A number of rarities showed up in March 2021. An Asian Emerald Cuckoo Chrysococcyx maculatus, for which there are less than five records, was photographed by May Swales at Living Lab, Pulau Ubin on 5 Mar 2021. The female was present till 8 March (Wong Wai Loon).
At Lim Chu Kang Lane 3, Lau Jia Sheng photographed the elusive Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus on 6 Mar 2021. And at Marina East, Linda Teh photographed a Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus that made a brief visit on 19 Mar 2021. On 19 Mar 2021, another 1-day bird, a female Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius visited Catalina Tong’s high rise balcony along Thomson Road opposite Singapore Polo Club.
The Cotton Pygmy Goose Nettapus coromandelianus that showed up at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park last month was joined by a second bird on 2 Mar 2021 (Yk Goh) but both birds promptly disappeared the next day. The Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealoides noted at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) in February continued to be present from 1 Mar 2021 (Wilson Chua) till 13 Mar 2021 (Leslie Loh).
A rare Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea put up a brief appearance at Jurong Lake Gardens on 15 Mar 2021, photographed by Vincent Chin and Joseph Pher. Five days later, on 20 Mar 2021, one monarch, probably the same individual, showed up at Clementi Woods Park (Frank Rheindt) and remained for most of the day but disappeared thereafter.
At Dover Road on 8 Mar 2021, a pond heron that started to moult into breeding plumage showed signs of it being an Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii (Art Toh), and it would develop into full breeding plumage over the course of the month. A male Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata with long tail showed up at Coney Island on 18 Mar 2021 (Richard Wee) and those who braved the rain in the afternoon were rewarded with views of its exquisite beauty.
At Kent Ridge Park, a Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata skulked in the bushes on 23 Mar 2021 (Norman Wu), and was present till 26 Mar 2021 (Lee Chin Pong). On a northeastern island, a Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes showed up on 20 Mar 2021 (Frankie Cheong). Two Oriental Pratincoles Glareola maldivarum gave close views at the Marina East field on 2 Mar 2021 (Vincent Yip).
The skittish Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata was recorded at Upper Peirce Reservoir Park on 6 Mar 2021 by Teo Soon Haur, and at Turut Track on 14 Mar 2021 by Fitri Titi. The Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus was first noted near 1036 Sembawang Road on 15 Mar 2021 by Desmond Yap, with up to 17 birds showing on 19 Mar (Fadzrun A.); the species was also recorded at Lorong Halus on 21 Mar 2021 and up to 12 birds were observed (Russel Boyman).
Two smart-looking male Yellow-rumped Flycatchers Ficedula zanthopygia were recorded at Upper Peirce Reservoir Park on 14 Mar 2021 by Lam SG, and another two males at Jurong Lake Gardens on 20 Mar 2021 by Yang Chee Meng. A shy Large Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides was noted at Changi Business Park on 3 Mar 2021 (Ash Foo), and an injured individual, probably from flying into a window, was resting on a tree along Jalan Pemimpin on 15 Mar 2021, noted by Lian Yee Ming.
The next three species were recorded at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio (BAMK) Park and another location. A Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa at BAMK on 11 Mar 2021 was coming into breeding plumage (Pher Joseph) while the one at Marina East at 29 Mar 2021 had attained breeding colours (Herman Phua). A Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus at BAMK on 15 Mar 2021 (Sneo), and another at Springleaf Nature Park on 20 Mar 2021 (Ho Kinyunn) were in recognizable breeding colours. A female Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was at BAMK on 12 Mar 2021 (Vincent Yip) and a male at Eco Lake, Botanic Gardens on 18 Mar 2021 (Steve Ang).
The juvenile diffusus Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis was still at SBWR on 12 Mar 2021 (Tan Gim Cheong) and the Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha at Pasir Ris Park was also still around on 20 Mar 2021 (Keith Loh). A Black-headed Bulbul Brachypodius atriceps was recorded at Jelutong Tower on 5 Mar 2021 by Emily Wong; a female Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis was at Turut Track on 14 Mar 2021 (Fitri Titi); two Chestnut-winged Cuckoos Clamator coromandus were recorded at Coney Island on 15 Mar 2021 by Sze Kai; and a Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea was at Windsor Nature Park on 31 Mar 2021 (Yip Jen Wei).
Steven Struyck photographed a White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis holding a mouse it its beak on 8 Mar 2020, and Joseph Lim photographed a Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris holding a baby squirrel in its beak.
As for species which are more clearly escapees, there was an Asian Pied Starling Gracupica contra at Jurong Lake Gardens on 18 Mar 2021, photographed by Gan Lee Hsia; a Crested Myna Acridotheres cristatellus at Changi Business Park on 22 Mar 2021 photographed by Nomis Gnat; and a small flock of Zebra Finches Taeniopygia guttata at Upper Peirce Reservoir Park, one of which was caught by an adult Brahminy Kite Haliastur Indus on 3 Mar 2021, photographed by Liu Xiao Dong.
Mating was observed for these two species: Pied Trillers Lalage nigra on 5 Mar 2021 by Sim Chip Chye, and Red-crowned Barbets Psilopogon rafflesii on 14 Mar 2021 by Ivan Khor. Copper-throated Sunbirds Leptocoma calcostethawerenestbuilding at SBWR on 4 Mar 2021, observed by Koh Wen Min, who saw 6 birds.
On 14 Mar 2021, Tabiyeo photographed two Grey Herons Ardea cinerea at their nest at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. On 18 Mar 2021 Alyssa Sng photographed a Pied Imperial Pigeon Ducula bicolor sitting on its nest. An active Coppersmith Barbet Psilopogon haemacephalusnest was observed Jurong Lake Gardens on 16 Mar 2021 by Tan Gim Cheong, and another at Hampstead Wetlands by William Chua on 19 Mar 2021. On 23 Mar 2021, Philip Ng photographed a male Common Iora Aegithina tiphiasitting on its nest at Lorong Halus. And on 24 Mar 2021, Helen Tee recorded a pair of Collared Kingfishers nesting at Pasir Ris Park.
A Barred Buttonquail Turnix suscitator chick was accompanied by its parent at Jurong Lake Gardens on 24 Mar 2021, observed by Dennis Lim, while Tracy Doan saw a Golden-bellied Gerygone Gerygone sulphurea feeding a Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus, its brood parasite.
There were four reported nestings for the Black-naped Oriole. One nest was observed outside Sophia Residences on 18 Mar 2021 by Eric Tan. On 20 Mar 2021 Khoo MeiLin reported a nest at West Coast Park being raided by a pair of Oriental Pied Hornbills which were undeterred by the mobbing by the adult orioles. Tan Tze Siong reported a successful nesting at Bukit Timah with two chicks fledging, he also noted that the parents fed the chicks with a baby bird. At Satay by the Bay, a nest with two chicks was observed on 15 Mar 2021 (Steve Ang), it was unusually open, perhaps as a result of the nest tree shedding leaves. On 17 Mar 2021 Andy Chew saw a House Crow Corvus splendens taking one chick from the nest, and killing it. On 19 Mar 2021, another Black-naped Oriole tried to raid the nest but was driven away, and on 22 Mar 2021, the remaining chick fledged (David Kow). This last pair fed their chicks with small geckos, grasshoppers and small round fruits (16 Mar 2021, Tan Gim Cheong).
At Pulau Ubin on 8 Mar 2021, a male Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris was feeding its family through the slit in a man-made nestbox, observed by Lee Chin Pong. Unfortunately for theOriental Pied Hornbill nest in the vicinity of Hampstead Wetlands, one chick was found dead on 14 Mar 2021 by Justin Jing Liang, and another chick dead on 19 Mar 2021, observed by Valli Nalla. On 21 Mar 2021 the male was still seen feeding the female through the slit (Tuck Loong), but the hole was reported as having been unsealed on 22 Mar 2021 by a birder who goes by the initials “R L”.
Three nestings were also reported for the House Crow, all of which were parasitized by the Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus. At Marina East on 9 Mar 2021, Neo Jinju observed a koel chick being hosted by the crows. At Fort Road car park on 25 Mar 2021, a nest with three crow chicks and one koel chick was observed by Sylvester Goh. And at Yishun Street 22 on 18 Mar 2021, Keith Hutton found three koel fledglings out of the nest being fed by the crows.
This report is compiled by Tan Gim Cheong, assisted by Geoff Lim & Alan OwYong. We are grateful for the birders and photographers whose postings in various Facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from eBird make up this report. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified.
Many thanks to May Swales, Lau Jia Sheng, Art Toh, and Lum Lai Har, for allowing us to use their photographs.