Tag Archives: Black-naped Monarch

Singapore Bird Report – October 2019

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

The Black-naped Monarch at the Botanic Gardens

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

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

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

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

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

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) and Fringe Parks

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

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

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

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

Singapore Botanic Gardens

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

Central Singapore

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

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

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

APFC, 161119, Bida, Last Romeo Amin

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

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

Northern Singapore

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

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

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

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

Eastern Singapore

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

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

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

Southern Singapore

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

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

Western Singapore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

REFERENCE

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

Singapore Bird Report – September 2019

by Geoff Lim & Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

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

Glossy Ibis Sighting

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

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

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) & Fringes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Singapore Botanic Gardens

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

Central Singapore

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

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

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

Northern Singapore

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

Eastern Singapore

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

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

Southern Singapore

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

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

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

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

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

Western Singapore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pelagic Sightings

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

Red-necked Phalarope Sighting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References:

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

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

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

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