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Mobbing of a Collared Owlet at Fraser’s Hill

By Connie Khoo.

The Collared Owlet Glaucidium brodiei, is a small owl of montane forests of Malaya. Birders to Fraser’s Hill will be familiar with its toot-toot-toot call in the day time. I was birding there with Laurence Eu, a birder friend from Singapore last week when we came across a cacophony of excited bird calls by the roadside. It was early evening. We thought that it was a mini bird wave. But the tones of the calls were different. They sounded like more like alarm and distress calls.

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Streaked Spiderhunter is the most aggressive of the lot. Photo: Laurence Eu

When we got out of our car, we found a Collared Owlet perched on a small branch. A flock of smaller birds were mobbing it. A group of six Silver-eared Mesias took turns to harass it with pair of Black-throated Sunbirds. Five munias joined in. In the failing light I cannot make out if they were White-rumped or White-bellied as both species occur there.

But it was the pair of Streaked Spiderhunters that actually attacked the owlet, coming close to peck at it. The owlet tolerated the harassment for a while but moved to other perches when the “attacks’ continued. It eventually flew off after withstanding 30 minutes of this and peace resumed.

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Silver-eared Mesias were the most numerous, six were taking turns in the mobbing. 

Why do these different species gang up to attack the owlet? Could it be that they see it as a common “enemy’, a known predator of their nestings? We see this mobbing behaviour with the Oriental Whip Snake as well,

Apart from watching such a drama, we had a bonus of also seeing a rare White-browed Shrike-babbler that was attracted to the commotion and joined in the collective mobbing. This was certainly one of the highlights of the trip.

Contributed by Connie Khoo with edits by Alan OwYong.

Ref: Craig Robson. A field Guide to Birds of Thailand and South-East Asia. Asia Books Co. Ltd 2000.

 

Birdwatching at Kranji Marshes 19.2.17

Birdwatching at Kranji Marshes on Sunday, 19 Feb 2017

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Members of Nature Society posing for a group photo at Kranji Marshes. Many thanks to Lee Ee Ling (squatting extreme right) for arranging and leading the walk, Yap Wee Jin ( squatting extreme left) and Wing Chong ( standing back left) for assisting. 

It was a cool and sunny Sunday morning when we arrived at the Kranji Marshes. A lush expense of greenery and cool waters greeted us when we stepped out of the bus. The hustle and bustle and noise of city life was replaced by the chipping sounds of birds all around. Everyone had their binoculars and cameras out ready for action when we started our walk at 8.15 am. This is one of the monthly walks to the core area of Kranji Marshes arranged by the Bird Group of the Nature Society (Singapore) with Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and National Parks Board. 

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The family of Red-wattled Lapwings have made Kranji Marshes their permanent home.

As we proceeded into the core area, less common birds such as the Red Wattled Lapwing and Daurian Starling were spotted. However, the highlight and top sighting for the day was the appearance of two Watercocks.  

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Highlight of the walk were the two Watercocks, a lifer for many of our members

Even though they only appeared for a brief moment, it was enough to make this trip worthwhile as they are uncommon winter visitor. A lifer for several members of the group who were obviously delighted with this sighting. ☺

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Bird watching in one of the many hides ensured that the birds were not disturbed.

Despite a brief moment of apprehension on seeing some black clouds in the sky towards the tail end of our walk, the good weather prevailed and our time passed quickly.

More pictures of birds sighted at the Kranji Marshes. 

Resident Ashy Tailorbird, Baya Weaver and a winter visitor Daurian Starling 

We ended our walk at 11 am with a good haul of 35 species much to the delight of all those who choose to spend the Sunday morning at the largest fresh water marsh in Singapore. 

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One of our many colorful Kingfishers, the White-throated poised for a catch.

Some additional information on our sightings:

Bird species sighted:                             Bird species heard:

1/ Purple Heron                                       1/ Yellow Bellied Prinia

2/ Javan Mynah                                        2/ Large Billed Crow

3/ Pink Necked Green Pigeon               3/ Collared Kingfisher

4/ Baya Weaver                                          4/ Common Iora

5/ Black Naped Oriole                              5/ Common Tailorbird

6/ Olive Backed Sunbird

7/ Common Flameback Woodpecker

8/ Red Breasted Parakeet

9/ Black Browed Reed Warbler

10/ Spotted Dove

11/ Red Wattled Lapwing

12/ Black Baza

13/ Lesser Coucal

14/ Blue Tailed Bee Eater

15/ Barn Swallow

16/ Long Tailed Parakeet

17/ Yellow Bittern

18/ Yellow Vented Bulbul

19/ Brahminy Kite

20/ Swifts

21/ Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker

22/ Daurian Starling

23/ WaterCock

24/ Brown Shrike

25/ Asian Glossy Starling

26/ Pied Fantail

27/ Common Kingfisher

28/ Lesser Whistling Ducks

29/ Grey Headed Fish Eagle

30/ White Throated Kingfisher

31/ Scarlet Backed Flowerpecker

32/ White Breasted Waterhen

33/ Intermediate Egret

34/ Ashy Tailorbird

35/ Oriental Dollarbird

All Bird photos : Courtesy of Henrietta Woo

Birdwatching leader : Lee Ee Ling

Assisted by : Wing Chong, Yap Wee Jin

Report by : Yap Wee Jin

Singapore Raptor Report – January 2017

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Oriental Scops Owl, rufous morph, roosting, Dairy Farm Nature Park, 10 Jan 2017, by Tan Gim Cheong

Summary for migrant species:

The highlight for January was the two Oriental Scops Owls at Dairy Farm Nature Park first seen on the 10th. Amazingly, both the grey and rufous morph of this rare migrant were present, roosting on the same tree next to the Wallace Education Centre!

All in, a total of 106 migrant raptors of 8 species were recorded. The Black Baza claimed the top spot with 43 birds, relegating the Oriental Honey Buzzard to the second place with 40 birds. There were 11 Japanese Sparrowhawks, including a juvenile feeding on a Zebra Dove at Pasir Ris Park on the 2nd.

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Oriental Scops Owl, grey morph, which was more alert and often opened its eyes, Dairy Farm Nature Park, 10 Jan 2017, by Tan Gim Cheong

Two Jerdon’s Bazas were first photographed at Chek Jawa on the 14th, and 2 birds photographed at Pasir Ris Park on the 18th were most likely the same individuals. The juvenile Eastern Imperial Eagle was still at Pulau Sekudu on the 1st and 2nd. Unfortunately, there was an oil spill on the 3rd which affected the area and the eagle was not seen again until the 8th when it appeared briefly in the afternoon and was photographed. After that it was not seen again.

There were 4 Peregrine Falcons, including a juvenile in pursuit of a Grey Plover in level flight at Pulau Ubin. The young Peregrine failed to catch the agile Grey Plover. Of the 3 Ospreys, 1 was at Pulau Ubin and 2 at Kranji Marshes. The absence of the Chinese Sparrowhawk was notable.

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Crested Goshawk, male (left), female (right), Bedok North, 23 Jan 2017, by Tan Gim Cheong.

Highlights for sedentary species:

January was a good month for the rare Crested Serpent Eagle as 4 birds were recorded – one at Pulau Ubin, one at the Kent Ridge area and two at Sembawang. Amazingly, 12 Crested Goshawks were recorded, probably the highest number ever in a month! Two adults and 2 juveniles at West Coast Park, a chick on a nest near the top of a raintree at the Botanic Gardens and a pair with 2 young chicks on a nest among the thick foliage of a tree in the car park of an HDB estate in Bedok North bode well for the population of this uncommon resident.

A single adult male torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzzard was photographed at Jelutong Tower on the 6th, and a single Black-winged Kite was recorded at Pulau Punggol on the 14th. On the 26th, 8 White-bellied Sea Eagles comprising 3 adults and 5 immatures were present at the same time at Chek Jawa, with a number of them harassing a Great-billed Heron which had caught a catfish. The Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Brahminy Kite and Changeable Hawk-Eagle completed the roundup for the month.

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For the pdf version, please click singapore-raptor-report-jan-2017

Year of the Red Jungle Rooster

Contributed by Seng Alvin.

As we will be welcoming the Year of the Rooster in a few days time, there is no better time to write something about our Red Jungle Fowl, Galus galus, without which we will not have our Hainanese  Chicken Rice.

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They are now seen all over the island from parks and gardens to our housing estates. But they were not recorded by our earlier authors up to the late 70s. The first record was from Pulau Ubin in 1985/86 from observations  by Lim Kim Keang, other birders and residents. This population, likely from Johor, had since established itself. Pulau Ubin is still considered the stronghold for this species. The first mainland record were two females seen at Poyan on 29 January 1998. (SINAV 12.1).

The spread of this species together with introduced stock and escapees to the rest of the island have resulted in hybrid birds roaming all over our parks and gardens. The danger will be a dilution of the original species in Ubin if it has not happened yet. Another concern is the spread of bird flu if it surfaces in Singapore again.

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Pasir Ris Park has a few families of the Red Jungle Fowls, with 30-40 birds, thriving in this mangrove parkland. The most recent was this hybrid family where the mother was a domestic hen with a complete white plumage. The father seems to be a Red Jungle Fowl. Why did it choose to mate with a domestic hen instead one of the wilder birds around?

It was seen hanging around at a distant to the mother and her seven chicks but did not feed with them. This strange behavior may be of rejection by the hen and the reluctance of the father to abandon the family or normal for the mother bird to bring up the chicks alone. What do you think? Interestingly the chicks are both white and brown taking the genes from each parent. I will monitor this family and seen how the chicks will turn out when they become adults.

Gong Xi Fa Cai to all.

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

First observation of Necrophilia (sex with the dead) in the Red Turtle Dove

Early in January 2016, while driving along Lim Chu Kang Lane 1, I stopped the car to photograph a male Red Turtle Dove, Streptopelia tranquebarica, that was flushed by traffic up a lamp post.

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A male Red Turtle Dove on a lamp post

Moments later, the dove flew down to the road and started to puff itself up around a brownish clump lying motionless on the road.

Looking through my binoculars, i realised that it was displaying to a dead female Red Turtle Dove! I’ve never seen a live bird displaying to a dead one – interesting indeed.

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Male Red Turtle Dove displaying to a dead female

 

After a while, the male started to climb on top of the dead female.

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The male climbing on top of the dead female. (note the position of the female’s tail).

Then the male sat on the female and copulated, or attempted to copulate with the dead female, shifting her tail right-left-right a few times!

 

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The male on the female (note the female’s tail is shifted to the right).

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The male continues to copulate, or attempted to copulate with the dead female (note the female’s tail has shifted back).

 

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The male still copulating or attempting to copulate with the dead female (note the female’s tail is shifted to the right).

The female is probably a roadkill, which is not uncommon on rural roads such as this one.

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The fresh body of a female Red Turtle Dove on the road.

 

A quick search on the internet revealed that necrophilia has been reported in some species of birds, but not the Red Turtle Dove. This incident could be the first instance of necrophilia observed for the Red Turtle Dove.

Nature surprises in unexpected manners!

 

 

 

Changeable Hawk-Eagles of Singapore

In 2010, the Bird Group of the Nature Society (Singapore) initiated a Small Bird Study Grant to encourage research on threatened birds species in Singapore. The grant of  up to $2,000 would provide financial support to successful applicant to carry out research projects on these species in Singapore. Since its inception, we had awarded three grants to the following projects:

Tan Kok Hui for “The Study and Distribution of the Changeable Hawk-eagles in Singapore” in 2011. Ng Wen Qing for “Ecology interaction of Birds and Figs in Singapore ” in 2012. Felix Wong for “ Impact of the Introduced species like the Lineated Barbet and White-crested Laughingthrush on our native Birds”

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This nest( left) taken at Faber Forest in April 2015 from across the road at Trade Hub by Klenn Koh. The Forest has since been cleared for a bus depot.

In this article, we provide a summary of Tan Kok  Hui’s study of our Changeable Hawk-eagles Nisaetus cirrhatus across Singapore. Raptors in Singapore are generally not well studied, and the Changeable Hawk-eagle is no exception.. It is listed in the Singapore Red Data Book as a nationally threatened, uncommon resident. Being an apex predator, the Changeable Hawk-eagle is an indicator species of the health of our ecosystems. A decline in the population of its prey species, which includes anything from Plaintain Squirrels and Monitor Lizards to young Long-tailed Macaques would thus have detrimental impacts on the population of this large raptor.

Prior to 1992 there were no documented records of nesting of the Changeable Hawk-eagle in the whole of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Our first confirmed nesting record of the species came in the early 2000s and it was regarded as a rare resident breeder then.

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The subspecies limnaeetus that occurs in Singapore is the only one in the region that is polymorphic

Kok Hui’s project was successful in locating many nesting sites over one season of field work and thus was able to establish a new estimate of the Changeable Hawk-eagle population. In all he found six active nesting sites outside the nature reserves, mostly at the north-western part of the island ( e.g. Poyan, Neo Tiew, Mandai West, Woodlands). One nest each was found in south ( Mount Faber) and east ( Changi). The large nests were usually built with sticks on Albizia trees in secondary woodland since these are often the tallest trees around.

Three pairs of Changeable Hawk-eagle were also recorded away from these nest sites. They were at Sarimbun, Seletar Camp and the Singapore Quarry. Additionally, a few inactive nests were seen at Pasir Ris, Dairy Farm, Temenggong Road and Bukit Batok.

Based on the study, it can be concluded that there were at least nine nesting pairs of Changeable Hawk-eagles distributed in Singapore outside of the Central nature reserves. The present evidence collected by Kok Hui suggests that the Changeable Hawk-eagle is adapting well to Singapore’s landscape, especially the remnant areas of tall secondary woodland. To ensure that large raptors such as the Changeable Hawk-eagle can continue to survive in the urban jungle of Singapore, it is important that our remnant woodlands, especially those with stands of Albizzia (Falcataria moluccana) trees be retained and conserved for their biodiversity value.

Compiled by Alan OwYong and Yong Ding Li from Tan Kok Hui’s paper ”  The Study and Distribution of the Changeable Hawk-eagles in Singapore 2011″. Many thanks to Klenn Koh for the use of his photo.

 

 

 

Birding West Coast Park

Text and Photos by Keita Sin

West Coast Park is where my birding journey begun in January 2014 and I’ve gotten quite a lot of interesting lifers there. This park, however, is probably not one of the places many would include their birding itinerary. Though usually associated with McDonald’s and the iconic giant pyramid, West Coast Park actually has a good diversity of bird life to offer.

Marsh Gardens

Located at the western end of the park, the best part about this place is that due to the small size, many of the birds can be seen at close proximity.

The highlight of the Marsh Gardens would probably be this lone Great-Billed Heron that has been seen rather consistently since September 2015.

photo-1wGreat-Billed Heron. This is an uncropped photo from a 300mm focal length x 1.6 crop factor. There are not many places in Singapore which offers such a close view of this bird.

The Marsh Gardens boardwalk, though a short one, is worth exploring too. A family of Abbott Babblers has been recorded there and I once encountered this friendly juvenile Crested Goshawk, which might have flew over from Kent Ridge Park. I was told that Black Bitterns had been seen here in the past ( per con Alan OwYong).

photo-2wCrested Goshawk, February 2015.

Carpark 2

The area around Carpark 2, especially the patch of vegetation indicated in this map, is another interesting area worth exploring (it’s quite hard to describe a location in West Coast Park).

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Map retrieved from NParks. Watch out for snakes and random holes when exploring the area.

I found a lone Spotted Wood Owl here in August 2016, and a flock of Pied-Imperial Pigeon is usually around in the morning. I’ve seen most of Singapore’s parrots (every in the checklist except the Blue-Rumped Parrot) here too. The palm trees probably attract them to the area. A trio of Tanimbar Corellas and two Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos frequent this place as well.

photo-4wSulphur-Crested Cockatoo perched on a Pong Pong tree. They have been seen chewing on the pulp of the fruit.

The eastern half of West Coast Park

Majority of the people whom I see in the eastern half of West Coast Park are either joggers or dog-owners, because there are barely any facilities there apart from a dog-run. Just trees, trees and more trees – fantastic for birds.

I didn’t expect to see this Orange-Headed Thrush on a young Casuarina tree.

photo-5wOrange-Headed Thrush, December 2015.

I experienced one of my greatest birding moments so far when I spotted this Black-Capped Kingfisher through my binoculars.

photo-6wBlack-Capped Kingfisher, January 2016

Birding in West Coast Park

West Coast Park is a rather elongated one, so be prepared to walk some distance if you intend to explore the whole place. While there were few reports of rare finds in this park, the environment is fantastic for birding and it could just be because not many birders visit the place.

If you are unable to decide on a location this migratory season, do give West Coast Park a try. I was told that a Hooded Pitta spent a few week wintering here some years back.

Reference: Craig Robson. A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-East Asia. Asia Books Co. Ltd.

Pelagic Birding in the Straits of Singapore.

Pelagic birding in the Singapore Straits. 18 Sept 2016. Text and Photos by Dirk Tomsa. 

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Cruising eastwards at the start of out Pelagic with the Singapore skyline in the distance. Photo: Gerard Francis.

On 18 September 2016, the Bird Group of the Nature Society Singapore organized its first pelagic birdwatching trip for its members. There were ten of us including the leaders Alfred Chia and Lim Kim Keang. We left Sentosa Marina just before 6 am and set course for the Singapore Straits. I had done a few pelagics in Australia before and always loved them, so I was full of anticipation when we finally cleared immigration – yes, passport clearence out at sea, a first for me – and headed out to more open water. Compared to my previous experiences in the cold waters of the Southern ocean, this tropical pelagic promised very different birds. Terns, not albatrosses or prions, would be most prominent, with up to eight different species possible including the beautiful Aleutian Tern which migrates through Singaporean waters around this time of the year. Furthermore, we were hoping to see Swinhoe’s Storm-Petrel, another migratory species that routinely passes through the Singapore Straits in September. For me personally, these two were the main targets as both would be lifers for me. And, as it turned out, I would not be disappointed.   

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Terns like this Greater Crested Terns will be the most prominent pelagic species encountered.

In fact, it didn’t take long at all until we saw the first storm-petrels. Navigating the waves low above the surface, several small groups of Swinhoe’s whizzed past the boat, but unfortunately none of them came really close so that it was difficult to clearly see the subtle markings on these essentially brown birds. Eventually, my binoculars captured a bird close enough to the boat to enable me making out the slightly paler, crescent-shaped wing bar. Most birds, however, kept their distance and so I felt kind of reassured that Swinhoe’s was actually the only ‘stormie’ likely to be encountered here. Identifying different species at this long range would be a huge challenge. In the end, Alfred and Kim Keang confirmed that all storm-petrels seen that day were Swinhoe’s and that the total number of birds migrating through the straits that morning must have been around 300-350. Good numbers indeed, and a valuable tick for my list.

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At this time of the year, the Straits of Singapore is one of the best places to see these Swinhoe’s Storm Petrels as they migrate through the Straits. More than 320 were counted this morning. Photo: Gerard Francis.

The storm-petrels were most abundant early in the morning. As the clock approached 9 am, the little brown birds became scarcer and we turned our attention to terns. Apparently a solitary Little Tern bid farewell to our boat as we left Sentosa but I had missed it, watching the distant silhouette of a Brahminy Kite instead.

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Close up view of two Great Crested Terns in non-breeding plumage at the yellow buoy.

But now out at sea, more and more terns appeared near the boat. As expected, the most numerous were the fairly common Greater Crested Terns. More than twenty of this large tern species flew past throughout the trip and we were treated to some close-up views early on when a group of six perched on a buoy. We circled the buoy a couple of times so that everyone could get a good look. For the majority on board, this was their first pelagic birdwatching trip, so seeing these large terns so close was a great experience for all.

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The Lesser Crested Tern on the left and the Greater side by side for comparison. The bright orange bill of the Lesser is a good feature to tell them apart.

Getting such good views of the very similar Lesser Crested Tern took a lot longer. In fact, we had to wait until we passed the same buoy again on the way back. This time the six Greater Crested Terns shared the tight space with two Lesser Crested Terns, thereby providing an excellent opportunity to compare these two species at close range. Despite the names, the difference in size is actually not that big, but the brightly coloured bills – orange in the Lesser, yellow in the Greater – made it easy for everyone on board to tell the birds apart.

In between our two encounters with the Crested Terns, there was a prolonged period where there were no birds at all. During this intermezzo, my thoughts drifted and I struggled to stay awake as my body reminded me that I had gotten up at 4.30 am. I staved off the temptation to just close my eyes by chatting with other participants, eating some snacks or looking at the field guides Alfred and Kim Keang had kindly provided. And then, just when I was about to doze off, another bird appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

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Bridled Tern with its distinctive dark upper wings and eyebrow. An uncommon winter visitor.  

A Bridled Tern emerged near the boat and was gone within seconds, but then another one appeared. And another. With their dark upper-wings and distinct eyebrow, these are among my favourite terns. We would see several others later on, but most of them remained distant specs on the horizon and unfortunately not everybody on board saw them.  

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Fantastic views of the Aleutian Tern resting on a flotsam,  a well known habitat for this tern. We counted eight of these wonderful terns during the trip.

The Bridled Terns had barely disappeared out of sight when someone from the front of the boat shouted ‘bird on water’. That sounded promising for Aleutian Tern because this species is well-known for its habit to rest on flotsam. And sure enough, an Aleutian Tern it was. Undisturbed by our approaching boat the bird perched calmly on a piece of driftwood, allowing fantastic views and great photo opportunities. Soon we saw a second bird perched a bit further away. All in all, we counted eight of these wonderful terns.

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An uncommon Common Tern was our last and sixth tern species for the day.

Yet, not every tern on the water was an Aleutian Tern. Thanks to the sharp eyes of our ever-watchful guides, one of the flotsam squatters was identified as a Common Tern, a species which despite its name is actually fairly uncommon in Singapore waters. This was the sixth and last tern species to go onto our list for the day. The other two possibilities, Black-naped and White-winged Tern, did not grace us with an appearance this time, but that was only a minor blemish on an otherwise thoroughly rewarding trip.   

A big thank you to Alfred and the Bird Group for organising this trip, both Alfred and Kim Keang for the guiding and Gerard Francis for the use of his photos.

        

Saving Bidadari.

By Alan OwYong and Dr. Ho Hua Chew.

The long road of Bidadari

How much of this verdant greenery will be left?

When the Housing and Development Board (HDB) announced the building of a new town at both the Christian and Muslim cemeteries along Upper Aljuneind Road on May 2012, the green community and nature lovers were up-in-arms against the plans.

We have good reasons to do so.  The loss of a verdant urban green lung of matured woodlands rich in birdlife especially for the passerine migrants during the autumn and spring seasons will be great. A Facebook page “Saving Bidadari for the Birds and People” was started to bring attention to the diversity of the place. No less than 155 species have since been recorded there. Many are globally threatened species like the Brown-chested Jungle Flycatchers, Cyornis brunneata, , that make it way to the same bush every year. Another regular visitor is the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone atrocauda. We even had a “national first” record last year, when a female Narcissus Flycatcher, Ficedula narcissina, was photographed here.

Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher Bida

Bidadari is the favorite rest stop for the globally threatened Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher

The HBD appointed Urban Strategies Inc. as the master planner for Bidadari. They proposed a “Community in a Garden” theme by preserving the hilly and lush wooded landscape and creating a generous regional park which is part of the URA 2008 Master Plan.

The Nature Society (Singapore) and its Bird Group then drew up a Conservation Proposal (Link) to keep the larger part of the Muslim cemetery as a parkland for the estate. (See Map below). It was submitted to the HDB on 7 December 2012.

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Map from the 4 December 2012 Straits Times showing NSS proposed parkland and bird sanctuary. 

The Conservation Committee and Bird Group members of the Society subsequently met with the HDB and National Parks Board (NParks) to see how we can meet the aspirations of both the nature and heartland communities. We were informed that the plan was to set aside 10 hectare for the parkland, a size meant of larger estates like Ang Mo Kio. Unfortunately the area chosen for the park was more open and not where most of the birds were found.

The Bird Group of the NSS then conducted a GPS mapping and survey of migrant species during the 2012 autumn migration period to find out where the migrants spent their winter and stop over. Based on the findings of this mapping survey, the Society submitted an alternative proposal to the HDB on 25 September 2013. We proposed that the 10 hectare park be sited at the densely wooded hillock and portions hugging Bartley Road. We also advocate for low rise apartments for the remaining areas especially for those facing north along Bartley Road.

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GPS mapping and survey of migrant birds in 2012.

This alternative proposal has help to review the location of this regional park. While it is not exactly where we wanted it to be we can confirm that the denser portions of the park will be kept untouched as a natural sanctuary for those residents who prefer the wilder greenery. The rest of the park will have the usual amenities to cater for the general park users. A new lake will be created on the other Christian Cemetery side to add a new water habitat to the park. We hope that this in turn will attract more water birds and wild ducks to the park.

For sure, Bidadari will not be the same again even though some of the older trees will be moved to create new green areas.  Most if not all the Albizias, the foraging haunts of many migratory flycatchers, cuckoos, drongos, etc., will be cut down, and the species diversity in the remaining wooded patch, amidst the surrounding concrete, will drop drastically.

Reference: The Conservation Committee. Nature Society (Singapore).

NParks BioBlitz 2016

Contributed by Lim Kim Chuah, Chairman Bird Group. 12 March 2016.

 

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Dr. Lena Chan Director of  National Biodiversity Center at Nparks officiating at the BioBlitz 2016.

NSS Bird Group participated in the SGBioBlitz event on 12 March 2016. This is the first time NParks is organizing this event and its part of NParks’ Citizen Science program. The event was held at Pasir Ris Park. The BioBlitz is an intensive biodiversity activity where experts work with members of the public to identify and count as many plants and animals in a 12 hour period from 12 am to 12 pm.

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Lim Kim Keang briefing the participants for this morning’s bird survey.

The Bird Group was obviously focused on counting birds. We had 4 teams and each team counted in a designated sector of Pasir Ris Park. Kim Keang also led an early morning count that started at 4 am. A number of volunteers from the public also joined us in the count.

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Lim Kim Chuah, Chairman of the Bird Group giving a summary of the birds seen this morning.

 

At the end of the event, we counted 58 species of birds excluding two unidentified species – swiftlet and a raptor. The 58 species represents about 37% of the park total – not bad for a brief 7-8 hour count!

 

BFO LKC

Highlights of the count must be seeing the famous One-eyed Buffy Fish Owl roosting in the dense mangrove. Despite the loss of its left eye, this individual continues to thrive here. Another owl, the Spotted Wood Owl was heard early in the morning by Kim Keang but not seen despite a thorough search among its usual roosting trees. Other usual residents of the park were also seen including the Red Junglefowl, Oriental Pied Hornbill and many local songbirds like the Oriental Magpie Robin, Common Iora, Pied Triller, Pied Fantail, Olive-backed and Brown-throated Sunbird.

 

Migrants were also very conspicuous including 5-7 Oriental Pratincole, one Indian Cuckoo, several Arctic Warbler, Tiger Shrike and numerous Asian Brown Flycatcher. These birds were probably on their way back home in the north.

ABFC LKC

Brown Streaked or Dark-sided Flycatcher? on the Spring migration back

Overall, it had been a successful event and the Bird Group is proud to be part of this event. Thanks go to the leaders of the count including Low Choon How, Lee Ee Lin, Lim Kim Keang and Alan Owyong. Also special mention to Lim Kim Keang for coordinating and working with NParks to ensure that we have a successful count. Last but not least, to Alvin Seng, a “regular” of Pasir Ris Park for leading me in the count.

Red Jungle Fowl LKC

Red Jungle Fowl doing well here.

Bronzeback, Pink-necked Pigeons and Pied Triller. All photos by Lim Kim Chuah.