Category Archives: Monthly Bird Reports

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, while 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 the next few days to spot this rare gem feeding on the ripe fruit of a fig tree.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 6 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
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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.

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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).

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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.

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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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

Singapore Bird Report – August 2018

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

1

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

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

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

2

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

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

3

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

Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG)

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

 Central Singapore

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

4

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

Northern Singapore

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

5

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

6

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

Eastern Singapore

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

7

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

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

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

8

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

Southern Singapore

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

Western Singapore

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

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

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

This report is compiled by Geoff Lim and Alan OwYong, edited by Tan Gim Cheong,  based on selected postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from ebird. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified. We wish to thank all the contributors for their records. Many thanks to Mahesh Krishnan, Frankie Cheong, Francis Yap, Herman Phua, Goh Cheng Teng, Zacc HD, Geoff Lim and the NSS-NParks Ubin Survey Team  for the use of their photos. 

List of Bird Sightings in the report:

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

Singapore Bird Report – July 2018

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

1

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

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

2

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

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

3

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

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

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR)

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

4

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

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

5

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

Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG)

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

Northern Singapore

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

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

6

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

Eastern Singapore

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

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

7

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

Southern Singapore

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

8

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

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

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

9

Western Singapore

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

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

10

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

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

This report is compiled by Geoff Lim and Alan OwYong, edited by Tan Gim Cheong based on selected postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from ebird. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified. We wish to thank all the contributors for their records. Many thanks to Amin, Shoshana Rapley, Keita Sin, Francis Yap, Adrian Silas Tay,  Zacc HD, Alan Owyong, and Martin Kennewell for the use of their photos. 

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

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

List of Bird Sightings in report:

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

Singapore Bird Report – June 2018

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

1 HBC

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

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

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

2 HBC

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

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

3 AD

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

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

Asian Palm Swift at Bishan, Adrian Silas Tay

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

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

5 DC

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

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

6 BWP

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

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

8 BO

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

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

7 WRM

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

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

9 BHB

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

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

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

This report is compiled by Geoff Lim and Alan OwYong, edited by Tan Gim Cheong, based on selected postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from ebird. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified. We wish to thank all the contributors for their records. Many thanks to Carmen Hui, Tuck Loong, Adrian Silas Tay, Francis Yap, Terence Tan,  Lee Chin Pong and Lim Kim Chuah for the the use of their photos. 

 List of Bird Sightings in report

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

 

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

 

Singapore Bird Report – May 2018

As the remaining migrants made their exodus back to their breeding grounds, and residents nest and raise their broods, the most exciting news for May was the return of the Great Slaty Woodpecker for a period of about eleven days. The Great Slaty Woodpecker was first recorded in Singapore in 1904; a specimen was collected from Woodlands. The last two sightings, unconfirmed, were reported from Changi in the 1970s, and the bird was thought to be extinct, until this month’s sightings. 

2 GSW,, 110518, CC, Fryap

The Great Slaty Woodpecker photographed at the MacRitchie Reservoir area by Francis Yap on 11 May 2018.

The Great Slaty Woodpecker Mulleripicus pulverulentus was first reported by Ted Lee, when he sought for help to identify an unusual bird photographed at around 2:15pm on 2 May 2018 near the summit of Bukit Timah Hill. Dominic Ng subsequently spotted the bird during the early morning hours of 4 May 2018 near the location where Ted first saw the bird. Others visited the Hill on 5 May 2018, and were rewarded by the bird staying within the vicinity of the summit until late evening. The woodpecker was then seen on the hill on the morning of 6 May 2018. It was sighted around MacRitchie Reservoir on 11 May 2018, and was last seen on the afternoon of 12 May 2018.

Report on Migrants

Sightings of migrant species continue to be reported. A Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus was seen at Satay by the Bay (SBTB) on 1 May 2018 by Veronica Foo, who also heard a Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis calling at the carpark behind the church at Dempsey Hill on 4 May 2018. Several late departure dates were noted this month. Fadzrun Adnan’s report of an Amur Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone incei on 5 May 2018 represented a new late departure date for the species; later than previous records by one week. Lim Kim Keang’s sighting of a Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin on 6 May 2018 represented a new extreme date; the Great Knot’s last recorded departure date was 14 March.  Another new late departure record was made by an Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus seen at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) by James Lambert on 6 May 2018. Amin’s report of a White Wagtail Motacilla alba in the Aljunied Canal on 17 May 2018 was an extension of more than a month.  Vincent Lao’s report of a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) on 28 May 2018 represents an extension from a previous record of 2 May; one was earlier spotted by Richard Davis on 1 May at SBWR.

3. WWT

The White Wagtail photographed at the Aljunied Canal by Amin on 17 May 2018.

Reports on Residents

There were several nesting reports of resident species. Khoo Meilin reported an active nest of a pair of Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala at Chinese Garden on 4 May 2018 and another at Lorong Chencaru, on 8 May 2018, where the chick was seen calling from its nest hole. Mark Nelson Valino photographed a Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus with two chicks at Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG) on 14 May 2018. Lawrence Eu reported a Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera engaged in nest-building activity in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) on 12 May 2018, while Khoo Meilin observed a Striated Heron Butorides striata nest with two chicks on 19 May 2018 in Bishan Park near the Grub Café and a juvenile Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus was seen by Doreen Ang at Burgundy Drive, a first for the area. On 23 May 2018, Edwin Choy reported that one Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot Loriculus galgulus chick fledged from a tree at Pek Kio Market.

4. LTNJ

The Large-tailed Nightjar with a chick at the Singapore Botanic Gardens; photographed by Mark Nelson Valino on 14 May 2018.

Resident species included a male Barred Button Quail Turnix suscitator and Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca spotted at Bidadari by Amin on 6 May 2018.

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) yielded a Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris feeding on yellow figs at the summit (4 May 2018 by Stuart Campbell), several Greater Green Leafbird Chlropsis sonnerati (4 May 2018 by Lim Kim Keang), and a Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu (5 May 2018 by Geoff Lim and Kozi Ichiyama). A Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus was sighted on 23 May 2018 near Singapore Quarry by Peter Ding Chu Teck.

5 BBQ

The Barred Button Quail photographed at Bidadari by Amin on 6 May 2018.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) had reports of a Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii (17 May 2018 by Con Foley; 24 May 2018 by Art Toh) and Cream-vented Bulbuls Pycnonotus simplex (19 May 2018 by Martin Kennewell and 20 May 2018 by Fadzrun Adnan).

6 RBC

The Ruddy-breasted Crake photographed at Bidadari by Amin on 6 May 2018.

Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP) yielded an Asian Palmswift Cypsiurus balasiensis (1 May 2018 by Fadzrun Adnan), Lesser Green Leafbird Chloropsis cyanopogon  (18 May 2018 by Martin Kennewell and 26 May 2018 by Con Foley, Tan Kok Hui and Danny Lau), a Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii (23 May 2018 by Martin Kennewell) and a Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus (27 May 2018 by Lim Kim Chuah).

 

7 violet c

The Violet Cuckoo photographed at JEG by Jesse Tan on 28 May 2018.

In the west, Jurong Eco-Garden yielded another Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus (28 May 2018 by Jesse Tan), and a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting (10 May 2018 by Luke Milo Teo).

In the east, a female Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus was spotted at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin (6 May 2018 by Lim Kim Seng and Lim Kim Keang), while about 16 Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica were seen at Pasir Ris Farmway (27 May 2018 by T. Ramesh).

8 LWD

Lesser Whistling Ducks at Pasir Ris Farmway on 27 May 2018 by T. Ramesh.

Two Black-naped Terns Sterna sumatrana were seen feeding together with Little Terns Sternula albifrons at Pasir Ris Park (17 May 2018 by Luke Milo Teo). In the north, Veronica Foo heard a Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha calling at Seletar End on 31 May 2018, a new record for this location.

On a separate note, the Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis was reported at several locations – Tampines Eco-Green (25 May 2018 by Alvin Seng), SBWR (27 May 2018 by Art Toh) and Seletar End (31 May 2018 by Veronica Foo).

9 savanna

The Savannah Nightjar at the Tampines Eco-Green on 25 May 2018 by Alvin Seng.

Lim Kim Keang sighted a Cinereous Bulbul Hemixos cinereus, a non-breeding visitor at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin on 6 May 2018. Records occur mainly in the year-end to early part of the year, previously up to 5 April. They are probably the result of  post-breeding dispersal of this species resident in Malaysia.

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

A pelagic survey led by Francis Yap and See Toh Yew Wai on 5 May 2018 along the multi-national Straits of Singapore yielded 6 migrating Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel Oceanodrama monorhis, along with 3 Short-tailed Shearwater Puffinus tenuirostris, 19 Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus and 1 Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica. Note that some of these sightings might not be in Singapore waters.

Short-tailed Shearwater

A Short-tailed Shearwater at Singapore Strait on 5 May 2018 by Francis Yap

Abbreviations:
BTNR: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park
JEG: Jurong Eco-Garden
KM: Kranji Marsh
PRP: Pasir Ris Park
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
SBTB: Satay by the Bay
TEG: Tampines Eco-Green

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 Amin, Alvin Seng, Francis Yap, Jesse Tan, Khong Yew, Mark Nelson Valino and T. Ramesh for the use of their photos. 

 List of Sightings in the May 2018 Bird Report

Date Species Location
Anatidae
27-May Lesser Whistling Duck Pasir Ris Farmway
Ardeidae
19-May Striated Heron Bishan Park
Rallidae
6-May Ruddy-breasted Crake Bidadari
Turnicidae
6-May Barred Button Quail Bidadari
Scolopacidae
6-May Great Knot P. Ubin
Laridae
17-May Black-naped Tern PRP
Columbidae
5-May Jambu Fruit Dove BTNR
Cuculidae
1-May Chestnut-winged Cuckoo SBWR
23-May Banded Bay Cuckoo DFNP
28-May Violet Cuckoo JEG
28-May Chestnut-winged Cuckoo SBWR
Strigidae
23-May Barred Eagle Owl BTNR
Caprimulgidae
25-May Savanna Nightjar TEG
31-May Savanna Nightjar Seletar End
Apodidae
1-May Asian Palmswift DFNP
Alcedinidae
10-May Blue-eared Kingfisher KM
Megalaimidae
8-May Coppersmith Barbet Chinese Gardens
17-May Red-crowned Barbet CCNR
Picidae
2-May Great Slaty Woodpecker BTNR
4-May Great Slaty Woodpecker BTNR
11-May Great Slaty Woodpecker CCNR
Psittaculidae
23-May Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot Pek Kio Market
Pittidae
4-May Blue-winged Pitta Dempsey Hill
31-May Mangrove Pitta Seletar End
Tephrodornitidae
6-May Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike P. Ubin
Laniidae
1-May Tiger Shrike SBTB
Monarchidae
5-May Amur Paradise Flycatcher BTNR
Pycnonotidae
4-May Black-crested Bulbul BTNR
6-May Cinereous Bulbul P. Ubin
20-May Cream-vented Bulbul CCNR
Phylloscopidae
6-May Eastern Crowned Warbler BTNR
Timaliidae
12-May Chestnut-winged Babbler CCNR
Chloropseidae
4-May Greater Green Leafbird BTNR
18-May Lesser Green Leafbird DFNP
Ploceidae
21-May Baya Weaver Burgundy Drive
Motacillidae
17-May White Wagtail Aljunied Canal

 

 

 

Singapore Bird Report – April 2018

April continues to see the exodus of migratory species as well as breeding records.  Key species were a rarely encountered Malayan Night Heron, a juvenile, at Singapore Botanic Gardens, and an Indian Pond Heron seen at Bidadari. 

MNH, 230418, Feroz Fizah

The juvenile Malayan Night Heron photographed at the Singapore Botanic Gardens by Feroz Fizah on 23 April 2018.

A trickle of migratory birds continue to be reported. Eight Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis were spotted flying north by Francis Yap over Jelutong Tower on 1 April 2018. An Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii was seen at Bidadari by TT Koh on 4 April 2018, while Art Toh spotted a Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata at West Coast Park on 5 April 2018. Between 6 and 7 April 2018, a Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor was spotted at Pasir Ris Park by Harry Geno-Oehlers, Geri Lim and Art Toh.

IPH, 040418, TT Koh

An Indian Pond Heron photographed at Bidadari by T T Koh on 4 April 2018.

April’s first weekend also yielded a singing Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae by Yong Ding Li, Kozi Ichiyama and Geoff Lim, which was rather remarkable, given that the normal place to hear this flycatcher’s song would be “the montane broadleaved forest ecosystems of the Taihang-Wuling Mountains in Shanxi-Hebei-Beijing”; as well as two Dark-sided Flycatchers Muscicapa sibirica chasing each other in the canopy of an emergent tree. The birds were seen inside the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) on 7 April 2018. In addition, seven Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres and a globally endangered Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris were spotted by Lim Kim Keang on Pulau Seduku off Pulau Ubin during an NSS/NParks Comprehensive Ubin Bird Survey on 8 April 2018, while Vincent Lao spotted an Eastern-crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus within the CCNR and Pary Sivaraman spotted a female Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus in the north-western part of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR).

GBFC, 070418, Kozi

The Green-backed Flycatcher in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve by Kozi Ichiyama on 7 April 2018.

Breeding activity was reported across several locations during the first week of April.  Lim Kim Chuah spotted a juvenile House Sparrow Passer domesticus on Jurong Island on 1 April 2018, a possible sign of successful breeding. A Malaysian Pied Fantail Rhipidura javanica was reported by Alan Owyong to be feeding two chicks, assessed to be a few days old, at Jurong Eco-Garden (JEG) on 2 April 2018, while on 4 April 2018, Yong Ding Li saw a White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis nesting around the vicinity of the Bukit Batok MRT Station. Two days later on 6 April 2018, Luke Milo Teo spotted a juvenile Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati while surveying Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP). Notable residents seen include a Rufous-tailed Tailorbird Orthotomus sericeus at Bukit Batok Nature Park (BBNP) by Vincent Lao; a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting at Lorong Halus by Serin Subaraj; and a pair of Spotted Wood Owl Strix seluputo at Goldhill Avenue by Phua Joo Yong on 1 April 2018. Also, Gahyathree Arasu spotted a Lesser Adjutant at SBWR on the same day; this was further substantiated by Lee Van Hien, who saw three birds there on 3 April 2018. Ong Ruici heard a Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus passing over the National Biodiversity Centre on 5 April 2018; the call was verified by Albert Low.

GGLB, 120418, Luke Milo Teo

A juvenile Greater Green Leafbird Dairy Farm Nature Park by Luke Milo Teo on 12 April 2018.

Apart from the Turnstones and Knot encountered during the NSS/NParks Comprehensive Ubin Bird Survey on 8 April 2018, a Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana was seen by Roger Boey at its nest, which contained one chick,  at Balai Quarry. This nesting was first spotted by Francis Yap on 11 March. During the same survey, participants also recorded a Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus, Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha, Violet Cuckoo Chrysococccyx xanthorhynchus and Asian Palmswift Cypsiurus balasiensis. The same Sunday also yielded a Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinnus at Kranji Marshes, seen by Kelvin Leong.

The second week of April yielded fewer reports of migratory birds. On 9 April 2018, Hima Venkateswaran found a roosting site at Bedok Ria for about 40-plus Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis. Reports, by Tay Kian Guan, of a juvenile Black Kite Milvus migrans mingling with up to 24 Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus at the Choa Chu Kang Christian Cemetery on 12 April 2018, feeding on scraps thrown by a contractor, filtered across local social media circles. On 15 April 2018, See Toh Wai Yew reported seeing a Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula xanthopygia at Goldhill Avenue, while Pier Chua spotted a Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus at the Evolution Garden located inside SBG. Resident species reported included, a nesting Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata on 9 April 2018 by Doreen Ang at BBNP, and a Tanimbar Corella Cacatua goffiniana excavating a nest hole in a dead tree at Goldhill Avenue. Veronica Foo, along with Siew Mun, spotted Blue-rumped Parrot Psittinus cyanurus feeding on starfruit inside Venus Loop on 11 April 2018.

BK, 160418, Tan Eng Boo

The Black Kite at Lim Chu Kang, photographed by Tan Eng Boo on 16 April 2018.

Fewer migratory species were reported during the third week. A Pacific Swift Apus pacificus was spotted by Tay Kian Guan on 18 April 2018 at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR), while the Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus was spotted again on 18 April 2018 by Lee Chin Pong  and attracted many birders and photographers until the last sighting on 23 April 2018. Fadzrun Adnan also sighted a Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis brunneatus at Pulau Hantu during a pelagic trip on 21 April 2018, while an adult Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus was reported by several birders and photographers at Bishan Park on 22 April 2018. On the same weekend, Alfred Chia reported hearing three Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis on Pulau Ubin.

Tiger Shrike, Angela Yeo

A male Tiger Shrike was spotted at Bishan Park; photo taken by Angela Yeo on 21 April 2018.

Resident species reported during this week include a Changeable Hawk Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus  nest with one chick at Kranji Marshes, by Clarinda Yap on 16 April 2018; a Grey-headed Fish-eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus at Seletar Camp by Timothy Chua and Asian Palmswift Cypsiurus balasiensis at SBG by Richard Zhang on 18 April 2018, as well as House Swift Apus nipalensis, Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris, and Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra  by Tay Kian Guan at BTNR on the same day. On 20 April 2018, a possible sighting of the rare White-bellied Woodpecker Dryopus javensis was reported to NSS; Ana Maria Conzalez told a NSS volunteer seeking to verify her report that she saw the woodpecker from her balcony inside the grounds of Tanglin Park. On 21 April 2018, Alvin Seng spotted an adult Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea with two young birds at Pasir Ris Park, while Siew Mun reported seeing a Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji at BTNR. A white morph Pacific Reef Egret Egretta sacra was spotted by Lim Kim Keang at West Coast Park on 22 April 2018, while Alfred Chia reported seeing a Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii on Pulau Ubin.

YC Cockatoo, Alvin Seng

Yellow-crested Cockatoos spotted by Alvin Seng at Pasir Ris Park on 24 April 2018.

The final week of April yielded reports of a possible Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii in transitional plumage by Terence Tan in Bishan Park on 23 April, while Bidadari yielded a Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica and a Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus flying over the former hotspot on the same day, by Feroz Fizah and Martin Kennewell, respectively. An Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii subsequently appeared at Bidadari on 26 April, and reported by See Toh Wai Yew and Pary Sivaraman, among others. On 29 April, Fadzrun Adnan spotted a Pallas’ Grasshopper Warbler Locustella certhiola at Kranji Marshes.

IPH, Pary

As the migratory species made their way back to their breeding grounds, resident species were observed and reported by local birders and photographers. Alan Owyong reported seeing a few Long-tailed Parakeets Psittacula longicauda feeding with two Blue-rumped Parrots Psittinus cyanurus on starfruit in Venus Loop on 23 April 2018. On the same day, Oliver Tan saw a Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca at Bidadari; an Abbott’s Babbler Malacocincla abbotti was seen and photographed on 24 April 2018 at SBWR by Stuart Campbell while James Lambert saw a Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis cerulinus at Nanyang Technological University on 25 April 2018.

Abbotts Bab, Stuart

An Abbott’s Babbler spotted by Stuart Campbell at SBWR on 24 April 2018.

The weekend yielded several finds, including a dead adult Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo at Bartley on 28 April 2018 by Gina Koh; a White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata at Lorong Halus by Meilin Khoo, a possible escapee or released bird, also on 28 April 2018, and a Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus on Coney Island on 29 April 2018 by Tan Kok Hui.  Observers who spent time at DFNP over the weekend were rewarded. Khong Yew reported seeing Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu on 28 April 2018, which was further substantiated by Lim Kim Keang who saw three birds on 29 April 2018. Lim Kim Chuah spotted a Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii on 29 April 2018, while Alan OwYong spotted four Plume-toed Swiftlets Collocalia affinis with Pary Sivaraman, and a male and female Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis.

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-Garden

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 Feroz Fizah, TT Koh, Kozi Ichiyama, Luke Milo Teo, Tan Eng Boo, Angela Yeo, Alvin Seng, Pary Sivaraman, Stuart Campbell, and Arasu Sivaraman for the use of their photos.