Tag Archives: Black-winged Stilt

Singapore Bird Report – August 2021

by Geoff Lim & Isabelle Lee,
and Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

Residents continued to breed, and migrants started to make their way from their northern breeding grounds to Singapore in August; while most sightings of migrants were of shorebirds, migratory songbirds have also begun to arrive.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve – CCNR

CW Babbler, 018021, Geoff Lim

Chestnut-winged Babbler at Thomson Nature Park on 1 Aug 2021 by Geoff Lim.

Forest species continue to be observed within and along the tracks leading into the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.  The presence of species such as a Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Treron curvirostra, a Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Phaenicophaeus sumatranus, a Short-tailed Babbler, Pellorneum malaccense, and a pair of Blue-winged Leafbird, Chloropsis cochinchinensis, were noted along Rifle Range Link on 29 August 2021 by Wai Heng Lua, who also spotted a Crested Honey Buzzard, Pernis ptilorhynchus. Other birds seen within the CCNR were one Red-crowned Barbet, Megalaima rafflesii, and three Asian Red-eyed Bulbul, Pycnonotus brunneus, spotted by Ester Gerber on 31 Aug 2021.

The tracks around Mandai, such as Mandai Track 7, have proven to be good birding grounds, given its proximity to old forests such as the Nee Soon forest complex. On 1 August 2021, a Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo, Hierococcyx fugax, was spotted by Chen RX, while on 21 August 2021, forest specialists, such as a Cream-vented Bulbul, Pycnonotus simplex, and a Chestnut-winged Babbler, Cyanoderma erythropterum, were seen by Tan Kok Hui.

CCNR fringe parks supported species such as a pair of Chestnut-winged Babbler, Cyanoderma erythropterum, on 1 August 2021 at Thomson Nature Park by Geoff Lim, a Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo, Surniculus lugubris, of which one was seen on 2 August 2021 at Thomson Nature Park by Yip Jen Wei; while along Old Upper Thomson Road, three Brown Hawk-Owl, Ninox scutulata, were reported on 10 Aug 2021 by Tanvi DG. Over at Windsor Nature Park, a Blue-eared Kingfisher, Alcedo meninting, on 27 Aug 2021 (Yap Bao Shen), two Blue-rumped Parrot, Psittinus cyanurus, and a Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone affinis, on 28 Aug 2021 (Fadzrun A), as well as four Long-tailed Parakeet, Psittacula longicauda, on29 Aug 2021 (Matthijs van Bevervoorde) were spotted.

For the Stork-billed Kingfisher, Pelargopsis capensis, nest at Windsor Nature Park, one of the chicks fledged on 14 August 2021 and the nest appeared empty thereafter (Samuel CWJ). The status of the other chick is not known, it could have fledged earlier when no one was around. Nothing is known about the fledging period of the Stork-billed Kingfisher (Wells, 2007). The discovery of the nest on 20 July 2021, when young with unopened eyes were being fed by the parents, tells us that the fledging period is more than 25 days.

SBKF nest, 020821, WNP, Lee Chin Pong

Stork-billed Kingfisher feeding a chick at the nest, the other chick’s bill can be seen near the top of the nest hole, Windsor Nature Park on 2 Aug 2021 by Lee Chin Pong.

At Dairy Farm Nature Park, Yeong WaiKai found the nest of a Straw-headed Bulbul, Pycnonotus zeylanicus, on 25 August 2021. At the Singapore Quarry, an Oriental Darter, Anhinga melanogaster, a Laced Woodpecker, Picus vittatus, a Rufous Woodpecker, Micropternus brachyurus, and two Rufous-tailed Tailorbird, Orthotomus sericeus, were spotted on 28 August 2021 by Wai Heng Lua.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

The Singapore Botanic Gardens continues to be a verdant ground for birds with a Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone affinis, that had just one tail feather, at the ethnobotanical garden on 23 August 2021 (Harry Loh). Over at the Healing and Fragrant Gardens, a Banded Bay Cuckoo, Cacomantis sonneratii, was seen on 25 Aug 2021 by Chen Boon Chong while a Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis, and three Coconut Lorikeet, Trichoglossus haematodus, were seen on 27 Aug 2021 by Jon Garcia. Meanwhile, on the same day, a migratory Tiger Shrike, Lanius tigrinus, was spotted by Norhafiani A Majid within the garden grounds.

Central Singapore

A single Asian Palm Swift, Cypsiurus balasiensis, was seen at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 on 14 August 2021 by A. Fadzrun A.

Northern Singapore

RC Sunbird, 060821, SBWR, SCC

Ruby-cheeked Sunbird seen on 6 August 2021 at SBWR by Sim Chip Chye.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR), the premier birding location in northern Singapore, welcomed a rare Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Chalcoparia singalensis, on 3 August 2021 (Chen RX), 4 August 2021 (Joseph Lim), 5 August 2021 (Gan Lee Hsia), 6 August 2021 (Sim Chip Chye), and on 29 August 2021 (Bhagwant Kurade). The reserve also started to welcome various wintering shorebirds from the north. These included the two Black-tailed Godwit, Limosa limosa, on 14 August 2021 (Kwok Tuck Loong), three Pacific Golden Plover, Pluvialis fulva, five Lesser Sand Plover, Charadrius mongolus, eighty-six Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus, thirty-five Common Redshank, Tringa totanus, and three Common Greenshank, Tringa nebularia, on 31 August 2021 (Alfred Chia).  Evergreen locals included a Great-billed Heron, Ardea sumatrana, (A. Fadzrun), a pair of Red Collared Dove, Streptopelia tranquebarica, (A. Fadzrun), and one Eastern Cattle Egret, Bubulcus coromandus, (Mike Hooper) on 21 August 2021, one Lesser Adjutant, Leptoptilos javanicus, (Ester Gerber) on26 August 2021, a pair of Copper-throated Sunbird, Leptocoma calcostetha, (Chen Boon Chong) on28 August 2021, and two Little Egret, Egretta garzetta, (Alfred Chia) on 31 August 2021.

A pair of Ashy Tailorbirds, Orthotomus ruficeps, was seen bringing food to their nest at the reserve on 6 August 2021 (Tan Gim Cheong), and Kwan Kee Ming observed that a Lineated Barbet, Psilopogon lineatus, started to build its nest there on 1 August 2021.

Over at Kranji Marsh, a Rusty-breasted Cuckoo, Cacomantis sepulcralis, was seen on 15 August 2021 by Kaeden Sim; a pair of introduced Golden-backed Weavers, Ploceus jacksoni, was building a nest on 11 August 2021 (Tan Gim Cheong); a pair of the introduced Common Waxbill, Estrilda astrild, was building a nest on 23 August 2021 (Keith Hutton); and a nest of the Malaysian Pied Fantail, Rhipidura javanica, contained two chicks (Shahrul Kamal). Another Malaysian Pied Fantail nest contained one chick, which fledged on 28 August 2021, but the fledgling fell into the water and was eaten by a large frog (Felix Wong).

Searchers found White-browed Crake, Porzana cinerea, at Neo Tiew Harvest Link on 15 Aug 2021 (Chen Boon Chong), and four Little Ringed Plover, Charadrius dubius, scurrying in the monsoon drain at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 on 29 Aug 2021 (Daryl Yeo).  Further eastwards, an Intermediate Egret, Egretta intermedia, a House Swift, Apus nipalensis, and a Golden-bellied Gerygone, Gerygone sulphurea, were reported on 29 August 2021 by Kwok Tuck Loong. Traversing across the northern coastline, we noted the report of a single Western Osprey, Pandion haliaetus, and some Daurian Starling, Agropsar sturninus, along Yishun Dam on 21 August 2021 by Norman Wu, while at Lorong Halus Wetland, an Oriental Dollarbird, Eurystomus orientalis, was seen on 30 August 2021 by John Chin. In the heart of Sengkang, four Rose-ringed Parakeet, Psittacula krameri, and four relatively uncommon Common Myna, Acridotheres tristis, were spotted at Sengkang Riverside Park on 31 Aug 2021 by Tan Kok Hui.

Ashy Tailorbird, 060821, SBWR, TGC_6836,-Ashy-Tailorbird,-m-N-f,-960v

Ashy Tailorbirds, male on left and female on right (paler underparts), 6 August 2021 at SBWR by Tan Gim Cheong.

Eastern Singapore

On 4 August 2021, a fledgling Blue-winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, was spotted by Tan Gim Cheong in the understorey of the forest at Pulau Ubin, following a parent pitta; and on 27 August 2021, a fledgling of the similar-looking Mangrove Pitta, Pitta megarhyncha, was calling in the mangroves but no adult pitta came to attend to it (Francis Yap).

The idyllic island also hosted migratory shorebirds such as three Grey Plover, Pluvialis squatarola, and a Terek Sandpiper, Xenus cinereus, which were seen on 13 August 2021 by Oliver Tan, while other visitors encountered residents and local visitors such as the Black-naped Tern, Sterna sumatrana, (Mike Hooper), Black Hornbill, Anthracoceros malayanus, (Tan Hui Zhen), and Green Broadbill, Calyptomena viridis, (Tan Hui Zhen) on 22 August 2021, while an  Abbott’s Babbler, Malacocincla abbotti,  was seen on 23 August 2021 (Tan Gim Cheong), and a White-rumped Shama, Copsychus malabaricus, was seen the next day on 24 August 2021 (Max Khoo). Ubin’s eastern neighbour, Pulau Tekong, yielded a single Grey-tailed Tattler, Tringa brevipes, on 2 August 2021 (Frankie Cheong).

Pasir Ris Park yielded a Lesser Adjutant, Leptoptilos javanicus, on 20 August 2021 (Robert Teo), a Green Imperial Pigeon, Ducula aenea, on 22 August 2021 (Kwok Tuck Loong), and a Black-crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax, on 28 August 2021 (Clarice Yan), while five Lesser Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna javanica, were spotted at Bedok Reservoir Park on 26 August 2021 (Jiah Rai).

A White-headed Munia, Lonchura maja, was seen within the grounds of Eastwood Estate on 27 Aug 2021 (Oliver Tan), while Plaintive Cuckoo, Cacomantis merulinus, and Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica, were seen on 29 Aug 2021 along the Changi Coast Track by A. Fadzrun.

Southern Singapore

Visitors to Gardens-by-the-Bay East spotted a Pacific Reef Heron, Egretta sacra, on 15 Aug 2021 (Fermandez Francis) and seven Masked Lapwing, Vanellus miles, on 28 Aug 2021 (Andrew William). At the breakwater along Marina East Drive in late August, Pary Sivaraman counted 160 Little Terns, Sternula albifrons.

After a failed nesting last month, a pair of Malaysian Plovers, Charadrius peronii, was seen guarding an egg on 1 August 2021 but when revisited 10 days later, “they were gone” (Ko Engwee). The nesting in July failed due to a House Crow which carried off the chick (Low Chong Yang). The chick was at least 25 days old – discovered on 26 June (Max Khoo) and predated on 20 July (Low Chong Yang).

Western Singapore

Jurong Lake Gardens, the swathe of park and wetland abutting the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, proved to be a hit for birds. The heronry continued to support various species of large heron, including one Purple Heron, Ardea purpurea, seen on 29 August 2021 by Andrew William. The highly elusive Barred Buttonquail, Turnix suscitator, proved no match for Norhafiani A Majid who spotted one on 30 August 2021, along with a pair of Buffy Fish Owl, Ketupa ketupu. Other birds that provided considerable excitement and cardio workout included the rarely seen Brown-streaked Flycatcher, Muscicapa williamsoni, on 29 August 2021, which was spotted by the keen and young eyes of Kaeden Sim, as well as a migratory Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Ficedula zanthopygia, female, spotted on 31 August 2021 by Chen Boon Chong.

BW Stilt, 260821, TSA16, Art Toh

Black-winged Stilt seen on 26 August 2021 at Tuas by Art Toh.

The NTU campus yielded a pair of Red-legged Crake, Rallina fasciata, and a Sunda Scops Owl, Otus lempiji, which were spotted on 26 August 2021 by Yip Jen Wei, while a Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea, was seen on 27 August 2021 by Frank Chen. Nearer the Lim Chu Kang cemeteries, a Blue-winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, was seen along Jalan Murai on 28 August 2021 by Eyzat Amer.

Visitors to Tuas South Avenue 16 reported seeing a Red-necked Stint, Calidris ruficollis, on 24 August 2021 (Raghav Narayanswamy), Black-winged Stilt, Himantopus himantopus, on 26 August 2021 (Art Toh), Malaysian Plover, Charadrius peronii, on 29 August 2021 (Bear Jia), four Wood Sandpiper, Tringa glareola, on 29 August 2021 (Max Khoo), and a Curlew Sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea, on 30 August 2021 (Pary Sivaraman).

Over at the Clementi Forest-Holland Plain nexus, a Greater Coucal, Centropus sinensis, was reported on 11 August 2021 from Clementi Forest, while four Tanimbar Corella, Cacatua goffiniana, and one Large-billed Crow, Corvus macrorhynchos, were seen around Holland Plain on 30 August 2021. All records were provided by Lynn Tan.

This report is compiled/written by Geoff Lim and Isabelle Lee, 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 Lee Chin Pong, Sim Chip Chye and Art Toh for allowing us to use their photographs. 

Singapore Bird Report – March 2021

Emerald Cuckoo, 050321, May Swales

Asian Emerald Cuckoo, Living Lab, Pulau Ubin, 5 Mar 2021, by May Swales

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).

Green Sandpiper, 060321, 0925h, LCK3, Lau Jia Sheng, crop

Green Sandpiper (left) with a Wood Sandpiper (right), Lim Chu Kang Lane 3, 6 Mar 2021, by Lau Jia Sheng

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).

BNM, 200321, Clementi Woods, Art Toh, crop

Black-naped Monarch, Clementi Woods Park, 20 Mar 2021, by Art Toh

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).

JPFC, 180321, Coney, Lum Lai Har

Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, male, Coney Island, 18 Mar 2021, by Lum Lai Har

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.

Breeding records

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.

TGC_8924,-CTSB,-male, 960v, 080321, SBWR

Copper-throated Sunbird, male, displaying its yellow pectoral tufts, SBWR, 8 Mar 2021, by Tan Gim Cheong

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).

BNO nest, 160321, SBTB, TGC

Black-naped Oriole nest with 2 chicks, the nest was unusually open, perhaps as a result of the nest tree shedding leaves, Satay by the Bay, 16 Mar 2021, by 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.

Singapore Bird Report – July 2019

by Geoff Lim & Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

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

First record of Pied Stilt in Singapore.

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

Pied Stilt, posted 180719, Tekong, Frankie Cheong

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

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

First breeding record of Pied Stilt in Singapore.

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

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

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

Capture3

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

Capture4

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

Capture7

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

The rare Black-winged Stilts

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

Capture2

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

Capture5

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

First breeding record of Black-winged Stilt in Singapore.

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

Capture6

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

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

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

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

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) & Fringes

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

Violet Cuckoo, 100719, JT, Fryap

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

STB, KNCK

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

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

CBM, YWK

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

Tanimbar, Taw

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

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

BEO, Herman

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

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

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

Singapore Botanic Gardens

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

RLC, Smith

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

Central Singapore

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

Northern Singapore

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

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

Eastern Singapore

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

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

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

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

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

Southern Singapore

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

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

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

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

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

Western Singapore

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

BBC, YWK

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

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

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

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

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

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

REFERENCES

Pierce, R.J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/53759 on 26 August 2019).

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

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

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

LIST OF BIRDS REPORTED IN JUNE 2019

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

World Migratory Bird Day – A Blast from the Past.

7 May 2015. Contributed by Alan OwYong.

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Lorong Halus dumping grounds after closure. The main pond in the background. 

This weekend 9 & 10 May is World Migratory Bird Day. But most of the migrants have passed through Singapore on their way back north by now. We have written many articles on recent migrations and migratory birds, so I thought that I will dig up an old trip report and revisit what birding was like in 1995 and which migrant species were around.

The place was Serangoon River where the Serangoon Reservoir is today. The date was 19 November 1995. So what was the place like 20 years ago? For a start it was a lot wilder as the Ponggol grasslands across the river was still undeveloped.  The banks of the Serangoon River was still muddy and overgrown with sandy patches nearer to the estuary. Back mangrove plants like the Sea Hibisus and Hollies lined the edges. There was a charcoal port near where the visitor center is now. The road leading to the port was full of portholes made worse by cement trucks going in and out. There were two large fresh water ponds at the dumping grounds and a sludge treatment plant along Lorong Halus. All this provided the area with a rich diverse habitat making it one of the premier birding sites in Singapore.

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A digitized photo from a slide of four Great Knots at the Serangoon Estuary on 19.11.1995. Earliest photo of this wader taken in Singapore.

My daughter and I had to drive in between the charcoal sheds and park at one end of the wharf to get to the ponds. Wooden prows from Indonesia would berth and unload their cargo of charcoal for storage in the sheds. We saw four rather big waders by the river side just as we got out of the car. They turned out to be Great Knots Calidris tenuirostris, a rare winter visitor and passage migrant. It was our lifer. I was extremely lucky to squeeze a few shots before they took off.

In my trip report, I listed two Common Ringed Plovers, Charadrius hiaticula, with a short description” It was a bigger plover and the white trailing edge was prominent during flight.” Unfortunately this brief description was not enough for a positive ID. Most of our past sightings of this rare winter visitor was at this site. I had my first encounter at a nearby canal in 1992.  Other shore birds seen were Ruddy Turnstones (4), Terek and Common Sandpipers, Pacific Golden and Mongolian Plovers, Common Red and Greenshanks and some Snipes, one was a Common Snipe.

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This is a scanned copy from a slide of four Black-winged Stilts taken at flooded grasslands next to Tiger Brewery at Tuas on 1.11.1992

It was more interesting at the ponds inside the dumping grounds. We came across a Garganey Anas querquedula and an adult Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus there, both rare winter visitors. In the 80s, the Garganey was a near annual visitor to our coastal sites but we have not seen one since the turn of the century. It returned to these ponds the next year. Alfred Chai, Ed Hagen and Lim Kim Seng all recorded the Black-winged Stilt at the estuary later that day.

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There were a total of 15 Little Grebes swimming around the ponds that morning with a few nests seen. Lim Kim Seng and Ed Hagen counted a total of 17 later, This is the highest count ever for this nationally threatened species. Common Moorhens (10), photo left, and Yellow Bitterns (10) were plentiful then and so were the Lesser Whistling Ducks (14). This was the best place to see them. We also had a high counts of Grey Herons (50+), and Cattle Egrets (100+). Two Cinnamon Bitterns, White-breasted Waterhens and Purple Herons made up the rest of the waterbirds seen that day. Such freshwater habitats were as predicted being displaced by developments, contributing to the decline of our resident waterbird species.

We had only five passerine migrants for the day. The most notable were a Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus, and Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava,.  Several Barn Swallows, one or two Common Kingfishers, and Brown Shrikes made up the rest of the list.

The tally for the day was 42 species, ticked between 10.30 am and 12,30 am.  Not bad for one of the favorite spots for shorebirds viewing besides Sungei Buloh Nature Park. With the damming of the Serangoon River and the filling up the larger pond, we have lost yet another multi-habitat birding sites in Singapore.

Reference: The Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng 2009.