Tag Archives: Green Sandpiper

Singapore Bird Report – November 2018

November 2018 sprang a number of surprises, with the first record of an Eurasian Skylark, followed by many other rarities. As migration continued in earnest, news of surprise visits by rare species with patchy records such as the Citrine Wagtail, Green Sandpiper, Stejneger’s Stonechat, etc, made for an exciting time. This season also marks the return of the Indian Paradise Flycatcher at Sungei Buloh. Will the later months bring back the Booted Warbler and Band-bellied Crake? Birders, keep your eyes peeled!

Eurasian Skylark, Angela Chua, 031118, Pandan Res 2, crop

Eurasian Skylark in a classic pose showing a structure that is quite different from pipits, 3 November 2018 at Pandan Reservoir, photo by Angela Chua.

Passerine Surprises in the West

On 3 November 2018 at Pandan Reservoir, Angela Chua photographed a brown bird that looked like the common Paddyfield Pipit, however Martin Kennewell recognised it as an Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis, a first for Singapore. The bird was present till 17 November 2018. This species has a wide range that stretches from Europe, across North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia, through the Indian subcontinent to China and Korea (Birdlife, 2018a), and is vagrant to Borneo.

2. Eurasian Skylark

Another view of the Eurasian Skylark photographed on 11 November 2018 at Pandan Reservoir by Chan Kum Chun.

On Bird Race Day, 11 November 2018, Team “Friends of Buloh” saw a Stejneger’s Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri at Harvest Lane and subsequently some other teams were fortunate to catch up to it. This species is a rare passage migrant and winter visitor. The last records of the stonechat’s occurrence in Singapore were in February 2015 and February 2012.

3. Stejneger Stoneshat

Stejneger’s Stonechat photographed on 18 November 2018 by Lee Van Hien.

A week later on 18 November 2018, an early morning post on social media by Martin Kennewell and Adrian Silas Tay on a Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala found at Harvest Lane galvanised many birders who flocked to the waterlogged fields overgrown with Neptunia shrubs to see it. Essentially a Central Asian bird, this species is more usually encountered in south-eastern Europe through the Balkans to Iran and western India, though there have been reports of vagrants appearing in China, Taiwan, Japan and Sabah (Copete, 2018). In the overgrown fields, the bird concealed its origins well. However, a few birders managed to get exceptionally clear photos, which showed that the bird suffered from unusual feather wear of the type commonly seen in captive birds.

4. Black-headed Bunting

A typical, beguiling view of the Black-headed Bunting in the vegetation, photographed on 18 November 2018 by Thio Hui Bing.

Black-headed Bunting, Pary Sivaraman, 181118, Harvest Lane

A clearer view of the Black-headed Bunting showing feather wear that captive birds often suffer from, photo by Pary Sivaraman, 18 November 2018.

Also on the same day, 18 November 2018, we were greeted by the surprising news of an Indian Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi, our second record for this species. Spotted by Kozi Ichiyama at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR), this species made waves in local birding circles when it was first reported at the same location around 25 March 2018, during the spring migration period.

5. IPFC

Indian Paradise Flycatcher photographed on 26 November 2018 by Daniel Tan.

There must be something about 18 November 2018, for Tiak Lee photographed an unusual looking wagtail amongst the many Yellow Wagtails at the National Service Resort and Country Club’s Kranji Sanctuary Golf Course. When the photos were processed several days later, Alfred Chia identified it as a very rare first winter Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola! On reviewing his photos, Lim Kim Keang discovered that he had photographed the same bird at the same locality four days earlier, on 14 November 2018. The last record of the species in Singapore was in December 1994, making this a 24-year gap until its latest appearance.

6ab

Citrine Wagtail photographed in Singapore. The photograph on the left was taken in December 1994 at Tuas South Avenue 1 by Alan Owyong, while the one of the right was taken on 18 November 2018 at NSRCC by Tiak Lee.

Shorebird Surprise

Local birders were surprised when a photograph of a rare Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus taken on 2 November 2018 by Daniel Loh at Hide 1C Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) surfaced on social media several days later, identified by Martin Kennewell. The species breeds in the northern latitudes across Scandinavia to Siberia and winters in the Mediterranean, Africa, Middle East, Indian subcontinent, south Japan, east China, the Philippines and northern Borneo (Van Gils, Wiersma & Kirwan, 2018) and is listed as being of Least Concern by IUCN (Birdlife, 2018c).

1. Green Sandpiper

A Green Sandpiper was spotted at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on 2 November 2018 and photographed by Daniel Loh.

Chinese Egrets

Singapore continued to host the vulnerable Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes. Two birds were seen on 7 November 2018, and another was spotted on 24 November 2018 on Pulau Tekong by Frankie Cheong.  Preferring marine coastal and intertidal habitats, this species is known to breed in China, both Koreas, and Far Eastern Russia. However, key threats come from habitat loss from reclamation of tidal flats, estuarine habitats and other human developmental activities.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR), BTNR & DFNP

Migrants seen within these boundaries include a Black Kite Milvus migrans photographed on 8 November 2018 at Hindhede Nature Park (James Mustafa), a Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis and a Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka on the same day at the same locality (Richard White), the latter being the first-for-the-season. A Blue-and-White/Zappey’s Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana/cumatilis was seen at Mandai Zoo on 12 November 2018 (CK Tang). Two Siberian Thrush Geokichla sibirica were spotted on 17 November 2018 (Lim Kim Chuah & Art Toh) at Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP). DFNP proved to be productive towards the end of the month, with an Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus spotted on 24 November 2018 (Yeo Seng Beng), and three groups of Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus, numbering 31 in total, on 26 November 2018 (Martin Kennewell).

7. GNJ

A Grey Nightjar photographed at Hindhede Park on 8 November 2018 by Richard White.

8. Siberian Thrush

Siberian Thrush photographed on 17 November 2018 at Dairy Farm Nature Park by Art Toh.

Resident species spotted here included a Thick-billed Pigeon Treron curvirostra on 2 November 2018 at Jelutong Tower (Francis Yap), three to six Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus moving south-west together on 8 November 2018 at Bukit Timah Hill (Richard White) and a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting on 8 November 2018 at Hindhede Nature Park (Richard White & Alan Owyong). An Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster was spotted in CCNR on 9 November 2018 (Lim Kim Seng), while a flock of eight Blue-rumped Parrot Psittinus cyanurus was seen on 15 November 2018 flying over the entrance of Venus Park (Shirley Ng). Mandai Zoo proved to be fruitful also for residents, with a Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps, being spotted on 16 November 2018 (Thio Hui Bing).

9. BH Bulbul

Black-headed Bulbul photographed in the leafy compounds of the Zoo on 16 November 2018 by Thio Hui Bing.

Central Singapore

Sightings of migratory species dominated the records for locations within Central Singapore. A Blue-and-White/Zappey’s Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana/ cumatilis was spotted on 18 November 2018 at Ang Mo Kio Town Park by Loke Peng Fai, while Bidadari continued to attract interesting species, such as a female hepatic Himalayan Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus on 22 November 2018 by Con Foley and Pary Sivaraman, a rare Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae on 24 November 2018 by Goh Cheng Teng, and a Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka on 26 November 2018 (T. Ramesh).

10. GB FC

A Green-backed Flycatcher photographed on 24 November 2018 at Bidadari by Goh Cheng Teng.

11. Himalayan Cuckoo

A Himalayan Cuckoo photographed on 23 November 2018 at Bidadari by Con Foley.

Northern Singapore

A sub-adult Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela was spotted on 6 November 2018 at Serangoon Reservoir by Jack Lai, while a juvenile Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus was seen on 9 November 2018 at Seletar Aerospace Drive by Dean Tan.

12. Moorhen juv

A juvenile Common Moorhen photographed on 8 November 2018 by Dean Tan

Eastern Singapore

Five to six Daurian Starling Agropsar sturninus were seen on 3 November 2018 at Pasir Ris Park (Alvin Seng). A Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga was photographed on 4 November 2018 around Changi Business Park (Zacc HD), while a Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax was seen at Pasir Ris Park on 17 November 2018 (Alvin Seng); a few days later on 23 November 2018, at nearby Tampines Eco-Green, a female Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki was spotted (Alvin Seng). Further afield, two Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres were seen on 24 November 2018 on Pulau Tekong (Frankie Cheong), while a Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni was photographed on 30 November 2018 at Changi Business Park (James Gan).

Notable residents recorded in the east was a Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu spotted feeding with a mixed flock comprising Thick-billed Pigeon Treron curvirostra and Pink-necked Pigeon Treron vernans on 15 November 2018 at Pasir Ris Park by Alvin Seng.

13. Jambu

A juvenile Jambu Fruit Dove photographed on 16 November 2018 at Pasir Ris Park by Alvin Seng.

Southern Singapore

The southern-most hills attracted many observers as raptors and other migrants arrived in or passed through Singapore. An uncommon Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus was spotted on 2 November 2018 at Henderson Wave (See Toh Yew Wai), while five rare White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus were seen on 3 November 2018 at Telok Blangah Hill Park (Francis Yap).

15. GSE

A Greater Spotted Eagle photographed on 5 November 2018 at Henderson Wave by See Toh Yew Wai.

A Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus was seen on 4 November 2018 at the same park (Daniel Ong). The next day, a Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga was photographed at Henderson Wave after a rainy and slow start (See Toh Yew Wai, George Presanis and Geoff Lim). A Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor was spotted on 8 November 2018 at Gardens by the Bay (David Fur), while another was seen on 13 November 2018 at Jurong Island (Lim Kim Chuah). Again, on Jurong Island, an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx erithaca (black-backed subspecies) had the misfortune of crashing into a glass window on 22 November 2018. Fortunately, it survived and the bird was subsequently released somewhere safer by Lim Kim Chuah.

odkf

The Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher that survived a crash into a window on Jurong Island on 23 November 2018. Photographed by Lim Kim Chuah.

Raptors continued to ply along the ridge line through the month; notable sightings included about 200 Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes on 8 November 2018 and an Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus on 12 November 2018 at Telok Blangah Hill Park (Tan Gim Cheong); a Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni on 19 November 2018 at Preston Road (Mag Pie); a rare Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus on 20 November 2018 (Oliver Tan) and another Jerdon’s Baza on 23 November 2018, both at Henderson Wave (See Toh Yew Wai).

16. STSE

A Short-toed Snake Eagle taken on 20 November 2018 from Henderson Wave by Oliver Tan.

Passerine migrants encountered during this season included a Siberian Thrush Geokichla sibirica found dead on 13 November 2018 at Tanglin Trust School (David Tan), a female Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata on 24 November 2018 at Telok Blangah Hill Park (Tay Kian Guan), and an Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus on 27 November 2018 at the same locality (Zacc HD). Possibly a first for Telok Blangah Hill Park was the sighting of a female Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella on 25 November 2018 (See Toh Yew Wai).

17. AFBB

See Toh Yew Wai’s photograph of a female Asian Fairy Bluebird at Telok Blangah Hill Park on 25 November 2018.

Western Singapore

Apart from the spectacular western discoveries described at the beginning of this report, this region also yielded a long list of observations. A Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus was spotted on 2 November 2018 at West Coast Park (Angie Cheong, confirmed by Martin Kennewell), while the same park yielded a Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana on 6 November 2018 in the Marsh Garden (Zhang Licong); a female, first-for-the-season Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki on 10 November 2018 (Nicholas Lim), followed by a male on 20 November 2018 (Lawrence Eu).

18. GBH

The Marsh Garden yielded a surprise in the form of a Great-billed Heron on 6 November 2018. Photographed by Zhang Licong.

A first-for-the-season Black Kite Milvus migrans was seen during Raptor Watch 2018 on 3 November 2018 at Tuas South (Tan Gim Cheong), as was a Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus on 4 November 2018 at the same locality (Low Choon How). This western-most region of Singapore also yielded a rare Rosy Starling Pastor roseus on 23 November 2018 (Martin Kennewell), as well as a Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata on 24 November 2018 (Angie Cheong).

The area around Kranji Marshes, including Turut Track and Neo Tiew Lane, yielded several delights. At Turut Track on 4 November 2018, an adult male Eastern Marsh Harrier Circus spilonotus that flew high up was photographed by Low Choon How, while a Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago was spotted by Pary Sivaraman. On 5 November 2018, a juvenile Eastern Marsh Harrier Circus spilonotus was photographed at Turut Track (Francis Yap), a first-for-the-season Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus recorded at Kranji Marshes (Martin Kennewell) and an exhausted Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus found along the road at Ama Keng (Low Choon How).  A Watercock Gallicrex cinerea was seen on 17 November 2018 at Harvest Lane (Khoo Mei Lin), as was a first-for-the-season Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus on 18 November 2018 at Kranji Marshes (Andy Burns & Lim Kim Seng). Several sightings of the elusive Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata were made on 21 November 2018 at Turut Track (Lim Ser Chai) and Kranji Marshes (See Toh Yew Wai). An uncommon Sand Martin Riparia riparia was seen on 28 November 2018 at Turut Track (Fadzrun Adnan), as was a Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus on 29 November 2018 at the nearby Neo Tiew Lane (Zacc HD).

19. EMH

Eastern Marsh Harrier at Turut Track on 5 November 2018 photographed by Francis Yap.

20. Lanceolated

The elusive and difficult to photograph Lanceolated Warbler taken on 23 November 2018 at Turut Track by Lim Ser Chai

Other westerly sightings included a juvenile Pied Harrier Circus melanoleucos on 11 November 2018 (Adrian Silas Tay), two Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus on 13 November 2018 (Henrietta Woo) and a Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis on 16 November 2018 (Siew Mun) at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve; a rare juvenile Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus on 11 November 2018 at Chinese Gardens (Kwek Swee Meng) and five Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola on 18 November 2018 at Bulim (Alan Owyong).

21. PH

A juvenile Pied Harrier taken on Bird Race Day (11 November 2018) at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve by Adrian Silas Tay.

Notable residents included a Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo on 5 November 2018 at Japanese Garden (Kok M Lee) and a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax on 9 November 2018 at West Coast Park (Lim Khoon Hin).

22. B Bittern

Black Bittern taken on 18 November 2018 at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve by Josh Wong.

Other records

There was a report of an immature Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle Lophotriorchis kienerii found by NParks on 4 November 2018 at an HDB estate (it would be interesting to examine the photo, if any, as this species is often confused with the Changeable Hawk Eagle), and a report of a Northern Boobook Ninox japonica collected on 10 November 2018 at a private residential estate (David Tan).

Abbreviations:
BTNR – Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
DFNP – Dairy Farm Nature Park

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 Angela Chua, Daniel Loh, Chan Kum Chun, Lee Van Hien, Thio Hui Bing, Pary Sivaraman, Daniel Tan, Alan OwYong, Tiak Lee, Richard White, Art Toh, Goh Cheng Teng, Con Foley, Dean Tan, Alvin Seng, Francis Yap, Lim Kim Chuah, See Toh Yew Wai, Oliver Tan, Zhang Licong, Lim Ser Chai, Adrian Silas Tay and Josh Wong for the use of their photos. 

 

References

BirdLife International. (2018a). Alauda arvensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T102998555A132039889. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T102998555A132039889.en. Downloaded on 12 December 2018.

BirdLife International. (2018b). Egretta eulophotes. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22696977A93596047. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22696977A93596047.en. Downloaded on 12 December 2018.

BirdLife International. (2018c). Tringa ochropus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22693243A86680632. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22693243A86680632.en. Downloaded on 12 December 2018.

Copete, J.L. (2018). Black-headed Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/61893 on 12 December 2018).

Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/53908 on 12 December 2018).

 

List of bird sightings in report 

Family Species Date
Ardeidae Cinnamon Bittern 5-Nov
Black Bittern 16-Nov
Malayan Night Heron 4-Nov
Malayan Night Heron 11-Nov
Black-crowned Night Heron 9-Nov
Great-billed Heron 6-Nov
Chinese Egret 7-Nov
Chinese Egret 24-Nov
Anhingidae Oriental Darter 9-Nov
Accipitridae Jerdon’s Baza 19-Nov
Jerdon’s Baza 23-Nov
Jerdon’s Baza 30-Nov
Black Baza 8-Nov
Crested Serpent Eagle 6-Nov
Short-toed Snake Eagle 20-Nov
Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle 4-Nov
Greater Spotted Eagle 4-Nov
Greater Spotted Eagle 5-Nov
Eurasian Sparrowhawk 12-Nov
Eastern Marsh Harrier 4-Nov
Eastern Marsh Harrier 5-Nov
Pied Harrier 11-Nov
Black Kite 3-Nov
Black Kite 8-Nov
Grey-headed Fish Eagle 8-Nov
Rallidae

 

Watercock 17-Nov
Common Moorhen 9-Nov
Scolopacidae Common Snipe 4-Nov
Green Sandpiper 2-Nov
Wood Sandpiper 18-Nov
Ruddy Turnstone 24-Nov
Columbidae Pink-necked Pigeon 15-Nov
Thick-billed Pigeon 2-Nov
Thick-billed Pigeon 15-Nov
Jambu Fruit Dove 15-Nov
Cuculidae Chestnut-winged Cuckoo 13-Nov
Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo 17-Nov
Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo 8-Nov
Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo 13-Nov
Himalayan Cuckoo 22-Nov
Strigidae Spotted Wood Owl 5-Nov
Northern Boobook 10-Nov
Caprimulgidae

 

Grey Nightjar 8-Nov
Grey Nightjar 28-Nov
Apodidae

 

White-throated Needletail 3-Nov
Brown-backed Needletail 2-Nov
Alcedinidae Blue-eared Kingfisher 8-Nov
Falconidae Common Kestrel 29-Nov
Psittacidae Blue-rumped Parrot 15-Nov
Pittidae Blue-winged Pitta 8-Nov
Dicruridae Black Drongo 5-Nov
Ashy Drongo 18-Nov
Ashy Drongo 24-Nov
Monarchidae Japanese Paradise Flycatcher 24-Nov
Japanese Paradise Flycatcher 24-Nov
Indian Paradise Flycatcher 18-Nov
Pycnonotidae Black-headed Bulbul 16-Nov
Alaudidae Eurasian Skylark 6-Nov to 17-Nov
Hirundinidae Sand Martin 28-Nov
Phylloscopidae

 

Yellow-browed Warbler 3-Nov
Yellow-browed Warbler 4-Nov
Locustellidae

 

Lanceolated Warbler 21-Nov
Lanceolated Warbler 21-Nov
Irenidae Asian Fairy Bluebird 25-Nov
Sturnidae

 

Daurian Starling 3-Nov
Rosy Starling 23-Nov
Turdidae Siberian Thrush 13-Nov
Siberian Thrush 17-Nov
Eye-browed Thrush 26-Nov
Eye-browed Thrush 27-Nov
Muscicapidae Blue and White/Zappey’s Flycatcher 18-Nov
Blue and White/Zappey’s Flycatcher 12-Nov
Blue and White/Zappey’s Flycatcher 28-Nov
Green-backed Flycatcher 24-Nov
Mugimaki Flycatcher 10-Nov
Mugimaki Flycatcher 20-Nov
Mugimaki Flycatcher 23-Nov
Stejneger’s Stonechat 11-Nov
Motacillidae Citrine Wagtail 18-Nov
Emberizidae Black-headed Bunting
(likely escapee)
18-Nov

 

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