Tag Archives: Booted Warbler

2017 Year in Review. Part 1: National Firsts, Raptors, Sea and Shorebirds.

2017-Year in Review. Part 1: National Firsts, Raptors, Sea and Shorebirds.

We had another exciting year with four national firsts added to the Singapore Checklist and one in a new annex. There were also several rare second and third records.  A new raptor site was discovered that contributed several rare records for the year and a mass roosting of several hundreds of wagtails at the northern parts of the island.

Little Stint David Li

Long awaited Little Stint was finally photographed at Chel Java on 21 Sept by David Li

The long awaited Little Stint Calidris minuta was finally found at Chek Jawa by David Li during NParks Waders Survey on 21 September. Two birds were photographed beside the Rufous-necked Stints. George Presanis surprised us with a photo of a Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassinus he took at Dairy Farm NP on 9 October. This is a species found “principally in hilly country from low elevations up to 1200m” in Malaysia and did not reappear after this sighting. Then in December, two out-of-range birds turned up at Sungei Buloh and Kranji Marshes. On 2 December, Oliver Tan photographed a juvenile male Indian Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi and Muhd Fadhil shot a Booted Warbler Iduna caligata on 4 December. Both are not known migrants to Singapore and must have strayed from their regular wintering grounds. On 29 April, See Toh Wai Yew, Lau Jiasheng and friends photographed a Bulwer’s Petrel Bulweria bulwerii at the Straits of Singapore during their pelagic trip. As it was not inside Singapore territory, the Records Committee decided to list it in Annex 1, a new category for such sightings.

Bulwer's Petrel Jiasheng

Bulwer’s Petrel migrating through the Straits of Singapore on 29 April Photo: Lau Jiasheng.

Pelagic surveys had added several new species to the Singapore bird list before and it continues to help us understand the behaviour and movements of these seabirds passing through the Straits better. On 17 September, 25 Aleutian Terns Onychoprion aleuticus were counted, making this an early arrival date. Bridled Terns Onychoprion anaethetus were seen nesting at Pedra Branca on 29 April in support of past records. Parasitic Jaegers Stercorarius parasiticus were recorded arriving on 14 October and departing on 29 April. 18 Swinhoe’s Storm Petrels Oceanodroma monorhis and 26 Short-tailed Shearwaters Puffinus tenuirostris were counted on this April day confirming that the Straits as their main migratory route. On the first day of the year, Low Choon How was quick enough to identify a Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus flying over Straits of Johor off Pulau Ubin, the only gull seen for the year. The last seabird recorded during the year was unfortunately a dead Red-footed Booby Sula sula when Adrian Silas Tay found its washed-up carcass at Marina East Drive.

Short-tailed Shearwater Wong Lee Hiong

Short-tailed Shearwater flying low by Wong Lee Hong. 28 counted during April.

Keita Sin’s passion for documenting migrating raptors led him to Henderson Wave where collectively several impressive rare arrivals were recorded. The list include a Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus on 13th, Common Buzzard Buteo buteo and Grey-faced Buzzard on 2nd, Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga on 11th, a first for the season Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni on 12th, a Pied Harrier Circus melanoleucos on 15th and our 3rd record of a Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus on 26th by Francis Yap, all in November. Nearby over at Telok Blangah Hill, Leslie Fung shot a juvenile Besra Accipiter virgatus on 18 November.

Besra, 181117, posted 051217, Telok Blangah, Les Sail

Besra, juvenile, at Telok Blangah Hill on 18 Nov 2017, by Leslie Fung.

Continuing with visiting raptors, two sightings of the Grey-faced Buzzards Butastur indicus were reported. One on 2 November at Hindhede NP (Martin Kennewell) and several over St John’s Island on 4 November by Francis Yap and Keita Sin. A 3rd record of the Amur Falcon Falco amurensis was reported at the Changi Coast Road on 26 November by See Toh Yew Wai another Common Buzzard at Seletar Aerospace on 21 February by Alfred Chia, our only Eastern Marsh Harrier Circus spilonotus for the year over Kent Ridge Park on 3 October by Keita Sin and a second Pied Harrier Circus melanoleucos at Kranji Marshes on 18 November by Martin Kennewell. The rare Northern Boobook Ninox japonica made a one day stop over at Satay by the Bay on 8 November, surprising Terence Tan who was birding there. Another migrant owl, the Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia returned to Dairy Farm NP on 1 December and stayed until 10 January 2018.

Terence Tan 4

Terence Tan’s Northern Boobook on 8 November at the Satay by the Bay.

On 23 September, Shahrulbariah Arif-Sng posted on Facebook the mass roosting of hundreds of Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea at Yishun Street 11. On 8 October, Esther Ong was also seeing hundreds of Grey Wagtails returning every evening to roost at Sembawang. These mass roostings have never been seen before for this wagtail and it also attracted one or two Eastern Yellows Motacilla tschutschensis, a few Whites Motacilla alba and even the Forest Wagtails Dendronanthus indicus. This had to be the first record of roosting of all four species of wagtails at one place. The flock at Sembawang left by 9 January 2018 but Fadzrun Adnan was still reporting 350 Greys at Yishun on 13 January 2018. It will be interesting to see if they will return at the end of 2018?

1-_A059000

Unexplained mass gathering of all four species of wagtails at Yishun. 

For the migrant shore and waterbirds, there was the rare Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla seen on 26 March at Kranji Marshes by Martin Kenewell and one at Satay by the Bay on 17 December by Siew Mun, a first for the gardens. A globally threatened species, the Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes made six appearances at Pulau Tekong on 9 September, 10 October, between 21 January and 28 May, a late date, thanks to the watchful Frankie Cheong. The second globally threatened species, the Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris, 2 birds, were picked up by Lim Kim Keang at Chek Jawa on 6 December. The large and elegant Eurasian Curlews Numenius arquata, a globally near threatened species, was wintering at Tekong on 9 March and recorded arriving at SBWR on 28 August by Robin Tan. Ten globally near threatened early arriving Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa were counted at Sungei Buloh WR on 28 August by David Li and Veronica Foo.

Chinese Egret Frankie Cheong

The globally threatened Chinese Egret prefered the reclaimed land at Pulau Tekong during all its visits. Photo: Frankie Cheong.

The only Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa for the year was spotted by Lim Kim Keang at Pasir Ris Farmway 3 on 6 April just before the start of the migration back north. A Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus was making a late one day stopover at the Hindhede Quarry on 15 May when Martin Kenewell was there. Lastly we had to thank Luke Teo for the Sanderling Calidris alba that stop over to feed along the breakwaters off Marina East Drive on 12 November.

Sanderling Luke

Sanderling wintering over at the breakwaters at MED in November. Photo Luke Teo.

References:
Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. 2009. Nature Society (Singapore).
Jeyarajasingam & Pearson. A Field Guide to the Bird of West Malaysia and Singapore. 1999. Oxford University Press.

This report is compiled by Alan OwYong from the monthly Bird Reports of 2017, and edited by Tan Gim Cheong. Many thanks to David Li, Lau Jiasheng, Wong Lee Hong, Leslie Fung, Terence Tan, Alan OwYong, Frankie Cheong and Luke Teo for the use of the photographs.

 

Advertisements

Bird Records Committee Report ( May 2018)

Bird Records Committee Report (May 2018)

By Lim Kim Seng. Chairman, Nature Society (Singapore) Bird Group Records Committee.

20170624_165454

Booted Warbler Iduna caligata at Kranji Marshes, 10 Dec 2017, Singapore’s first record and the second for Southeast Asia. It stayed till March 2018. Photo by Adrian Silas Tay.

The Records Committee continues to receive records of new bird species to the Singapore List and rarities. This report updates the findings of the last 12 months up to May 2018.

 New Species

Six new bird species were added to the Singapore List, bringing the total number of species to 403. The updated official NSS Singapore Checklist 2018 edition (2) here.

They include the following:

Little Stint Calidris minuta

An adult and an immature seen and photographed at Tg. Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin on 21 Sep 2017 by David Li was the first record for Singapore.

DSC_43941

Little Stint at Check Java by David Li.

Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassina

A lone bird seen and photographed at Dairy Farm Nature Park on 9 Oct 2017 by George Presanis was the first record of this sedentary species for Singapore. It was not seen subsequently despite some observer effort.

294A Verditer Flycatcher.

Verditer Flycatcher at Dairy Farm Nature Park by George Presanis.

Indian Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi

A female seen and photographed at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on 2 Dec 2017 by Oliver Tan was the first record for Singapore and Southeast Asia. It was last seen on 10 Apr 2018.

Gim Cheong

Indian Paradise Flycatcher at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve by Tan Gim Cheong.

Booted Warbler Iduna caligata

One was first photographed but not identified by Fadhil, an NParks staff, at Kranji Marshes on 4 Dec 2017. On 10 Dec 2017, several observers including Adrian Silas Tay, Richard Carden, Martin Kennewell, Francis Yap and Lim Kim Chuah also saw and photograph the mystery bird. Eventually, a close study of its features, habits and vocalization revealed this to be Singapore’s first and Southeast Asia’s second record of this species.  It was last seen on 23 Mar 2018.

Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Chalcoparia singalensis

A female seen and photographed at Chek Jawa Coastal Boardwalk, Pulau Ubin, on 4 Mar 2018 by Roger Boey was our first record for this species.

28811208_864601290388601_335005688_o

Female Ruby-cheeked Sunbird taken by Roger Boey at Pulau Ubin.

Great Slaty Woodpecker Mulleripicus pulverulentus 

A female photographed near the summit of Bukit Timah on 2 May 2018 by Ted Lee and subsequently seen and photographed by several other observers on 4 and 5 May 2018 was the first recent record for Singapore. It was last seen near the Treetop Walk at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve on 12 May 2018. This species was previously assigned to Category B.

Kwong Yew

Great Slaty Woodpecker at Bukit Timah Hill by Kwong Yew.

 Rarities

The following eight rarities were accepted.

Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus

An individual photographed at Sungei Buloh on 18 Oct 2017 by Con Foley, Danny Lau and Tan Kok Hui was a noteworthy record of this rare non-breeding visitor to Singapore.

White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus

An individual photographed at Henderson Waves on 19 Oct 2017 by Keita Sin was our second record. Another photographed here on 31 Oct 2017 again by Keita Sin was the fourth while yet another photographed at Jelutong Tower on 25 Oct 2017 by Francis Yap was our third record.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus

A bird photographed at Henderson Wave Bridge on 26 Nov 2017 by Francis Yap was our third record for Singapore. The only other records were from Tuas View Lane by Martti Siponen on 14 Nov 2010 and Keita Sin, also at Henderson Wave Bridge, on 17 Nov 2016.

Amur Falcon Falco amurensis

An individual photographed at Changi on 26 Nov 2017 by Adrian Silas Tay was our third record. Our only previous records were from Changi Coast by Tan Gim Cheong on 21 Nov 2007 and Lower Seletar Dam on 16 Dec 2016 by Yip Peng Sun.

Narcissus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina

A female photographed at Dairy Farm Nature Park on 28 Nov 2017 by Veronica Foo and Marcel Finlay was our second record. Another female photographed at West Coast Park on 3 Jan 2018 by Stuart Campbell was our third record.

Asian Emerald Cuckoo Chrysococcyx macutalus

A female photographed at Fort Siloso, Sentosa, on 23 Dec 2017 by Esther Ong was our second record. It stayed till the end of the year.

Band-bellied Crake Porzana paykulii

An adult photographed at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 19 Jan 2018 by Meena Vathyam was our second record. It was last seen on 28 April 2018.

Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster

An individual photographed at Singapore Quarry on 18 Feb 2018 by Richard White was the second from this locality and our fourth record overall of this rare non-breeding visitor.

Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus

A female seen and photographed at Jelutong Tower on 20 Jan 2018 by HB Thio was our fourth record. Another seen and photographed by Lim Kim Seng at Chek Jawa Coastal Boardwalk, Pulau Ubin, on 6 May 2018 was our fifth record.

Annex 1

In addition to the above, we have also received further records of Bulwer’s Petrel Bulweria bulwerii in the Singapore Straits on 29 Apr 2017 and 6 May 2017 from Lau Jiasheng. These two records were confirmed to be outside Singapore waters and are assigned to Annex 1. To date, we have no records of Bulwer’s Petrel in Singapore. Annex 1 is for species occurring near to but outside Singapore, e.g. birds occurring in the Indonesian and/or Malaysian side of the Singapore Straits.

Acknowledgements

We would like to thanks the following observers for submitting their records for review: Roger Boey, Stuart Campbell, Marcel Finlay, Con Foley, Veronica Foo, Danny Lau, Lau Jiasheng, David Li, Geoff Lim, Lim Kim Seng, Esther Ong, Alan Owyong, George Presanis, Keita Sin, Tan Kok Hui, Oliver Tan, Adrian Silas Tay, Meena Vathyam, Richard White, Francis Yap and Yip Peng Sun. Special thanks go to Dave Bakewell for help in unravelling the identity of Little Stint and Indian Paradise Flycatcher based on submitted evidence. Finally, thanks are also due to my fellow committee members for their expertise in the deliberation process:  Alfred Chia, Kenneth Kee, Lim Kim Chuah, Lim Kim Keang, Alan Owyong, Dr Frank Rheindt, Tan Gim Cheong and Dr Yong Ding Li.

Thanks to Adrian Silas Tay, David Li, George Persanis, Tan Gim Cheong, Roger Boey and Khong Yew for the use of their photographs.

Reference

Lim, K.S. (2009). The avifauna of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore), Singapore.

 

Singapore Bird Report – February 2018

STBabbler, 21 Feb 18, Venus, Alex Fok, crop

A brilliant capture of a Short-tailed Babbler under the dim lighting at Venus Loop, 21 Feb 2018, by Alex Fok

A rare Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis that flew over from Bukit Batok Nature Park must have made the day for Francis Yap when he looked out the balcony of his new apartment on the 8th. At nearby BTNR, the rare Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealoides found last month was still there at the Cave Path on the 3rd (Martin Kennewell). BTNR also harboured a Siberian Blue Robin Larvivora cyane on the 26th (Richard White). Another rarity, an Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster was seen at Singapore Quarry by Richard White and on 18th. This was the second record for this location and could well be the same bird seen at the Bukit Gombak Quarry on December 2016.

At Singapore Botanic Gardens, the very rare Band-bellied Crake Porzana paykullii continued to be present throughout the month, even attracting birders from overseas! An Orange-headed Thrush Geokichla citrina on the 4th (Khong Yew) heralded the arrival of the Lunar New Year. On 18th, Alan OwYong recorded a Van Hasselts’ Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana, possibly a first for the locality. On 24th, Richard White found a female Cinnamon Bittern.

OHT, 120218, SBG, Terence Tan, crop

Orange-headed Thrush, a fitting welcome for the Lunar New Year, at SBG on 12 Feb 2018, by Terence Tan

In the Central Catchment, a Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae, possibly the same bird recorded last month, was recorded on the 4th by Michael Noble. Also on 4th, Subha & Raghav Narayanswamy recorded a little jewel, the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx erithaca (black-backed race). On the 7th, Francis Yap had the good luck of seeing two species of pittas, a Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida and a Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis. The next day, Oliver Tan also got lucky with a Hooded Pitta. On the 17th, Martin Kennewell found a Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps. On 20th, along the Rifle Range Link, Veronica Foo recorded a Siberian Blue Robin, a Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris and two Abbott’s Babblers Malacocincla abbotti.

At the fringes of the Central Forests, Veronica Foo found a Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus and a Siberian Blue Robin at Windsor Park on the 1st. Art Toh recorded a Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji at Lower Pierce on the 4th. Short-tailed Babblers Malacocincla malaccensis were recorded by Vincent Lao at Lower Pierce on the 10th and at Venus Loop on the 18th by Alex Fok. Venus Loop also held a Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu on the 17th (Art Toh & Peach Won). Yong Ding Li reported that a rare Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela was seen at MacRitchie by visiting Chinese birders on the 16th. Hindhede Park held a Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka on the 17th, outside Rainforest Condo, and another two were recorded at the Rail Corridor on the 18th (Richard White).

Pulau Tekong held a rare Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes and a Rufous-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis on the 21st (Frankie Cheong). During a survey of the marine areas south of Singapore on the 22nd, Alan OwYong recorded four Great-billed Herons Ardea sumatrana, one at Raffles Marina, two at Pulau Salu and one at Terembu Bembang Besar. At Pulau Hantu, he managed to find the Mangrove Whistler which had eluded others previously.

Great-billed Heron caught Copperband Butterfly Fish, 220218, Pulau Salu, Lester Tan

Great-billed Heron caught a Copperband Butterfly Fish, 22 Feb 2018, Pulau Salu, by Lester Tan

Pulau Ubin continued to deliver amazing records: a very rare Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea on the 9th came from Jojo and Jen (reported by Roger Boey). A few days later, on the 12th, Wang HengMount photographed a Black Kite Milvus migrans over Pekan Quarry; on 13th, Keita Sin found two Cinerous Bulbuls Hemixos cinereus and on 18th Lim Kim Chuah saw a Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha. Also, on the 4th during an NParks survey, notable records included a Crested Serpent Eagle (Tan Ju Lin), Blue-rumped Parrot Psittinus cyanurus (Yong Ding Li), Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata (Lim Kim Keang) and Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni (Keita Sin). Also, Jacky Soh found a scarce Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus.

At Pasir Ris Park, Seng Alvin photographed a White-headed Munia Lonchura maja on the 5th, while Feroz Fizah found a Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectens on the 6th. At nearby Lorong Halus, Lim Kim Keang counted 37 Lesser Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna javanica on the 24th, a pretty high number, and Alfred Chia found them still there on the 25th; Geri Lim saw a number of Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni on the 6th, estimating 8-10 birds but was unsure if they were all of the same species, while Ramesh Thiruvengadam had one on the 7th at Changi Business Park, which also held a Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus on 25th (also by Ramesh). At Tampines Eco Green on the 17th, Marc Ng found a Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor while Feroz Fizah photographed a Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus on the 22nd.

Plaintive Cuckoo, 220218, TEG, Feroz Fizah

Plaintive Cuckoo at Tampines Eco Green, on 22 Feb 2018, by Feroz Fizah

A Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola was seen at Seletar on 4th (Wang HengMount) and on 6th (Luke Milo Teo). At nearby Seletar Aerospace Drive, Lim Kim Keang found a Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus on the 9th. On the 20th, an Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum was seen at Seletar end (Gerald Chua) and on 27th, Martin Kennewell had a Barred Buttonquail Turnix suscitator at Piccadilly Seletar.

A Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea put up an appearance at West Coast Park on 9th (Art Toh). Richard White reported that his friend photographed a Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis brunneatus at Holland Village on the 17th. At Woodlands Drive, also on the 17th, Kannan A. found a Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris. Down at Telok Bangah Walk, Alan OwYong encountered a Rufous Woodpecker Micropternus brachyurus on the 26th. At Bishan Park on 26th, 27th and 28th, Martin Kennewell found five Asian Palm Swifts Cypsiurus balasiensis flying low.

Satay by the Bay held a Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus on 9th (Thana Sinnathamby) and a Eastern Barn Owl Tyto delicatula on 19th (Deborah Friets). On owls, Heather Goessels found a grey morph Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia on the 14th at Mimosa Walk.

Watercock, 180218, KM, Goh Cheng Teng, crop

Watercock at Kranji Marshes, on 18 Feb 2018, by Goh Cheng Teng

Kranji Marshes continued to hold good birds. The vagrant Booted Warbler Iduna caligata was recorded throughout the month. On 18th, a Watercock Gallicrex cinerea was recorded by Goh Cheng Teng and Keita Sin, while Tanvi DG had a Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis. On 25th, Martin Kennewell recorded secretive species such as the King Quail Excalfactoria chinensis, Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla, Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis and Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago. On the 26th, Adrian Silas Tay found a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia. And on the last day of the month, Martin Kennewell recorded a Rusty-breasted Cuckoo Cacomantis sepulcralis, Watercock, Plaintive Cuckoo, Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis and Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler Locustella certhiola.

For breeding-related records, Felix Wong was at Changi Business Park on the 10th when he saw two pairs of Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea and witnessed the mating, followed by courtship feeding (female prodding the male for food, and then fed by male). A Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis was building its nest at Ang Mo Kio Town Park on 18th (Alan OwYong). On the 24th, Felix again witnessed another courtship feeding, a male Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot Loriculus galgulus regurgitating yellowish liquid to feed a female at a potential nest hole at Whampoa. Richard White reported a newly fledged chick of the Buffy Fish Owl at SBG in late February and another at SBWR on 27th, which Khoo MeiLin photographed a day earlier.

BFO, 260218, SBWR, Khoo Meilin

A young Buffy Fish Owl at SBWR, 26 Feb 2018, by Khoo Meilin

Abbreviations:
BTNR: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
This report is compiled by Tan Gim Cheong and Alan OwYong based on selected postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from ebird. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified. We wish to thank all the contributors for their records. Many thanks to Terence Tan, Alex Fok, Lester Tan, Feroz Fizah, Goh Cheng Teng and Khoo MeiLin for the the use of their photos.

Singapore Bird Report – December 2017

Singapore Bird Report-December 2017

The birding community could not ask for a better ending for the year. A national first (pending review by Record’s Committee), a second record after 11 years and several rare winter visitors gave many of us our year end lifers.

BW Fadhil

First photo of the “Booted Warbler” taken on 4th by Muhd Fadhil of NParks. 

Martin Kennewell was quick to alert us on an odd looking tree warbler at Kranji Marshes on 9th. After much consultation with overseas friends, the consensus is a Booted Warbler Iduna caligata, a long way from its wintering grounds in India and Sri Lanka. Muhd. Fadhil, an Nparks staff first photographed it on 4th. It is still there during the first week of January. Our thanks to Martin and Fadhil. 

Esther Ong

The photo that started the frenzy. Esther Ong’s photo of the Asian Emerald Cuckoo taken on 23rd December. 

While looking for the Chinese Hwamei Garrulax canorus, at Sentosa’s Siloso Park on 23th, Tuck Loong, Esther Ong and friends spotted a female Asian Emerald Cuckoo Chrysococcyx maculatus, feeding on the caterpillars on a bare Ficus superba there. Our first record for this non-breeding visitor was on 31 May 2006 at Seletar Reservoir Park. Incredibly a second female was reported six days later at the same tree feeding together. It stayed until 3rd January when all the caterpillars were gone, long enough for all of us to add a national tick to our list. A rare Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus was also spotted there on 23rd (Lim Kim Chuah & Seng Beng) and along the Skywalk in following days.

Choon How

The rare Yellow-browed Warbler spent a week wintering along the Skywalk at Sentosa, giving many photographers a great chance to shoot this at eye level. Photo: Low Choon How.

The month started with a rufous morph Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia returning to the same tree at DFNP on 1st. Another, a grey morph also returned on the 9th (Luke Milo Teo). Earlier in the year, on 10th Jan 2017, both of them were seen on the same tree there, a case of site fidelity assuming they were the same owls. Lena Chow got a first for Bukit Batok with a sighting of a Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka, there on 1st. Another Grey Nightjar was back at Bidadari on 17th (Tan Kok Hui). At least 5 Eastern-crowned Warblers Phylloscopus coronatus, were counted at Upper Peirce Reservoir on 14th by Veronica Foo. An uncommon Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus, was videoed at PRP on 20th by Marc Ng.

24131600_1777599425603968_3107940344420717295_n

Portrait of a rufous morph Oriental Scops Owl taken at DFNP by Luke Milo Teo.

Several rare flycatchers were still stopping over this month. Two Ferruginous Flycatchers Muscicapa ferruginea at DFNP on 1st (Oliver Tan), with another on 28th at RRL (Goh Cheng Teng and Lester Tan), our third of the season, a Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata at Lower Peirce Reservoir on 5th (Basil Chia), a dead Blue and White/ Zappey’s from SGH on 13th (David Tan) and another 1st winter Blue and White Cyanoptila cyanomelana, male at Siloso on 30th (Tan Kok Hui and Co), the rare Green-backed Ficedula elisae, at CCNR on 5th (David Gibson) and a female at RRL on 23th (Alan OwYong and Lim Kim Keang), ending with a Mugimaki Ficedula mugimaki, at Siloso on 27th by Martin Kennewell.

Green-backed Flycatcher

The rare Green-backed Flycatcher resting at the Central Catchment Forest. Photo by Alan OwYong taken at Rifle Range Link. 

The cuckoos made a great showing this month in part due to the caterpillars on the bare ficus at Sentosa. Spotted there were 2 Chestnut-winged Cuckoos Clamator coromandus, one adult and one juvenile Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus, one juvenile and one adult Large Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides, a Malaysian Hawk-cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax and a Hodgson’s Hawk-cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor. A Hodgon’s was also photographed at Bishan Park on 8th by Terence Tan, a Malaysian Hawk-cuckoo at Healing Gardens on 14th by Laurence Eu, a dead Indian Cuckoo at NUS on 29th found by Yong Ding Li and a wintering Chestnut-winged Cuckoo at the SBG. 

Mark Itol

Mark Itol’s eye level shot of the Chestnut-winged Cuckoo wintering at the SBG.

Migrant thrushes, a favourite with the birders and photographers, showed up at Hindhede NP with the rare Siberian Thrush Geokichla sibirica on 5th (Oliver Tan), an Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus, at Bukit Brown on 14th (Marcel Finlay) and the Orange-headed Thrush Geokichla citrina returning to the SBG on 26th (Goh Cheng Teng and Lester Tan).

Siew Mun

Siew Mun’s Baillon’s Crake taken at Satay by the Bay, a first for the gardens.

The visiting waterbirds reported this month include a Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis at Hampstead Gardens (Veronica Foo) and SBTB (Heather Gossels) both on 8th, Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus at SBG on 9th (Martin Kennewell and Richard Carden), a Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus, photographed flying over Changi Coastal Road by Goh Cheng Teng also on the 9th, a Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla, at the SBTB on 17th (Siew Mun), 2 Watercocks Gallicrex cinerea on 18th, one at Japanese Gardens (Philip Toh) and the other found injured at Pasir Laba Camp by Daniel Ng. One of the largest flock of Oriental Pratincoles Glareola maldivarum, over 200 was seen flying over Turuk Track on 17th by Yong Ding Li.

MNH Goh Cheng Teng

Is this the first photograph of a Malayan Night Heron in flight taken in Singapore?. Photo: Goh Cheng Teng.

The uncommon Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata, was reported at Neo Tiew Lane 3 on 17th by Francis Yap and another back wintering at WCP on 21st. On the same day a dead Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx erithaca was found dead along Allenbrooke Road at Sentosa by Wahidah Dayanara.

Francis Yap 2

A much sought-after and very skittish Black-capped Kingfisher well hidden at Neo Tiew Lane 3.  Photo: Francis Yap. 

Notable shorebirds for the month include 2 globally threatened Great  Knot Calidris tenuirostris, at Chek Jawa on 6th (Lim Kim Keang) and Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta, at Tekong on 23rd (Frankie Cheong).

Resident species of interest include Plume-toed Swiftets Collocalia affinis and Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis, at SBG on 5th by See Toh Yew Wai and 8th by Zacc respectively, a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax at Eco Lake on 9th by Martin Kennewell, Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis at Telok Blangah Walkway on 12th by James Tann and a White-rumped Munia Lonchura striatabelow KRP canopy walk on 15th by Marc Ng. Its wild status is in question.

1-zacc

Not an easy swift to see over our skies. an Asian Palm Swift shot over Eco Lake by Mohamad Zahidi (Zacc HD).

An uncommon Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was spotted at SBTB by Tan Eng Boo on 19th. On the same day, Lim Kim Seng came across the long introduced Chinese Hwamei at Sentosa. It went missing for a large part of the year. The Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster at Pekan Quarry at Pulau Ubin picked out by Deborah Friets on 26th ends this report. Happy New Year and Good Birding 2018!                             

PS. A late record from Thio Hui Bing of another Oriental Darter seen at the Singapore Quarry on the 26 Dec suggested that there were two birds here. It is also the first for that location.

Location Abbreviations: DFNP Dairy Farm Nature Park, PRP Pasir Ris Park, NUS National University of Singapore, SBTB Satay by The Bay, WCP West Coast Park, KRP Kent Ridge Park and RRL Rifle Range Link.

References:

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

Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2013. John Beaufoy Publishing Limited.

Craig Robson. A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South East Asia. 2000.

This report is compiled by Alan OwYong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong from selected postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from ebird. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified. We wish to thank all the contributors for their records. Many thanks to Muhd Fadhil, Esther Ong, Low Choon How, Luke Milo Teo, Alan OwYong, Mark Itol, Siew Mun, Goh Cheng Teng, Francis Yap and Mohamad Zahidi for the the use of their photos. Please notify alan.owyong@gmail.com if you find errors in these records.