Tag Archives: Bulwer’s Petrel

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?

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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.

 

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Bird Records Committee Report ( May 2017)

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

Red-billed Starling

Red-billed Starling Spodiopsar sericeus at Gardens by the Bay, 30 Nov 2013, Singapore’s second record. A review of records was prompted by a discovery of another bird at Tampines Eco-Green in Dec 2015. Photo by Daniel Wee.

The Records Committee continues to receive records of new bird species to the Singapore List and rarities. This report updates the findings from the past 12 months.

New Species
Five new bird species were added to the Singapore List, bringing the total number of species to 397. Two are splits. They include the following:

Red-billed Starling Spodiopsar sericeus.
An individual photographed by Daniel Wee at Gardens by the Bay on 30 Nov 2013 and another photographed at Tampines Eco-Green by Alvin Seng on 27 Dec 2015 follows an earlier record by Lim Kim Seng from Lorong Halus on 25 Dec 1993.

Jacobin Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus
A single individual reported and photographed by Tay Wei Kuan at Lorong Halus on 4 Dec 2013 was the first for Singapore. There were several subsequent records from the same site.

IMG_7590

Jacobin Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus at Lorong Halus on 4 Dec 2013, a first record for Singapore. Photo by Tay Wei Kuan.

Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus
A female photographed by Robin Arnold on Pulau Ubin on 23 Dec 2016 was subsequently seen by several observers. This species was first reported by Francis Yap at the same site on 23 Jul 2015. It is believed that this species may have invaded Singapore from nearby Johor.

Black Hornbill Rob Arnold

Black Hornbill taken by Rob Arnold taken at Pulau Ubin on 23 Dec 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone affinis
This is a recent split from the “Asian Paradise-flycatcher” complex as proposed by Fabre et al (2012) and Andersen et al (2015) and accepted by IOC. We now have evidence of its occurrence in Singapore although exact dates are still being investigated. We prefer to use the name, “Blyth’s” rather than “Oriental”, as the latter is geographically misleading. This polytypic species breeds in mainland Southeast Asia and the Indonesian Archipelago, and birds appearing in Singapore are likely migrants from Peninsular Malaysia or Thailand.

Amur Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone incei
This is a recent split from the “Asian Paradise-flycatcher” complex as proposed by Fabre et al (2012) and Andersen et al (2015) and accepted by IOC. We now have evidence of its occurrence in Singapore although exact dates are still being investigated. This monotypic species breeds in northern and northeast Asia and winters in Southeast Asia.

Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana
This is a recent split from the “Blue-and-white Flycatcher” complex as proposed by Leader & Carey (2012) and accepted by IOC. We now have evidence of its occurrence in Singapore although exact dates are still being investigated. This species breeds in northern and northeast Asia and winters in Southeast Asia.

Zappey’s Flycatcher Cyanoptila cumatilis
This is another recent split from the “Blue-and-white Flycatcher” complex as proposed by Leader & Carey (2012) and accepted by IOC. We now have evidence of its occurrence in Singapore although exact dates are still being investigated. This species breeds in northern-central China and winters in Southeast Asia.

Annex 1 Species

Bulwer’s Petrel Bulweria bulwerii

One reported in the Singapore Straits on 12 Nov 2016 by Lau Jia Sheng was the first record from these waters. However, GPS coordinates show that the bird was seen 4.3 km outside of Singapore’s national boundaries. It is therefore assigned to Annex 1. 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.

Rarities
The following eight rarities were accepted.

White Wagtail Motacilla alba
One of subspecies lugens photographed at Bishan depot by Vincent Lao was the first record of this taxon in Singapore. The other subspecies currently accepted are leucopsis and ocularis.

Red-footed Booby Sula sula
One photographed in the Singapore Straits on 12 Nov 2016 by Francis Yap was 2.5 km outside Singapore waters. This record is assigned to Annex 1.

White-bellied Woodpecker Dryocopus javensis
A bird seen flying over the Pan-Island Expressway on 13 Feb 2016 by Alfred Chia has been our first record for many years. This species is thought to be extirpated and this individual is more likely to be a transient rather than an undetected resident.

Short-tailed Shearwater Puffinus tenuirostris
Three birds reported in the Singapore Straits by See Toh Yew Wai on 7 May 2016 were our third record for Singapore.

Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica
Two birds photographed on Pulau Tekong on 1 Oct 2016 by Frankie Cheong were our first record for many years.

Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus
One bird photographed on Pulau Tekong on 8 Oct 2016 by Frankie Cheong was our third record and the first from this locality.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
A bird photographed at Henderson Wave Bridge on 17 Nov 2016 by Keita Sin was our second record. Our only other record was reported at Tuas View Lane by Martti Siponen on 14 Nov 2010.

Amur Falcon Falco amurensis
A female photographed at Lower Seletar Dam on 16 Dec 2016 by Yip Peng Sun was our second record. Our only other record (also a female) was reported at Changi Coast by Tan Gim Cheong on 21 Nov 2007.

Acknowledgements
We would like to thanks the following observers for submitting their records for review: Robin Arnold, Frankie Cheong, Alfred Chia, Lau Jia Sheng, Vincent Lao, See Toh Yew Wai, Alvin Seng, Keita Sin, Tay Wei Kuan, Daniel Wee, Francis Yap and Yip Peng Sun. Thanks to Daniel Wee, Rob Arnold and Tay Wei Kuan for the use of their photos. 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 Yong Ding Li.

References
Andersen, M.J., P.A. Hoster, C.E Filardi, and R.G. Moyle. 2015. Phylogeny of the monarch flycatchers reveals extensive paraphyly and novel relationships within a major Australo-Pacific radiation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 67: 336–347.
Fabre, P.-H., M. Irestedt, J. Fjeldså, R. Bristol, J.J. Groombridge, M. Irham, and K.A. Jønsson. 2012. Dynamic colonization exchanges between continents and islands drive diversification in paradise-flycatchers (Terpsiphone, Monarchidae). Journal of Biogeography 39: 1900-1918.
Leader, P. & Carey, G. (2012). Zappey’s Flycatcher Cyanoptila cumatilis, a forgotten Chinese breeding endemic. Forktail 28: 121-8.
Lim, K.S. (2009). The avifauna of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore), Singapore.

Singapore Bird Report-May 2017

May turned out to be pretty interesting month. Martin Kennewell was birding at the Hindhede Quarry on the 15th evening when he scoped a resting Pheasant-tailed Jacana  Hydrophasianus chirurgus.  This rare winter visitor must have been forced down by a thunderstorm earlier. This is one day earlier than the last recorded departure date. Francis Yap timed his visit to Seletar Grasslands to perfection when he found the Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx basalis, a summer migrant from Australia, perched among the scrubs on 27th. Lim Kim Keang saw it again the next day.  For an encore Francis photographed one of the few surviving Lesser Green Leafbirds Chloropsis cyanopogon, a male  from Jelutong Tower on 17th. This is the rarest of our three leafbird species.

Lesser Green Leafbird FYap

A rare photograph of a Lesser Green Leafbird taken from Jelutong Tower by Francis Yap

Sharindar Singh and his friend Ramesh Nadarajan reported a Mangrove Blue Flycatcher Cyornis rufigastra at Lorong Halus on 13th. If accepted this rare resident will be our fifth mainland record. Their stronghold is at Pulau Tekong although we have been getting periodic records from Chek Jawa at Pulau Ubin. Tony Greer was on his way to Batam when he saw a shearwater flying alongside his ferry near Sister’s Island. Unfortunately the gloomy weather hampered the identification.

Bulwer's Petrel Jiasheng

On the 6th, a third Bulwer’s Petrel Bulweria bulwerii was reported at the Straits of Singapore, a multi-national stretch of water, south of the Eastern Anchorage (pers com with Lau Jiasheng).

Left: Lau Jiasheng’s photo of Bulwer’s Petrel taken at the Straits of Singapore.

There were a host of over-stayers this month. Topping the list was a Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis photographed on 13th by Piyong and Looi Ang Soh Hoon. Siew Mun heard it calling a week earlier. This is 40 days later than the previous late date of 3rd April.

CK Soh Hoon

This Common Kingfisher was in no hurry to fly back. Photographed at Chinese Gardens by Looi Ang Soh Hoon. The deeper blue color almost had it misidentified.

CWC Sarah Chin-001

Another over stayer was this Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator Coromandus that crashed into the W Residences at Sentosa Cove on 2nd (Photo right provided by Sarah Chin). This is about week later than the previous late date. Richard White had been monitoring the Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida at the SBG. It was still around on the 13th. Yong Ding Li saw it there 2 days later. The previous late date was on 3rd May 2016 from Compass Vale Sec. School. An Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia was reported by Adrian Silas Tay at Seletar Grasslands on 27th over staying by a day. Over at Pulau Tekong, a late Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes in breeding plumage was seen by Frankie Cheong on the same day.

As expected, we had a good number of breeding records this month. James Tann and Alan OwYong photographed a Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis carrying dead leaves to its nest at Chua Chu Kang grasslands on 1st. Wong Chung Cheong reported the nesting of the Grey-rumped Treeswifts Hemiprocne longipennis on a Angsana Tree at Ang Mo Kio on 7th. The next day Yong Ding Li also reported the nesting of the same species at Kay Siang Road. On 10 May, Lim Kim Keang came across a pair of Red-crowned Barbets Megalaima rafflesii going into a tree hole at Upper Seletar Reservoir. Over at the Chinese Gardens a pair of Coppersmith Barbets Megalaima haemacephala were feeding their chicks inside a nest hole in a Red Coral tree while a pair of Common Tailorbirds Orthotomus sutorius were going in and out of their nest by the lakeside (Piyong on 13th). Yeo Seng Beng reported a Red-legged Crake Rallina fasciata passing nesting material to its mate at Hindhede Park on 17th. This would be the first nesting record for this secretive crake but unfortunately the nest cannot be found the next day. Atish Banerjee found a nest of a Olive-winged Bulbul Pycnonotus plumosus at Dairy Farm NP on 18 May. Another Common Tailorbird nest with 2 chicks was found at the SBG on the 28th by Tan Gim Cheong and both parents were busy bringing insects to feed them. Most chicks reported above have fledged by now. Seng Alvin photographed a juvenile Rusty-breasted Cuckoo Cacomantis sepulcralis at Tampines Eco Green on 25th. Earlier on the 5th, Aldwin Recinto had an adult Rusty-breasted Cuckoo as well at Pasir Ris Park.

Rusty-breasted Cuckoo Seng Alvin

A juvenile Rusty-breasted Cuckoo photographed at Tampines Eco Green by Seng Alvin.

Most of the migrant reports were from Kranji Marshes. Watercocks Gallicrex cinerea (four on 20th), Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis, Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis on 6th and a Brown Shrike Lanis cristatus on 7th were reported by Martin Kennewell. Adrian Silas Tay had another Watercock at Seletar Grasslands on 27th as well. This species have been known to stay up to mid June. Another Blue-winged Pitta was also reported at Pasir Ris Park on 20th by Aldwin Recinto. Will we have another nesting of this Pitta this season? A known late stayer, the Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis was seen on the last day of the month at Satay by the Bay by Ian Reid. We can expected this bittern to be staying there for a few more weeks.

Notable residents for the month: A female Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorthynchus was reported on 4th by Joe Lim from NParks at Butterfly Hill at Pulau Ubin and a Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax at SBG by Laurence Eu.
White-headed Munia Pary Sivaraman

Pary Sivaraman reported ten White-headed Munias Lonchura maja (Pary’s Photo left) at Kranji Marshes on 7th. The numbers for this munia has dropped drastically over the years. Another uncommon munia, the introduced Javan Munia Lonchura leucogastroides was photographed at Lor. Halus by Aldwin Recinto on 30th.

 

The rare forest Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting seemed to be spreading which is good news. The latest location was at the Bukit Batok Quarry seen by Phyoe Aung Wai on 19th. Earlier on the 15th Martin Kennewell spotted another Blue-eared Kingfisher at the Hindhede Quarry. The third record for the month was at the Kranji Marshes where Wong Chung Cheong saw one on the canal railing on 27th. This is still one of the best location to see this resident kingfisher.

BEKF Gerals Chua

A very expressive shot of the Blue-eared Kingfisher taken at Kranji Marshes by Gerals Chua.

A fruits of the White Mulberry tree at Dairy Farm NP attracted many of our resident furgivorous species like the Asian Fairy Bluebirds Irena puella, Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati, Blue-winged Leafbird C. cochinchinensis, Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex, Asian Red-eyed Bulbul P. brunneus and Orange-bellied Flowerpeckers Dicaeum trigonostigma .

Orange-belled Flowerpecker Ted Ng

A lovely open photo of a male Orange-bellied Flowerpecker feasting on the white mulberry at Dairy Farm Nature Park. Photo: Ted Ng

Other species reported from Dairy Farm were Van Hasselt’s Sunbirds Leptocoma brasiliana on 10th by James Tann, Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris on 11th by Terence Tan, Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus on 13th by James Tann, and Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus on 23rd by Alan OwYong.

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Strong legs needed by the Van Hasselt’s Sunbird to get to the nectar of a tapioca flower. Taken at Dairy Farm Nature Park by Alan OwYong

Notable residents for the month were two House Swifts Apus nipalensis along the AYE near Clementi by Kristie Yeong on 11th, Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea at Pasir Ris Park on 15th by Seng Alvin, another Violet Cuckoo at Hindhede NP on 16th by Andrew Chow, three more Chestnut-bellied Malkohas at Bukit Batok NP on 20th by James Tann, Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris feeding on the figs at the summit Bukit Timah Hill on 20th (Ted Ng), the uncommon Rufous-tailed Tailorbird Orthotomus sericeus at Windsor Park on 24th by Veronica Foo and up to 12 Blue-crowned Hanging Parrots Loriculus galgulus over the Satay by the Bay on 27th by Atish Banerjee. A good numbers record of this nationally threatened parrot.

BCB Chuin Ming Lee

Some leg work needed to get this Black-crested Bulbul at the summit of Bukit Timah Hill. Photo: Lee Chuin Ming.

Resident wetland species reported included a Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus at Tampines Eco Garden on 25th by Seng Alvin, a Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus at Kranji Marshes on 27th by Martin Kennewell and Kozi Ichiyama and a pair of Greater Painted Snipes Rostratula benghalensis at Seletar Grasslands by Adrian Silas Tay on the same day.  The Great-billed Herons Ardea sumatrana were seen returning to SBWR with three birds sighted by Martin Kennewell on the 27th.

SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens; SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve; AYE: Ayer Rajah Expressway:

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 ebirds by Martin Kennewell. 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 Francis Yap, Lau Jiasheng, Looi Ang Soh Hoon, Sarah Chin, Pary Sivaraman, Gerals Chua, Ted Ng, Alan OwYong and Lee Chuin Ming for the the use of their photos. Please notify alan.owyong@gmail.com if you find errors in these records.

 

Singapore Bird Report- April 2017. Part 1 Winter Visitors.

We are still getting lots of late migrants passing through this month like the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata, that crashed into a block of flat at Simei Street 5 on 3rd (Low Choon How). This set a new late date for this rare flycatcher.

JPFC Choon How-001

Rare Japanese Paradise Flycatcher that crashed into a flat at Simei. Photo: Low Choon How.

Another rare flycatcher was a female Green-backed Ficedula elisae photographed at the CCNR on 6th by Lim Kim Seng. An uncommon Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki was reported by Martin Kennewell at Hindhede NP on the 14th. Martin also had a Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia from Kranji Marshes on 1st.

Kranji Marshes was again the top site for our winter visitors this month.

Other good finds include a Large-hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides on 1st (Richard White), another hawk cuckoo, a Hodgson’s H. niscolor on 2nd (Con Foley), both at Bidadari, a Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda West Coast Park photographed by Johnson Chua on 4th. Lim Kim Keang found one there last November 6th. Could this be the same Kingfisher? Johnson also photographed a lucionensis sub species Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus there the next day. This sub species is rarely seen here as its normal wintering range is in Taiwan and the Philippines.

Brown Shrike Johnson Chua

A lucionensis sub species Brown Shrike photographed at West Coast Park                              by Johnson Chua. Very similar to the adult Tiger Shrike.

A Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka flew into a corridor at One-North Residences on 6th (Alan OwYong) and a Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans from Jelutong Tower on 7th (Marcel Finlay) with another Crow-billed Drongo crashing into an office building at Jurong Island on 18th (Lim Kim Chuah). It managed to recover and flew off by itself. A Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris was reported at the Petai Trail from 7th to 20th by Marcel Finlay. Hard to tell if this is our resident race or not.

Javan Pond Heron Choon How

Javan Pond Heron in early breeding plumage at Lorong Halus by Low Choon How.

Other notable visitors were three Ashy Minivets Pericocotus divaricatus and late Red-rumped Swallows Cecropis daurica seen flying over Kranji Marshes on 1st by Martin Kennewell. Around the ponds, Martin reported that the Black-capped Kingfisher H. pileata was still enjoying the sun on 8th and 19th.  Wagtails were also reported at their respective habitats. Eastern Yellow Motacilla tschutschensis at Kranji Marshes until the 16th (Martin Kennewell) and Forest Dendronanthus indicus at Admiralty Park on 9th (Vincent Lao) and Lower Pierce on 15th and 16th (Martin Kennewell and Marcel Finlay).

Forest Wagtail Vincent Lao

Forest Wagtail on a tarmac walkway at Admiralty Park. Photo: Vincent Lao

Pittas were still coming through and crashing into our buildings. Three different Blue-wingeds Pitta moluccensis were reported on 14th from Kranji Marshes and a Hooded P. sordida from Hindhede both by Martin Kennewell. The one that crashed near to the Commonwealth MRT station on 21st was a Hooded as well (Adrian Silas Tay).

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A Grey Nightjar resting at a flower bed at One-North Residences. Alan OwYong.

Other interesting winter visitors reported were a white morph Asian Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi along Dairy Farm Loop on 17th ( Tony James),  Siberian Blue Robin Luscina cyane along Petai Trail on 19th (Marcel Finlay) and two Pallas’s Grasshopper Warblers Locustella certhiola at Kranji Marshes on 29th (Martin Kennewell).  A returning Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus was seen at DFNP on 14th (Martin Kennewell) and another adult at Jurong Eco Garden on 17th (Siew Mun).

Tiger Shrike Siew Mun

Adult Tiger Shrike photographed at Jurong Eco Garden by Siew Mun.

A few wader and waterbird sightings to report. A Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa at Lorong Halus on 4th (Low Choon How) and maybe the same bird at Farmway 3 on 6th (Lim Kim Seng). A Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola at Kranji Marshes on 8th (Martin Kennewell) and another at Marina Barrage on 16th by Keita Sin. This could be our first record of this fresh water wader at this breakwaters. Frankie Cheong reported a Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes in breeding plumage at Pulau Tekong on 8th. This is our most reliable site for this globally threatened species. Two Watercocks Gallicrex cinerea at the old Grebe pond at Lorong Halus on 7th (Lim Kim Seng). Johnson Chua photographed  an adult male Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus lurking at the Flamingo enclosure at the Jurong Bird Park on 12th. This is presumed to be a wild bird as it had no rings on its feet.

Chinese Egret Frankie Cheong

Chinese Egret at its favorite site at Pulau Tekong. Photo Frankie Cheong 

See Toh Yew Wai and friends took two boats out to the Straits of Singapore on 29th to check on the seabirds that were on their way back north. They came back with the second sighting of the Bulwer’s Petrel Bulweria bulwerii, a record 26 Short-tailed Shearwaters Puffinus tenuirostris, two Jaegers, Long-tailed Stercorarius longicaudus and Parasitic S. parasiticus and a few Aleutian Terns Onychoprion aleuticus among others. A very productive outing. Some of these sightings may not be in Singapore waters.

Short-tailed Shearwater Wong Lee Hiong

A low flying Short-tailed Shearwater photographed at the Straits of Singapore by Wong Lee Hong. A record 26 of these shearwaters were seen on that day.

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.

A field Guide to the Waterbirds of Asia. Wild Bird Society of Japan

This report is compiled by Alan OwYong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong from selected postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums and individual reports. 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 especially Martin Kennewell and Marcel Finlay for their personal lists. Many thanks to LJohnson Chua, Low Choon How, Vincent Lao, Alan OwYong,  Siew Mun, Frankie Cheong and Wong Lee Hong for the use of their photos. Please notify alan.owyong@gmail.com if you find errors in these records.

Singapore Bird Report- November 2016

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Bulwer’s Petrel photographed by Lau Jiasheng on a pelagic trip to the Straits of Singapore.

The big new for November had to be the sighting of a Bulwer’s Petrel Bulweria bulwerii on 12th at the Straits of Singapore during a pelagic trip organised by Francis Yap and friends. This is the first encounter with this petrel and a very important find. It showed that they are using the Straits of Singapore to move from their breeding grounds at the islands off Japan and SE China to the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean.  (Note: the Singapore Straits is a multi-national stretch of water). The Records Committee is now assessing this record. During the same trip a rare Red-footed Booby Sula sula was photographed resting on flotsam. This is only the third record. Well done guys!

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Red-footed Booby, the third record of this species, at the Straits of Singapore photographed by Francis Yap.

With more and more observers, and people interested in birds, we are getting records of arriving thrushes, pittas, cuckoos and flycatchers from every corner of the island this month. This in turn gave us a very accurate picture of the movement of these migrants, data which is crucial for their conservation.

The Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida records for this month best illustrate this. Saket Sarupria posted a photo of one at the corner of a stair landing at Keppel Towers on 29th. It flew off later on its own. But the second sighting of the day at St. Andrew’s Cathedral survived the crash as well (David Tan). The next day, Sarah Chin’s dad found one at the PWC building at Chinatown. David Tan was kept busy going from Bedok North and then to King George’s Avenue to collect two more dead Hooded Pittas on the same day. The last Hooded Pitta for the month was at Tuas South, seen very much alive by Robin Tan. The five pittas found in that two days gave us a timing of its major movement. But it was the report of a Hooded Pitta that crashed into Patricia Lorenz’s house at Tanah Merah on 6th that sets a new extreme date (David Tan).

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Blue-winged Pitta looking lost in the grounds of Bowen Secondary School. Photo: Jimmy Lee.

The Blue-winged Pittas Pitta moluccensis continued to arrive this month. One found dead at Orchard Road on the 1st (David Tan), another casualty at Tuas on 3rd. Low Choon How reported one at Tuas South on 9th, another was photographed roosting at night at Hindhede NP by Vinchel Budihardjo on 11th. James Tann reported another crashing into Metropolis at One-North on 11th as well. This one survived. The last was seen wandering around Bowen Secondary School by Jimmy Lee on 18th. Pittas are one species that are very prone to crashing into buildings during night migration.

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Siberian Thrush feeding on the berries outside the BTNR Visitor Center. Photo: Lee Chuin Ming.

Up to three Siberian Thrushes Geokichla sibirica were first seen feeding on a fruiting tree near to the BTNR visitor center on 2nd by Lee Chuin Ming. This was followed by the appearance of the Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus at Bidadari spotted on the same day by Timothy Lim. More Eye-browed Thrushes were seen at Tuas South on 30th by Koh Lian Heng and Robin Tan.

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A surprise find at the Marina Barrage by Koh Lian Heng, a female Blue Rock Thrush.

The surprise find was a female Blue Rocked Thrush Moniticola solitarius at Marina Barrage by Koh Lian Heng on the 6th. This thrush normally prefers to perch at high buildings in Singapore. On the same day, Low Choon How recorded up another Siberian Thrush at Tuas South.

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First arrival of the season, a male Mugimaki Flycatcher photographed at Tuas South by Adrian Silas Tay.

The Ferruginous and Mugimaki Flycatchers were late by more than a month this season. First record of a Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea came from the Zoo on 6th (Loke Peng Fai) and another at West Coast Park (Lim Kim Keang). This is the first record for West Coast Park. We managed to have three Mugimaki Flycatchers Ficedula mugimaki all arriving on the same day, 27th, at three different sites. Tuas South by Adrian Silas Tay, Pasir Ris Park by Lim Kim Seng and DFNP by Art Toh. These records almost nailed the date of the influx of this flycatcher.( Footnote: Received an update from Lim Zhong Yong that he photographed a Ferruginous Flycatcher on 29th October along the Rail Corridor near BTNR)

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This first winter male Blue and White Flycatcher came down to forage at the Acacia grove at Bidadari giving Lim Kim Keang this eye level side profile image. First seen by Er Bong Siong.

Another late arriving flycatcher was the rare Blue and White Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana. We have yet to separate it in our checklist. Lee Van Hien photographed one at the favourite migrant stop over at Tuas South on 12th after a tip from his friends. Two days later Keita Sin had one flying over Jelutong Tower. Inevitably a first winter male was found at Bidadari foraging on the acacia groves on 15th (Er Bong Siong). The fourth record was another first winter male photographed at DFNP by James Tann on 27th. Four records for one month is not usual. Most stayed around for a few days.

The male Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocauda at the Zoo entertained us for about a week. It was last seen on 6th. A week later on 13th Geoff Lim found another there, this time a female. One more female turned up at Bidadari on 18th (Lim Kim Keang) and could be the same female reported by Dawn Birding on 30th. We hope that this rare and beautiful flycatcher will return to our shores year after year.

Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoos Hierococcyx nisicolor arrived only in November. First one was seen at Tuas South, where else, by Low Choon How on 9th ( rather early), the second at SBWR on 13th by Lim Kim Seng and the third on 26th at Tuas South again. A day later we had our first record of the Large Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides at Bidadari (Goh Cheng Teng).

West Coast Park seems to be a favorite stop over for kingfishers this season. Keita Sin flushed a Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceryx erithaca there on the 3rd. Alan OwYong photographed a returning Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata near the big drain on the 5th. Then Lim Kim Keang stumbled on a Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda on the 6th while looking for the Black-capped. A Squared-tailed Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris was also wintering there since the 5th (Alan OwYong). All these (except for the Black-capped King fisher) were new for West Coast Park.

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A rare shot of an Indian Cuckoo in flight captured by Lee Tiah Khee over Tanah Merah Grasslands on 12th.

Other notable visitors reported were a Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka found at a Jurong warehouse on 9th (Lim Kim Chuah), an Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus at Tanah Merah Grasslands on 12th (Lee Tiah Khee), Ruddy Kingfisher at Bidadari on 14th (Simon Siow), Cinereous Bulbul Hemixos cinereus heard at BTNR on 23rd by Lim Kim Chuah, two White-shouldered Starlings Sturnus sinensis at SBTB on 26th by Koh Lian Heng and a Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans at Tuas South on 26th by Lim Kim Keang.

Four resident species were recorded for the first time in their respective locations. A lone Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta over Telok Blangah Hill on 6th (Alan OwYong), Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus at Murnane Reservoir on 11th (Seng Beng), an adult  Javan Munia Lonchura leucogastroides with three juveniles at Kovan on 12th (Seng Beng) and Thick-billed Pigeon Treron curvirostra at GBTB on 26th( Kok Lian Heng). An indication of the spreading of these species from their usual habitats?

Shorebirds recorded this month included Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica, globally threatened Great Knots Calidris tenuirostris at SBWR 0n 3rd (David Li), two Sanderlings Calidris alba again at Pulau Tekong on 6th (Frankie Cheong), a Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis at Marina Barrage on 5th (Liz How) and a Common Snipe gallinago gallinago at NTL 3 on 14th (Lim Kim Seng). The numbers for snipes is poor this season.

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Black Bittern at pond at Kent Ridge Park, a first for this site. Photo: Veronica Foo.

Waterbirds included one dead and another live Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurthythmus . David Tan picked up the dead bittern at Jurong West on 5th and Seng Alvin shot a confiding bittern at PRP on the 7th. The first Black Bittern Dupetor flavicolis for the season was captured by Veronica Foo at the pond at Kent Ridge Park on 22nd. This is new for the park. A second Black Bittern was reported from Tuas South on 26th by Lim Kim Keang. The month ended with an exciting find, a Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes at SBWR by Lee Kai Chong. It had a red ring attached to one of its leg. David Li is still trying to find out where it was ringed.

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The Chinese Egret in question shot at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve by Lee Kai Chong.

Legend: BTNR: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park. GBTB: gardens by the Bay. PRP Pasir Ris Park. NTL 3 Neo Tiew Lane 3.

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.

A Field Guide to the Waterbirds of Asia. Wild Birds Society of Japan. 1993

This report is compiled by Alan OwYong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong from selected postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums and individual reports. Some were not verified. We wish to thank all the  contributors for their records. Many thanks to Lau Jiasheng, Francis Yap, Lee Chuin Ming, Koh Lian Heng, Adrian Silas Tay, Lim Kim Keang, Lee Tiah Khee, Veronica Foo and Lee Kai Chong for the use of their photos. If you have any earlier records than those reported here and found some errors, please notify alan.owyong@gmail.com.