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