January 2021 – birders who bagged photos of the ‘Asian House Martin’ at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane on 3 Jan 2021 were in for a surprise when Frank Rheindt scrutinised their photos and found that it was a Common House Martin Delichon urbicum of the eastern lagopodum subspecies, which had a bigger white rump compared to the Asian House Martin, this information came from a recent article on House Martin identification shared by Yong Ding Li. The lucky photographers included Mike Hooper, Rob Arnold, Fadzrun A. and Geoff Lim.
Nearby, at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3, a rare Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus was photographed by Norman Wu on 17 Jan 2021, and by Choong YT on 21 Jan 2021. On Pulau Ubin, another rarity, the Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea was photographed by Eunice Kong at Butterfly Hill on 25 Jan 2021.
The Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus was still at Marina East on 3 Jan 2021 (Chen Boon Chong), but had shifted to Central Boulevard from 9 to 12 Jan 2021 (Yip Jen Wei & Kwok Tuck Loong respectively), but was back at Marina East on 23 Jan 2021 (Kwok Tuck Loong). By 25 Jan 2021, it had developed a nice black breastband, as photographed by Danny Khoo. Marina East also had a Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris on 27 Jan 2021, photographed by Sim Chip Chye. Unfortunately, the knot stayed not – it only appeared for a while.
At Pulau Ubin, two Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica and three Red-necked Stints Calidris ruficollis were recorded on 11 Jan 2021 by Krishna G.; a Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres on 24 Jan 2021 by Chen Boon Chong; a Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus on 14 Jan 2021 by Yip Jen Wei; and a Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus on 14 Jan 2021 by Yip Jen Wei, and 26 Jan 2021 by Steven Cheong. On 27 Jan 2021, Yong Ding Li saw and sound-recorded a Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealoides at Ketam mangroves, Ubin.
At a very small patch of woods along Marina View, next to the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC), a Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda was recorded on 6 Jan 2021 by Kwok Tuck Loong, and was present till 15 Jan 2021 (James Gan). Kwok Tuck Loong also recorded a Large Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides in the same patch on 7 Jan 2021, and a Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida along the footpath of the SCCC on 6 Jan 2021.
At Jurong Lake Gardens, a Barred Buttonquail Turnix suscitator was recorded on 3 Jan 2021 by Norhafiani A. Majid, and a Baillon’s Crake Zapornia pusilla on 6 Jan 2021 was reported by Lee Ee Ling.
At Dairy Farm Nature Park, the diffusus Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis was still around between 3 Jan 2021 (Andy Lee) to 12 Jan 2021 (Choong YT). A Black-headed Bulbul Brachypodius atriceps was also recorded on 5 Jan 2021 by Krishna G.
At Hindhede Nature Park on 20 Jan 2021, Richard White recorded an Orange-headed Thrush Geokichla citrina, an Eyebrowed Thrush Turdus obscurus, and a Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae.
Elsewhere, an adult Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus was recorded in the Central Catchment on 6 Jan 2021 by Richard White; a Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni at the Botanic Gardens on 15 Jan 2021 by Tan Swee Nam; a Brahminy Kite Haliastur Indus was feeding on Yellow Bittern at West Coast Park on 24 Jan 2021 (Sebastian Lim): a White-shouldered Starling Sturnia sinensis was recorded at Pasir Ris Park on 25 Jan 2021 by Mike Hooper; and three White Wagtails Motacilla alba of three subspecies (ocularis, leucopsis & lugens) were recorded at Pelton Canal on 26 Jan 2021 by Felix Wong. At Neo Tiew Harvest Lane, Tan Tze Siong photographed a pair of Coppersmith Barbets Psilopogon haemacephalus mating; Valli Nalla saw a White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis eating a changeable lizard on 21 Jan 2021; and the Pied Bushchat Halcyon smyrnensis was still at Holland Plain on 3 Jan 2021 (Russell Boyman).
This report is compiled by Tan Gim Cheong, assisted by Geoff Lim. 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 Mike Hooper, Eunice Kong, Danny Khoo, Sim Chip Chye, James Gan and Valli Nalla for allowing us to use their photographs