Category Archives: Monthly Bird Reports

Singapore Bird Report – December 2019

by Geoff Lim.
Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

Decembers are generally slow months with relatively fewer sightings as many birders are out of town with their families, and the wet weather doesn’t help. The last month of the year turned out to be an exciting one, with a possible first record of the Taiga Flycatcher, the spectacular irruption of Asian Openbills, mysterious appearances by the Japanese Tit and Blue Whistling Thrush, and the visitation at the end of the month by Himalayan Griffons.

Taiga Flycatcher at Singapore Botanic Gardens

The Taiga Flycatcher, Ficedula albicilla, is a dimunitive flycatcher which habitually feeds from low perches at the forest edge or thickets. It breeds in temperate Siberia and winters in Southeast Asia, Thai-Malay Peninsula and NW Borneo, among other places (Wells, 2007: 522-523). Largely uniform ash brown with dark upper tail coverts and flight feathers, the bird could be overlooked as an Asian Brown Flycatcher if it did not perch “cocked”, with its tail held at an angle from its body, showing off the conspicuous white on the outer edge of the tail feathers.

1. Taiga

Taiga Flycatcher photographed on 9 December 2019 at the Singapore Botanic Gardens by David Fur.

On 1 December 2019, news broke that a Taiga Flycatcher had been seen & photographed by a few birders / photographers (Lim Kim Seng, Roy Toh, & others) at the Singapore Botanic Gardens eco-lake the day prior. They had been looking for the Daurian Redstart, which failed to show, but were treated to a bird that had never been recorded in Singapore. On the afternoon of 1 December 2019, Mike Hooper spotted the bird at the same vicinity, and the bird was seen by many birders during the subsequent days. It was last seen on 13 December 2019 by Yang Chee Meng.

Local birders quickly realised that the bird could be Singapore’s first ever record, though Wells noted that the species is known to be a migrant to West Malaysia. Usually solitary, the bird is known to take insects by sallying from perches in habitats ranging from mangrove forests, coastal scrub, lowland forest clearings, and overgrown rubber gardens, though there have been instances of birds dropping to the open ground. Photographers affirmed these observations as the solitary flycatcher often remained close to the ground and within thickets. During my observation of the bird on 1 December 2019, I also noted that the bird dropped to the ground on several occasions, appearing to be feeding.

Asian Openbills over Singapore

On 6 December 2019, Oliver Tan found two Asian Openbills, Anastomus oscitans, at Jurong Lake Gardens, and on the next day, 7 December 2019, an airborne invasion of hundreds of Asian Openbills into Singapore’s airspace took everyone by surprise. Veronica Foo and Betty Shaw were at Kranji Marshes for the monthly opening of the Kranji Marshes’ core areas when they were stunned by the sheer number of birds that took to the air around 7:15am that morning.  A rough count suggested an estimated 300 to 400 birds were present. Based on records compiled by Martin Kennewell from eBird submissions by many observers, flocks of the Asian Openbill continued to be spotted all over Singapore, from Tuas to Sentosa, to Changi, to Yishun, throughout the month. On 12 December, Oliver Tan counted 1,500 birds over NSRCC Changi. The birds were reliably seen around the fields near Kranji Marshes, Neo Tiew Harvest Lane and Turut Track, given the abundance of apple snails in the waterlogged fields.  Subsequently, several larger flocks were seen, the largest being a flock of 5,000 birds flying over Eastwood Estate / Sungei Bedok, on 25 December 2019, recorded by  Oliver Tan.

aob

An Asian Openbill, showing its ‘open bill’, at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane, 23 Dec 2019, by Tan Gim Cheong

2. AOB

Asian Openbills in flight over Kranji Marsh on 7 December 2019. Photographed by Darren Leow.

3. AOB eclipse

Asian Openbills over Marina Barrage during the annular solar eclipse on 26 December 2019. by Kwok Tuck Loong.

Prior to this irruption, Asian Openbills were a rarity. The earliest record was in January 2013 near Seletar Airport; Francis Yap’s account of his search for the birds when they were first reported on our shores. The second was of a solitary bird in March 2019.

According to Dr Yong Ding Li, an ornithologist with the conservation group BirdLife International, the birds may have been driven south into Singapore by unseasonably dry weather in the Mekong basin (Straits Times, 8 December 2019).

Himalayan Vultures at Hindhede

Shirley Ng and her friends spotted two Himalayan Vultures, Gyps himalayensis, at around 6pm at Hindhede Park on 28 December 2019 while looking at the Oriental Darter, Anhinga melanogaster, in the pond. Birders and photographers venturing to the park were delighted to see the two birds the next morning, as the pair remained perched until the late morning, when they took off into the air, and were spotted at Jelutong Tower by Vincent Ng.

The Himalayan Vulture is the largest Asian Gyps vulture and is widespread in the mountains of China, South Asia and Central Asia (BirdLife 2013).  In a study conducted in 2008, two Asian ornithologists (Yong & Kasorndorkbua, 2008) noted that there had been over 30 records of the vulture’s occurrence in Southeast Asia between 1979 and 2008. The records for Singapore were clustered between the months of December, January and February, and were notably dominated by juveniles, including nine birds at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on 12 January 1992. The authors opined that the dispersal could be attributable to climate change, deforestation and hunting, though natural patterns of post-fledging dispersal and navigational inexperience may have contributed to their appearance outside their regular range.

A compilation of Himalayan Vulture sightings since 1989 is appended below.

table

Table 1 – Himalayan Vulture Sightings in Singapore (adapted from Yong & Kasorndorkbua, 2008).

While the occurrence of the vultures in Singapore is interesting, their survival in Singapore is doubtful given the lack of carrion (see Latif & Osman, 2016, which reported that the bird discovered at Toa Payoh was found to be in a weakened state and the bones on its neck could be felt while the bird was covered with mites).

4. Capture HV

One of the two Himalayan Vultures taking off on 29 December 2019. Photographed by Danny Khoo.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) and Fringe Parks

Visitors to the CCNR and fringe areas spotted a variety of species. On 8 December 2019, a Blue-and-white Flycatcher, Cyanoptila cyanomelana, was spotted on 8 December 2019 at Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP) by Russell Boyman.  A few days later on 13 December 2019, between 20 to 30 Eyebrowed Thrush, Turdus obscurus, were  flying in a southeasterly direction from the vantage of Jelutong Tower and was reported by Francis Yap,  who also spotted the locally rare Thick-billed Flowerpecker, Dicaeum agile, on 16 December 2019 at DFNP. Observers who subsequently looked for the canopy-dwelling flowerpecker reported about three birds, with at least one juvenile sighted.  Other than the two Himalayan Vulture first seen by Shirley Ng at Hindhede Park on 28 December 2019 and the Oriental Darter, there were two Cinereous Bulbul, Hemixos cinereus, seen on 29 December 2019 at DFNP by Oliver Tan.

5. TBFP

Thick-billed Flowerpecker at Dairy Farm Nature Park. Photographed on 21 December 2019 by Lee Van Hien.

Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG)

Apart from the earlier mentioned Taiga Flycatcher, visitors also spotted a Blue-winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, on 3 December 2019, which was reported by Kwok Tuck Loong, and a Christmas Eve sighting of a Hooded Pitta, Pitta sordida, on 24 December 2019 within the garden grounds by Art Toh.

6. HP

Hooded Pitta at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 24 December 2019 by Art Toh.

Central Singapore

The central region yielded reports of a Ferruginous Flycatcher, Muscicapa ferruginea, on 14 December 2019, at Fort Canning, by William Mahoney, a Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Cyornis brunneatus, on Christmas Day, 25 December 2019, at Bidadari by Norhafiani A Majid, and a Blue Rock Thrush, Monticola soltarius, on 27 December 2019 at Duxton Pinnacles by Chen Boon Chong.

Northern Singapore

A very rare Dusky Warbler, Phylloscopus fuscatus, was photographed on 22 December 2019 along Yishun Pond and within the grounds of the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital by Keith Hutton. The Dusky Warbler breeds in Siberia and China, and winters across a wide range, including the Himalayan foothills, the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka, South China and SE Asia, including Peninsular Malaysia, where it prefers the understorey and floor of various forest types such as mangroves and regenerated growths following disturbance (Wells, 2007: 266-267).  Singapore’s records have been sparse, in 1994 and 1995 only. Both had been records from the Tuas reclaimed land.

7. Dusky Warbler, 251219, KTP, Kelvin Yoong

Dusky Warbler at the grounds of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital on 25 December 2019 by Kelvin Yoong

8. DW

Dusky Warbler, ventral view, at the grounds of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital on 25 December 2019 by Geoff Lim.

Other recorded sightings in the north were a Blue-winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, and a dark morph Oriental Honey Buzzard, Pernis ptilorhyncus, at Punggol Park on 28 December 2019 by Norhafiani A. Majid.

9. BWP

Blue-winged Pitta seen on 28 December 2019 at Punggol Park by Norhafiani A. Majid.

Eastern Singapore

On 2 December 2019, the Jurong Bird Park received, for treatment, an injured Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus, that was found at Tanah Merah. Unfortunately, the owl succumbed to its injuries. On 7 December 2019, an Indian Cuckoo, Cuculus micropterus, was spotted at the park connector from ECP to GBTB by Manju Gang. On the same day (7 December 2019), a Grey Nightjar, Caprimulgus jotaka, was seen at Pasir Ris Park by Michael Leong. While visiting the woods near Changi Business Park on 22 December 2019, T. Ramesh spotted a Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Hierococcyx sparverioides.

Across the sea, a Chinese Egret, Egretta eulophotes, was spotted on 20 December on Pulau Tekong 2019 by Frankie Cheong, while a Black Hornbill, Anthracoceros malayanus, was seen on Pulau Ubin on 21 December 2019 by Martin Kennewell, who subsequently spotted two Lesser Crested Tern, Thalasseus bengalensis, along Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin on 28 December 2019.

Southern Singapore

An Indian Cuckoo, Cuculus micropterus, was seen on 29 December 2019 at the Southern Ridges by Dhanushri Munasinghe.

Western Singapore

Kicking off bird sightings in western Singapore were two House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, an introduced species, spotted on 1 December 2019 at Tuas South by Gahya Arasu. On 6 December 2019, a rare Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon, Treron fulvicollis, was photographed at the Jurong Lake Gardens by Nigel Tan. A rare Stejneger’s Stonechat, Saxicola stejnegeri, was photographed by Lester Tan at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane on 22 December 2019, and present for the remainder of the month.

10. CHGP

Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon at Jurong Lake Garden on 6 December 2019 by Nigel Tan.

Apart from the spectacular sighting of more than a thousand Asian Openbills at Kranji Marsh and Harvest Link on 7 December 2019 by Veronica Foo and other birdwatchers, other species reported included a Common Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, on 23 December 2019 at Tuas South by See Toh Yew Wai, and a Pacific Reef Heron, Egretta sacra, on 27 December 2019 at West Coast Park by Tay Kian Guan.  On 28 December 2019, a Von Schrenck’s Bittern, Ixobrychus eurhythmus, was seen along Turut Track by Art Toh.

Unusual Sightings

On 1 December 2019, Seng Beng posted a video of a Tit taken at Pasir Ris Park the day prior, asking if it was a Cinereous or Japanese Tit. Subsequently, good photographs obtained by Francis Yap and other birders showed that it was a Japanese Tit, Parus minor. It was seen by many on subsequent days, and the last report of it was on 14 December 2019, by Adrian Silas Tay. Most birders reported seeing only one bird, but Isabelle Lee reported seeing a second bird on 2 December 2019. Interestingly, the expected species is the Cinereous Tit, Parus cinerea, which is resident in the mangrove forests in Malaysia, while the Japanese Tit is known to be resident in northern Thailand and beyond.

11. JT

Japanese Tit photographed from Pasir Ris Park by Francis Yap, posted on 4 December 2019.

Another interesting bird sighted in December was the Blue Whistling Thrush, Myophonus caeruleus, spotted by Felix Wong on 7 December 2019 at Fort Canning Park. Interestingly, it was of the black-billed caeruleus subspecies, the nearest known wintering area being northern Thailand, with birds straying towards central Thailand. The whistling thrush, which had a broken upper mandible tip, remained in the same location for many days and was last reported on 24 December 2019 by Keita Sin. The crassirostris subspecies, which sports a yellow beak, is found in Peninsular Malaysia (Wells, 2007: 480-481); but they do not occur south of the Batu Caves near Kuala Lumpur.

12. BWT

Blue Whistling Thrush photographed on 8 December 2019 at Fort Canning Park by Francis Yap.

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Strait of Singapore

A pelagic trip along the Strait of Singapore (a multi-national stretch of water) on 14 December 2019 led by Martin Kennewell yielded three Little Tern, Sternula albifrons, Bridled Tern, Onychoprion anaethetus, Black-naped Tern, Sterna sumatrana, and three White-winged Tern, Chlidonias leucopterus.

 

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

Many thanks to Art Toh, Danny Khoo, Darren Leow, David Fur, Francis Yap, Geoff Lim, Kelvin Yoong, Kwok Tuck Loong, Lee Van Hien, Nigel Tan, and Norhafiani A. Majid  for allowing us to use their photographs.

REFERENCES

BirdLife (2013). Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis. Archived 2014 Discussion. Accessed from the Internet at https://globally-threatened-bird-forums.birdlife.org/2013/09/himalayan-vulture-gyps-himalayensis-request-for-information/

Latif M. R., & Osman F. M. b. (2016). Himalayan Vulture at Toa Payoh. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2016:5. Obtained from the internet at https://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/app/uploads/2017/04/sbr2016-005.pdf

Tan, A. (2019, December 8). “Hundreds of Asian Openbill storks spotted in Singapore.” Straits Times. Accessed from the Internet at https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/environment/hundreds-of-asian-openbill-storks-in-singapore-in-rare-sighting-with-possible.

Wells, D. R. (2007). The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula Vol. 2, London: Christopher Helm.

Yong, D. L. and Kasorndorkbua, C. (2008). “The Status of the Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis in South-East Asia”, Forktail, 24:57-62.

 

Singapore Bird Report – November 2019

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

November was spectacular, with the first record of two species – the Fairy Pitta and Shikra at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve; an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (the locally extinct rufous-backed subspecies), found inside a camera shop in the city; and, a rare Red-footed Booby at St John’s Island. Also, it was and has always been a great month to spot migrating raptors in southern Singapore.

A Fairy’s Visitation in November

1 FP, 081119, CCNR, Fryap

The first Fairy Pitta discovered in Singapore on 8 Nov 2019 – photo by Francis Yap.

On 8 November 2019, Francis Yap and Richard White were en route to Jelutong Tower, when the duo spotted a paler than usual pitta along the trail under the darkening morning sky as a storm threatened from Sumatra. When Francis managed to regain phone reception and were able to refer to other photos on the internet, the two confirmed that they had Singapore’s first record of the Fairy Pitta, Pitta nympha. Francis’ electrifying account can be accessed here. The Fairy Pitta stopped over for a week, with daily records from 8-13 November 2019.

The Fairy Pitta has been recognised as part of a superspecies comprising the Blue-winged Pitta, P. moluccensis, Mangrove Pitta, P. megarhyncha, and Indian Pitta, P. brachyura (Lambert & Woodcock, 1996:162), hence the superficial resemblance with one another. BirdLife has classified the species as Vulnerable, with key threats being habitat loss and conversion, as well as local trapping pressure (BirdLife, 2019). The pitta breeds in coastal eastern China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, and migrates to Borneo, and possibly Indochina, during the northern winter (Lambert & Woodcock, 1996:163). The species is known as a long-distance migrant; however, its movement is still not well understood.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) and Fringe Parks

Souls who braved the relative steep inclines of our modest Bukit Timah Hill were rewarded with sightings of our resident fruit pigeons and doves, needletails and raptors. Visitors on 1 November 2019 noted the presence of five Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Treron curvirostra and two Jambu Fruit Dove, Ptilinopus jambu, both by Choong YT, as well as a Zappey’s or Blue-and-white Flycatcher, Cyanoptila cumatilis/cyanomelana, spotted by Richard White at the summit.

A week later, four White-throated Needletail, Hirundapus caudacutus, and one Silver-backed Needletail, Hirundapus cochinchinensis, were seen on 7 November 2019 by Fadzrun Adnan, the summit being a known site for needletail sightings. Subsequently, two Booted Eagle, Hieraaetus pennatus, were seen on 10 November 2019 by Martin Kennewell, while an immature Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle, Lophotriorchis kienerii, was seen on 14 November 2019 by Alfred Chia. Another sighting of the Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle flying towards the summit on 30 November 2019 by Francis Yap probably relate to the same individual.

On the foothills, at Hindhede Nature Park, a Malayan Night Heron, Gorsachius melanolophus, in full adult splendour was spotted on 18 November 2019 by Richard White, and the bird was spotted again on 30 November 2019 by Felix Wong.

2 RBE, 301119, BT, Fryap, crop

Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle at Bukit Timah on 30 November 2019 by Francis Yap

The core CCNR area continued to yield good sightings. On 1 November 2019, a White-throated Needletail, Hirundapus caudacutus, was spotted flying southwards from Jelutong Tower by Francis Yap, who also spotted three Ashy Minivet, Pericrocotus divaricatus. Apart from the spectacular discovery of the Fairy Pitta, Pitta nympha, by Richard White and Francis Yap on 8 November 2019 as narrated above, a Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Cyornis brunneatus, was also spotted on the same day by Nicholas Lim along Rifle Range Link. Fairy Pitta hunters the following week stumbled on an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Ceyx erithaca, (black-backed subspecies) on 9 November 2019 (Norhafiani Majid), while visitors to other parts of the CCNR reported a Drongo Cuckoo, Surniculus lugubris, on 10 November 2019 at Sime Road (Felix Wong) and a Blue-eared Kingfisher, Alcedo meninting, on 11 November 2019 (Adrian Tay). On 21 November 2019, the first Singapore record of the Shikra, Accipiter badius, was made by Alex Fok, who photographed the bird from his vantage point at Jelutong Tower.

Several days later on 25 November 2019, a Malayan Night Heron, Gorsachius melanolophus, was flushed at Rifle Range Link behind the fenceline within a protected area next to the main track (Oliver Tan), while Asian Palm Swift, Cypsiurus balasiensis, were seen flying over the MacRitchie Reservoir. Further afield, a male Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone atrocaudata, was spotted on 2 November 2019 at Thomson Nature Park by Andrew Wood, while a Black-capped Kingfisher, Halcyon pileata, was seen on 16 November 2019 at Lower Peirce Reservoir Park by Stephen Matthews.

Farther west, at the fringe parks comprising Singapore Quarry-Dairy Farm Nature Park, a Besra, Accipiter virgatus, was photographed on 3 November 2019 by Keita Sin & Dillen Ng. A few days later on 6 November 2019 at the quarry, a single  Brown-backed Needletail, Hirundapus giganteus, was seen by Martin Kennewell. A  Cinereous Bulbul, Hemixos cinereus, was seen by Richard White on 10 November 2019 at Dairy Farm Nature Park, while a small flock of four birds was spotted at the park on 14 November 2019 by Martin Kennewell. One day later on 15 November 2019, a female Greater Green Leafbird, Chloropsis sonnerati, an IUCN red-listed and endangered species, was spotted by Mike Hooper. The Barred Eagle-Owl, Bubo sumatranus, continued to make a regular appearance, with a report of one bird being made on 29 November 2019 by Chelsea Lee.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

On 1 November 2019, a Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Cyornis brunneatus, was spotted within the garden by Tomohiro Iuchi, while a single Blue-winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, was spotted on 2 November 2019 by Kwok Tuck Loong and Geoff Lim. On the same day, a  Ferruginous Flycatcher, Muscicapa ferruginea, was spotted within the garden grounds by Kwong Yew. Two days later on 4 November 2019, a Greater Spotted Eagle, Clanga clanga, was spotted by Christi Kemmel, while on 12 November 2019, a male Daurian Redstart, Phoenicurus auroreus, was spotted by photographer Dennis Lim. Birders arriving to confirm the redstart’s presence discovered an adult Malayan Night Heron, Gorsachius melanolophus, on 13 November 2019 (Martin Kennewell), as well as a female Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone atrocaudata, on 14 November 2019 (Francis Yap).

3 DR, 161119, SBG, DF

Daurian Redstart at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 16 November 2019 by Dorcas Fong.

Other noticeable sightings included a flock of several Common Hill Myna, Gracula religiosa, on 16 November 2019, a Booted Eagle, Hieraaetus pennatus, on 21 November 2019, which was harassed by a Brahminy Kite, Haliastur indus (Oliver Tan), and a Jerdon’s Baza, Aviceda jerdoni, on 23 November 2019 by Peng Ah Huay.

4 JB, 231119, SBG, MY

Jerdon’s Baza at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 24 November 2019 by Angela Yeo

Central Singapore

The fragmented woods of Bidadari continued to attract important bird species such as the globally vulnerable Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Cyornis brunneatus, spotted on 3 November 2019 by Norhafiani Majid, an Indian Cuckoo, Cuculus micropterus, on the same day by T. Ramesh, a very skittish Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Hierococcyx sparverioides, on 5 November 2019 by Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan, who also spotted the first-of-the-season Grey Nightjar, Caprimulgus jotaka.

5 Zappey, 101119, Bida, Isabelle Lee

Adult male Zappey’s Flycatcher taken on 10 November 2019 by Isabelle Lee

A full adult male Zappey’s Flycatcher, Cyanoptila cumatilis, appeared on 10 November 2019 and was reported by Krishna Gopagondanahalli, while a first winter male Zappey’s / Blue-and-white Flycatcher, Cyanoptila sp., was sighted by Yang Chee Meng on 11 November 2019. Several days later, a Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone atrocaudata, was reported on 16 November 2019 by Chan Kumchun, while a first winter male Siberian Thrush, Geokichla sibirica, was spotted on 21 November 2019 by Alan Owyong.

6 Z or BNWFC, 151119, Bida, Art Toh, crop

First winter male Zappey’s or Blue-and-White Flycatcher on 15 November 2019 by Art Toh

Further afield came the surprising report of a Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Ceyx erithaca, (the locally extinct rufous-backed subspecies), found on 6 November 2019 inside Peninsula Plaza by the staff of Cathay Photo; while a less happy news of a building strike casualty in the form of a female Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Treron curvirostra, was reported on 25 November 2019 by Shiva at Hotel V, Lavender.

7 ST, 211119, Bida, AOY

Siberian Thrush at Bidadari on 21 November 2019 by Alan Owyong

Northern Singapore

Eight first-of-the-season White-Shouldered Starling, Sturnia sinensis, were reported on 1 November 2019 at Lorong Halus by Lim Kim Keang. Further away at Canberra Street, a fledgling Long-tailed Shrike, Lanius schach, was seen on 22 November 2019  by Desmond Yap.

Eastern Singapore

The woods along a large canal at Changi Business Park has proven to be a good birding spot, as a Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda, was seen on 1 November 2019 by Tan Eng Boo, while four Green Imperial Pigeon, Ducula aenea, were seen on 6 November 2019 by Mike Hooper, and a Jerdon’s Baza, Aviceda jerdoni, was spotted on 21 November 2019 by Steven Cheong, and on 25 November 2019 by Mike Hooper.

Pasir Ris Park yielded a migrating Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo, Hierococcyx nisicolor, on 5 November 2019 by Alvin Seng, a Crested Serpent Eagle, Spilornis cheela, on 19 November 2019 by Tan Yes Chong, and a report of a first winter male Zappey’s / Blue-and-white Flycatcher, Cyanoptila sp, on 23 November 2019 by Wong Sangmen. Over at Pulau Ubin, we received a report of a flying Crested Serpent Eagle, Spilornis cheela, on 24 November 2019.

8 HHC, 051119, PRP, AS

Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo spotted on 5 November 2019 at Pasir Ris Park by Alvin Seng

Southern Singapore

With migration progressing in earnest in November, migrant watchers congregated along the Henderson Waves were rewarded by sightings of a wide variety of birds. On 1 November 2019, a Jerdon’s Baza, Aviceda jerdoni, constituted a new arrival date, thirty-seven first-of-the-season Black Baza, Aviceda leuphotes, arrived in four kettles, as did nine Crested Honey Buzzard, Pernis ptilorhynchus, and a single Chinese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter soloensis; as reported by Oliver Tan. The next day, 2 November 2019, yielded a south-flying Greater Spotted Eagle, Clanga clanga, by Francis Yap, a Booted Eagle, Hieraaetus pennatus, by Sandra Chia, a Grey-faced Buzzard, Butastur indicus, by Oliver Tan, who also spotted a Cinereous Bulbul, Hemixos cinereus.

On 3 November 2019, a Grey-faced Buzzard was seen by Oliver Tan. A Pied Harrier, Circus melanoleucos, was seen shortly after twelve noon on 4 November 2019, by Francis Yap, while seventy nine Crested Honey Buzzard were spotted flying at varying intervals on 7 November 2019 by Low Choon How, with the peak occurring around 10:53am (24 birds) and 11:03am (23 birds); Choon How also reported the sighting of four Grey-faced Buzzard.  A first-of-the-season Black Kite, Milvus migrans, was also spotted on the same day by Zacc HD.

9 PH, 041119, HW, Fryap

Pied Harrier taken from Henderson Waves on 4 November 2019 by Francis Yap

On 9 November 2019, a Greater Spotted Eagle, Clanga clanga, and a Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo, were seen by Martin Kennewell. An Asian House Martin, Delichon dasypus, was seen on 11 November 2019 by Keita Sin, who also saw a White-throated Needletail, Hirundapus caudacutus, on 14 November 2019, which constituted the tenth record of the bird for 2019, and a Brown-backed Needletail, Hirundapus giganteus, on the same day. The next day, on 16 November 2019, a single Chestnut-cheeked Starling, Agropsar philippensis, was photographed among fifteen Daurian Starling by See Toh Yew Wai.

The Telok Blangah park area, where most birders would park or pass by on their way to the Henderson Waves, also yielded several species. These included a Mugimaki Flycatcher, Ficedula mugimaki, spotted on 11 Nov 19 by Tan Eng Boo, a Zappey’s / Blue-and-white Flycatcher, Cyanoptila sp., on 16 November 2019 by Herman Phua, a Siberian Thrush, Geokichla sibirica, on 21 Nov 19 by Dean Tan.

10 Z or BNWFC, 161119, TBHP, Herman

Female Zappey’s / Blue-and-White Flycatcher taken on 16 November 2019 by Herman Phua

Further south, Kent Ridge Park yielded two Greater Spotted Eagle, Clanga clanga, on 6 November 2019 by Choong YT, ten Asian Palm Swift, Cypsiurus balasiensis, and a Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo, on 7 November 2019 by Alan Owyong, and two high flying Oriental Darter, Anhinga melanogaster, on 24 November 2019 by Raghav Narayanswamy.

Over at Satay-by-the-Bay, a Blue-eared Kingfisher, Alcedo meninting, was spotted on 4 November 2019 by Choong YT, while a Jerdon’s Baza, Aviceda jerdoni, was seen on 8 November 19, at Gardens-by-the-Bay by Steven Ang. On 30 November 2019, there was an amazing report of an immature Red-footed Booby, Sula sula, photographed on St. John’s Island, by Chua Yingzhi.

Western Singapore

At Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR), a Black-tailed Godwit, Limosa limosa, was seen on 2 November 2019 by Andy Dinesh, who observed that the bird fed continuously for 2-3 hours. The next day on 3 November 2019, a Greater Spotted Eagle, Clanga clanga, was reported by Bryan Lim, while three days later on 6 November 2019, an Oriental Darter, Anhinga melanogaster, was spotted by Jimmy Wong. Towards the end of the month, on 23 November 2019, birders at SBWR thought they might have had four Eurasian Curlews, but they turned out to be Whimbrels, Numenius phaeopus, a common winter visitor, of which 35 were recorded by Alastair Newton.

11, BTGW021119, SBWR, Ramesh

Black-tailed Godwit on 2 November 2019 at SBWR by T. Ramesh

Birders visiting the area around the Kranji Marshes (KM) noted a pale morph Greater Spotted Eagle, Clanga clanga, on 3 November 2019 along Neo Tiew Harvest Link (Zacc HD), a White Wagtail, Motacilla alba, at Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 on 10 November 2019 (Veronica Foo), as well as a Grey-headed Lapwing, Vanellus cinereus, on 16 November 2019 along Turut Track (Sandra Chia).

12 GHLW, 161119, TT, Sandra Chia

Grey-headed Lapwing at Turut Track on 16 November 2019 by Sandra Chia

The adventurous ones visiting Tuas were ambly rewarded. Birds seen on 2 November 2019 includewd a Von Schrenck’s Bittern, Ixobrychus eurhythmus, one Black Bittern, Dupetor flavicollis,  one Greater Spotted Eagle, Clanga clanga, Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Hierococcyx sparverioides, and Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo, Hierococcyx nisicolor (Martin Kennewell), a Grey-faced Buzzard, Butastur indicus (Low Choon How), Indian Cuckoo, Cuculus micropterus, and Himalayan Cuckoo, Cuculus saturatus (Jerold Tan). The next day, on 3 November 2019, yielded a Jambu Fruit Dove, Ptilinopus jambu, (Art Toh), and a Blue Rock Thrush, Monticola soltarius, (Jerold Tan), while  5 November 2019 yielded two Barred Buttonquail, Turnix suscitator (Martin Kennewell), and a Northern Boobook, Ninox japonica, (Yong Ding Li). On 16 November 2019, a female House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, was spotted by Richard White, while an Asian House Martin, Delichon dasypus, was seen on 23 November 2019 by Choong YT. A Common Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, was subsequently seen on 30 November 2019, hovering over the grasslands by Gahyathree Arasu.

13, HS, 191119, Tuas, Zacc, crop

House Sparrow (left ) with Eurasian Tree Sparrows at Tuas on 19 November 2019 by Zacc HD

Mai Rong Wen (麥榮文)photographed a big flock of Daurian Starlings at Pandan River on 1 November 2019, and Kim Chuah, amazingly, noticed a single Chestnut-cheeked Starling, Agropsar philippensis, among the mass of flying birds. Birders trawling the Pandan Canal reported seeing a Yellow-browed Warbler, Phylloscopus inornatus, on 2 November 2019 (Martin Kennewell), a Greater Spotted Eagle, Clanga clanga, on 3 November 2019 (Francis Yap), and a Short-toed Snake Eagle, Circaetus gallicus, on 6 November 2019 (Pary Sivaraman). The Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle, Lophotriorchis kienerii, recorded on 9 November 2019 by Krishna Deepak RNV appeared to be the same individual seen in the Bukit Timah Area.

A variety of species encountered in other parts of Western Singapore included three Ashy Minivet, Pericrocotus divaricatus, on 1 November 2019 at Jurong Lake Gardens (Oliver Tan), a Black Bittern, Dupetor flavicollis, near Dunearn Road on 2 November 2019 (Yeo Seng Beng), seven hundred and eighty seven roosting Blue-throated Bee-Eater, Merops viridis, on 7 November 2019 at Eng Kong Place (Richard White), a dead Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Clamator coromandus, on 19 November 2019 at Upper Bukit Timah Road (Francis Loke), and a Brown-backed Needletail, Hirundapus giganteus, on 23 November 2019 (Mike Hooper).

 

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

Many thanks to Art Toh, Angela Yeo, Alan Owyong, Alvin Seng, Dorcas Fong, Francis Yap, Isabelle Lee, Herman Phua, T. Ramesh, Sandra Chia, and Zacc HD for allowing us to use their photographs.

References

BirdLife International 2017. Pitta nympha (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22698684A116880779. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T22698684A116880779.en. Downloaded on 23 December 2019.

Lambert, F. and Woodcock, M. (1996). Pittas, Broadbills and Asities. London: Pica Press.

 

Singapore Bird Report – October 2019

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

The Black-naped Monarch at the Botanic Gardens

BN-Monarch,-211019,-SBG,-Kelvin-Ng-Cheng-Kwan,-Sony-RX10m4,-BICA-1-(this)-no-pointer

Black-naped Monarch, Botanic Gardens, 21 Oct 2019, a clear photo by Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan. Note the unnatural damage to the tail and tertials (broken & frayed tips); the feathers on the mantle also look unnaturally messy

The biggest find of the month was the extremely rare Black-naped Monarch, Hypothymis azurea, which also turned out to be the biggest disappointment, as it is in all likelihood an escapee. The monarch was first spotted at the Botanic Gardens on 18 October 2019 by visiting birder, Jan Lile, from Queensland, Australia. Her ebird record was picked up by Andrew Paul Bailey, who alerted birders on FB group ‘Bird Sightings’. Ramesh T. followed the lead the following day and found the bird, thereby alerting others to its continued presence. The bird remained at the Botanic Gardens until 24 October 2019, allowing many birders to see and photograph this great rarity, which unfortunately, turned out to be of captive origin.

A review of more than 60 photographs of the monarch showed evidence of unnatural feather damage, particularly to the tertials which were not only frayed, but also broken (tip of top left tertial); there were also unnatural wear to the tips of the primaries and especially to the tail feathers – indeed, the ends of three tail feathers were broken (see pic below); the mantle feathers were unnaturally messy – probably either through being handled or from flying against a cage; overall, the bird had a somewhat untidy appearance, hinting at its captive origin.

BN-Monarch,-271019-posted,-SBG,-Kelvin-Ng-Cheng-Kwan,-Sony-RX10m4-(this)

Black-naped Monarch, Botanic Gardens, 21 Oct 2019, a photo from an unusual but useful angle, by Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan. Note the unnatural broken tips to T2 & T4 (left side of tail), and broken T6 (right side of tail)

The Black-Naped Monarch had only been recorded on mainland Singapore once – on 1 January 2004. The species is rare on Pulau Ubin, and there are some records from Pulau Tekong; it is more usually encountered in the lowland rainforests, peat swamps, secondary forests and overgrown plantations in Malaysia (Wells, 2007:168-169).

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) and Fringe Parks

Birders visiting the CCNR core reported the influx of migratory birds visiting or passing over the central forests. On 5 October 2019, a White Wagtail Motacilla alba was spotted by Adrian Silas Tay. A full adult male Siberian Blue Robin, Larvivora cyane, was seen at Venus Loop on 13 October 2019 by Felix Wong, while a pair of resident Short-tailed Babbler, Malcocincla malaccensis, were spotted within the same locality on 18 October 2019 by Alan Owyong. On 20 October 2019, a first-of-the-season Ferruginous Flycatcher, Muscicapa ferruginea, was recorded by Luke Teo at Mandai Track 15. Towards the end of the month, a Cinereous Bulbul, Hemixos cinereus, a non-breeding visitor, was spotted on 25 October 2019 from Jelutong Tower by Francis Yap.

A first-of-the-season female Siberian Thrush, Geokichla sibirica, was recorded on 22 October 2019 by Richard White, while another individual was seen at Thomson Nature Park on 25 October 2019 by Lian Yee Ming. On the summit of the Bukit Timah Hill, a Yellow-vented Flowerpecker, Dicaeum chrysorrheum, was seen on 29 October 2019 by Alfred Chia, feeding in a fruiting fig tree. The next day on 30 October 2019, a first-of-the-season Grey-Faced Buzzard, Butastur indicus, was spotted flying over, by Fadzun Adnan.

Cinerous Bulbul, 251019, Jelutong, Fryap

Cinereous Bulbul spotted on 25 October 2019 from Jelutong Tower by Francis Yap

Further away, a Crow-Billed Drongo, Dicrurus annectans, was seen on 24 October 2019 at Dairy Farm Nature Park by Joseph Lim, while a Ferruginous Flycatcher was spotted on 29 October 2019 at the Singapore Quarry by Francis Yap. The next day, 30 October 2019, a Blue-and-white / Zappey Flycatcher, Cyanoptila sp., was spotted at the same location by T. Ramesh.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Besides the Black-Naped Monarch, other birds seen include four Grey-headed Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus – a juvenile and adult at the Symphony Lake, and two adult birds at the Gallop Extension on 26 October 2019 by Geoff Lim.

Central Singapore

Despite a drastic reduction in area, Bidadari continued to support a number of migratory birds. The globally vulnerable Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Cyornis brunneatus, was spotted on 1 October 2019 by T. Ramesh at the area near the fallen tree at the former side entrance to the area, while a male Siberian Blue Robin, Larvivora cyane, was also seen on the same day by Deborah Friets. On 3 October 2019, a Brown Shrike, Lanius cristatus lucionensis was spotted by Alan Owyong.

BCJFC, 111019, Bida, Fryap

Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher at Bidadari taken on 11 October 2019 by Francis Yap

On 7 October 2019, an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Ceyx erithaca, was spotted by Gan Lee Hsia, while a first winter Crow-billed Drongo, Dicrurus annectans, was seen on 7 October 2019 by Terence Tan. On 16 October 2019, a male white morph Amur/Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone sp., was spotted by Deborah Friets, while a Dark-Sided Flycatcher, Muscicapa sibirica, was seen on 26 October 2019 in the afternoon after the rain, by “Trustmind Ng”. The next day, on 27 October 2019, a Chinese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter soloensis, was spotted by Low Chong Yang, who visited the former cemetery at 7am.

APFC, 161119, Bida, Last Romeo Amin

A white morph Amur/Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher was spotted on 16 October 2019 at Bidadari, photo by Amin

Other birds reported within Central Singapore included an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Ceyx erithaca, that was found by Peng Ah Huay’s friend, in Ang Mo Kio Central, weak and not flying; a returning Chinese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter soloensis, that was seen on 27 October 2019 by Angela Yeo at Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West; while a Blue-Winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, was reported by Kwok Tuck Loong on 31 October 2019 at Geylang East Avenue 1 at about 7am.

Northern Singapore

On 1 October 2019, a single White-shouldered Starling, Sturnia sinensis, was seen along Seletar Club Road, flying from a tree to across the road with other birds, by Pary Sivaraman. On the same day, a mixed flock containing more than 100 Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea, and a Forest Wagtail, Dendronanthus indicus, were reported at a communal roost at Yishun by Khoo Mei Lin.

Wagtails, 061019, Yishun, Norhafiani A Majid

Roosting Grey Wagtail at Yishun on 6 October 2019 by Norhafiani Majid

An Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Ceyx erithaca, was reported to have crashed into a home at Recreation Road on 2 October 2019 by Janet Neo, and subsequently released, while a Blue-winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, was reported to have crashed into a home in Minton Condominium on 10 October 2019 by Tan Tze Khing and survived.

Not so fortunate was a von Schrenck’s Bittern, Ixobrychus eurhythmus, that was reported dead at the foot of a HDB flat along Compassvale Road on 29 October 2019 by Zhang Licong, while a Black Bittern, Dupetor flavicollis, was reported as having crashed into a home in Serangoon on 31 October 2019 by Charmiane Magnus Kuan, and subsequently released.

Eastern Singapore

The eastern islands of Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong had only two reports. We received a report of a first-of-the-season Long-Toed Stint, Calidris subminuta, on 3 October 2019 at Pulau Tekong from Frankie Cheong, while we had a report of more than 50 Swift Tern, Thalasseus bergii, on 4 October 2019 on Pulau Ubin from Tan Ju Lin and Tiak Lee.

The woods along a canal near Changi Business Park was reported to support two visiting Green Imperial Pigeon, Ducula aenea, (1 October 2019, Mike Hooper), a Crow-Billed Drongo, Dicrurus annectans, a first-for-the-season Grey Nightjar, Caprimulgus jotaka, and a Brown-Chested Jungle Flycatcher, Cyornis brunneatus, (28 October 2019, T. Ramesh). Further away at Bedok Camp, more than 300 Oriental Pratincole, Glareola maldivarum, were seen flying south on 27 October 2019 by Oliver Tan, while a Blue-Winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, was spotted within Eastwood Estate on 30 October 2019 by Herman Phua. Over at Pasir Ris Park, Josh Spiler made an unusual report of a Lanceolated Warbler, Locustella lanceolata, which was spotted within the mangrove woods of on 12 October 2019.

BWP, 301019, Eastwood Estate, Herman Phua

Blue-winged Pitta found exhausted at Eastwood Estate on 30 October 2019 by Herman Phua

Southern Singapore

A stray Spot-Billed Pelican Pelicanus philippensis on 3 October 2019 at Marina Barrage by John Marriott, possibly an escapee from our bird park, while a Drongo Cuckoo, Surniculus lugubris, was seen on 21 October 2019 at Gardens-by-the-Bay by Carmen Hui. Reports of the Blue Rock Thrush, Monticola soltarius, at Pinnacle@Duxton continued to filter through on 3 and 6 October 2019 from Tay Kian Guan and Norhafiani Majid, respectively. Further west, a first-of-the-season Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo, was seen on 11 October 2019 by Zacc HD.

The Henderson Waves proved to be a productive site during the migration season, not just for raptors, but also for other migrating birds. On 10 October 2019, ninety-three Red-rumped Swallow, Cecropis daurica, flying over the ridges were counted by Oliver Tan, who also spotted a Crested Serpent Eagle, Spilornis cheela, on 14 Ocotber 2019. A Brown-Backed Needletail, Hirundapus giganteus, was seen speeding over on 19 October 2019 by Zacc HD, as did an Asian House Martin, Delichon dasypus, by Gayathree Arasu. Raptor watchers who persisted their vigil were rewarded by a first-of-the-season Booted Eagle, Hieraaetus pennatus, on 24 October 2019 (Keita Sin), a first-of-the-season Sand Martin, Riparia riparia on 26 October 2019 (Martin Kennewell), four more Asian House Martin, Delichon dasypus on 27 October 2019 (See Toh Yew Wai), and a juvenile Besra, Accipiter virgatus, on 31 October 2019 (Looi Ang Soh Hoon).

Western Singapore

At Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, a single Lesser Adjutant, Leptoptilos javanicus, was seen soaring over the park on 1 October 2019 by Tay Kian Guan, while a rare Chinese Egret, Egretta eulophotes, was photographed on 6 October 2019 by Teo Nam Seng. The charismatic Black-capped Kingfisher, Halcyon pileata, appeared on 27 October 2019, a first-of-the-season record reported by Art Toh.

Oriental Pratincoles, 121019, Harvest Link, AOY

Part of a flock of Oriental Pratincoles spotted at Harvest Link by Alan Owyong, taken on 12 October 2019

A single Common Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus, was seen preening itself in the evening at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 by Francis Yap. Over at Kranji Marshes, a first-of-the-season record of an Oriental Reed Warbler, Acrocephalus orientalis was reported on 2 October 2019 by Wing Chong. A few days later on 6 October 2019, another first-of-the-season report of a Lanceolated Warbler, Locustella lanceolate, was made by Tan Yew Chong. On 28 October 2019, Veronica Foo accounted for a first-of-the-season Von Schrenck’s Bittern, Ixobrychus eurhythmus, as well as a Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler, Locustella certhiola. Along Harvest Link just outside Kranji Marshes, a Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus japonensis, was reported on 12 October 2019 by Looi Ang Soh Hoon, as were 16 Oriental Pratincole, Glareola maldivarum, and two Long-Toed Stint, Calidris subminuta, (Alan Owyong), while 3 Pratincole were spotted the next day (13 October 2019) by Lim Kim Chuah, who also recorded a Little Ringed Plover, Charadrius dubius. On the following day, 14 October 2019, an Eastern Marsh Harrier, Circus spilonotus, was spotted by Tay Kian Guan.

Over at Kranji Dam, White-winged Tern, Chlidonias leucopterus, were seen flocking with Whiskered Tern, Chlidonias hybrida, on 1 October 2019 by Adrian Silas Tay, with eight of the latter flying towards Johor during last light. On 7 October 2019, a first-of-the-season record of an Eastern Marsh Harrier, Circus spilonotus, was reported by Chen Boon Chong, who noticed that it chased a Striated Heron out before flying back to the trees. The harrier later flew out in a south-westerly direction five minutes later.

A few adventurous birders ventured into Tuas and found a Common Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, on 5 October 2019 (Low Choon How), and a Jambu Fruit Dove, Ptilinopus jambu, on 28 October 2019 (Adrian Silas Tay).

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

Many thanks to Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan, Francis Yap, Amin, Norhafiani A. Majid, Herman Phua and Alan Owyong for allowing us to use their photographs.

REFERENCE

Wells, D. R. (2007), The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula Vol. 2, London: Christopher Helm.

Singapore Bird Report – September 2019

by Geoff Lim & Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

September 2019 marked the appearance of rarities such as the Glossy Ibis, Black-naped Monarch, Blue Rock Thrush, and Japanese Paradise Flycatcher; as well as the first arrivals of many migrants.

Glossy Ibis Sighting

1 Glossy ibis

Photo-montage of the Glossy Ibis at Kranji Dam on 29 September 2019 by Goh Cheng Teng

The Glossy Ibis, Plegadis falcinellus, is a widely distributed species that is found in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, Central and North America. However, it is a very rare vagrant in Singapore. The sighting on 28 and 29 September 2019 by Raghav and Goh Cheng Teng, respectively, was our fifth sighting to date. Prior sightings were at Lorong Halus in 12-16 June 1984, Sungei Buloh in May 1989, Sime Road in October 1992, and November 2007. Wells (1999: 107) noted that the species is a vagrant in Peninsular Malaysia and highlighted that the sightings in 1984 and 1989 may have been wild sightings; captive birds were ruled out since the sightings comprised of adults and juveniles. Traded birds tended to be of a uniform age, since birds would be taken as fledglings.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) & Fringes

Possibly first for the season, a Forest Wagtail, Dendronanthus indicus, was spotted in flight on 2 September 2019 at Jelutong Tower by Francis Yap. Another was spotted within CCNR on 6 September 2019 by Dillen Ng; who also spotted an Arctic Warbler, Phylloscopus borealis, on the same day.  Also on 6 September 2019, an Eastern Crowned Warbler, Phylloscopus coronatus, was spotted at Jelutong by Francis Yap. On 10 September 2019, a Red-legged Crake, Rallina fasciata, was seen skulking about within the CCNR by Timothy Chua Jia Yao.

2 cbm

Chestnut-bellied Malkoha spotted from Jelutong Tower on 13 September 2019 by Alan Owyong

Jelutong proved to be a good location to observe other species, which included a Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Phaenicophaeus sumatranus, on 13 September 2019 (Alan Owyong), and five Crested Honey Buzzard, Pernis ptilorhynchus, perched on a tree in the rain on 14 September 2019 (Tan Kok Hui). It was also from this vantage point on 27 September 2019 that two Chinese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter soloensis, three Crested Honey Buzzard, a Japanese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter gularis and an Oriental Pratincole, Glareola maldivarum, were seen flying over CCNR by Francis Yap and Richard White.

3 op

Oriental Pratincole over Jelutong Tower on 27 September 2019 by Francis Yap

The Venus-Windsor-Lower Peirce corridor yielded the second Eastern Crowned Warbler, Phylloscopus coronatus, of the season on 2 September 2019 (Venus Loop, Ho Siew Mun). A White-rumped Shama, Copsychus malabaricus, a species vulnerable to poaching, was spotted on 4 September 2019 (Lower Peirce, Mei Hwang) while a Common Emerald Dove, Chalcophaps indica, was seen on 5 September 2019 (Venus Loop, Terence Tan), and a Banded Woodpecker, Chrysophlegma miniaceum, on 9 September 2019 (Windsor Park, Lim Sheen Taw). Further away, a torquatus race tweeddale morph Crested Honey Buzzard, Pernis ptilorhynchus, was spotted on 10 September 2019 at Upper Seletar Reservoir (Deborah Friets).

4 beo

Barred Eagle Owl at Singapore Quarry on 27 September 2019 at Art Toh

Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP) and Singapore Quarry continues to be a high yield CCNR-fringe location.  An Eastern Crowned Warbler, Phylloscopus coronatus, was seen on 2 September 2019 (Choong YT), as was a first-for-the-season Asian Brown Flycatcher, Muscicapa daurica, on 5 September 2019 (Ho Siew Mun), a Brown-streaked Flycatcher, Muscicapa williamsoni, also on 5 September 2019 (Peter Lim), a Common Emerald Dove, Chalcophaps indica, on 7 September 2019 (Pary Sivaraman), a Sunda Scops Owl, Otus lempiji, on 10 September 2019 (Norhafiani A Majid), a Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Phaenicophaeus sumatranus, on 11 September 2019 (Kok M Lee), and a Red-crowned Barbet, Megalaima rafflesii, on 12 September 2019 (James Quek). Fans of the Barred Eagle-Owl, Bubo sumatranus, were not disappointed. The owls appeared on 8 September 2019 (female; Martin Kennewell), 10 September 2019 (Leong Kai Kee & Low Chong Yang) and 27 September 2019 at 7:08pm (one bird; Art Toh).

Just outside DFNP, a Slaty-breasted Rail, Gallirallus striatus, was spotted in a canal by the Dairy Farm condominium on 2 September 2019 (Michael Phua), while at the nearby Bukit Batok Nature Park (BBNP), a Crimson Sunbird, Aethopyga siparaja, was reported on 7 September 2019 by Wing Chong.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

On  10 September 2019, a Crested Goshawk, Accipiter trivirgatus, was spotted near the Gardens by Brian Powell, while on 12 September 2019, a Grey-rumped Treeswift, Hemiprocne longipennis, was spotted at the gardens’ Eco Lake by Timothy Chua.

Central Singapore

Despite its much reduced size, Bidadari continued to support migrating birds. Birders visiting the grounds on 5 September 2019 were rewarded with sightings of a Eastern Crowned Warbler, Phylloscopus coronatus (T. Ramesh) and a first of the season Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Ficedula zanthopygia (Herman Phua). Also spotted at the former cemetery were an Oriental Pied Hornbill, Anthracoceros albirostris (9 September 2019; Tracy Thu Trang Doan), a male adult Jambu Fruit Dove, Ptilinopus jambu (10 September 2019; Tracy Thu Trang Doan with Ellen Tan; and 13 September 2019, T. Ramesh), a Brown-streaked Flycatcher, Muscicapa williamsoni (10 September 2019; Krishna Gopagondanahalli), Daurian Starling, Agropsar sturninus (12 September 2019; Ramesh T.), Tiger Shrike, Lanius tigrinus (13 September 2019, T Ramesh), Crow-billed Drongo, Dicrurus annectans (27 September 2019; Pary Sivaraman), Dark-sided Flycatcher, Muscicapa sibirica (28 September 2019, Alfred Chia; 29 September 2019, Angie Cheong), the Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Cyornis brunneatus (29 September 2019, Yang Chee Meng) and Brown Shrike, Lanius cristatus (30 September 2019, Joseph Lim).

5 jambu

Jambu Fruit Dove at Bidadari on 13 September 2019 by T. Ramesh

A Crested Serpent Eagle, Spilornis cheela, was spotted on 6 September 2019 at Malcolm Road, while a Barred Buttonquail, Turnix suscitator, was found dazed and resting at a basketball court at Ang Mo Kio Ave 10 by Sandra Chia, who took care of the bird and released it the next morning.

Northern Singapore

A Rusty-breasted Cuckoo, Cacomantis sepulcralis, was spotted on 8 September 2019 on Coney Island (Kerry Pereira), while a Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea, was spotted on 23 September 2019 at Marsiling Park by Benny Ng.

Eastern Singapore

Pulau Ubin hosted several interesting species of birds, including a Red-necked Stint, Calidris ruficollis, seen on 1 September 2019 among a flock of Lesser Sand Plover by Adrian Silas Tay. Four were seen the next day, on 2 September 2019, during an NParks survey, and photographed by See Toh Yew Wai. About a week later, a female Black-naped Monarch, Hypothymis azurea, was spotted on 7 September 2019 by Jason Lee, while a calling and thermalling Crested Serpent Eagle, Spilornis cheela, on 8 September 2019 caught the attention of Adrian Silas Tay. Further afield, a first-of-the-season Grey Plover, Pluvialis squatarola, arrived on Pulau Tekong on 14 September 2019 and was spotted by Frankie Cheong.

Back on the mainland, an Eastern Crowned Warbler, Phylloscopus coronatus, was spotted on 11 September 2019 at Pasir Ris Park by Feroz Ghazali, while a juvenile Laced Woodpecker, Picus vittatus, was seen on 28 September 2019 at Tampines Eco-Green by Ken Joree Tan.  Farther east, a  Green Imperial Pigeon, Ducula aenea, was spotted on 7 September 2019 at  Changi Business Park by T Ramesh, while a juvenile Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Motacilla tschutschensis, was seen on 24 September 2019 by  YT Choong.

Southern Singapore

A Dark-sided Flycatcher, Muscicapa sibirica, became the first record for the species for this year’s winter migration when it was spotted on 11 September 2019 along the Southern Ridges by Tay Kian Guan.

6 bekf

Blue-eared Kingfisher at Gardens by the Bay on 29 September 2019 by Lim Sheen Taw

The Gardens and Satay by the Bay parks proved to be a fruitful location in September. A  Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Ficedula zanthopygia, was seen on 12 September 2019 by Veronica Foo and on 30 September 2019 by Lim Sheen Taw; while Lesser Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna javanica, was seen on 24 September 2019 at Satay by the Bay by Annette Russell. The next two days had reports of Amur Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone incei (Caszlyn Wong and Sim Chip Chye, 25 September 2019; first for the season) and Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone affinis, (26 September 2019, Cheong Khan Hoong & Sim Chip Chye) at Satay by the Bay. Other species include four juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax, on 27 September 2019, at Satay by the Bay (Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan); Asian Brown Flycatcher, Muscicapa latirostris, on 28 September 2019 (Raymond Bong); a  Blue-eared Kingfisher, Alcedo meninting, on 29 September 2019, (Lim Sheen Taw); and a  Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis, on 30 September 2019 (Lim Sheen Taw).

7 brt

Blue Rock Thrush at Pinnacle@Duxton on 25 September 2019 by David Fur

On 20 September 2019, sightings of a Blue Rock Thrush, Monticola soltarius, at Duxton Pinnacle by  Dillen Ng and others drew many to the block to see and photograph it; of these, Jojo Kuah spotted a total of two birds, of which one was a young male. Visiting Pinnacle on 26 September 2019 yielded a first for the season Pacific Swift, Apus pacificus, by Adrian Silas Tay. Two days later, on 28 September 2019, a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Clamator coromandus, was found along Marine Parade Road, by Jay Yip. Separately, on 23 September 2019, an Eurasian Magpie, Pica pica, the origin of which is unclear (possibly an escapee), was spotted at Sakra Road, Jurong Island, by Tan Boon Chong. Also, two Gull-billed Terns, Gelochelidon nilotica, were photographed near Sentosa on 21 September 2019, reported by Adrian Silas Tay.

Western Singapore

Jurong Lake Garden proved to be a good habitat for birds. These included:

  • White-headed Munia, Lonchura maja (7 September 2019; Norhafiani A Majid);
  • Crested Honey Buzzard, Pernis ptilorhynchus, (10 September 2019; Alok Mishra);
  • Wood Sandpiper, Tringa glareola, (29 September 2019; Norhafiani A Majid);
  • Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Clamator coromandus, (28 September 2019; Norhafiani A Majid);
  • Amur Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone incei, (29 September 2019; Norhafiani A Majid);
  • Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone atrocaudata, a possible first-for-the-season (27 September 2019 Tay Kian Guan; 29 September 2019 Norhafiani A Majid);
  • Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Ficedula zanthopygia, (28 September 2019; Norhafiani A Majid),
  • Tiger Shrike, Lanius tigrinus,on 30 September 2019 (Kok M Lee).
8 yrfccapture

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher at Jurong Lake Garden on 28 September 2019 by Norhafiani A Majid

9 wspp capture

Wood Sandpiper at Jurong Lake Garden on 29 September 2019 by Norhafiani A Majid

Between 22 and 28 September 2019, up to four Cuthroat Finch Amadina fasciata, an introduced species, were also spotted within the garden’s grounds (Geri Lim and Jimmy Lim, respectively).

Further away at Jurong Lake, Whiskered Tern, Chlidonias hybrida, were spotted on 26 September 2019 by Tay Boon Kiat, while a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Clamator coromandus, was seen on 28 September 2019 by Norhafiani A Majid.

Jurong Eco-Garden continued to support bird life despite the reduction of surrounding woodland. On 11 September 2019, a Tiger Shrike, Lanius tigrinus, was spotted by Terence Tan, while a single juvenile Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Phaenicophaeus sumatranus, was observed to have successfully fledged between 17 and 19 September 2019 (Kwok Tuck Loong, Alan Owyong and Joseph Lim). On 30 September 2019, a Brown Shrike, Lanius cristatus (confusus subspecies) was spotted by Joseph lim on the garden’s grounds.

Apart from the excitement over the Glossy Ibis at Kranji Dam, Whiskered Tern, Chlidonias hybrida, were spotted along the dam on 8 and 14 September 2019 by Martin Kennewell; a single bird on the 8th was a moulting adult with remnants of its dark belly and dark eye stripe, while two birds were seen on the 14th. White-winged Tern, Chlidonias leucopterus, were also observed within the reservoir on 30 September 2019 by Adrian Silas Tay.

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Whiskered Tern at Kranji on 30 September 2019, photographed by See Toh Yew Wai

Over at Kranji Marsh, a Straw-headed Bulbul, Pycnonotus zeylanicus was spotted on 5 September 2019 by Feroz Ghazali; while five to six Whiskered Tern, Chlidonias hybrida, were spotted perched at the metal railings of the PUB facility along the waters of Kranji Reservoir on 13 September 2019 by Oliver Tan. The resident Changeable Hawk-Eagle, Nisaetus cirrhatus, was also spotted on 28 September 2019 by Wing Cheong; while about two weeks prior to this sighting a dark-morph bird was seen on 10 September 2019 along Neo Tiew Harvest Lane by Steven Cheong predating on what appeared to be a rallid bird. Further away at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3, two adults and possibly one juvenile Common Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus, were spotted by Sandra Chia.

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Changeable Hawk-Eagle with rallid prey on 10 September 2019 at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane by Steven Cheong.

Over at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, we received reports of arriving waders through social media. On 3 September 2019, 37 Common Redshank, Tringa totanus, were spotted by Martin Kennewell, many were flagged but were too far to be deciphered. On the same day, a single Brown-streaked Flycatcher, Muscicapa williamsoni, was also seen by Martin. After making its arduous journey from the Arctic Circle, an Arctic Warbler, Phylloscopus borealis, found its way into the grounds of the reserve on 18 September 2019, making the sighting by Timothy Chua the first-of-the-season. On 20 September 2019, a Curlew Sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea, was spotted by David Li, while on 22 September 2019, a first-of-the-season Broad-billed Sandpiper, Limicola falcinellus, was spotted by Andy Dinesh and T. Ramesh. On 24 September 2019, a Purple Heron, Ardea purpurea, which is not commonly seen in the reserve, was spotted by Terence Tan.

The windswept Tuas yielded a Lesser Adjutant, Leptoptilos javanicus, on 22 September 2019 at Tuas Checkpoint (Fadzrun Adnan), a first-of-the-season Chestnut-winged cuckoo, Clamator coromandus and a first-of-the-season Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo, Hierococcyx fugax, on 26 September 2019 (Alfred Chia).

12 GHFE

Grey-headed Fish-eagle at Pandan River on 26 September 2019 by Francis Yap

Other birds spotted in the western reaches of the island city include a first-of-the-season Japanese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter gularis, on 13 September 2019 (Lim Kim Seng), a “huge flock” of Daurian Starling, Agropsar sturninus, at Pandan Reservoir on 27 September 2019 (Evelyn Lee), and the regular family of  Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Haliaeetus ichthyaetus, along Pandan River on 26 September 2019 (Francis Yap).

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Pelagic Sightings

On 28 September 2019, the NSS Bird Group conducted a pelagic survey along the Straits of Singapore.  Key highlights included a total of 112 Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel, Oceanodroma monorhis, a far cry from the previous record of 532 birds in September 2018, as well as the fourteen Red-necked Phalaropes, Phalaropus lobatus. Note that pelagic sightings might not be in Singapore waters.

Red-necked Phalarope Sighting

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Eleven of the fourteen Red-necked Phalaropes spotted in the Singapore Strait north of Batam on 28 September 2019. Photo by Alan Owyong.

A total of fourteen juvenile Red-necked Phalaropes, Phalaropus lobatus, were spotted on the seas north of Batam (Indonesia), the first sighting of multiple phalaropes in a flock. Three previous sightings were of single birds, two on land and one at sea.

Red-necked Phalaropes are small waders that forage by picking from the surface of the waters while swimming, often spinning about when pursuing active prey (Wells, 1999:264-265). Known as vagrants during passage seasons, the birds have so far been seen mostly in marine habitats, although one report from Singapore occurred in the flooded reclaimed land in Tuas in November 1994.

14 rnplr

Close-up of the Red-necked Phalaropes spotted on 28 September 2019, showing the prominent white wing bar. Photo by Alan Owyong.

A total of fifteen adult and one juvenile Aleutian Terns, Sterna aleutica, were spotted, as were 55 Bridled Terns, Sterna anaethetus, with two flocks  of 18 and 7 flying eastwards in the direction of Horsburgh Lighthouse. Two adult and two juvenile Common Terns, Sterna hirundo,  were resting on flotsam, while 24 Swift Terns, Thalasseus bergii, (formerly Great Crested) and 10 Lesser Crested Terns, Thalasseus bengalensis, with four being unidentified, were seen. A total of six Little Terns, Sterna albifrons, were also seen and these may be winter visitors.

Aleutian

Adult Aleutian Tern in breeding plumage spotted on 28 September 2019. Photo by Alan Owyong.

ea0af398-f5e9-42c5-90f3-aa8fbeb76c86

Adult Bridled Tern spotted on 28 September 2019. Photo by Wilson Leung.

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Adult Common Tern in breeding plumage seen on 28 September 2019. Photo by Alan Owyong

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

References:

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

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

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

Many thanks to Art Toh, David Fur, Francis Yap, Lim Sheen Taw, T. Ramesh, Goh Cheng Teng, Steven Cheong, See Toh Yew Wai, Alan Owyong and Norhafiani A. Majid for allowing us to use their photographs.

 

Singapore Bird Report – August 2019

by Geoff Lim & Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

Two non-descript little brown birds (known by birders worldwide as “little brown jobs”) dominated everyone’s attention during the first portion of August 2019. Also reported were the arrival of our familiar migrants, such as the plovers, sandpipers and Common Kingfisher, across the island.  

A visiting Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni turned up in an urban park located within Choa Chu Kang on 9 August 2019 (Lim Joseph) and was present until 16 August 2019. The bird was distinguished from other flycatchers by a distinct pattern of its  wing coverts and tertials. Sometimes considered a race of the Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa daurica, this species is known to breed in SE Myanmar, S Thailand to NW Malaysia. Non-breeding birds have been reported at Singapore, Sumatra and W Borneo (Clement & Bonan, 2019).

1

Brown-streaked Flycatcher at Choa Chu Kang taken on 10 August 2019 by Khoo Mei Lin

When the excitement over this little brown job dissipated somewhat, the news of a Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea at Jurong Eco-Garden electrified the community of local birders and photographers alike. Discovered on 19 August 2019 by Andrew Wood, who reached out through Instagram, for the identify of the bird, it continued to be seen until 26 August 2019 (Feroz Ghazali). Mangrove Whistlers previously recorded on mainland Singapore were mainly confined to the east in places such as Pulau Ubin and Pasir Ris Park. We can only speculate whether this brief western sighting was of a bird fleeing development in southern Johor or part of a small resident population lurking in the west.

2

Mangrove Whistler at Jurong Eco-Garden on 19 August 2019 by Andrew Wood.

The Mangrove Whistler is more likely to be seen at Pulau Hantu Besar, a short boat ride from the mainland. It is also found at Pulau Tekong. Historically, there are even records from Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) & Fringes

On 2 August 2019, a Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus perched in a tree along the Treetop Walk surprised Naomi Kim, who reported the sighting. Seven days later on 9 August 2019, a Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera was heard within the CCNR boundaries by Martin Kennewell.  A House Swift Apus nipalensis was subsequently spotted within the reserve on 23 August 2019 by Oliver Tan.

3

One of the Singapore Quarry Barred Eagle-Owls taken on 21 August 2019 by Francis Yap.

From the Singapore Quarry came a report of a Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus, on 1 August 2019 (Herman Phua). The quarry’s family of two adult and one juvenile Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus received a strong following and were variously reported to have appeared on 1 August (Wee Boon), 7 August (Norhafiani A. Majid), 9 August (Liz How – male & juvenile), 12 August (Low Choon How), 19 August (John Marriott), 21 August (Francis Yap), 24 August (Art Toh) and 26 August (Raymond Poon).

Further afield at Bukit Batok Nature Park (BBNP), an adult Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra was reported to be feeding two juveniles on 15 August 2019 by Sim Chip Chye, who also reported that he encountered two juveniles the day before (14 August 2019). Also spotted within the Park was a Common Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica on 25 August 2019 by Lim Sheen Taw; Van Hasselt’s Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana on 26 August 2019 by Terence Tan; and three Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus on 30 Aug 19 by Dave Koh and Sim Chip Chye.

4

Two juvenile Little Spiderhunters begging an adult at BBNP on 15 August 2019 by Sim Chip Chye

A fruiting tree at Wallace Centre, Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP) during the final week of August attracted several forest and urban species, including Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata on 27 August 2019 by Alan Owyong; bulbuls (Asian Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus and Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier on 27 August 2019 by Alan Owyong); pigeons (Pink-necked Green Pigeon Treron vernans on 27 August 2019 by Alan Owyong, and Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra on 27th by Alan Owyong, 28th (one male and one female – by Kok M Lee and Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan) and 31st by Yang Chee Meng). Also spotted were Asian Fairy-bluebird Irena puella and Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis on 27 August 2019 by Alan Owyong.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

A Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis was spotted at the Eco Pond on 23 August by Khoo Meilin. A juvenile Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus, was spotted at the Learning Forest on 25 August 2019 by Art Toh, while on the same day a Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis, was seen at the Eco Pond by Guo Hui.

7

Grey-headed Fish-eagle at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 25 August 2019 by Art Toh

Northern Singapore

Visitors to the Seletar Dam noted the presence of the Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii, on 4 August 2019 (Oliver Tan, one immature bird), on 17 August 2019 (Ramesh T) and on 18 August 2019 (Martin Kennewell). A white morph Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra, was also seen on 29 August 2019 (Pary Sivaraman).

Also seen during the month were migratory shorebirds, including a Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus, on 18 August 2019 (Martin Kennewell), three Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva, on 24 August 2019 (Khoo Mei Lin) and a Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus, on 28 August 2019 (Steven Cheong). Farther afield, a total of 74 Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva, were counted on 31 August 2019 by Zahidi Hamid.

9

Part of the group of 74 Pacific Golden Plover counted at Seletar on 31 August 2019 by Zahidi Hamid.

 

Apart from the resident Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis at Lorong Halus Wetland, of which one was seen on 22 August 2019 (Leong Wai Kai), one low flying Eastern Barn Owl Tyto delicatula was spotted ten days prior, on 12 August 19, by Choong YT.

Eastern Singapore

The birds reported from Pasir Ris Park include a Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea seen on 21 August 2019 (Lo Chun Fai); a pair of Rufous Woodpecker Micropternus brachyurus on 23 August 2019 (Feroz Ghazali); one Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus a Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji, the family of three Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo, a pair of Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis, and a female Laced Woodpecker Picus vittatus, by James Tann, as well as a Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis by Lo Chun Fai on 25 August 2019.

10

One of the two Rufous Woodpeckers spotted at PRP on 23 August 2019 by Feroz Ghazali.

Further away at the Tampines Eco-Green, a Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis was seen on 18 August 2019 (Khoo Mei Lin) as was a single Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis on 28 August 2019 (Alvin Seng); while four Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea were spotted on 10 August 2019 at Changi Business Park by Ramesh T.

11

Savanna Nightjar at Tampines Eco-Green on 28 August 2019 by Alvin Seng.

 

On 3 August 2019, the following waders were seen feeding, by Danny Lau, on a sandbar at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin:

  • Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola (5)
  • Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus (2)
  • Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus (1)

The next day, 4 August 2019, a team comprising Martin Kennewell, Adrian Silas Tay & Francis Yap saw the following at Chek Jawa during the low tide:

  • Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola (9 birds)
  • Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus, (8 birds)
  • Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus (1 bird)
  • Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis (3 birds)

Frankie Cheong, our harbinger of excitement from Pulau Tekong, reported an Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia and a Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius on 1 August 2019 from the island.

Southern Singapore

The Gardens by the Bay, Satay by the Bay and nearby environs received reports of a Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus on 10 August at the Gardens by Evelyn Lee, and a Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus on 25 and 26 August 2019 at Satay by the Bay by Siew Mun and Sim Chip Chye, respectively.

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Crested Goshawk spotted at Satay by the Bay on 25 August 2019 by Siew Mun.

 

Farther afield, a pair of Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii were seen at Marina Barrage on 2 and 7 August 2019 by T. Ramesh and several photographers, who posted their sightings on social media. On 26 August 2019, a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita was spotted on Sentosa island by John Marriot.

Western Singapore

The Kranji-Lim Chu Kang-Turut corridor had reports of Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius as early as 9 August 2019 at the Kranji Sanctuary Golf Course, Neo Tiew Harvest Lane and Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3  (Adrian Silas Tay), while other birds were spotted on 11 August (Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 – Mike Hooper), 15 August 2019 (Neo Tiew Harvest Lane – Francis Yap), 12 August 2019 (Kranji Marsh – Peter Carr) and 17 August 2019 (Kranji Marsh  – Martin Kennewell). Also spotted were the Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta on 11 August 2019 on a sandbar at Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 by Mike Hooper and the Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva on 21 August 2019 at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane (Kok M Lee). Some Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus were seen at Lim Chu Kang Avenue 3 on 11 August 2019 by Mike Hooper and on 12 August 2019 by Tay Kian Guan. Also seen were a Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu on 20 August 2019 at Kranji Marsh by Steven Kurniawidjaja, who spotted its unmistakable emerald green plumage and pink face as it associated with Pink-necked Pigeon Treron vernans; a House Swift Apus nipalensis on 24 August 2019 at the marsh by Tan Kok Hui, and a dark morphed Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus feeding on its prey on 24 August 2019 at Turut Track by Koh Tse Hsien.

Over at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR), Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus were seen on 12 August 2019 by YK Han and on 17 August 2019 by Martin Kennewell, while a Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus was seen on 20 August 2019 by Steven Kurniawidjaja.

_DSC0991

An adult Zitting Cisticolas with two fledged chicks at Jurong Lake Gardens on 24 August 2019. Photo by Norhafiani A. Majid.

The Jurong Lake Garden yielded two pairs of nesting Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis sometime around 26 August 2019 (Norhafiani A. Majid) while a Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus was being fed by a Golden-bellied Gerygone at Jurong West on 1 August 2019, seen by Gan Lee Hsia. The Pandan River yielded a Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus on 20 August 2019 (Sim Chip Chye) and a Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis on 23 August 2019 (Goh Zao Fa).  A dark morph Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra was seen at West Coast Park on 20 August 2019 by Steven Wong while House Swift Apus nipalensis continued to be reported at West Coast Drive on 24 August 2019 by Tay Kian Guan, who also reported seeing a Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupo in the canal just off Ghim Moh on 26 August 2019.

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

Many thanks to Khoo Mei Lin, Alvin Seng, Andrew Wood, Art Toh, Francis Yap, Zacc HD, Feroz Ghazali. Sim Chip Chye, Siew Mun, and Norhafiani A. Majid for allowing us to use their photographs.

REFERENCE

Clement, P. & Bonan, A. (2019). Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica). 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/59025 on 30 September 2019).

LIST OF BIRDS REPORTED IN AUGUST 2019

Family Species Name Scientific Name Date
Podicipedidae Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 22-Aug-19
Ciconiidae Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus 20-Aug-19
Ardeidae

 

Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia 1-Aug-19
Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra 29-Aug-19
Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra 20-Aug-19
Accipitridae

 

Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus 20-Aug-19
Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus 27-Aug-19
Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus 24-Aug-19
Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus 25-Aug-19
Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus 25-Aug-19
Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus 26-Aug-19
Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus 25-Aug-19
Rallidae

 

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 11-Aug-19
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 12-Aug-19
Charadriidae

 

Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva 24-Aug-19
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva 31 Aug 19
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva 21-Aug-19
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola 3-Aug-19
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola 4-Aug-19
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 1-Aug-19
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 9-Aug-19
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 9-Aug-19
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 9-Aug-19
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 11-Aug-19
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 12-Aug-19
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 15-Aug-19
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 17-Aug-19
Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii 4-Aug-19
Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii 17-Aug-19
Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii 18-Aug-19
Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii 2-Aug-19
Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii 7-Aug-19
Scolopacidae

 

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 3-Aug-19
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 4-Aug-19
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 18-Aug-19
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 12-Aug-19
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 17-Aug-19
Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus 3-Aug-19
Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus 4-Aug-19
Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus 28-Aug-19
Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis 4-Aug-19
Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta 11-Aug-19
Columbidae

 

Common Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica 25-Aug-19
Pink-necked Green Pigeon Treron vernans 27-Aug-19
Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra 27-Aug-19
Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra 28-Aug-19
Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra 28-Aug-19
Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra 31 Aug 19
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu 20-Aug-19
Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea 10-Aug-19
Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea 21-Aug-19
Cuculidae

 

Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus 1-Aug-19
Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus 30 Aug 19
Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus 1-Aug-19
Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus 10-Aug-19
Tytonidae Eastern Barn Owl Tyto delicatula 12-Aug-19
Strigidae

 

Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji 25-Aug-19
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 1-Aug-19
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 2-Aug-19
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 7-Aug-19
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 9-Aug-19
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 12-Aug-19
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 19-Aug-19
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 21-Aug-19
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 24-Aug-19
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 26-Aug-19
Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu 26-Aug-19
Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo 25-Aug-19
Caprimulgidae Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis 28-Aug-19
Apodidae

 

House Swift Apus nipalensis 23-Aug-19
House Swift Apus nipalensis 24-Aug-19
House Swift Apus nipalensis 24-Aug-19
House Swift Apus nipalensis 24-Aug-19
Alcedinidae

 

Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis 25-Aug-19
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 4-Aug-19
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 18-Aug-19
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 25-Aug-19
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 25-Aug-19
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 23-Aug-19
Megalaimidae Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata 27-Aug-19
Picidae

 

Laced Woodpecker Picus vittatus 25-Aug-19
Rufous Woodpecker Micropternus brachyurus 23-Aug-19
Rufous Woodpecker Micropternus brachyurus 29-Aug-19
Cacatuidae Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita 26-Aug-19
Pachycephalidae

 

Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea 18-Aug-19
Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea 24-Aug-19
Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea 25-Aug-19
Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea 26-Aug-19
Pycnonotidae

 

Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier 27-Aug-19
Asian Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus 27-Aug-19
Cisticolidae Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis 26-Aug-19
Timaliidae Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera 9-Aug-19
Irenidae Asian Fairy-bluebird Irena puella 27-Aug-19
Sturnidae Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis 27-Aug-19
Muscicapidae

 

Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni 10-Aug-19
Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni 11-Aug-19
Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni 12-Aug-19
Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni 16-Aug-19
Nectariniidae

 

Van Hasselt’s Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana 26-Aug-19
Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra 14-Aug-19
Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra 15-Aug-19

Singapore Bird Report – July 2019

by Geoff Lim & Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

July 2019 was an amazing month, with the first record of the Pied Stilt, not just occurring, but also breeding, in Singapore; and the first breeding record of the rare Black-winged Stilt, so far only known as a visitor. The month also closed with the complete loss of a brood of 11 ducklings of a pair of Lesser Whistling Ducks.

First record of Pied Stilt in Singapore.

In July 2019, Frankie Cheong reported the first record of the Pied Stilt Himantopus leucocephalus in Singapore, on the new reclaimed land around Pulau Tekong. It was on 17 July 2019 that he saw an adult Pied Stilt and four juveniles that appeared to associate with the adult. The four juvenile stilts were seen again on 23 July 2019.

Pied Stilt, posted 180719, Tekong, Frankie Cheong

Adult Pied Stilt (above) and four juvenile stilts (below) spotted on 17 July 2019, by Frankie Cheong.

Pied Stilt, posted 180719, Tekong, Frankie Cheong, juveniles

First breeding record of Pied Stilt in Singapore.

Just three days later, on 20 July 2019, he found that a pair of Pied Stilts were nesting! The nest contained one egg on 20 July 2019, and by 23 July 2019, the nest yielded four eggs. On 27 July 2019, the Pied Stilts were still sitting on their eggs.

Pied Stilt breeding, posted 20 Aug, Tekong, Frankie Cheong 2

Pied Stilt showing its long black ‘mane’ on back of neck, 20 July 2019. Photo by Frankie Cheong.

Capture3

Pied Stilt with nest containing one egg on 20 July 2019. Photo by Frankie Cheong.

Capture4

Pied Stilt nest containing four eggs on 23 July 2019. Photo by Frankie Cheong.

Capture7

Pied Stilt sitting on its nest on 27 July 2019, by Frankie Cheong.

The rare Black-winged Stilts

A rare Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus was also seen in the same vicinity on 17 July 2019, and again on 23 July 2019, fighting with the Pied Stilt.

Capture2

Black-winged Stilt spotted on 17 July 2019 by Frankie Cheong.

Capture5

Black-winged (left) and Pied (right) Stilts fighting on 23 July 2019. Photo by Frankie Cheong.

First breeding record of Black-winged Stilt in Singapore.

On 25 July 2019, Frankie stumbled on yet another nest with four eggs. This time, it belonged to a pair of Black-winged Stilts, which was unexpected as these birds have so far been known as rare migrants. By 27 July 2019, one chick was visible and tended to by its parents, while the nest only had one egg visible. The two other eggs had disappeared. By 29 July 2019, the Black-winged Stilt’s nest was empty, while two chicks were seen nearby, in the presence of two adult birds.

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Black-winged Stilt with chick on 27 July 2019, by Frankie Cheong.

The Black-winged Stilt is widely distributed and is found from France and Iberia S to sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar, and E to C Asia and NC China, Indian Subcontinent (including Sri Lanka), Indochina and Taiwan; winters S to Africa (Pierce and Kirwan, 2019), while the Pied Stilt, also known as the White-headed Stilt, occurs in Sumatra and Java, E to New Guinea, and S to Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand; winters N to Philippines, Greater Sundas and Sulawesi, and as far as Sri Lanka (Pierce and Kirwan, 2019). Historically, the Black-winged Stilt is listed as the only species of stilt found in the Malay Peninsula (Wells, 1999:273-274).

Hitherto, the Black-winged Stilt has been listed as a rare migrant to Singapore. The last three sightings were at the main hide at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in November 2011, Punggol Barat in December 2012 and Kranji Marsh in November 2015. Hence, Frankie’s breeding records presents new knowledge on the status of the bird in Singapore.

The Pied Stilt had previously been considered a sub-species of the Black-winged Stilt (Pierce and Kirwan, 2019) and is notably a largely Indonesian/Australasian species. In recent years, it has more frequently been accorded full species status (Sonobe & Usui, 1993; Robson, 2005). There are no previous records of the Pied Stilt in Singapore, much less a breeding record, therefore Frankie’s sightings constitute the first records of the Pied Stilt in Singapore.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) & Fringes

While resident species continued to hold sway, early migratory species have begun to reach our shores. In the heart of the CCNR, observers reported regular forest residents such as the Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus on 10 July 2019 (Francis Yap), Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps on 13 July 2019 at Jelutong Tower (Joseph Lim), the Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera on 23 July 2019 (Martin Kennewell), Short-tailed Babbler Malacocincla malaccensis on 23 July 2019 (Martin Kennewell – 2 heard) and on 25 July 2019 (Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan – 1 bird seen on trail to Jelutong Tower), and Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati (Evelyn Lee – female at Jelutong Tower). A migratory Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni was reported as being seen on 22 July 2019 by Raghav N.

Violet Cuckoo, 100719, JT, Fryap

Violet Cuckoo at Jelutong Tower on 10 July 2019 by Francis Yap.

STB, KNCK

Short-tailed Babbler at CCNR on 25 July 2019 by Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan.

CCNR fringe parks also received a fair amount of attention. Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP) hosted a conference of Van Hasselt’s Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana between 1 and 4 July 2019 (Peter Lim), beginning with 11 individuals on 1 Jul 2019, to 7 birds and eventually 4 birds by 4 July 2019. The Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus was spotted on 27 July 2019 (Yeong Wai Kai) and a female Thick-billed Pigeon Treron curvirostra was seen on 31 July 2019 (Roberta Cheok). Along the Rail Corridor, a Tanimbar Corella Cacatua goffiniana was spotted on 5 July 2019 (Lim Sheen Taw).

CBM, YWK

Chestnut-bellied Malkoha at DFNP on 27 July 2019 by Yeong Wai Kai.

Tanimbar, Taw

Tanimbar Corella along Rail Corridor on 5 Jul 2019 by Lim Sheen Taw.

Further away at the Singapore Quarry, a foraging Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus was spotted on 3 July 2019 (Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan), a pair of Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus and its juvenile were variously spotted on 16 July 2019, from 21 to 25 July 2019 by Art Toh and friends, and heard on 28 July 2019 by Yong Ding Li and Geoff Lim; while a Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus was spotted on 30 July 2019 by Francis Yap. Observers also noted the presence of the Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata at Hindhede Park on 4 and 26 July 2019 (Terence Tan and Joseph Lim).

BEO, Herman

Barred Eagle Owl at Singapore Quarry on 31 July 2019 by Herman Phua.

A Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax was spotted at Upper Peirce Reservoir on 24 July 2019 by Morten Strange and Bee Choo.

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Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo at Upper Peirce Reservoir on 24 July 2019 by Morten Strange & Ng-Strange Bee Choo.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Two Red-legged Crake Rallina fasciata were seen on 2 July 2019 by Mike Smith, while the White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata was spotted on 13 July 2019.

RLC, Smith

Red-legged Crake at SBG on 2 Jul 2019 by Mike Smith.

Central Singapore

A White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster was seen at Potong Pasir Park Connector on 5 July 2019 by Paul Tan, while three Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela were seen at Goldhill Avenue on 6 July 2019 by Soon Yi Pak

Northern Singapore

The Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis was spotted at the Lorong Halus Wetland by Dean Tan and Siew Mun on 5 and 17 July 2019. Towards the end of July, Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia were spotted at Yishun Dam on 28 July 2019 (Art Toh), as were up to four Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus on 31 Jul 2019 (Khoo Mei Lin), together with Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii, on 28 July 2019 (Art Toh) and 31 July 2019 (Khoo Mei Lin).

MP, Art

Malaysian Plover at Yishun Dam on 28 July 2019 by Art Toh.

Eastern Singapore

Singapore’s eastern flanks contain habitats that yielded surprises. Pulau Ubin delivered spectacular species, such as a rare Black-and-Red Broadbill Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos discovered during a joint NParks-NSS Ubin survey on 7 July 2019, a Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela on 2 July 2019 by Feroz Ghazali, while the Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus put up two appearances on 14 and 21 July 2019 at Chek Jawa for Francis Yap. There were also shorebirds lingering farther away – three Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus and two Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos spotted on 18 July 2019 by Feroz Ghazali, and Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola, Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia and more Whimbrel on 21 July 2019 by Francis Yap.

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Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin on 21 July 2019 by Francis Yap.

Pasir Ris Park continued to support Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea (14 July 2019; Steven Cheong), the adult and juvenile Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo (28 July 2019; Jimmy Ng), the one-eyed Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu (28 July 2019; Jimmy Ng), and the juvenile Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting with a deformed foot (31 July 2019; Dean Tan). Nearby at the Sungei Tampines Canal East, Little Tern Sternula albifrons had been seen earlier on 1 July 2019 foraging above the waters by Alvin Seng.

Changi Business Park continued to be a stronghold for the Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea, which was reported on 14 July 2019 (T. Ramesh) drinking water in the canal, and on 19 July 2019 at a more conventional location. Also spotted was an early arriving Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea, seen on 17 July 2019 by T. Ramesh.

SWO, JN

Juvenile Spotted Wood Owl at Pasir Ris Park on 28 July 2019 by Jimmy Ng.

Southern Singapore

Gardens by the Bay gave nature lovers much grief and anxiety when the ducklings belonging to a pair of Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica were systematically decimated through the course of the month. (From 11 ducklings on 27 June 2019), by 1 July 2019, there were seven ducklings, as counted by Isabelle Lee and other birders. Staff from the Gardens took pains to build a floating platform for the birds to provide a safe haven from suspected underwater predators. Despite everyone’s best effort, the family was eventually reduced to four survivors by 22 July 2019 (Ronnie Koh), as individuals were picked off by predatory fish lurking beneath the murky waters under the lotus pads. On 24 July 2019, the family decided to move to the ponds at Gardens by the Bay East, and by 25 July 2019, the family was down to a single duckling (Mary Yeo). Then, on 26 July 2019, there were no more ducklings (Jeremiah Loei).

Capture10

Lesser Whistling Duck and young using platform built by Gardens by the Bay staff on 7 July 2019, by Isabelle Lee.

Barely a kilometre away, another family of birds captured the attention of photographers and birders. A pair of Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles made a nest out of a scrape on the ground next to a construction site at Marina Bay East. Four eggs were reported on 16 July 2019, which eventually hatched by 19 July 2019. The chicks were rescued by construction workers when they could not surmount the kerb when their parents moved to the golf course across the construction site.

ML, Majid

Masked Lapwing with chicks at Marina East Drive on 25 July 2019 by Norhafiani A. Majid.

Further away, White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata were reported at Telok Blangah Hill Park on 19 July 2019 by John Marriott, who also reported Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea at Sentosa on 23 July 2019.

Western Singapore

The Kranji Marshes and surrounding habitat comprising Turut Track and Neo Tiew Harvest Lane received reports of migrants and residents alike. Two Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus were reportedly inspecting a hole at Turut Track on 3 July 2019 by Steven Wong, who also reported the sighting of a Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus in the vicinity on the same day. A Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was reportedly seen on 7 July 2019 at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane by William Legge, who noted that “a small bittern uniformly salmon cinnamon coloured flew away from us”. Two Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus were spotted on 17 July 2019 within Kranji Marshes by Vincent Chin, while a juvenile Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii was seen on 28 and 29 July 2019 by Yeong Wai Kai; the young cuckoo was being fed by a Common Iora Aegithina tiphia on 28 July 2019. An adult Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata was also seen regurgitating food for three young birds on 30 July 2019 at Kranji Marsh by Yeo Seng Beng. Migratory Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola and Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius were reported to have arrived at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane on 28 July 2019 by Art Toh.

BBC, YWK

Juvenile Banded Bay Cuckoo fed by adult Common Iora at Kranji Marsh on 28 July 2019 by Yeong Wai Kai.

WS, AT

Wood Sandpiper at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane on 28 July 2019 by Art Toh.

Shorebirds were also reported at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. As early as 7 July 2019, Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus were seen huddling together at the main pond by William Legge. Other shorebirds reported were a lone Common Redshank Tringa totanus on 14 July 2019 (Adrian Silas Tay), and Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva on 23 July 2019 (YK Han). The Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus were also spotted on 7 July 2019 by YK Han, 14 July 2019 perched on a tree at Platform 2 by Adrian Silas Tay and two overflying birds on 20 July 2019 by Ng Wei Khim & Ng Wee Hao.

Two adults and a juvenile Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu were reported at the newly opened Jurong Lake Garden on 21 July 2019 by Yeong Wai Kai and seen again on 27 July 2019 by Ang Siew Siew, while the White-headed Munia Lonchura striata was also spotted on 23 July 2019 by Vincent Chin. The munia species was also seen along the Ulu Pandan Park Connector Network on 18 July 2019 by Brenda Chua LH, while further afield, a Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra was spotted at the West Coast Park on 22 July 2019 by John Marriott.
Abbreviations:
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park

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

Many thanks to Frankie Cheong, Francis Yap, Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan, Yeong Wai Kai, Lim Sheen Taw, Herman Phua, Morten and Bee Choo Strange, Mike Smith, Art Toh, Jimmy Ng, Isabelle Lee, and Norhafianni A. Majid for allowing us to use their photographs.

REFERENCES

Pierce, R.J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus). 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/53759 on 26 August 2019).

Robson, C. (2005). Birds of South-east Asia. New Holland Publisher: UK.

Sonobe, K. & Usui, S. (1993). A Field Guide to the Waterbirds of Asia. Wild Bird Society of Japan: Tokyo.

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

LIST OF BIRDS REPORTED IN JUNE 2019

Family Species name Scientific Name Date
Anatidae Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica 1 Jul 2019
Anatidae Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica 22 Jul 2019
Podicipedidae Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 5 Jul 2019
Podicipedidae Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 17 Jul 2019
Ciconiidae Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus 7 Jul 2019
Ciconiidae Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus 14 Jul 2019
Ciconiidae Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus 20 Jul 2019
Ardeidae Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus 7 Jul 2019
Ardeidae Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra 22 Jul 2019
Accipitridae Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela 2 Jul 2019
Accipitridae Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela 6 Jul 2019
Accipitridae Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus 3 Jul 2019
Accipitridae Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus 3 Jul 2019
Accipitridae White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster 5 Jul 2019
Rallidae Red-legged Crake Rallina fasciata 2 Jul 2019
Recurvirostridae Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 17 Jul 2019
Recurvirostridae Pied Stilt Himantopus leucocephalus 17 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus 3 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles 16 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles 19 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles 19 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva 23 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola 21 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 28 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii 28 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii 31 Jul 2019
Charadriidae Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus 31 Jul 2019
Scolopacidae Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 7 Jul 2019
Scolopacidae Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 18 Jul 2019
Scolopacidae Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 21 Jul 2019
Scolopacidae Common Redshank Tringa totanus 14 Jul 2019
Scolopacidae Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia 21 Jul 2019
Scolopacidae Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia 28 Jul 2019
Scolopacidae Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola 28 Jul 2019
Scolopacidae Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 18 Jul 2019
Laridae Little Tern Sternula albifrons 1 Jul 2019
Columbidae Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra 31 Jul 2019
Columbidae Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea 14 Jul 2019
Columbidae Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea 19 Jul 2019
Cuculidae Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus 27 Jul 2019
Cuculidae Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus 10 Jul 2019
Cuculidae Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus 30 Jul 2019
Cuculidae Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii 28 Jul 2019
Cuculidae Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii 29 Jul 2019
Cuculidae Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax 24 Jul 2019
Strigidae Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 16 Jul 2019
Strigidae Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 18 Jul 2019
Strigidae Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus 30 Jul 2019
Strigidae Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu 21 Jul 2019
Strigidae Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu 27 Jul 2019
Strigidae Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu 28 Jul 2019
Strigidae Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo 28 Jul 2019
Strigidae Brown Hawk-Owl Ninox scutulata 4 Jul 2019
Strigidae Brown Hawk-Owl Ninox scutulata 26 Jul 2019
Alcedinidae Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting 31 Jul 2019
Cacatuidae Tanimbar Corella Cacatua goffiniana 5 Jul 2019
Cacatuidae Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea 14 Jul 2019
Cacatuidae Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea 23 Jul 2019
Eurylaimidae Black-and-Red Broadbill Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos 7 Jul 2019
Tephrodornithidae Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus 14 Jul 2019
Tephrodornithidae Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus 21 Jul 2019
Pycnonotidae Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus 17 Jul 2019
Pycnonotidae Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps 13 Jul 2019
Timaliidae Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera 23 Jul 2019
Pellorneidae Short-tailed Babbler Malacocincla malaccensis 23 Jul 2019
Pellorneidae Short-tailed Babbler Malacocincla malaccensis 25 Jul 2019
Muscicapidae Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni 22 Jul 2019
Chloropseidae Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati 27 Jul 2019
Nectariniidae Van Hasselt’s Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana 1 Jul 2019
Estrildidae White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata 13 Jul 2019
Estrildidae White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata 19 Jul 2019
Estrildidae Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata 30 Jul 2019
Estrildidae White-headed Munia Lonchura maja 18 Jul 2019
Estrildidae White-headed Munia Lonchura maja 23 Jul 2019
Motacillidae Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea 17 Jul 2019

Singapore Bird Report – June 2019

by Geoff Lim, & Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

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

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) & DFNP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SRB, Betty Shaw

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

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

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

BWLB, AY

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

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

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

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

darter, BB

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

1 j BEO

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

BHO, KML

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

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

CWB, AY

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

RCB, AY

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

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

2 j drongo c

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

Singapore Botanic Gardens

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

Northern Singapore

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

Eastern Singapore

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

RRP, alvin

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

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

P cockoo, Wang HM

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

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

Mp, FY

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

3 brw

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

4 bh

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

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

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

5 rbp

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

Southern Singapore

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

LWD, Steven Wong

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

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

Western Singapore

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

BEKF, TT

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

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

BFO, siew mun

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

 

6 bfo

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

7 snj

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

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

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

Little Tern

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

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

Abbreviations:
BTNR: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park
JEG: Jurong Eco Garden
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
TEG: Tampines Eco-Green
This report is written by Geoff Lim and edited by Tan Gim Cheong. We are grateful for the birders and photographers whose postings in various Facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from eBird make up this report. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified.

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

REFERENCES

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

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

Downloaded on 10 July 2019.

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

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

LIST OF BIRDS REPORTED IN JUNE 2019

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

Singapore Bird Report – May 2019

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

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

Lily-trotter in an Urban Lily Pond

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

1. PT Jacana, 050519, SBTB, Siew Mun

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

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

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

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

2. PT Jacana, 050519, SBTB, Siew Mun

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

 

3. PT Jacana, 050519, SBTB, Siew Mun

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

Central Catchment Nature Reserve, BTNR, DFNP

Emerald Dove, 010519, DFNP, Terence Tan

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

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

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

RCB, 140519, DFNP, Julie Wee

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

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

GGLB, ZLC

Greater Green Leafbird on 12 May 2019 by Zhang Licong

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

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

Drongo Cuckoo, Vincent Lao

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

Singapore Botanic Gardens

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

House Swift, Benson Brighton

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

Central Singapore

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

X Purple Heron, Esther Tan

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

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

BWP, Phua Joo Yang

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

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

TB Pigeo, DAvid Tan

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

Northern Singapore

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

Barn Owl, STYW

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

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

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

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

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

Lanceolated Warbler, David Tan

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

MNH, David Tan

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

Eastern Singapore

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

SSO, Terence Tan

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

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

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

Buff-rumped Woody, AST

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

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

Cinnamon Bittern David Tan

A dead Cinnamon Bittern collected from Tampines by David Tan.

Southern Singapore

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

LWD, Siew Mun

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

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

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

GPS, STYW

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

 

GPS, STYW 2

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

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

Western Singapore

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

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

IPH, Liz How

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

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

SB Rail, Khong Yew

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

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

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

RBC, Angie Cheong

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

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

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Pelagic

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

Lesser Frigatebird, STYW

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

ST Shearwater, Fryap

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

Brown Booby, Fryap

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

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

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

Many thanks to Siew Mun, Benson Brighton, Julie Wee, Vincent Lao, Esther Tan, David Tan, Phua Joo Yong, Terence Tan, Adrian Silas Tay, Liz How, Khong Yew, Angie Cheong, See Toh Yew Wai, Francis Yap for the use of their photos. 

References:

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

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

List of Species seen:

Family Species Date
Anatidae

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Singapore Bird Report – April 2019

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

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

BWFCS, Jan 2018, Jelutong, Thio Hb

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

New Location for Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike

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

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

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

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

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

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

Figure 1

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

BWFCS, 2013, Jelutong, Chan Tsan Tsai

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

BWFCS, Aug 2013, Jelutong, Fryap

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

Central Catchment, BTNR, DFNP & Bukit Brown

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

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

BH Bulbul, 200419, Jelutong, Raymond Siew Kung Kiet

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

Singapore Botanic Gardens

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

YRFC, 070419, SBG, Geoff Lim

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

Central Singapore

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

PF, OHB, 040419, Haig Rd, Dawn Teo

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

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

BWP, David Tan

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

Eastern Singapore

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

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

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

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

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

Southern Singapore

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

Western Singapore

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

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

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

Asian Openbill, 150419, Turut Track, Tan Eng Boo

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

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

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

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

IPH, Tuck Loong

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

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

Pelagic 

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

STSW, 280419, Sg straits, Feroz

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

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

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

Many thanks to Chan Tsan Tsai, Francis Yap, Thio Hui Bing, Raymond Siew Kung Kiet, Geoff Lim, Dawn Teo, David Tan, Tan Eng Boo, Tuck Loong and Feroz  for the use of their photos. 

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

List of Species seen:

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

Singapore Bird Report – March 2019

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

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

Asian Openbill, Francis Yap

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

Openbill Visitation

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

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

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR)

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

MNH, Goh Yew Lin

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

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

YRFC, ZLC

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

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

Jambu, Vincent Lao

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

Northern Singapore

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

Eastern Singapore

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

LHC, Fabius Tan

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

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

Central Singapore

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

Southern Singapore

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

BEKF, Siew Mun

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

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

BHO, Herman

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

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

Western Singapore

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

STJ Stonechat, AOY

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

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

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

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

Breeding-related activities

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

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

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

Many thanks to Francis Yap, Goh Yew Lin, Zhang Licong, Vincent Lao, Fabius Tan, Siew Mun and Alan Owyong for the the use of their photos. 

List of Species seen:

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