Tag Archives: Great Knot

Yishun Dam and the returning Shorebirds.

Text and Photos by Mohamad Zahidi. 1st Oct, 2016.

There are a few places in Singapore we can go for shorebirds but I chose Yishun Dam as its close to where I live. For the shorebirds that flew thousands of miles from their Arctic breeding ground, the rich sand banks and mud flats provide a great refueling stop and a natural habitat to document them.

august-06Some of the early migrants to Yishun Dam. Small numbers of the Lesser Sand Plovers were seen.(6 Aug 2016).

c-august-15Increased in numbers in the following week. (15 Aug 2016)

I normally spend few hours playing the ‘waiting game’ under the hot sun and try to scan that area for some lifer or uncommon shorebird. The birds there also tend to forage for food at Khatib Bongsu and at some smaller island nearby.

img-20160825-wa0001Shorebirds shooting at low tide under the hot sun at the Yishun Dam. Photo: AlanOwYong

 

This year I am so determined to see the uncommon Greater Sand Plover. During my last Pelagic Trip in May, I was asking around about this Plover which I dipped during my unofficial Big Year in 2014. FrancisYap and See Toh suggested that I should go visit YD frequently in the month of Aug so that I can have a better chance to see the Greater Sand Plover there. 

september-22Lesser Sand Plovers at the sandbank. Background is the shoreline of Khatib Bongsu.

I finally decided to visit Yishun Dam (sandbank) somewhere in late July in order to see some early migrants with my birding kaki, David Tan. We ended up finding the Great-Billed Heron which Alan OwYong said was a new record for Yishun Dam (sandbank). The Western Osprey also made a brief appearance towards the end of our morning session there.

c-july-23Great–billed Heron adjusting to a new standing position. (23 July 2016)

a-july-23
Western Osprey was seen hunting for fish (23 July 2016)

b-july-23Western Osprey dropped its catch in mid-air (23 July 2016)

The news that a Great Knot landed in Yishun was sent to many by Francis Yap on a Saturday morning while I was at work. It attracted many photographers and avid birdwatchers to Yishun Dam again. It was time for me to get some new shot of this globally endangered star bird. There was a chance of getting the Greater Sand Plover as well.

a-august-15

b-august-15Great Knot was seen flying with the Lesser Sand Plover (15 Aug 2016).

Finally, on 22 August Lawrence Cher alerted us about Greater Sand Plover spotted in Yishun Dam. I was eager to go down asap but only managed to do it on 26 Aug 2016 despite the haze that morning.

aug-26Greater Sand Plover foraging along the shoreline (26 Aug 2016)

september-17-1Spotted another Greater Sand Plover at the sandbank. (17 Sep 2016)

Yishun Dam is a perfect place to see these great shorebirds and really hope that it will not be lost to development. I would like to thank Singapore Bird Group for the invite to write this article.

Below are some of my collection of birds taken recently at Yishun Dam.

september-22Common Sandpiper with baby cobra in threat posture (22 Sep 2016)

b-sep-22A pair of Pacific Golden Plover (22 Sep 2016)

a-sep-22Terek Sandpipers foraging on sandbank. (22 Sep 2016), Their numbers are in decline over the years.

oct-5-2014A juvenile Yellow Wagtail was spotted catching insects at Yishun Dam (5 Oct 2014)

sep-28-2014-1Ruddy Turnstone (28 Sep 2014)

oct-23-2013Close-up shot of Ruddy Turnstone (5 Oct 2013)

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

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Singapore Bird Report-August 2016

The Autumn migration is well underway this month with the arrival of the shorebirds early in the month followed by a flood of passerine migrants on the very last day. The wader stops are at Seletar Dam, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR), Kranji Marshes and Pulau Tekong. The star was the globally endangered Great Knot, Calidris tenuirostris, arriving on 13th and staying around the Seletar Dam for a few days.

Great Knot FYap

The Wader of the Month is this Great Knot in partial breeding plumage taken at Seletar Dam by Francis Yap. It had been recently upgraded to globally endangered due to the loss of refueling wetlands at East Asia. 

The newly reclaimed land off Pulau Tekong is turning into a preferred stop for many of the waders. Four globally threatened Chinese Egrets, Egretta eulophotes, on 6th and an Eurasian Curlew, Numenius arquata, on 5th were recorded there. A big thank you to Frankie Cheong for monitoring this restricted location where he also found a family of 2 Malaysian Plovers, Charadrius peronii, adults with two chicks there on the 13th.

frankie-cheongThe newly reclaimed land at Pulau Tekong getting its fair share of rare waders this season. The Asian Dowitcher was the first record here. Three Grey Plovers in breeding plumage and a Greater Sand Plover are next to the Dowitcher. Photo: Frankie Cheong. 

IMG-20160827-WA0006

An unmistakable Ruddy Turnstone in breeding plumage arrived at P. Tekong on the 27th. Thanks again to Frankie Cheong for getting this on record.

Parts of the construction site next to Kranji Marshes were flooded and shallow pools of fresh water attracted many of the waders that were looking for water fleas and larvae there. 13 Long-toed Stints, Calidris subminuta, (Alan OwYong) were counted on 31st. This is a high number for this uncommon plover as past records were in the single numbers.  Also present were at least two Wood Sandpipers, Tringa glareola, and up to 13 Little-ringed Plovers, Charadrius dubius, (Martin Kennewell).

Eurasian Curlew Millie Cher

These two juvenile Eurasian Curlews arrived at SBWR on 25th. The first arrival was recorded at P. Tekong on the 5th by Frankie Cheong. Photo: Millie Cher.

Here is the list of some of the first arrivals.

Species Date Location Observer/s Remarks
Wood Sandpiper x 2 3rd Kranji Marshes Martin Kennewell First reported on 31/8
Common Redshank x 30 5th SBWR Lim Kim Seng
Eurasian Curlew 5th P. Tekong Frankie Cheong. Two birds reported at SBWR by David Li on 25th
Chinese Egret x 4 6th P. Tekong Frankie Cheong
Black-tailed Godwit 7th SBWR Adrian Gopal One reported on 13th at Seletar Dam by Francis Yap.
Pacific Golden Plover 9th Seletar Dam Francis Yap Most in breeding plumage.
Great Knot 13th Seletar Dam Francis Yap Partial breeding plumage.
Greater Sand Plover 18th Seletar Dam KC Ling, Timothy Chua Timothy Chua. Another reported at Seletar Dam on 31st.
Terek Sandpiper 19th Seletar Dam Zacc HD Another seen at P. Tekong on 27th by Frankie Cheong.
Marsh Sandpiper 19th SBWR David Li
Common Greenshank 19th SBWR David Li
Asian Dowitcher 20th SBWR Keita Sin With a Black-tailed Godwit.
Intermediate Egret 23rd SBWR Veronica Foo
Ruddy Turnstone 27th P. Tekong Frankie Cheong One bird in breeding plumage.
Little-ringed Plover x 7 27th Kranji Marshes Martin Kennewell Numbers increased to 13 on  30th by Martin Kennewell
Long-toed Stint x 2 27th Kranji Marshes Martin Kennewell Numbers increased to 13 on 31st by Alan OwYong
White-winged Tern 27th SBWR Martin Kennewell
Grey Plovers x 12-15 31st P. Tekong Frankie Cheong All in breeding plumage together with an Asian Dowitcher.

 

GSP FYap

The Greater Sand Plover taken at Seletar Dam on 22nd by Francis Yap showing all the identification features.

Then on the last day of the month, we had a furry of passerine making their first landfall here. Forest Wagtail, Dendronanthus indicus, at Dillenia Hut from Francis Yap, a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Ficedula zanthopygia, at Venus Loop from Goh Juan Hui and a Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis, at the Gardens by the Bay from Danny Khoo. Earlier in the month an Asian Brown Flycatcher,  Muscicapa latirostris, was photographed at the Japanese Gardens by Kristie Yeong on 20th, four Daurian Starlings, Agropsar sturninus, were seen flying around at Seletar Dam on 21st by Keita Sin. We can expect to see more of these song birds at our forests and woodlands next month.

Yellow-rumped FC Juan Hui

Our first Ficedula for the season, a Yellow-rumped Flycatcher at Venus Loop on the last day of the month. Photo: Juan Hui Goh.

Also on the 31st, two non breeding visiting bulbuls were reported at P. Ubin by Lim Kim Keang and Willie Foo. The uncommon Streaked, Ixos malaccensis, and Cinereous Bulbuls, Hemixos cinereus. A rare winter visitor was the Brown-streaked Flycatcher, Muscicapa williamsoni, reported at SBWR on 9th by Kingsley Phang.

Tan Gim Cheong was surprised by a Ruddy Kingfisher, Halcyon coromanda, flying across his path at Kelicap Hut, P. Ubin on 11th. This is our rare resident race, H. cminor, that had only been recorded in P. Tekong and Ayer Merbau groups of islands. This is the first record for Ubin confirming some local dispersal. We received an unconfirmed record of three male Cotton Pygmy Goose, Nettapus coromandelianus, a rare resident, flying over Cove Village at Sentosa from Esther, a resident there. I was not able to get more details on this sighting.

Other resident records were easier to confirm like the male Violet Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus, over at Jelutong on 5th by Francis Yap. As usual he got some great shots of this uncommon cuckoo. A Little Spiderhunter, Arachnothera longirostris, was also photographed at Venus Drive by KC Ling, and a report of the Spotted Wood Owl, Strix seloputo at West Coast Park by Keita Sin, both on the 5th.  Jansen Seah came in with a report of a pair of Greater Green Leafbirds, Chloropsis sonnerati, chasing away other birds at Upper Thompson Road. Frankie Cheong showed us a photo of a dark morph Pacific Reef Heron, Egretta sacra, again at his backyard at Tekong on 6th. This Egret made its appearance at SBWR on 27th at the Striated Heron Island at the main pond (Daniel Ong and Francis Yap).

pacific-reef-heron-see-tohPacific Reef Heron paid a visit to Sungei Buloh and stayed for a few days. Photo: See Toh Yew Wai. 

Geoff Lim chanced on a Buffy Fish Owl, Ketupa ketupa, at Lower Peirce Boardwalk on 6th.  It was seen again on the 26th by Thio Hb. This was one of the most reliable locations to see this uncommon owl before they spread out. The newly fledged Buffy Fish Owl at SBWR made an appearance at the reserves on 21st spotted by Wing Chong. Great to know that it is doing well.

p8210891Sungie Buloh’s Buffy Fish Owl Jr. can now hunt for itself. Seen here finishing its catch. Alan OwYong

Zacc was really happy to get the House Swift, Apus nipalensis, on his sensors at Punggol Barat on 9th. This resident swift is getting rare nowadays. Aldwin Recinto photographed a Greater Coucal, Centropus sinensis, a forest specific, at Pasir Ris Park on 20th, most likely a dispersal from  across P. Ubin.

Greater Coucal at PRP Aldwin

Greater Coucal a forest species photographed at Pasir Ris Park by Aldwin Recinto.

The resident ernesti race Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus, was seen flying over Punggol Barat on 31st by Lawrence Cher. Tan Gim Cheong will have the rest of the raptor records in this coming Raptor Report.

Some notable records from eBird for August: Amur Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone paradisi, at BTNR on 9th and an Asian Palm Swift, Cypsiurus balasiensis, at Coney Island on 12th both by Christopher Gainey. A Greater Sand Plover, Charadrius leschenaultii, at Marina Barrage on 16th by Malcolm Graham. A Brown Boobook, Ninox scutulata was seen at 7 pm on 23rd along the MacRitchie Boardwalk by Marcel Finley.

Reference:

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 and individual reports. Some were not verified. We wish to thank all the  contributors for their records. Many thanks to Francis Yap, Millie Cher, See Toh Yew Wai, Frankie Cheong, Aldwin Recinto, Goh Juan Hui and Alan OwYong, for the use of their photos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Singapore Birding Report – September 2014

Eastern-crowned Warbler by Joesph Tan

Eastern-crowned Warbler by Joesph Tan Kok Beng.

The excitement on the last day of August went up a notch in September when the migrants were coming in thick and fast. The former Bidadari Cemetery came alive with the return of the big guns. They were lured back to their favourite stomping ground by the appearance of the Flycatchers, Shrikes and Wagtails. The Ferruginous Flycatcher landed on 21st, a new extreme date, followed by the Dark-sided Flycatcher on the 24th and the globally threatened Brown-chested Flycatcher on the 27th. All uncommon species and great ticks for the Big Yearers. Besides these, the photographers had their pick of Asian Paradise Flycatchers (5th), Yellow-rumped Flycatchers (6th), Tiger Shrikes (6th) and Forest Wagtail (13th). The bonuses were a Crow-billed Drongo on the 19th and Siberian Blue Robin on 21st. Both were first winter birds. The Drongo stayed for less than 2 days but the Robin was happy with the handouts and stayed a little longer.  Other migrants seen at Bidadari were a flock of 40 Daurian Starlings on the 13th, Asian Brown Flycatchers and the Eastern-crowned Warblers. Other migrant passerines like the Arctic Warbler was recorded at Nee Soon during the FMBC on the 14th, Brown Shrike at Tuas South on the 20th and again the Eastern-crown Warbler at Sungei Buloh on 22th

Great Knots at SD by Zacc HD

Great Knots at Seletar Dam by Zacc HD

As for the shorebirds, a total of eight Black-tailed Godwits were counted at Sungei Buloh on the 1st up from the five seen the day before. The star bid of the month were the four rare Great Knots found feeding off the Pang Sua Estuary on the 27th morning (Lau Jiasheng). Two were still there in the evening but gave the chasing Big Yearers the miss by moving over to Seletar Dam the next morning (Zacc HD). They were not seen again. Over at Mandai Mudflats, Rufous-necked Stints, Ruddy Turnstone and a lone Broad-billed Sandpiper were recorded during the Fall Migration Bird Census on 14th. The Ruddy Turnstone also turned up at Seletar Dam on 21st and at Chek Java on the 27th together with the Grey Plovers. The Greater Sand Plover that was feeding at Seletar Dam last month made a one day cameo on the 28th.

Greater Sand Plover at SD by Rey Aguila

Greater Sand Plover at Seletar Dam by Rey Aguila.

The Marsh Terns were returning to the Serangoon Reservoir this month. Both the White-winged and the Whiskered Terns were seen on the 9th while the Swift and Bridled Terns were seen flying off Punggol on the 13th. An unusual large number of Black-naped Terns (100+) were seen off Tanah Merah on the 21st. This could be the largest flock of this resident tern seen near the coast of Singapore.

The first migrant raptor was an Oriental Honey Buzzard seen over Bidadari on the 5th. Four Japanese Sparrowhawks were spotted flying through Tuas South on the 16th, the first for this Autumn. Subsequently the home owner at Blk 20 Dakota Cresent woke up to find a Japanese Sparrowhawk perched on his balcony on the 22nd. Another was reported flying over Japanese Gardens on 30th. This was where a Crested Serpent Eagle was photographed on 21st. There were reports of earlier sightings of this Eagle. Chaiyan later pointed out that this particular eagle was the burmanicus and not the malayensis race. It is larger, more rufous than black. Could most of our previous record of this eagle been this race and not the Malaysian resident?

Interesting reports of our resident species include a hard to find House Swift flying over Seletar Dam (27th) and a feeding Pacific Reef Egret there on the 15th. First record of a pair of Lesser Tree Ducks at the pond at Labrador Park and a tame Java Sparrow feeding with the Mynas at Old Airport Road Hawker Center, a recent release no doubt. Over at the Japanese Gardens, a Cinnamon Bittern was foraging at the lotus pond ( 2nd) and an uncommon non-breeding visiting  Malayan Hawk Cuckoo picked out on 24th.

Contributing Observers: Tan Boo Eng, See Toh Yew Wai, Francis Yap, Zacc HD, Lau Jaisheng, Lim Kim Keang, Lim Kim Seng, Rey Aguila, Frankie Lim, Low How Choon, David Li, Lawrence Cher, Toh Yuet Shin, Albert Low, Christina See, Lim Ser Chai, Goh Juan Hui, Geoff Lim and Alan OwYong.