Category Archives: Monthly Bird Reports

Singapore Bird Report-March 2016

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

IMG-20160327-WA0006

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

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

Little Green Pigeon FYap

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

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

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

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

MHC Seng Alvin

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

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

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

Barn Owl Atish Banerjee

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

Lesser Adjutant Nicholas Tan

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

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

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

Moorhen Richard Lim

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

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

Thick-billed Pigeon James Tan

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

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

RBE Leslie Fung

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

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

Reference:

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

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

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

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

 

 

Singapore Bird Report-February 2016

Northern Pintail M. David Li

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

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

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

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

Cinnamon Pigeon Terry Chen-001

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

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

Greater Coucal Sara Krishnamurthy

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

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

BCNH FYap

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

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

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

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

Blue-eared Kingfisher L. Cher

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

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

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

Brahminy Starling FYap

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

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

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

Common Kestrel Joseph Tan

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

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

Reference:

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

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

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

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

 

Singapore Bird Report-December 2015

 

Narcissus FC Robin Tan

Narcissus Flycatcher Female, a national first from Bidadari. Photo: Robin Tan.

Our soon to be developed former Muslim Cemetery at Bidadari was the place to be in for the Singapore birder in December. It seemed that both migratory birds, especially flycatchers and the residents decided to pay their final homage to the place! We got a national first there on the 2nd Dec when Robin Tan, Hio John and Alan Ng photographed a female Narcissus Flycatcher (Ficedula narcissina) (Link). Lawrence Cher photographed a blue-hued flycatcher which was initially identified as a Blue-and-white flycatcher. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a male of the very rare Chinese Blue Flycatcher, (Cyornis glaucicomans), which would be our second national record if accepted by the RC. On the 23rd December, Lim Kim Keang and Low Choon How found and photographed a Savanna Nightjar, (Caprimulgus affinis) and two Red-wattled Lapwings, (Vanellus indicus) at Bidadari. Both were new additions to Bidadari’s rapidly increasing checklist, bringing its total species count to 157 species. A Grey Nightjar (Caprimulgus indicus) was seen wintering there on 9th Dec by Vincent Ng. It stayed long enough for Noah Strycker to see it on the 27th Dec during his Global Big Year stop here. (Link). The Hooded Pitta (Pitta sordida), returned on the 9th Dec (Alan Ng). See Toh Yew Wai photographed a rare Green-backed Flycatcher, Ficedula elisae, on the 20th December while Leslie Fung added the rare Japanese Paradise Flycatcher(Terpsiphone atrocaudata)on the 22ndDec.  Danny Lau and Tan Kok Hui reported a confiding Malayan Night Heron (Gorsachius melanolophus) on the 26th. Another wetland species, the Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus) was recorded here on 23rd Dec by Lawrence Cher. One new national record, the second confirmed record of another species, two new locality records and the presence of several rare flycatchers and winter visitors shows just how important Bidadari is as a stopover site for migratory landbirds in the country.

Chinese Blue FC LCher

Chinese Blue Flycatcher, our second record also from Bidadari. Photo: Lawence Cher. .  

The other exciting find of the month was the elusive Barred Eagle Owl (Bubo sumatranus), which was discovered at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve by Kennie Pan on the 8th Dec. We have had sporadic reports of sightings of this large owl at CCNR, Pulau Ubin and BTNR in the past years. But this time it stayed long enough for a few photographers to get our excellent daytime shots of this owl here. A day before the year ends, Lim Kim Seng was surprised to find not one but three female Cotton Pygmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus) swimming at one end of the MacRitchie Reservoir. Noting how much this species has declined since the 1980s, it was great to see these ducks making a comeback. Dirk Tomsa reported a Large Hawk- Cuckoo (Hierococcyx sparveriodes) at Coney Island on the 13th Dec. This could be the first record of this rare cuckoo on the island. On the same day Lim Kim Chuah reported a total of three White Wagtails (Motacilla alba) at the Kranji Sanctuary Golf Course. Not to be outdone, Vincent Lao photographed another three White Wagtails at the Bishan Canal on 20th. One of them turned out to be an individual of the distinctive subspecies lugens. Except for a lone record of a black-backed spring adult reported in March 1993 (Wells 2007), this possibly constitute the second record for Singapore and the region. M. a. lugens is also known as a vagrant to the Philippines. We have to thank Alfred Chia for noticing this and getting expert confirmation quickly. (Link ).

Blue Rock Thrush

Blue Rock Thrush at the Pinnacle @ Duxton. Photo: Con Foley.

A Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius), this time a neat-looking male bird was seen again at the Pinnacle @ Duxton on 20th Dec (Vinchel Budihardjo and later by Lawrence Cher). This obliging individual stayed long enough for many others to see it and proved to be a lifer for many. A resident of Toa Payoh photographed a Malayan Night Heron, Gorsachius melanolophus, wandering around the open field there on the 18th Dec (reported by David Tan). This migratory heron is usually a very shy bird, like the one reported at Tuas on the 18th Dec by Francis Yap, so this individual may have been disorientated after a crash. Millie Cher photographed the confiding Black-browed Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus bistrigiceps) at Jurong Eco Gardens on the 26th, a new addition for the gardens.

Red-billed Starling Seng Alvin

Red-billed Starling at Tampines Eco Green Canal. Photo: Seng Alvin

Seng Alvin posted a photo of a starling foraging with a group of mynas at the canal at Tampines Eco Green. It was identified as a Red-billed Starling Sturnus sericeus. The most southernly part of its wintering range is in northern Vietnam although there has been odd records in peninsular Thailand. The Records Committee will soon be evaluating its status. One of the few notable records of resident forest species for the month was a male Blue-winged Leafbird, Chloropsis cochinchinensis, photographed by Chan Kum Chun at Sentosa. Our only previous records of this species on Sentosa were in 1990 and 2007 at the remnant forest patches at Mount Serapong. Good to know that it was still around.

From the numerous reports, it appears that there was an influx of the winter- visiting Watercock, Gallicrex cinerea. The first was a dead bird found at Mountbatten on the 7th Dec and reported by Robert Zhao, followed by one on the 9th by Sandra Chia and another at Turut Track on the 13th Dec by Lim Kim Chuah. A Black Bittern (Ixobrychus flavicollis) was a first for Jurong Eco Garden thanks to Andrew Tan’s record on 20th Dec. As many as eight Long-toed Stints (Calidris subminuta) were seen at the Kranji Golf Course on the 19th Dec by Lim Kim Keang. The stints were first reported by Lim Kim Seng on 8th Dec when he reported seeing one stint. Due to the rapid disappearance of freshwater wetlands, the records of Long-toed Stint had declined over the years. Other interesting waterbirds include a Grey-tailed Tattler, Tringa brevipes was observed and photographed by Ann Ang at SBWR on the 26th  Dec.

Jedon's Baza at TEG Seng Alvin

Jerdon’s Baza at Tampines Eco Green. Photo: Seng Alvin.

Over at Punggol Barat, Lawrence Cher photographed six Black-tailed Godwits (Limosa limosa) flying over. Punggol Barat continues to deliver its open country specialties in spite of the disturbance caused by clearance works. Three White-shouldered Starlings (Sturnus sinensis) were photographed here by See Toh Yew Wai on 25th Dec and a Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica, was photographed in flight over Seletar North Link by KC Ling on the 27th Dec. Solomon Anthony was the first to record Black Kite, Milvus migrans, this season when he photographed one at SBWR on 18th Dec. Another individual was photographed by Lawrence Cher at Punggol Barat on the 29th Dec.  Other interesting raptor records for the month include a Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) at Tuas on the 8thDec by Muller Lugman, Jerdon’s Baza, Aviceda jerdoni, at Tampines Eco Green on the 19th Dec by Seng Alvin and a juvenile Rufous-bellied Eagle, (Lophotriorchis kienerii) over at Dairy Farm on the 22nd Dec by Lim Kim Keang. The year ended with a Greater Spotted Eagle (Clanga clanga), over at Pasir Ris Camp at Lorong Halus. Serin Subaraj got his lifer during his BMT there on the 31st December.

Abbreviations

BTNR = Bukit Timah Nature Reserve             RC = Records Committee.

CCNR = Central Catchment Nature Reserve

SBWR = Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

References: The Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng, 2009. A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-east Asia. Craig Robson. 2000. A Naturalist Guide to the Birds of Singapore. Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. 2013.

This report is compiled by Alan OwYong from the postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums and individual reports. Some were not verified. We wish to thank all the  contributors for their records. Many thanks to RobinTan, Con Foley, Lawrence Cher and Seng Alvin for the use of your excellent photos and Yong Ding Li for editing this report.

Singapore Bird Monthly Report – November 2015

Slaty-legged Crake LKC

The very rare winter visitor and passage migrant, Slaty-legged Crake, made land fall at the restricted Jurong Island. Photo: Lim Kim Chuah.

With many parts of Singapore receiving above average rainfall over the month of November, it was no surprise that sightings of many rare migrants followed suit as they sought shelter from inclement weather. Highlights for the month include an adult male Zappey’s Flycatcher Cyanoptila cumatilis at Bidadari on 2nd (FYAP), at least two Northern Boobooks Ninox japonica at Tuas on 9th, a Besra Accipiter virgatus photographed flying over Sisters’ Island on 13th (JS), a Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus, and an Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus, both flying over the Botanic Gardens on 16th and 17th (RW), and a Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides at Jurong Island on 21st (LKC).

Zappeys FC Zacc

Male Zappey’s Flycatcher (left) formally treated as a race of the Blue and White Flycatcher. Photo: Zacc HD.

Both the Zappey’s Flycatcher and the Northern Boobook are currently not in our Checklist. The Zappey’s Flycatcher is split from the Blue-and-White Flycatcher while the Northern Boobook is a migratory species from East Asia that was split from the Brown Hawk Owl. The Records Committee is reviewing these records for inclusion under Category A. There are less than five confirmed records of the Besra as it is difficult to separate from the Japanese Sparrowhawk in flight. In addition, this is only our 6th record of the Slaty-legged Crake in Singapore, with the last two individuals recorded at Bedok and Lower Pierce respectively.  We have only two previous records of the vagrant Grey-headed Lapwing, on 11 October 2007 and 5th Nov 2011 both from Sungei Buloh. The Asian House Martin is a rare passage migrant with sporadic records over the years. These records are now with the Records Committee for deliberation.

Northern Boobook LCHand the current record is under review by the Records Committee.

Ninox spp with its tear drop streaks photographed at Tuas is waiting for acceptance as the migrant Northern Boobook. Photo: Low Choon How.

Other noteworthy sightings for the month are lengthy and include a Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus at Turut Ponds on 1st (SRN), a Sand Martin Riparina ripanria and Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurthythmus at Tuas on the 1st (LKK & TJL), a Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocauda at Bidadari on 2nd (FYAP), a breeding plumaged Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa flying over the Botanic Gardens on 2 November (RW),  a Greater Spotted Eagle, Aquila clanga over at Tuas South on 4th ( KLH) and 11th (FYAP), a Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus indicus, at Bidadari on 6th (JT), a Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes at Pulau Tekong on 14th (FCh), a Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus over at Punggol Island on 14th (ZHD),  White-shouldered Starling Sturnus sinensis at Tuas on 15th (STYW), Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus, at Tuas South (STYW) and Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata, at SBWR on 16th (LE), an Oriental Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus at Chinese Gardens on 17th (PT) and a White Wagtail Motacilla alba, at Punggol Barat on 29th (STYW).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

First Winter male Mugimaki Flycatcher at Dairy Farm NP.

Additionally, a fruiting tree at Dairy Farm Nature Park was a magnet for many migratory birds. Reports indicate that at its peak there were at least 6 Siberian Thrushes, Geokicla sibirica (CKS), in various plumages present at the tree. An Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus was also photographed feeding at the tree with them on 25th (ANg) while a first winter male Blue-and-White Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana was showing regularly towards the end of the month, having been first sighted on 23rd (FL). It was joined by a Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki, which was first reported at Dairy Farm on 21st (VNg).

Other regular winter visitors reported over the month include a subadult Large Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides, that crashed into Shuqun Primary School on 2nd ( SC), another Large Hawk Cuckoo, a juvenile, at Jurong Island on 20th (FW), Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccenis at Bidadari on 4th ( KY), the largest one day count of 894 Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus over Tuas South on 9th (TGC), Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus at Bidadari on 14th (VL), Yellow-billed Egret Mesophoyx intermedia at SBWR on 16th (LE) and a Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis at Gardens by the Bay on 21st (JC).

We also had several reports of non-breeding visitors throughout the month. A Cinereous Bulbul, Hemixos flavala was recorded at P. Hantu on 1st (RT & Co), an Osprey Pandion haliaetus over Punggol Island on 14th (ZHD), two Crested Serpent Eagles Spilornis cheela over at Kent Ridge Park on 21st (AOY & KS) and a Streaked Bulbul Ixos malaccensis at Dairy Farm on 28th (AC).

References: The Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng, 2009. A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-east Asia. Craig Robson. 2000. A Naturalist Guide to the Birds of Singapore. Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. 2013.

This report is compiled from the postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums and individual reports. Some were not verified. We wish to thank the following contributors for their records. Francis Yap (FYAP), Jacky Soh (JS), Richard White (RW), Lim Kim Chuah (LKC), Subha and Raghav Narayenswany (SRN), Lim Kim Keang (LKK), Tan Julin (TJL), Frankie Cheong (FCh), See Toh Yew Wai (STYW), Chan Kai Soon (CKS), Philip Toh (PT), Vincent Ng (VNg), Alan Ng (ANg), Frankie Lim (FL), Zacc HD (ZHD), Laurence Eu (LE), Felix Wong (FW), Kwong Yew (KY), Tan Gim Cheong (TGC), Vincent Lao (VL), Johnson Chua (JC), Robin Tan (RT), Alan OwYong (AOY), Keita Sin (KS) and Alfred Chia (AC). We wish to thank Zacc HD, Lim Kim Chua, Low Choon How and Alan OwYong for the use of their photographs.

 

Singapore Bird Report – October 2015

October normally marks the peak passerine migration period for Singapore. Unfortunately it was also the peak time for peatland forest fires in Indonesia resulting in prolonged haze in the region. This is not a rant about our own inconvenience, but before we proceed further, spare a thought for the lost habitat for these migrants that have flown thousands of kilometres to find their wintering ground destroyed.

The globally threatened Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher at Bidadari on 3 October

The globally threatened Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher at Bidadari on 3 October

The list of migrants that came to our shore this month is a long one. Among the notable ones are the ever popular Black-backed Kingfisher that landed at Bidadari on 6 October. Bidadari, which is widely considered as the best place in Singapore to see migrant forest birds also played host to numerous Brown-chested Jungle Flycatchers. This globally threatened species made its first appearance on 3 October and a few seemed to have made it their wintering ground. The Siberian Blue Robin, another attractive species that occupy the same bushes and ground as the jungle flycatchers also made its first appearance on 5 October.

Ferruginous Flycatcher at Bidadari

Ferruginous Flycatcher at Bidadari

Other notable sightings at Bidadari include the Asian Paradise Flyacatchers that made their first appearance on 2 October, the attractive Ferruginous Flycatcher on 28 October. The short range migrant from Malaysia, the Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo made an appearance at Bidadari on 15 October. It’s cousin the similar looking Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo came from further north and consequently made its first appearance on 18 October. Another charismatic species, the Blue-winged Pitta was reported on 18 October.

Blue-winged Pitta at Bidadari.

Blue-winged Pitta at Bidadari.

Bidadari wasn’t the only place where migrants appeared. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve continue to play host to migrant shorebirds, with sighting of the Bar-tailed Godwits starting on 4 October. These godwits are known to migrant birds with the longest known non-stop flight, and also the longest journey without pausing to feed by any animal (link). Shorebirds weren’t the only species that landed in Sungei Buloh. A Dark-sided Flycatcher was recorded there on 20 October, and a flock of Oriental Pratincoles on 27 October.

Shorebirds were also sighted at Pulau Tekong with the globally vulnerable Great Knot on 21 October, 2 Grey Plovers on 27 October and 4 Ruddy Turnstones on 30 October.

Swinhoe's Plover at Marina East. This is a subspecies of Kentish Plover.

Swinhoe’s Plover at Marina East. This is a subspecies of Kentish Plover.


Another area with shorebirds reported is at Marina East Drive, with sightings of 6 Kentish Plovers (a mixture of nominate subspecies alexandrinus and dealbatus also known as Swinhoe’s Plover) and Malaysian Plovers on 24 October. These species are normally sandy beach specialists, but they seem to have stayed on at the breakwater. Across the barrage at Gardens by the Bay, the first Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler was reported on 14 October. Photographers were also having a field day photographing the confiding Common Kingfisher at that locality.

Slightly further away, the locally very rare Lesser Frigatebird was found by workers at Marina South Pier with a hook in the stomach on 9 October. It was sent to ACRES but did not survive.

On the raptor front, Peregrine Falcons were reported at three localities. At Pulau Ubin on 1 October, Japanese Garden on 15 October, and Millennium Tower on 29 October. The Pulau Ubin and Millennium Tower birds were of the ernesti race, which are rare residents, while the Japanese Garden bird is believed to be of the japonensis race that migrate from the north.

Female Chinese Sparrowhawk at Jelutong Tower

Female Chinese Sparrowhawk at Jelutong Tower

Juvenile Japanese Sparrowhawk at Tuas South

Juvenile Japanese Sparrowhawk at Tuas South

At Tuas South and Jelutong Tower, the migrant raptors, swifts and swallows were reported flying past. Chinese Sparrowhawks were seen at Tuas South on 6 October, and Jelutong Tower on 7 October together with, Japanese Sparrowhawks (7) , Oriental Honey Buzzards (7) and a Pacific Swift. On the same day (7 October), a large flock of Oriental Honey Buzzards totaling 42 were seen at Tuas South. On 15 October, the Red-rumped Swallows made an appearance at Jelutong Tower. On 28 October, there were 21 Oriental Honey Buzzards, 2 Japanese Sparrowhawks, 8 Oriental Pratincoles and 2 Pacific Swifts at Tuas South. On 29 October, a Black Bittern and an Indian Cuckoo were also seen at Tuas South.

Female Oriental Honey Buzzard at Jelutong Tower

Female Oriental Honey Buzzard at Jelutong Tower

Over at the freshwater ponds at Turut Track, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 6 Little Ringed Plovers and a Grey Wagtail were reported on 25 October.

Finally, below is the summary of the birds reported and relevant comments in a tabular format. Thank you for your continued feedback and support.

 

Date   Species No. Locality Reported By Comments
01 Peregrine Falcon 1 P. Ubin Andrew Tan ernesti race
02 Asian Paradise Flycatcher 1 Bidadari Frankie Lim White morph.
03 Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher 2 Bidadari Francis Yap Photo. First for the season
04 Bar-tailed Godwit 1 SBWR Ben Lee Photo. Two were counted a few days later.
04 Whiskered Tern 1 Serangoon Reservoir See Toh Photo. Juvenile
05 Western Osprey 1 Dairy Farm Low Choon How Photo
05 Siberian Blue Robin 1 Bidadari Robin Tan Photo. Female. Also posted by Frankie Lim.
06 Black-backed Kingfisher 1 Bidadari Er Boon Siong Photo. Another new arrival
06 Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 1 Joo Chiat David Tan Photo. Crashed on to 3rd Floor window. Died.
06 Chinese Sparrowhawk 1 Tuas South Tan Gim Cheong Photo.
07 Chinese Sparrowhawks 4 Jelutong Tower Francis Yap Photo.
07 Japanese Sparrowhawks 7 Jelutong Tower Francis Yap Photo.
07 Oriental Honey Buzzards 7 Jelutong Tower Francis Yap Photo.
07 Pacific Swift 1 Jelutong Tower Francis Yap Photo.
07 Oriental Honey Buzzard 42 Tuas South Tan Gim Cheong First big flock of migrating OHB reported.
07 Amur Paradise Flycatcher 1 Bidadari Francis Yap Photo
09 Lesser Frigatebird 1 Marina South Pier David Tan Found with hook in the stomach. Sent to ACRES but died.
11 Aleutian Terns 4 Straits of Singapore Francis Yap Photo.
11 Swinhoe’s Storm Petrels Straits of Singapore Francis Yap Photo. On migration
11 Bridled Terns 100 Straits of Singapore Francis Yap Photo.
14 Blue-winged Pitta 2 Bukit Batok Sec School David Tan Died after crash.
14 Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler 1 Gardens by the Bay Vinchel Budihardjo Report. First for the season.
15 Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo 1 Bidadari Francis Yap Photo
15 Red-rumped Swallow 1 Jelutong Tower Francis Yap Photo. First arrival for the season
15 White Wagtail 1 Farmway 3 Canal Aldwin Recinto Photo. leucopsis race.
15 Peregrine Falcon 1 Japanese Gardens Boon Hong Chan Photo. First for JG
16 Black Bittern 1 Tuas South Low Choon How Reported by Lim Kim Keang. First for the season
16 Indian Cuckoo 1 Tuas South Low Choon How Reported by Lim Kim Keang. First for the season
16 Thick-billed Pigeon 1 Mount Faber Sarah Chin Photo. Pigeon crashed into window but survived.
18 Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo 1 Bidadari Liz How Photo
18 Snipe spp 3 Tuas South Francis Yap Photo. Swintail?
18 Blue-winged Pitta 1 Bidadari Tom Wilson Report
18 Intermediate Egret 1 Sentosa Sarah Chin Report
20 Dark-sided Flycatcher 1 SBWR Fadhi Admah/Mishak Shunari Photo
21 Great Knot 1 P. Tekong Frankie Cheong Photo.
23 Oriental Pratincole 1 SBWR See Toh Photo
24 Kentish Plover 2 Marina East Drive Loke Peng Fai Photo. One of the plovers looks like a Malaysian.
25 Kentish Plover 2 Marina East Drive See Toh Photo. Looks like a subspecies dealbatus
25 Wood Sandpiper 1 Turut Pond Subha Photo
25 Little Ringed Plover 6 Turut Pond Subha Report
25 Grey Wagtail 1 Turut Pond Subha Report
25 Savanna Nightjar 1 Tuas South Ave 16 See Toh Photo.
25 Malaysian Plover 1 Marina East Drive KC Ling Photo
26 Oriental Pratincole 1 Seletar East Link Henriette Woo Photo
27 Grey Plover 2 P. Tekong Frankie Cheong Photo
27 Oriental Pratincole 150 SBG See Toh Photo. 4th record of more than 100 birds.
28 Ferruginous Flycatcher 1 Bidadari Alan Ng Photo. First for the season
28 Oriental Honey Buzzards 21 Tuas South Francis Yap Photo
28 Japanese Sparrowhawk 2 Tuas South Francis Yap Photo
28 Pacific Swifts 2 Tuas South Francis Yap Photo
28 Oriental Pratincoles 8 Tuas South Francis Yap Photo
29 Von Schrenck’s Bittern 1 Taman Jurong Lee Van Hien Photo. Crashed into flats but recovered and flew off
29 Peregrine Falcon 1 Millennium Tower Zhang Zicong ernesti race eating a Yellow Bittern on window ledge
29 Ruddy Kingfisher 1 Parc Centennial Condo Chung Cheong Photo. Adult.
29 Asian Paradise Flycatcher 1 Telok Kurau Lor M Ng Chay Tuan Photo.
30 Ruddy Turnstone 4 P. Tekong Frankie Cheong Photo. First for the season.
31 Oriental Pratincole 59 Tuas South Francis Yap Photo.On migration south.
31 Blue-and-white Flycatcher 2 Tuas and Bidadari Low Choon How / Lim Ser Chai Photo. Female and male respectively

Note: This edition of the monthly bird report was compiled by Alan OwYong. The above records are taken from the various bird FB groups. pages, reports and forums. Many thanks for your postings. Photos and editing by Francis Yap.

Singapore Bird Report – September 2015

YVFP Wong Kook Yoke
Yellow-vented Flowerpecker at Dairy Farm Nature Park taken by Wong Koon Yoke on 26th.

The migration season is in full swing with many passerines making their first arrival here and three species establishing new extreme dates. For easy reading I will list the first arrivals with dates, species, location and name of observer.

EC Warbler Alan Ng
Eastern Crowned Warbler. A difficult species to photograph. Taken at Bidadari on 24th by Alan Ng.

(1/9/15) Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea, at Mimosa Walk by Heather Goessel.
(2/9/15) Blue Rock Thrush, Monticola solitarius, at Pinnacle by Vivien Lee Min. (Previous extreme date 14 Oct).
(6/9/15) Brown Shrike, Lanius cristatus, at Jurong Eco Gardens by Lee Van Hien.
(16/9/15) Ruddy Kingfisher, Halcyon coromanda, at Bidadari by Alan Ng.
(17/9/15) Siberian Blue Robin, Luscinia cyane, adult male at Lasia Track by Alan OwYong. (Previous extreme date 21 Sept)
(17/9/15) Dark-sided Flycatcher, Muscicapa sibirica, at Bukit Timah Summit by Lim Kim Seng.
(21/9/15) Black-backed Kingfisher,Ceyx erithacus, at Bidadari by Vincent Ng. ( One week ahead of previous extreme date)
(21/9/15) Daurian Starlings,, Sturnus sturninus, (<200) at SBWR by Francis Yap.
(28/9/15) Pond Heron spp, Ardeola spp, at Bishan Park by Abdul Shukor.

Tiger Shrike Frankie LimRuddy Kingfisher
An adult male Tiger Shrike taken at Bidadari by Frankie Lim on 18th. We normally get only the juveniles during the autumn migration. Unfortunately the Ruddy Kingfisher stayed only for a day at Bidadari. Photo Alan Ng on 16th.

Other passerine migrants of note were an influx of Yellow-rumped Flycatchers, Ficedula zanthopygia. Both male and females at Venus Drive on 4th (Koh Lian Heng and Dean Tan), Singapore Botanic Gardens and Bidadari. Two reports of Eastern Crowned Warblers, Phylloscopus coronatus, one photographed by Alan Ng at Bidadari on 24th and another at Dairy Farm on 28th by Francis Yap. The newly split Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone paradisi affinis,  was the first record for Bidadari seen by YK Loke on 24th. We also had several sub adult and adult male Tiger Shrikes, Lanius tigrinus, passing through Bidadari during the month. Frankie Lim photographed one on the 18th.

OHB Seng AlvinAn orientalis OHB over at Pasir Ris Park by Seng Alvin on 16th. We finally got our orientalis Oriental Honey Buzzard, Pernis ptilorhyncus, with one photographed at Pasir Ris Park on 16th by Seng Alvin. An early juvenile Rufous Bellied Eagle, Hieraaetus kienerii,  and a Japanese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter gularis, were photographed from Jelutong Tower on 16th by Francis Yap. Both were first for the season. A migratory Peregrine Falcon was the first for Tuas South as per report from Low Choon How on 26th.

Non-breeding visitors includes three Jambu Fruit Doves, Ptilinopus jambu at Dairy Farm Nature Park feeding on the False Curry Leave Plant on 16th and a sub adult Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo, Hierococcyx fugax, at Upper Seletar Reservoir on 30th (both by Lee Van Hien).

Chestnut-winged Babbler See Toh Dillenia Hut 5.11.15
Hard to see Chestnut-winged Babbler at Dillenia Hut. Photo by See Toh Yew Wai

Residents that are of interest are a Plaintive Cuckoo, Cacomantis merulinus, and a juvenile Rusty-breasted Cuckoo, Cacomantis sepulcralis, being fed by a Malaysian Pied Fantail, Rhipidura javanica, both at Tampines Eco Garden on 1st by Seng Alvin, a calling Red-legged Crake, Rallina fasciata, and a Grey-rumped Treeswift, Hemiprocne longipennis, at Ulu Pandan Canal by Ho Hwa Chew on 14th and Alan OwYong on 15th respectively and a sub adult Mangrove Pitta, Pitta megarhyncha, Sungei Buloh WR on 21st reported by Geoff Lim and photographed by Lim Ser Chai. Lim Kim Keang and Yong Yik Shih came back from Chek Java, Ubin on 21st with a partial shot of what looks like a Black Magpie, Platysmurus leucopterus. This was a former resident but now extinct. The Records Committee will have to deliberate on this sighting. But there was no mistaking the photo of one of our rare flowerpecker, the Yellow-vented Flowerpecker, Dicaeum chrysorrheum, taken by a visiting Ipoh birder Wong Koon Yoke at a fruiting fig at Dairy Farm on the 26th. Many thanks to Subha for this report. We normally had to hike up to the Bukit Timah Summit to look for this species.

Eurasian Curlew LTK
One of the three Eurasian Curlews that was first reported by Ben Lee on 20th. A flight shot by Lee Tiah Khee showing the unmarked under wing coverts.

White-winged Tern Kwee Chang Ling
White-winged Tern at Serangoon Reservoir by Kwee Chang Ling on 26th.

The shorebird sightings was reported in our earlier blog “Of Godwits, Dowitchers and Curlew” with the exception of a Grey Plover, Pluvialis squatarola, in summer plumage seen by Francis Yap and See Toh at P. Ubin on 1st and a late but first arrival White-winged Tern, Chlidonias leucopterus, shot by Kwee Chang Ling over at Serangoon Reservoir on 26th.

Reference: The Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng 2009. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-east Asia, Craig Robson 2000. Edited by Francis Yap. The above records are taken from the various bird FB groups. pages, reports and forums. Many thanks for your postings. Many thanks to Lee Tiah Khee, See Toh Yew Wai, Alan Ng, Wong Koon Yoke, Kwee Chang Ling, Seng Alvin and Frankie Lim for the use of the photographs.

Singapore Bird Report-August 2015

Terek Sandpiper Francis Yap 30.8.15

Terek Sandpiper at Seletar Dam photo Francis Yap.

The Autumn migration season has began. We started seeing the arrival of the shorebirds to Sungei Buloh and the mud flats at Mandai, song birds to Bidadari and the Central Forest.  On the first day of August, the Lesser Sand Plovers, Charadrius mongolus, and Common Sandpipers, Actitis hypoleucos, were seen by Zacc HD over at the shore of the Seletar Dam, while Adrian Gopal was the first to report the arrival of the Common Redshanks Tringa totanus, and Common Greenshanks, Tringa nebularia, to SBWR. Lim Kim Seng picked up a lone Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus, on 7th, a Marsh Sandpiper, Tringa stagnatilis, and a Terek Sandpiper, Tringa cinerea, both at SBWR on 12th. He also reported a Little Ringed Plover, Charadrius dubius, over at Neo Tiew Lane 2 on 12th while a Curlew Sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea, was seen at SBWR by Robin Tan on 28th.

It was a little slower for the passerine migrants. See Toh Yew Wai photographed a needletail flying over Jelutong Tower on 9th. General consensus was a Brown-backed Needletail, Hirundapus giganteus, We had our first Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone paradisi, over a Venus Drive on 15th ( Jensen Seah) followed by another the next day over at Pulau Ubin by Yap Wee Jin.

Forest Wagtail Laurence Eu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forest Wagtail, Dendronanthus indicus, (above) photographed by Laurence Eu at the SBG’s Healing Gardens on 16th was 3 days ahead of the previous extreme date, a returning Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis, to the lily pond at the Gardens by the Bay on 17th ( Koh Liang Heng), Arctic Warbler, Phylloscopus borealis, at our Central Forest on 22nd by Lim Kim Keang and an uncommon Eastern Crowned Warbler, Phylloscopus coronatus, at Bukit Timah on 25th by Francis Yap. The month ended with Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Ficedula zanthopygia, at Tuas South (Low Choon How), and a Tiger Shrike, Lanius tigrinus,  (Y.W. See Toh) both on 30th. All these records were first for the season.

We had several sightings of the Oriental Honey Buzzards, Pernis ptilorhyncus, during the first week from SBG and Central Forest to SBWR. Some appeared to be on migration flying in a South-easterly direction. Others were summering juveniles like Seng Alvin’s find at Pasir Ris Park on 25th. This was where Md. Nasir photographed a Tweedale morph Torquatus resident race Honey Buzzard. Other raptors reported this month was a returning Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus, to Ubin on the 1st (Y.W. See Toh), a pair of Crested Goshawks, Accipiter trivirgatus, feeding its young at Bishan Park on 14th and a Crested Serpent Eagle, Spilornis cheela, photographed by Gill Jones on 22nd at her garden at the wooded Tanglin area.

Brown-streaked FC Danny Lau

We continued to find non breeding visitors like Jambu Fruit Doves, Ptilinopus jambu, at Sentosa on 6th, and SBG on 23rd (Alan OwYong), a Cinereous Bulbul, Hemixos flavala, at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on 7th (Diana Jackson) and 23rd (Francis Yap) and the uncommon Brown-streaked Flycatcher, Muscicapa williamsoni, at CCK Park ( Danny Lau’s photo on the left).

Cinereous Bulbul at Timah Summit

Cinereous Bulbul at Bukit Timah Summit. Photo by Francis Yap

 

Lai Ah-eng

A Great-billed Heron spotted by Lai Ah-Eng at the East Coast Park.

Some notable resident species to report include a Great-billed Heron, Ardea sumatrana, seen by Lai Ah Eng at the beach off East Coast Park, a new location for the largest bird in Singapore. A rare introduced Black-crested Bulbul at BTNR on 7th by Diana Jackson, a hard to see Asian Palmswift, Cypsiurus balasiensis, over Bidadari on 10th by Zacc HD, a strayed Blue-eared Kingfisher, Alcedo meninting, fishing at Pasir Ris mangroves on 21st, spotted by Seng Alvin, a Glossy Swiftlet, Collocalia esculenta, and a vanishing House Swift Apus nipalensis, flying over Bishan Park on 25th by See Toh Yew Wai. The Glossy Swiftlet is new for Bishan. A juvenile White-rumped Shama, Copsychus malabaricus, at Bishan Park on 29th by Lim Kim Keang, a juvenile Asian Drongo Cuckoo, Surniculus lugubris, at Bidadari on 31st by Zacc HD  and a Black-headed Bulbul, Pycnonotus atriceps, at the MacRitchie Forest on 31st by Lim Kim Seng.

Black-crested Bulbul feeding young 8.8.15 Lee Van Hein.

A Black-crested Bulbul feeding its young captured by Lee Van Hien.

The only nesting record was from James Tann of the Scaly-breasted Munia, Lonchura punctulata, at Gardens by the Bay on 19th. Lee Van Hien had a Black-crested BulbulPycnonotus atriceps, feeding a young at the Bukit Timah Summit on the 8th.

BTNR Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, SBWR Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, CCNR Central Catchment Nature Reserve, CCK Park Chua Chu Kang Park.

Reference: The Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng 2009. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-east Asia, Craig Robson 2000. Edited by Francis Yap. The above records are taken from the various bird FB groups. pages, reports and forums.  Many thanks for your postings. Many thanks to Francis Yap, Lai Ah Eng, Lee Van Hien, Laurence Eu and Danny Lau for the use of the photographs.

Singapore Bird Report July 2015

Even though most of the sightings for July were non-breeding visitors and residents, some of the rare and hard to find residents decided to show up. Topping the list was a family of the most sought after King Quails, Colurnix chinensis, at Punggol Barat grasslands. Alsten Ng first saw them early in the month. Er Bong Siong photographed a male a few days later on the 9th. A total of seven were counted and they gave many of us with first time photo records of this species in Singapore. Mick Price was driving along the Tampines Expressway near the Halus exit at 6pm on 31st when he saw a small dark raptor with a white throat. He reckoned that it was a Bat Hawk, Macheiramphus alcinus,  a very rare forest resident.  On the same day Robert Teo reported the sighting of the Barred Eagle Owl, Bubo sumatranus, at Pulau Ubin. This owl don’t seem to stay put at one place for long. Staying at Ubin, Francis Yap returned with a photo of a flying Black Hornbill, Anthracoceros malayanus, on 25th. This individual had been seen in Ubin for some months by the NParks staff. The previous three records from the mainland were listed in Category E and treated as escapees.  The Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster, seemed to have made Pekan Quarry home. Over on the Changi Sailing Club, David Li posted a photo of the rare Green Imperial Pigeons, Ducula aenea, on 9th. Previous sightings were at Loyang but mostly in Pulau Ubin and Tekong.

Black Hornbill at Pulau Ubin. Photo by See Toh Yew Wai

Black Hornbill at Pulau Ubin. Photo by See Toh Yew Wai

Other notable residents reported were a pair of Chestnut-winged Babblers, Stachyris erythroptera,  at Rifle Range Link by Lim Kim Keang, the Blue-eared Kingfishers, Alcedo meninting, at JEG on 18th by Lee Van Hien and another at Pekan Quarry on 31st by Francis Yap.

Sunda Scops Owl by John ArifinOur resident owls put on a great showing this month. It started off with sightings of the Sunda Scops Owls, Otus lempiji,  at CCNR by Dean Tan on the first day. Then Richard White spotted a pair at the Palm Valley at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 17th. This pair soon became the darling of our local photographers. The pair of Buffy Fish Owls, Ketupa ketupu,  was feeling very at home at the rain forest patch there. A pair of Brown Hawk Owls, Ninox scutulata, was reported by Anthony Nik at Venus Loop on 3rd. This had been their roost for quite a while. (Sunda Scops Owl left at Botanic Gardens by John Arifin )

 

Juvenile Streaked Bulbul at Pulau Ubin

Juvenile Streaked Bulbul at Pulau Ubin.Francis Yap.

A pair of Blue-winged Pittas, Pitta moluccensis, was heard dueting at P. Ubin on 3rd by Francis Yap. This is outside the extreme dates for this species which is still classified as a winter visitor to Singapore.  With more observations we may yet find them breeding here. The widespread Ospreys Pandion haliaetus, were the first non breeding species for the month. One was seen over Venus Drive on 4th by Aldwin Recinto and another over Punggol Barat on 14th by Alan OwYong. The ernesti resident race Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus, returned to Church Street CBD to say hello to Lee Ee Ling.  The rare non breeding Streaked Bulbuls, Ixos malaccensis, were spotted by Francis Yap on 18th at Bukit Timah Nature Reserves. The surprise was that it was a juvenile. He followed this up with an adult and juvenile pair at P. Ubin on 25th. Could they be breeding here? There were two reports of another non breeder, the colourful Jambu Fruit Doves, Ptilinopus jambu, one on 21st at Kallang Riverside by Kanchan Guggari and another on 24th at Central Forest by Francis Yap.

Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker nesting at JEG seen in this stacked photo by Lee Van Hien

Breeding of our resident species are in full swing. “Mr JEG” Lee Van Hien found four different species at the Jurong Eco Gardens on the 18th. Chestnut-bellied Malkohas,  Phaenicophaeus  sumatranus, Ashy Tailorbirds, Orthotomus ruficeps, Sunda Pygmy Woodpeckers, Dendrocopus moluccensis, and the Malaysian Pied Fantails Rhipidura javanica.  Over at Punggol Barat, Lawrence Eu photographed a juvenile Little Tern, Sterna albifrons.

The first winter visitor arrived on 21st. Like all previous seasons it was the Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica, to herald the start of the migrant season. This sighting was reported by Richard White from the Singapore Botanic Gardens. No shorebirds were reported compared to the sightings of Lesser Sand Plovers and Common Redshanks on the last days of July.

Reference: Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng. 2009. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-east Asia. Craig Robson Asia Books Ltd.2000. Edited by Francis Yap. The above records are taken from the various bird FB groups. pages, reports and forums.  Many thanks for your postings. Many thanks to Francis Yap, See Toh Yew Wai, Lee Van Hien and John Arifin for the use of the photographs.

Singapore Bird Report – June 2015

Rescued White-tailed Tropicbird from Tuas (Photograph courtesy of ACRES)

Rescued White-tailed Tropicbird from Tuas.  (Photograph courtesy of ACRES)

We all were expecting another quiet month when Yong Ding Li dropped a bombshell on 22nd. He reported that ACRES had retrieved a White-tailed Tropicbird, Phaethon Lepturus, from Pioneer Sector at Tuas. This will our very first record of an identified tropicbird in Singapore. From the yellowish wash in the plumage this is the Fulvus form. The Record’s Committee will be deliberating on its status and decide on its inclusion into the Checklist. There were two unidentified records of tropicbirds previously. One bird seen flying off Seletar on 11 December 1963 off (MBR 1964) and another in 1986 by Tan Gim Cheong off Serangoon Estuary. The nearest breeding colony is at the Cocos-Keeling and Christmas Islands.

Black-winged Flycatchershrike Wolfgang

The other big find for the month was a Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Hemipus hirundinaceus, photographed by a visiting German birdwatcher Wolfgang Kraemer, at Chek Java, P. Ubin on the 28th. This is our second record following Francis Yap’s sighting at the Jelutong Towers on 23 August 2013. This species was previously listed in Category F: Doubtful species because of mis-identification, but have since ungraded to Category A and added in the 2013 Checklist. Efforts to find this flycatchershrike two days later was not rewarded.

Oriental Darter Cherry Goh

The Oriental Darter captured by Cherry Goh at the Pekan Quarry on 2nd Ubin Day.

The migrants reported this month include a Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis at SBWR on 1st (Andy Dinesh). During Ubin Day an Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster, made a surprised appearance at the Pekan Quarry. It was first seen there by John Ascher sometime in April (per con Andy Dinesh). This Darter was first reported at Ketam Quarry co-incidentally during the first Ubin Day on 30th October 2014. It is not in our current checklist but these sightings will strengthen its inclusion. There were two sightings of the Oriental Honey Buzzards, Pernis ptilorthyncus, one a juvenile at the Botanic Gardens on 18th by Tan Eng Boo and the other a second year bird over at Dempsey Hill on 20th by Sampath Ah. Both are summering and will only return north next spring.

Blue-eared KF Wolfgang

A rare find for Pulau Ubin of a Blue-eared KingFisher by Wolfgang Kraemer.

Non-breeding visitors reported were a Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax, at the Kranji Park on 13th by Sampath Ah and the Cinereous Bulbul Hermixos flavala,at Chek Java on 28th by Wolfgang Kraemer. Wolfgang also photographed our forest Blue-eared Kingfisher, Alcedo meninting, there showing how this once Central Catchment species have spread. Choo Chong Teck showed us a photo of a Chrysococcyx cuckoo taken at the Tampines Mountain Bike Trail on 27th. It turned out to be another Horsfield Bronze Cuckoos Chrysococcyx basalis, at a new location. The Austral cuckoos at Punggol Barat were still wintering there as of the 28th based on reports from See Toh Wai Yew.

Grey-headed Fish-eagle David Awcock 2

Fishing Grey-headed Fish-eagle caught by David Awcock at the Swan Lake.

The resident Grey-headed Fish-eagles, Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus, were keeping the photographers busy with their daily fishing antics at the Singapore Botanic Garden’s Swan Lake. They were first videoed by Jeremiah Loei on 10th. A pair of Buffy Fish Owls Ketupa ketupu, were roosting at the Rain Forest section of the gardens (Zacc HD 13th). They were first spotted at the Gardens by Richard White last month on 8th May. We think that they may have been flushed out from the Tyersall side due to the construction of the new extension to the gardens.

The once rare Crested Goshawks Accipiter trivirgatus, are now being seen more often. Seng Alvin photographed a second year bird in flight over at Pasir Ris Park on 10th with another photographed at Ang Mo Kio Park by Audrey Ngo on 7th. Jia Wei Woo was delighted to have captured a Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus flying over at the Swan Lake on 27th. It was the resident ernesti race.

Other notable records were an Asian Drongo-Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris, photographed at the Dillenia Hut by Vincent Lao on 28th. This should to be our resident subspecies barussarum. A pair of Plaintive Cuckoos, Cacomantis merulinus were photographed at Punggol Barat on 23rd by Liz How. We usually get to see single bird of this species. From the sightings this month, it is evident that we cannot slack off for any periods if we are to keep track of the rarities.

Reference: Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng. 2009. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-east Asia. Craig Robson Asia Books Ltd.2000. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Simpson and Day, Edited by Francis Yap and Yong Ding Li. The above records are taken from the various bird FB groups. pages, reports and forums.  Many thanks for your postings. Many thanks to ACRES, Wolfgang Kraemer, David Awcock and Cherry Goh for the use of the photographs.

Singapore Bird Report – April 2015

Indian Pond Heron photographed on 11 April by Joseph Tan at Bidadari Cemetery. Potentially a new addition to the Singapore Check List.

Indian Pond Heron photographed on 11 April by Joseph Tan at Bidadari Cemetery. Potentially a new addition to the Singapore Checklist.

We may have a potential new addition to Singapore Check List when Joseph Tan B.K. photographed an Indian Pond Heron, Ardeola grayii at Bidadari on 11th if it is accepted by the Records Committee. He did not process it until he saw a post of the Indian Pond Heron a week later. Er Bong Siong shot the same Pond Heron on the 17th and posted it as a Javan Pond Heron. Francis Yap saw the photo and noticed the dark brown mantle and scapulars, diagnostic features of an Indian Pond Heron. Unfortunately the Indian Pond Heron took off the next day much to the disappointment of many birders. Our first record was a summer bird on 20th March 1994 at Senoko but was placed under Category D for wild birds where possibility of escapee or release cannot be ruled out. Before this record the most southern range for this Pond Heron was in Ipoh, Perak. Another potential addition to our Checklist was the third sighting of the Pied Cuckoo, Clamator jacobinus at Lorong Halus on 4th by Anthony Nik after Mark Oei’s at Halus Bridge and Lim Kim Chuah’s record at the Grebe pond last month.

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Asian Paradise Flycatcher Male making a one day stop over at Bidadari cemetery on 29th April. Alan OwYong.

We had been getting several rain storms in the late evenings and nights during the latter part of the month. As a result many of the migrants returning back north were forced to make a quick stop over here. We were pleasantly surprised that the migrants chose Bidadari Cemetery as their rest stop just as they did in the Autumn.  The list included the Hooded Pitta, Pitta sordida on 9th ( Frankie Lim), Chinese Pond Heron, Ardeola bacchus, a breeding Tiger Shrike, Lanius trigrinus,  and a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Ficedula zanthopygia,  all on the 18th reported by Tan Kok Hui, a Dark-sided Flycatcher, Muscicapa sibirica,  on 25th by Zacc HD and the star of Bidadari, a white morphed male Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone paradisi, on 29th (Paul Lee and Vincent Ng). Those who turned up that afternoon went away happy after getting this much sought after flycatcher on their sensors.

Asian Paradise Flycatcher at Tuas South by Chan Boon Hong

Asian Paradise Flycatcher at Tuas South by Chan Boon Hong

Returning migrants were also reported elsewhere. An incei Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone paradisi male was picked up at Tuas South on 9th by Chan Boon Hong on his way to work. Hooded Pitta, Pitta sordid, on 18th by Kweechang Ling, Crow-billed Drongo, Dicrurus annectans, and Black Bittern, Ixobrychus flavicollis, on 12th at the Gardens by the Bay, ( Kelvin Yong and  David Awcock respectively), Green-backed Flycatcher, Ficedula elisae on 24th at Rifle Range Link by Lim Kim Seng, Black-capped Kingfisher on 24th at P. Ubin by Scarlet Lee, another Dark-sided Flycatcher, Muscicapa sibirica, on 25th at Sime Forest by See Toh Yew Wai and a Grey Nightjar, Caprimulgus jotaka, on 28th at Tampines Eco Green by Ang Teck Leng. The Green-backed Flycatcher sighting may be our new extreme date, the last being 9th April.

Non-breeding visitors reported were a Crested Serpent Eagle, Spilornis cheela, at P.Ubin on 4th by Amanda Tay  and a male and female Jambu Fruit Dove, Ptilinopus jambu, at the MacRitchie Boardwalk on 22nd by Laurence Eu.

April is the month when most of our resident species were busy bringing up new broods. We have several nesting records all over the island. Lucy Davis put out a nesting box in her garden at Wilton Close a few years back and now a pair of Oriental Magpie Robin, Copsychus saularis, finally decided to use it on the 5th. Lee Van Hein reported a pair of Greater Racket-tailed Drongos, Dicrurus paradiseus, nesting high up in the Albizia at Hindhede Nature Park.  He also photographed Oriental White-Eyes,  Zosterops palpebrosus,  nesting at Jurong Eco Gardens on 15th. A pair of Common Flamebacks Dinopium javanense, were digging a nest hole at Pasir Ris Park on 18th (Lim Kim Keang) and Blue-throated Bee-eaters, Merops viridis, nesting at Jalan Kayu on 18th by Heather Gwach.

Sunda Scops Owl at Hindhede Nature Park by Frankie Lim

Sunda Scops Owl at Hindhede Nature Park by Frankie Lim

Interesting and notable resident species sightings include a Sunda Scops Owl, Otus lempiji, ( left ) at Hindhede NP during the day on 2nd by Frankie Lim, two grey morphed Pacific Reef Heron, Egretta sacra, at Sungei Buloh New Extension feeding during low tide on 3rd by Alan OwYong.

 

Black-crested Bulbul at Bukit Timah summit. Phototgraphed by Raghav.

Black-crested Bulbul at Bukit Timah summit. Photo by Raghav.

An introduced Black-Crested Bulbul, Pycnonotus melanicterus, at Bukit Timah NR on 4th by Raghav and Subha, Abbott’s Babbler, Malacocincia abbotti, at West Coast Park on 16th by Francis Yap, a lone House Swift, Apus nipalensis,  hawking for insects over at Labrador NP on 20th by Alan OwYong, Brown Hawk Owls, Ninox scutulata, off Mandai Road (L. Neo) and West Coast Park by Lim Kim Keang, five active and calling Mangrove Pittas, Pitta megarhyncha, and an Asian Drongo Cuckoo, Suniculus lugubris, at Pulau Ubin on 24th by David Tan, a rare Lesser Green Leafbird, Chloropsis cyanopogon, MacRitchie Forest on 26th by Lim Kim Seng and a Ruddy Kingfisher, Halcyon coromanda, at Pasir Ris Park on 28th by Lim Kim Chuah.  Good record for the Abbott’s Babbler returning to this part of the island. Both the Asian Drongo Cuckoo and Ruddy Kingfisher are also winter visitor and passage migrant respectively to our island. The House Swift is highlighted as their population have crashed in recent years.

Those who went out on the 2nd NSS Bird Group Pelagic Survey to the Straits of Singapore on 26th were rewarded with a rare sighting of a juvenile Lesser Frigatebird, Fregata ariel, and an adult Parasitic Jaeger, Stercorarius parasiticus. Other seabirds seen were Swinhoe’s Storm Petrels, Oceanodroma monorhis, and Lesser Crested, Thalasseus bengalensis, and Swift Terns, Thalasseus bergii.

Juvenile Lesser Frigatebird at Singapore Strait

Juvenile Lesser Frigatebird at Singapore Strait

An adult Parasitic Jaeger at Singapore Strait flying away at a distance.

An adult Parasitic Jaeger at Singapore Strait flying away at a distance.

Reference: The Avifauna of Singappore. Lim Kim Seng 2009. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-East Asia. Craig Robson. Asia Books Co. Ltd 2000. Edited by Francis Yap. The above records are taken from the various bird FB groups. pages, reports and forums.  Many thanks for your postings. Thanks to Joseph Tan, Francis Yap, Frankie Lim, Chan Boon Hong, Raghav and Alan OwYong for the use of your photos.