita Sin. We can expect to see more of these song birds at our forests and woodlands next month.

Yellow-rumped FC Juan Hui

Our first Ficedula for the season, a Yellow-rumped Flycatcher at Venus Loop on the last day of the month. Photo: Juan Hui Goh.

Also on the 31st, two non breeding visiting bulbuls were reported at P. Ubin by Lim Kim Keang and Willie Foo. The uncommon Streaked, Ixos malaccensis, and Cinereous Bulbuls, Hemixos cinereus. A rare winter visitor was the Brown-streaked Flycatcher, Muscicapa williamsoni, reported at SBWR on 9th by Kingsley Phang.

Tan Gim Cheong was surprised by a Ruddy Kingfisher, Halcyon coromanda, flying across his path at Kelicap Hut, P. Ubin on 11th. This is our rare resident race, H. cminor, that had only been recorded in P. Tekong and Ayer Merbau groups of islands. This is the first record for Ubin confirming some local dispersal. We received an unconfirmed record of three male Cotton Pygmy Goose, Nettapus coromandelianus, a rare resident, flying over Cove Village at Sentosa from Esther, a resident there. I was not able to get more details on this sighting.

Other resident records were easier to confirm like the male Violet Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus, over at Jelutong on 5th by Francis Yap. As usual he got some great shots of this uncommon cuckoo. A Little Spiderhunter, Arachnothera longirostris, was also photographed at Venus Drive by KC Ling, and a report of the Spotted Wood Owl, Strix seloputo at West Coast Park by Keita Sin, both on the 5th.  Jansen Seah came in with a report of a pair of Greater Green Leafbirds, Chloropsis sonnerati, chasing away other birds at Upper Thompson Road. Frankie Cheong showed us a photo of a dark morph Pacific Reef Heron, Egretta sacra, again at his backyard at Tekong on 6th. This Egret made its appearance at SBWR on 27th at the Striated Heron Island at the main pond (Daniel Ong and Francis Yap).

pacific-reef-heron-see-tohPacific Reef Heron paid a visit to Sungei Buloh and stayed for a few days. Photo: See Toh Yew Wai. 

Geoff Lim chanced on a Buffy Fish Owl, Ketupa ketupa, at Lower Peirce Boardwalk on 6th.  It was seen again on the 26th by Thio Hb. This was one of the most reliable locations to see this uncommon owl before they spread out. The newly fledged Buffy Fish Owl at SBWR made an appearance at the reserves on 21st spotted by Wing Chong. Great to know that it is doing well.

p8210891Sungie Buloh’s Buffy Fish Owl Jr. can now hunt for itself. Seen here finishing its catch. Alan OwYong

Zacc was really happy to get the House Swift, Apus nipalensis, on his sensors at Punggol Barat on 9th. This resident swift is getting rare nowadays. Aldwin Recinto photographed a Greater Coucal, Centropus sinensis, a forest specific, at Pasir Ris Park on 20th, most likely a dispersal from  across P. Ubin.

Greater Coucal at PRP Aldwin

Greater Coucal a forest species photographed at Pasir Ris Park by Aldwin Recinto.

The resident ernesti race Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus, was seen flying over Punggol Barat on 31st by Lawrence Cher. Tan Gim Cheong will have the rest of the raptor records in this coming Raptor Report.

Some notable records from eBird for August: Amur Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone paradisi, at BTNR on 9th and an Asian Palm Swift, Cypsiurus balasiensis, at Coney Island on 12th both by Christopher Gainey. A Greater Sand Plover, Charadrius leschenaultii, at Marina Barrage on 16th by Malcolm Graham. A Brown Boobook, Ninox scutulata was seen at 7 pm on 23rd along the MacRitchie Boardwalk by Marcel Finley.

Reference:

Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. 2009 Nature Society (Singapore). 

Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2013. John Beaufoy Publishing Limited. 

Craig Robson. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South East Asia. 2000.

This report is compiled by Alan OwYong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong from selected postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums and individual reports. Some were not verified. We wish to thank all the  contributors for their records. Many thanks to Francis Yap, Millie Cher, See Toh Yew Wai, Frankie Cheong, Aldwin Recinto, Goh Juan Hui and Alan OwYong, for the use of their photos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Singapore Bird Report-April 2016

April is the tail end of the Spring migration for most of our winter visitors. Many still make a stop over at Bidadari, on their way back. Just shows how important the place is for these migrants. Unfortunately parts of Bidadari have been boarded up for tree cutting and road works. Will we see them again next year? The other location where most migrants made their pit stops is at Tuas South, a site we have not previously checked.

Frigatebird James Tann

 

One of the rare photos of a Frigatebird taken within Singapore. Photo: James Tann.

The surprised find for the month was a juvenile Frigatebird photographed flying over the Johor Straits by Birder Dawn, James Tann, Roger Boey and CP Lee on 26th during a boat trip to look for the Brown Booby (last seen on 16th). The juvenile Christmas and Lesser Frigatebirds are hard to separate but the votes so far are for the Christmas, Fregata andrewsi.

Indian Pond Heron LTK

The Indian Pond Heron returning to Bidadari this year for the many of us. Photo: Lee Tiah Khee.

There is a high probability that the Indian Pond Heron, Ardeola grayii, found by Keita Sin at Bidadari on 6th could be the same bird that visited Bidadari last year. This time it stayed until 19th giving those who missed it last year an easy tick. Migrants reported from Bidadari this month included a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Clamator coromandus, on 1st (Lim Kim Keang), a breeding male Yellow-rumped FlycatcherFecedula zanthopygia, on 2nd (Lawrence Cher), Crow-billed Drongo, Dicrurus annectans, on 15th (Chuin Ming Lee) and a Large Hawk Cuckoo, Hierococcyx spaverioides, on 16th (Christopher Lee). Other notable sightings were a non-breeding visitor Crested Serpent Eagle, Spilornis cheela, on 8th (Lim Khee Ming) and two wandering Red-wattled Lapwings, Vanellus indicus,  on 11th (Zacc HD).

Northern Boobook Koh Liang Heng

A probable migrating Northern Boobook found by Koh Lian Heng at Tuas South on 21st April. 

Over at Tuas South, it was flycatchers galore. Koh Lian Heng had the rare Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone atrocauda, on 1st, our second record for the year and a Mugimaki Flycatcher, Ficedula mugimaki, on 7th. Lim Kim Keang recorded three Yellow-rumped Flycatchers, two globally threatened Brown-chested Jungle Flycatchers, Cyornis brunneata on the 2nd. On the same day, he also found a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, an Indian Cuckoo, Cuculus micropterus and a Hooded Pitta, Pitta Sordida there on the 9th. An adult Tiger Shrike, Lanius tigrinus, was reported on 3rd by Robin Tan and another at Bidadari by Keita Sin on 21st. Interestingly the adult Tigers do not stop over during the Autumn migration. Koh Lian Heng was rewarded for the time he spent at Tuas with a Forest Wagtail, Dendronanthus indicus, on 18th, Eye-browed Thrush, Turdus obscurus, on 19th and a Hawk Owl with non heart-shaped belly markings on 21st, a possible candidate for the Northern Boobook, Ninox japonica.

Barn Swallow Lena Chow

Barn Swallow sub species mandschurica new for Singapore. Photo: Lena Chow.

On the 3rd Lena Chow photographed a Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica, with a light rufous underparts at Punggol Barat. It was identified by Lim Kim Seng as a mandschurica sub species, new for Singapore but recorded in NW Thailand. A day earlier a Hooded Pitta was spotted at Central Catchment Forest by Manawa Ranasinghe and photographed by Khong Yew (Photo below).

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You can just make out one of the pin feather of this snipe at Chinese Gardens. Photo: Koh Lian Heng.

Koh Lian Heng managed to photograph the pin feather of the Chinese Gardens snipe on 7th, giving us a confirmed Pintail Snipe, Gallinago stenura, while Dean Tan flushed a Large Hawk Cuckoo at SBWR on 10th. A single Oriental Pratincole, Glareola maldivarum, was reported at Punggol Barat by Tan Julin on 10th, a returning Ashy Drongo, Dicrurus leucophaeus, to Mount Faber by Joyce Chia on the evening of the 11th, another Indian Cuckoo at DFNP on 26th by Art Toh and a vocal Blue-winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, at Kranji Marshes photographed by Adrian Silas Tay and James Tann on 30th. Another Blue-winged Pitta have been wintering at the Singapore Botanic Gardens for a large part of April and is still there on 3rd May ( Richard White).

Hooded Pitta Khong Yew

Hooded Pitta making a stop over at the Central Catchment Forest. Photo: Khong Yew.

Two non-breeding visitors that were seen this month were a Crested Serpent Eagle at Kent Ridge Park on 1st (Keita Sin) and a Jambu Fruit Dove, Ptilinopus jambu,  over at Jelutong Tower on 23rd (Nicholas Tan).

As for our uncommon residents, the sightings were quite diverse. A Pacific Reef Egret, Egretta sacra, was photographed at SBWR by Andrew Chow on 1st, Red-crowned Barbet, Megalaima rafflesii, at DFNP on 10th and 11th (Lim Kim Keang and Alan OwYong), another Lesser AdjutantLeptoptilos javanicus, a former resident was photographed by Francis Yap over at Poyan on 16th, Green Imperial Pigeon, Ducula aenea, at Loyang on 16th (Lim Kim Keang), a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting, was reported by Phay SC at Lower Peirce Boardwalk on 18th, two Great-billed Herons, Ardea sumatrana, at the fish farms at Johor Straits photographed by James Tann on 26th and a Cinnamon Bittern, Ixobrychus cinnamomeus, two Lesser Whistling Ducks, Dendrocygna javanica,at the Seletar Pond by Zacc HD and a male Violet Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus, feeding on a fig tree at Kent Ridge Park by Keita Sin on 30th.

7 April 2016 Halus

Lawrence Cher’s classic photo of a Common Iora feeding a newly fledged Banded Bay Cuckoo.7 April 2016 Lorong Halus

Lesser Coucal Terence Tan

Lesser Coucals nest in thick grasses close to the ground. A great open shot of parent and chick by Terence Tan from Bidadari on 20th April  2016

Several successful fledglings were reported this month. A male Common Iora, Aegithina tiphia,  was photographed feeding a Banded Bay Cuckoo, Cocomantis sonnerati, at Lorong Halus on 7th (Lawrence Cher), Malayan Pied Fantail, Rhipidura javanica at PRP on 30th (Seng Alvin), Lesser Coucal, Centropus bengalensis, at Bidadari on 20th (Terence Tan),  Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Dicrurus paradiseus, at One-North on 17th and Buffy Fish Owl, Ketupu ketupu, at SBWR on 25th (both by Alan OwYong).

Red-necked Stinit Laurence Eu

Red-necked Stint a first for Marina Barrage. Photo: Laurence Eu.

Laurence Eu photographed a Red-necked Stint, Calidris ruficollis, at the Marina Barrage breakwaters on the 14th, a first for the site. He was back again on 25th and got this photo of a Common Sandpiper, Actitis hypoieucos, with a single black band on its leg. David Li checked with his Flyway Group and found that it was banded in Jogjakarta way back in 2008, our first evidence of a shorebird from the south making a stop over on way back north. A great find!

Common Sandpiper Laurence Eu

Common Sandpiper banded in Jogjakarta in 2008. Photo: Laurence Eu.

Reference:

Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. 2009 Nature Society (Singapore). 

Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2013. John Beaufoy Publishing Limited. 

Craig Robson. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South East Asia. 2000.

This report is compiled by Alan OwYong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong from selected postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums and individual reports. Some were not verified. We wish to thank all the  contributors for their records. Many thanks to James Tann, Lee Tiah Khee, Koh Lian Heng, Lena Chow, Khong Yew, Lawrence Cher, Terence Tan and Laurence Eu for the use of their photos.

SBWR – Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, PRP – Pasir Ris Park, DFNP– Dairy Farm Nature Park.

 

 

 

 

Singapore Bird Report-March 2016

The star bird of the month had to be the pelagic Brown Booby, Sula leucogaster an unexpected non-breeding visitor that is playing a cat and mouse game with us at the Johor Straits. It was first seen on 21st by Choo Tiong Whee, Lee Van Hien and Benny Lim fishing off Platform 1 on 21st March.Link. Our last record was in 1982. It was still around  on the 9th.

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Brown Booby flying over the Johor Straits taken on 21st March by Choo Tiong Whee.

Adding to the excitement, Francis Yap posted a photo of a male Little Green Pigeon, Treron olax, taken from his favorite Jelutong Tower on 16th. Our last record for this rare non-breeding visitor was in 2004.

Little Green Pigeon FYap

First photo record of this rare non breeding visitor, the Little Green Pigeon in Singapore by Francis Yap.

March was the height of the Spring migration for most of the passerines as can be seen from the reports from our Central Forest, Bidadari and  Tuas South. Species reported from Central Forest include a Green-backed Flycatcher, Ficedula elisae, photographed by Adrian Silas Tay on 3rd, a Ruddy Kingfisher, Halcyon coromanda, heard calling and 3 Blue-winged Pittas, Pitta moluccenis at the MacRitchie Boardwalk  and an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Ceryx erithaca, at Prunes Trail on 7th by Yong Yik Shih.

Over at Bidadari, a Large-hawk Cuckoo, Hierococcyx sparverioides, was sighted by Lena Chow on 5th. It stayed for only a few days. Another Cuckoo, the Hogdson’s Hierococcyx nisicolor, was photographed by Francis Yap on 13th. Flycatchers include an incei Asian Paradise, Terpsiphone paradisi, reported by Low Choon How, 3 male Yellow-rumped Flycatchers, Ficedula zanthopygia, by Lim Kim Keang  both on 17th.

The patch of leguminous trees at the open fields at Tuas South continued to offer a rest stop for returning migrants. Blue-winged Pitta, the rare Japanese Paradise, Terpsiphone atrocauda, and Yellow-rumped Flycatchers were reported by Low Choon How on 20th.

MHC Seng Alvin

A juvenile Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo making a rest stop at Pasir Ris Park. Photo: Seng Alvin

Other migrant passerines reported were a flock of 10 Oriental Pratincoles, Glareola maldivarum, at Gardens East by Daniel Ong and Lawrence Cher on 5th, and at CCK Cemetery on 20th by Lee Van Hien, a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Clamator coromandus, at the SBTB by Eric Wa on 8th , one more Blue-winged Pitta and a Hooded Pitta, Pitta sordida, at the Singapore Botanic Gardens by Richard White on 16th and 23rd respectively and a roosting Grey Nightjar, Caprimulgus jotaka, reported at Venus Loop by Atish Banerjee, new for that location.

Non-breeding visitors like the Cinereous BulbulsHemixos cinereus, were seen at Chek Java: a flock of 25 by Lim Kim Keang on 16th, a lone bird on 30th by Lim Kim Seng and another at Jelutong Tower on 6th by Lim Kim Chuah. A juvenile Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo, Hierococcyx Fugax was photographed by Seng Alvin at Pasir Ris Park on 31st.

Barn Owl Atish Banerjee

March is also the time for courtship, mating and some early nesting for many of our residents. The Tanjong Rhu Western Barn Owl, Tyto alba, paid a brief visit to the SBTB on 4th (Atis Banerjee’s photo left) and a Red-legged Crake, Rallina fasciata, was photographed there on 5th by Khong Yew. We had two reports of the hard to see Barred Button Quails, Turnix suscitator. Roger Boey photographed one over at Butterfly Hill at P. Ubin on 7th and Lim Kim Keang was lucky to see two crossing his path at Lorong Halus on 23rd. Staying at Halus, Lawrence Cher shot a reclusive Painted Snipe, Rostratula benghalensis, on 23rd. The most exciting resident was the Lesser Adjutant, Leptoptilos javanicus, first photographed flying over Neo Tiew Crescent on 18th by Nicholas Tan and Cindy Yeo and later at the Western Catchment shores by See Toh’s boat group on 26th.

Lesser Adjutant Nicholas Tan

The Lesser Adjutant flying over Neo Tiew Crescent on 18th. Photo: Nicholas Tan.

Within a month of opening, the Kranji Marshes came alive with many of marsh residents reappearing. Low Choon How was the first to report the Common Moorhens, Gallinula chloropus, on 8th, followed by the Black-backed Swamphens, Porphyrio indicus, and White-browed Crake, Porzana cinerea, found by Alfred Chia during the NSS walk on 20th, and the wintering Watercock, Gallicrex cinerea,  during AWC on 27th by Lee Ee Ling and Lena Chow. Another Watercock was also seen at a canal at Neo Tiew Lane 4 on 25th by Alan OwYong and Lim Kim Keang.

Remaining at Kranji Marshes, Lim Kim Keang reported a flying Violet Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx xanthorhyncus, on 29th and a large flock of 130 Long-tailed Parakeets, Psittacula longicauda, flying over on 26th was photographed by Richard Lim

Moorhen Richard Lim

Common Moorhens are returning to the new Kranji Marshes. Photo: Richard Lim

Other notable residents was a Straw-headed Bulbul, Pycnonotus zeylanicus, reported by Vincent Lao at King’s Avenue on 19th during his weekly cross country rides. James Tann found a fruiting fig at Bukit Brown and counted 15 uncommon Thick-billed Pigeons, Treron curvirostra, feeding there. A good record especially on the numbers. Andrew Chow posted a video of 3 Chestnut-winged Babblers, Stachyris erythroptera, taken near to Jelutong Tower. They are more visible and vocal during mating.

Thick-billed Pigeon James Tan

A male Thick-billed Pigeon from a flock of 15 photographed at Bukit Brown by James Tann.

We still have small pockets of shorebirds waiting for the right time to fly back north. Six Bar-tailed Godwits, Limosa lapponica,  were seen on 16th by Lim Kim Keang, and three Chinese Egrets, Egretta eulophotes, on 30th by Lim Kim Seng, both at Chek Java, a lone Grey-tailed Tattler, Tringa brevipes, was reported by Lim Kim Seng at SBWR on 29th and a late returning Great Crested Tern, Thalasseus bergii, flying west to east along the Johor Straits on 19th identified from a photo by Arman AF.

RBE Leslie Fung

Juvenile Rufous-bellied Eagle over Springleaf Park. Photo: Leslie Fung.

Some raptor reports: Two Peregrine Falcons, Falco peregrinus, both japonensis were seen this month, one at Bishan on 14th reported by Lena Chow and the other photographed from Eagle Point on 20th by Francis Yap. An adult Crested Goshawk, Accipiter trivirgatus, was photographed by Lee Li Er at Kent Ridge Park on 25th. Tan, and a rare juvenile Rufous-bellied Eagle, Lophotriorchis kienerii, was photographed flying  over Springleaf Park by Leslie Fung, on 31st. Tan Gim Cheong will be posting a full raptor report for March in the coming days.

Reference:

Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. 2009 Nature Society (Singapore). 

Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2013. John Beaufoy Publishing Limited. 

This report is compiled by Alan OwYong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong from the postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums and individual reports. Some were not verified. We wish to thank all the  contributors for their records. Many thanks to Choo Tiong Whee, Francis Yap, Atish Banerjee,  James Tann, Nicholas Tan, Richard Lim, Seng Alvin and Leslie Fung for the use of their photos.

SBWR – Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves, SBTB– Satay by the Bay,  AWC – Asian Waterbirds Census

 

 

Singapore Bird Report-February 2016

Northern Pintail M. David Li

The very rare winter visitor Northern Pintail, male, at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve ( Photo: David Li)

We had a great start for the month with the surprised arrival of a Northern Pintail, Anas acuta, at Sungei Buloh. Mendis Tan reported a duck flying over Sungei Buloh in the morning of the 3rd and his colleague David Li found it in the evening. The last record was more than 23 years ago.Link

On the 13th, Alfred Chia was driving along the PIE when he saw two large woodpeckers flying across to the Mount Pleasant area. They were our long lost White-bellied Woodpeckers, Dryocopus javensis, co-incidentally last seen at the same area.

We also had a great ending for the month with the sighting of two Cinnamon-headed Pigeons, Treron fulvicollis, at Tampines Eco Green by Terry Chen on the 24th. They were foraging on the red berries of the Salam tree. A great Ang Pow Lifer for most of us. There were fewer than ten confirmed records of this non-breeding visitor, the last was at Pulau Ubin in 2011. Link. The other rare sighting was an Oriental Darter, Anhinga melanogaster, reported by Nicholas Tan on 6th over at Gombak Forest.

Cinnamon Pigeon Terry Chen-001

Terry Chen’s photo of the Cinnamon-headed Pigeon turned the quiet Tampines Eco Green into a mecca for birders and photographers. 

Most of the action for February was centered again at Gardens by the Bay and the re-opened Kranji Marshes. The uncommon Common Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus, made a brief appearance at SBTB on 5th (Laurence Eu) followed by sightings of a Greater Coucal, Centropus sinensis, a forest edge species on the 8th ( Saravanan Krishnamurthy, Lim Ser Chai and Arman AF). The closest record was at Labrador and Mount Faber.

Greater Coucal Sara Krishnamurthy

A surprise find of a forest-edge Greater Coucal at the SBTB on first day of CNY. Photo. Saravanan Krishnamurthy.

Francis Yap photographed a Black-crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax, flying over the Gardens on 16th ( Anish Banerjee reported seeing one over the Barrage last month). A far away shot of a female Japanese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter gularis, by Cindy Yeo on 20th caused a stir when it was thought to be an Eurasian Sparrowhawk. Most of these birds are new for the Gardens.

BCNH FYap

A Black-crowned Night Heron flying over the GBTB beautifully captured by Francis Yap.

Even though the core area of the Kranji Marshes were not accessible to the public, there were still plenty to see along the old NTL2 to the Raptor Tower. Lena Chow got the super sulking Lanceolated Warbler, Locustella lanceolata, near the tower on 5th. Wong Chung Cheong, Lawrence Cher and a few others got lucky with great photos of this uncommon warbler later on 13th at the same place.

Super sulker, Lanceolated Warbler at Kranji Marshes. 5th on left by Lena Chow and 13th on the right by Wong Chung Cheong. 

Sunda Scops Owl, Otus lempiji, was nearly run over along NTL2, but was spotted in time by Arjun Sai Krishnan on 8th. The open site next to the marshes attracted several shorebirds that prefer fresh water patches. A Long-toed Stint, Calidris subminuta, was reported by David Li on the 9th ( Adrian Silas Tay managed to photograph them on the 13th). Two Wood Sandpipers, Tringa glareola, were photographed there on 15th by Frankie Cheong. A female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Ficedula zanthopygia, was spotted by Koh Lian Heng on the 18th along NTL2 on its spring migration. We are happy to see the resident Blue-eared Kingfishers, Alcedo meninting, returning to the canal. Lawrence Cher photographed one on 27th.

Blue-eared Kingfisher L. Cher

The Blue-eared Kingfisher returned to its favourite hunting ground at Kranji. Photo: Lawrence Cher.

Two species of wagtails were also making their stop over on their way north. A Forest Wagtail, Dendronanthus indicus, at SBWR on 2nd (James Tann), a Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea, was at the Masjid Hang Jabat canal on the 3rd ( Marcus Ng), and another at Bishan Canal on 10th (Lim Jit Yin). Other stopover migrants of note were a Von Schrenck’s Bittern, Ixobrychus eurthythmus, reported at the Serangoon Ave 3 Condo on 10th by Joe Lim, Yellow-browed Warbler, Phylloscopus inornatus,at the BTNR summit on 14th (Lim Kim Chuah). Some of the pond herons are assuming their breeding plumage. A Chinese Pond Heron , Ardeola bacchus, was photographed by James Tann over at the Chinese Gardens on 17th, another at Seletar on the 20th by Zacc HD, a Large Hawk Cuckoo , Hierococcyx sparverioides, at Halus Farmway 3 (Lim Kim Keang), a Blue-winged Pitta, Pitta moluccenis, at Rifle Range Link on 26th (David Tan) and a Hogdson’s Hawk Cuckoo, Hierococcyx nisicolor, back to Bidadari on 26th photographed by Frankie Lim.

Residents were more active and vocal this month as most were out looking for a mate. Grey-rumped Treeswifts, Hemiprocne longipennis,were seen flying over the HDB heartland of Mei Chin Road on 3rd (Marcus Ng), and over Mount Faber on 18th (Alan OwYong). A calling Rusty-breasted Cuckoo, Cacomantis sepulcralis, at Mount Faber on 6th ( Alan OwYong) first for this location, a Violet Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx xanthorthynchus, back feeding on the caterpillars at the JEG on 12th ( Lawrence Cher), the rare Yellow-vented Flowerpecker, Dicaeum chrysorrheum, at the BTNR summit on 14th (Lim Kim Chuah), Thick-billed Pigeon, Treron curvirostra, new to TEG on 18th (Ananth Ramasamy), a Great-billed Heron, Ardea sumatrana, seen over at Siloso heads at Sentosa on 20th (Ang Hock Chuah) and later across at Belayer Creek 3 days later ( Wolfe Repass) and a Black-headed Bulbul, Pycnonotus atriceps, at the edge of Sime Forest on 23rd by Lawrence Cher.

Brahminy Starling FYap

Brahminy Starling at Punggol Barat, an escapee?  Photo: Francis Yap.

Just one non-breeding passserine visitor was reported this month. A Streaked Bulbul, Ixos malaccensis, on 14th at the summit at BTNR (Lim Kim Chuah). Francis Yap photographed a Brahminy Starling, Sturnus pagodarum, at Punggol Barat on the 8th. We had only one record of this out of range starling in 2008. It was listed under Category E for suspected released or escaped birds. This species was accepted into the Malaysian Checklist recently.

On the waders front, Grey Plovers, Pluvialis squatarola, were reported wintering at Pulau Semakau on 8th (Andy Dinesh) and more than 20 birds over at Seduku off P. Ubin on 11 reported by Daniel Ong. He also reported 4 Black-tailed Godwits, Limosa lomosa, one in breeding plumage at the same place and day.

Common Kestrel Joseph Tan

Hovering Common Kestrel over Punggol Barat. Photo: Joseph Tan.

Our resident raptors were busy again raising their offsprings this month. Both the Changeable Hawk Eagles, Nisaetus cirrhatus, and the Crested Goshawk, Accipiter trivirgatus, have been seen feeding their chicks in the southern part of Singapore. A male Common Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, was seen hunting over Punggol Barat on 23rd (Joseph Tan) and two Crested Serpent Eagles, Spilornis cheela, seen at NTL2 on 24th (Nicholas Tan) and an old haunt at Goldhill Avenue on 28th by Low Choon How.

Reference:

Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. 2009 Nature Society (Singapore)

Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2013. John Beaufoy Publishing Limited. 

This report is compiled by Alan OwYong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong from the postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums and individual reports. Some were not verified. We wish to thank all the  contributors for their records. Many thanks to David Li, Terry Chen, Lena Chow, Wong Chung Cheong, Joseph Tan, Francis Yap, Lawrence Cher and Saravanan Krishnamurthy for the use of their photos.

NTL2 – Neo Tiew Lane 2, SBWR – Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves, JEG – Jurong Eco Gardens, BTNR – Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, PIE – Pan Island Expressway, SBTB– Satay by the Bay.