As the remaining migrants made their exodus back to their breeding grounds, and residents nest and raise their broods, the most exciting news for May was the return of the Great Slaty Woodpecker for a period of about eleven days. The Great Slaty Woodpecker was first recorded in Singapore in 1904; a specimen was collected from Woodlands. The last two sightings, unconfirmed, were reported from Changi in the 1970s, and the bird was thought to be extinct, until this month’s sightings.
The Great Slaty Woodpecker Mulleripicus pulverulentus was first reported by Ted Lee, when he sought for help to identify an unusual bird photographed at around 2:15pm on 2 May 2018 near the summit of Bukit Timah Hill. Dominic Ng subsequently spotted the bird during the early morning hours of 4 May 2018 near the location where Ted first saw the bird. Others visited the Hill on 5 May 2018, and were rewarded by the bird staying within the vicinity of the summit until late evening. The woodpecker was then seen on the hill on the morning of 6 May 2018. It was sighted around MacRitchie Reservoir on 11 May 2018, and was last seen on the afternoon of 12 May 2018.
Report on Migrants
Sightings of migrant species continue to be reported. A Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus was seen at Satay by the Bay (SBTB) on 1 May 2018 by Veronica Foo, who also heard a Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis calling at the carpark behind the church at Dempsey Hill on 4 May 2018. Several late departure dates were noted this month. Fadzrun Adnan’s report of an Amur Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone incei on 5 May 2018 represented a new late departure date for the species; later than previous records by one week. Lim Kim Keang’s sighting of a Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin on 6 May 2018 represented a new extreme date; the Great Knot’s last recorded departure date was 14 March. Another new late departure record was made by an Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus seen at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) by James Lambert on 6 May 2018. Amin’s report of a White Wagtail Motacilla alba in the Aljunied Canal on 17 May 2018 was an extension of more than a month. Vincent Lao’s report of a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) on 28 May 2018 represents an extension from a previous record of 2 May; one was earlier spotted by Richard Davis on 1 May at SBWR.
Reports on Residents
There were several nesting reports of resident species. Khoo Meilin reported an active nest of a pair of Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala at Chinese Garden on 4 May 2018 and another at Lorong Chencaru, on 8 May 2018, where the chick was seen calling from its nest hole. Mark Nelson Valino photographed a Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus with two chicks at Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG) on 14 May 2018. Lawrence Eu reported a Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera engaged in nest-building activity in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) on 12 May 2018, while Khoo Meilin observed a Striated Heron Butorides striata nest with two chicks on 19 May 2018 in Bishan Park near the Grub Café and a juvenile Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus was seen by Doreen Ang at Burgundy Drive, a first for the area. On 23 May 2018, Edwin Choy reported that one Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot Loriculus galgulus chick fledged from a tree at Pek Kio Market.
Resident species included a male Barred Button Quail Turnix suscitator and Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca spotted at Bidadari by Amin on 6 May 2018.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) yielded a Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris feeding on yellow figs at the summit (4 May 2018 by Stuart Campbell), several Greater Green Leafbird Chlropsis sonnerati (4 May 2018 by Lim Kim Keang), and a Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu (5 May 2018 by Geoff Lim and Kozi Ichiyama). A Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus was sighted on 23 May 2018 near Singapore Quarry by Peter Ding Chu Teck.
Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) had reports of a Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii (17 May 2018 by Con Foley; 24 May 2018 by Art Toh) and Cream-vented Bulbuls Pycnonotus simplex (19 May 2018 by Martin Kennewell and 20 May 2018 by Fadzrun Adnan).
Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP) yielded an Asian Palmswift Cypsiurus balasiensis (1 May 2018 by Fadzrun Adnan), Lesser Green Leafbird Chloropsis cyanopogon (18 May 2018 by Martin Kennewell and 26 May 2018 by Con Foley, Tan Kok Hui and Danny Lau), a Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii (23 May 2018 by Martin Kennewell) and a Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus (27 May 2018 by Lim Kim Chuah).
In the west, Jurong Eco-Garden yielded another Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus (28 May 2018 by Jesse Tan), and a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting (10 May 2018 by Luke Milo Teo).
In the east, a female Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus was spotted at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin (6 May 2018 by Lim Kim Seng and Lim Kim Keang), while about 16 Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica were seen at Pasir Ris Farmway (27 May 2018 by T. Ramesh).
Two Black-naped Terns Sterna sumatrana were seen feeding together with Little Terns Sternula albifrons at Pasir Ris Park (17 May 2018 by Luke Milo Teo). In the north, Veronica Foo heard a Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha calling at Seletar End on 31 May 2018, a new record for this location.
On a separate note, the Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis was reported at several locations – Tampines Eco-Green (25 May 2018 by Alvin Seng), SBWR (27 May 2018 by Art Toh) and Seletar End (31 May 2018 by Veronica Foo).
Lim Kim Keang sighted a Cinereous Bulbul Hemixos cinereus, a non-breeding visitor at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin on 6 May 2018. Records occur mainly in the year-end to early part of the year, previously up to 5 April. They are probably the result of post-breeding dispersal of this species resident in Malaysia.
A pelagic survey led by Francis Yap and See Toh Yew Wai on 5 May 2018 along the multi-national Straits of Singapore yielded 6 migrating Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel Oceanodrama monorhis, along with 3 Short-tailed Shearwater Puffinus tenuirostris, 19 Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus and 1 Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica. Note that some of these sightings might not be in Singapore waters.
BTNR: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park
JEG: Jurong Eco-Garden
KM: Kranji Marsh
PRP: Pasir Ris Park
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
SBTB: Satay by the Bay
TEG: Tampines Eco-Green
This report is compiled by Geoff Lim and Alan OwYong, and edited by Tan Gim Cheong 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 Amin, Alvin Seng, Francis Yap, Jesse Tan, Khong Yew, Mark Nelson Valino and T. Ramesh for the use of their photos.
List of Sightings in the May 2018 Bird Report
|27-May||Lesser Whistling Duck||Pasir Ris Farmway|
|19-May||Striated Heron||Bishan Park|
|6-May||Barred Button Quail||Bidadari|
|6-May||Great Knot||P. Ubin|
|5-May||Jambu Fruit Dove||BTNR|
|23-May||Banded Bay Cuckoo||DFNP|
|23-May||Barred Eagle Owl||BTNR|
|31-May||Savanna Nightjar||Seletar End|
|8-May||Coppersmith Barbet||Chinese Gardens|
|2-May||Great Slaty Woodpecker||BTNR|
|4-May||Great Slaty Woodpecker||BTNR|
|11-May||Great Slaty Woodpecker||CCNR|
|23-May||Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot||Pek Kio Market|
|4-May||Blue-winged Pitta||Dempsey Hill|
|31-May||Mangrove Pitta||Seletar End|
|6-May||Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike||P. Ubin|
|5-May||Amur Paradise Flycatcher||BTNR|
|6-May||Cinereous Bulbul||P. Ubin|
|6-May||Eastern Crowned Warbler||BTNR|
|4-May||Greater Green Leafbird||BTNR|
|18-May||Lesser Green Leafbird||DFNP|
|21-May||Baya Weaver||Burgundy Drive|
|17-May||White Wagtail||Aljunied Canal|