Tag Archives: Oriental Darter

Singapore Bird Report – September 2018

A rare, globally threatened Chinese Egret, and a Grey-headed Fish Eagle preying on a Cinnamon Bittern capped this month’s sightings. A steady stream of migratory birds continue to reach Singapore as the northern hemisphere cools with the onset of autumn. Migratory passerines like flycatchers, Tiger Shrike and the ubiquitous Arctic Warbler begin to be seen on our shores. Resident species continue to be observed, notably the presence of an Oriental Darter at the Singapore Quarry.

Oriental Darter

On 2 Sep 2018, Subha and Raghav Narayanswamy observed an Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster at Singapore Quarry. The next day, Diana Jackson saw the shape of a Darter flying over Rail Mall. These reports rippled across the birding community and drew many to the vicinity for photo opportunities. The bird continued to be seen through September, fishing, swimming and flying at the farther reaches of the quarry. There were also several anxious moments as onlookers sometimes wondered if Grey-headed Fish Eagles perched nearby had any nefarious designs on the more ungainly bird. The bird continued to be seen and photographed on 29 Sep 2018.

1, Oriental Darter, Lee Van Hien

The Oriental Darter at the Singapore Quarry with its piscine prey. With its body submerged and only its sinuous head and neck visible, this species is also called the Snakebird. Photo by Lee Van Hien taken on 8 Sep 2018.

2, Oriental Darter, Siew Mun

The Oriental Darter taking flight at the Singapore Quarry on 8 Sep 2018. Photo taken by Siew Mun.

3, Oriental Darter, Zhang Licong, 080918

The distinct silhouette of the Oriental Darter flying over the Singapore Quarry on 9 Sep 2018. Photographed by Zhang Licong.

Chinese Egret

As a fitting tribute to the 25th anniversary of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, a rare and globally threatened Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes make an appearance at the reserve on 13 Sep 2018, YT Choong and Deborah Friets were the lucky ones to bump into the elegant egret, and managed to obtain some images which were then identified by Dave Bakewell.

Two Featured Flycatchers

The male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia, also called the Korean Flycatcher, is a visually delightful bird with its contrasting colours of black, yellow and white wing patch. Females and juveniles have somewhat distinct wingbars and a rather distinct yellow rump that separates them from Common Ioras. The species breeds across eastern Mongolia, the Russian Far East,  and China from Inner Mongolia, Gansu and Sichuan to the Changjiang valley and is known to winter regularly in peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Java (Wells, 2007:533). It is currently deemed to be of Least Concern by IUCN due to its extensive range range and stable population.

This flycatcher is known to be active at dusk, and hunts mostly at crown-level, much to the chagrin of those who wish to photograph the species, though birds were known to venture down to scrub or in areas overlooking an open space from which birds would perch and aerial-sally for flying insect prey (Wells, 2007:534).

A male was spotted in Bidadari on 2 Sep 2018 by Goh Cheng Teng, followed a female spotted by Ramesh T on 4 Sep 2018, a male and female on 10 Sep 2018 by Martin Kennewell, and a male and female on 15 Sep 2018 by Terence Tan. One bird was also spotted at Hort Park on 12 Sep 2018 by Tay Kian Guan, while a female was spotted on 28 Sep 2018 at Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP) by Terence Tan, and another female was seen on 29 Sep 2018 at Kranji Marsh by Geoff Lim.

4, Yellow-rumped FC, Terence, Tan

A male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher at Bidadari on 15 Sep 2018 by Terence Tan.

5, Yellow-rumped FC, Terence Tan, female

The yellow rump of a female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher shows up distinctly in this photo by Terence Tan, taken at Bidadari on 15 Sep 2018.

6, Yellow-rumped FC, Geoff Lim, female

A distant photo of a female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher showing the distinctive yellow rump and wing bars in this photo Geoff Lim, taken at Kranji Marsh on 23 Sep 2018.

The less photogenic Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni is sometimes considered a sub-species of the Asian Brown Flycatcher superspecies (Wells 2007:578). A sighting on 7 Sep 2018 at Bidadari by Martin Kennewell represented the first of the season this year, while a second sighting was made on 14 Sep 2018 at Singapore Quarry by Wiliam Mahoney.

7, BSFC,-crop

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR)

Migratory species encountered within CCNR during September include an Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus on 12 Sep 2018 at Upper Peirce Reservoir by Veronica Foo, the aforementioned Brown-streaked Flycatcher at the Singapore Quarry and a Pacific Swift Apus pacificus at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on 14 Sep 2018 by William Mahoney and John Ascher, Daurian Starling Agrospar sturninus on 15 Sep 2018 at Venus Loop by Sandra Chia and a Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica at Dairy Farm Nature Park on 25 Sep 2018 by Diana Jackson.

Resident species sighted in this region include the Oriental Darter featured earlier on 2 & 3 Sep 2018 at the vicinity of the Singapore Quarry, a young male Thick-billed Pigeon Treron curvirostra on 11 Sep 2018 at Singapore Quarry by Alan Owyong, a Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera on 29 Sep 2018 at MacRitchie Reservoir Park, a Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex at Lower Peirce Reservoir by Art Toh and Peach Won,  up to three Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella and a pair of Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata at Hindhede Park by Geoff Lim on 30 Sep 2018.

8, AFBB

Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG)

SBG yielded one record of a migrating Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis on 22 Sep 2018 by Stuart Campbell, and the resident Grey-headed Fish-eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus on 15 Sep 2018 by Geoff Lim and Kozi Ichiyama.

9, GHFE

Grey-headed Fish-eagle at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 15 Sep 2018. Photo by Geoff Lim

Central Singapore

The parks and gardens of Central Singapore hosted migratory species such as the Yellow-rumped Flycatcher on 2, 4 & 10 Sep 2018 as mentioned above. Bidadari held Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus on  3 & 9 Sep 2018 by Oliver Tan and Feroz, respectively; an Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa latirostris on 7 Sep 2018 by Khoo MeiLin; the aforementioned Brown-streaked Flycatcher on 7 Sep 2018; an Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis on 10 Sep 2018 by Steven Cheong; and a Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica on 11 Sep 2018 by Terence Tan.

10, Arctic Warbler

An active Arctic Warbler photographed by Herman Phua at Bidadari on 9 Sep 2018.

11, Tiger Shrike

Resident species spotted include about 20 House Swifts Apus nipalensis wheeling above Ngee Ann City at Orchard Road on 11 Sep 2018 by Geoff Lim

Northern Singapore

A Forest Wagtail Dendroanthus indicus was seen on 2 Sep 2018 at Yishun St 11 by Oliver Tan, while Tay Kian Guan and Ramesh T spotted a Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida at Lorong Halus on 19 and 30 Sep 2018.

12, Whiskered Tern, Tay Kian Guan

Eastern Singapore

The September Ubin survey on 16 Sep 2018 yielded four species of owl – the Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji, the Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus, the Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu, and the Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo.

An Amur Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone incei was also spotted on Pulau Ubin on 16 Sep 2018 by Feroz and Francis Kayano Chia. Farther east, Frankie Cheong spotted a Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii and Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus on Pulau Tekong on 17 Sep 2018, while a Chinese Sparrowhawk Accipiter soloensis was spotted at Tampines on 19 Sep 2018 by Lawrence Cher, representing a first for the season.

Southern Singapore

Migratory species seen in southern Singapore include the previously mentioned Yellow-rumped Flycatcher spotted by Tay Kian Guan at Kent Ridge Park on 12 Sep 2018.  Also seen were a Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus at Hort Park on 13 Sep 2018, by Art Toh, and a juvenile Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica was seen at Telok Blangah on 26 Sep 2018 by Art Toh.

13, DSFC, Art Toh, crop

A Dark-sided Flycatcher seen at Telok Blangah on 26 Sep 2018 by Art Toh. The streaked breast is a distinctive feature of the juvenile this species.

A resident Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus was reported to be nesting at Wessex Estate on 2 Sep 2018 by Isabellle Desjeux and two eggs were observed, while a Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis  was seen at Kent Ridge Park on 12 Sep 2018 by Tay Kian Guan.

Western Singapore

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) yielded an Eastern-crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus on 1 Sep 2018 by Russell Boyman, a first-for-the-season Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia on 2 Sep 2018 by Martin Kennewell, Great Egrets Egretta alba – one sighted on 3 Sep 2018 by Martin Kennewell, and four on 4 Sep 2018 by Veronica Foo, Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis on 15,  17 and 30 Sep 2018 (Pary Sivaraman, Deborah Friets & Martin Kennewell, respectively), and the uncommon Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea on 17 Sep 2018 (Deborah Friets). A Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans was subsequently seen on 19 Sep 2018 by Lim Hong Yao.

The only note-worthy resident at SBWR was a juvenile Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus, fed by its host, an Ashy Tailorbird Orthotomus ruficeps, on 18 Sep 2018, spotted by John Marriott.

The area bound by Kranji Marshes, Neo Tiew and Lim Chu Kang also yielded a substantial number of sightings. Kranji Dam yielded a Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida on 9 Sep 2018 (Martin Kennewell), while Kranji  Marshes yielded a Watercock Gallicrex cinerea on 2 Sep 2018 (Martin Kennewell), 38-50 Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia in the adjacent field on 8 Sep 2018 (Veronica Foo), a Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone affinis on 23 Sep 2018 (Geoff Lim & Kozi Ichiyama) and Pallas’ Grasshopper Warbler Locustella certhiola on 22 , 23, 25 and 28 Sep 2018 by Fadzrun A. (2 birds), Geoff Lim (1 bird), Martin Kennewell, and Geoff Lim & Kozi Ichiyama (1 bird), respectively.

Kranji Sanctuary Golf Course supported species such as the Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis and Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta, sighted on 15 Sep 2018 by Martin Kennewell, and nineteen Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius on 19 Sep 2018 by Lim Kim Keang & Veronica Foo. Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 yielded another Little Ringed Plover on 2 Sep 2018 (Kozi Ichiyama and Geoff Lim), Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus on 12 Sep 2018 (Luke Milo Teo), Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea on 15 Sep 2018 (Martin Kennewell) and Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis on 26 Sep 2018 (Dillen Ng).  

14, Little Ringed Plover

A Little Ringed Plover photographed at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 on 2 Sep 2018 by Geoff Lim.

Other species seen in the west include a Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus taken by a Grey-headed Fish-eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus at Pandan Canal on 13 Sep 2018 (Chan Yoke Meng & Melinda Chan); and on 15 Sep 2018, two House Swift Apus nipalensis at West Coast Drive (Tay Kian Guan) and a Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis at Chinese Garden (Dani M Queddeng).

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Pelagic Trips along Straits of Singapore

Lim Kim Keang, Alan OwYong and participants of the NSS pelagic trip along the multi-national straits between Singapore and Batam on 22 Sep 2018 hit the peak of the migration of the Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel Oceanodroma monorhis with 532 birds counted; they also spotted eight Aleutian Tern Onychoprion aleuticus, 136 Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus, 18 Greater Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii, 25 Lesser Crested Tern Thalasseus bengalensis, a juvenile Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida, a juvenile Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel, and a single Pacific Swift Apus pacificus. Another private pelagic trip on 30 Sep 2018 along the same Straits yielded a Common Tern Sterna hirundo (Tan Kok Hui et al). Note that these sightings might not be in Singapore waters.

15, Frigatebird 220918

Lesser Frigatebird at the Straits of Singapore on 22 Sep 2018. Photo by Mahesh Krishnan

Abbreviations:
BTNR: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park
JEG: Jurong Eco-Garden
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
TEG: Tampines Eco-Green

This report is compiled by Geoff Lim and Alan OwYong, 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 Lee Van Hien, Siew Mun, Zhang Licong, Terence Tan, Feroz, Martin Kennewell, Art Toh, Herman Phua, Tay Kian Guan, Mahesh Krishnan  and Geoff Lim for the use of their photos. 

References: 

Wells, D. R. (1999). The Birds of Thai-Malay Peninsula. Vol. 1. Non-passerines. London: Academic Press.

List of Bird Sightings in report

Family Species Date
Ardeidae

 

Cinnamon Bittern 13-Sep
Chinese Pond Heron 12-Sep
Great Egret 4-Sep
Great Egret 3-Sep
Intermediate Egret 1-Sep
Intermediate Egret 8-Sep
Chinese Egret 13-Sep
Anhingidae Oriental Darter 2-Sep
Oriental Darter 3-Sep
Accipitridae

 

 

Chinese Sparrowhawk 19-Sep
Japanese Sparrowhawk 22-Sep
Grey-headed Fish-eagle 15-Sep
Rallidae Watercock 2-Sep
Charadriidae Little Ringed Plover 2-Sep
Little Ringed Plover 19-Sep
Greater Sand Plover 17-Sep
Rostratulidae Greater Painted Snipe 26-Sep
Scolopacidae

 

 

 

 

 

Marsh Sandpiper 15-Sep
Marsh Sandpiper 17-Sep
Marsh Sandpiper 30-Sep
Terek Sandpiper 17-Sep
Long-toed Stint 15-Sep
Curlew Sandpiper 17-Sep
Laridae

 

Whiskered Tern 9-Sep
Whiskered Tern 19-Sep
Whiskered Tern 30-Sep
Columbidae Thick-billed Pigeon 17-Sep
Cuculidae

 

Greater Coucal 12-Sep
Plantive Cuckoo 18-Sep
Strigidae

 

 

 

Sunda Scops Owl 16-Sep
Barred Eagle Owl 16-Sep
Buffy Fish Owl 16-Sep
Spotted Wood Owl 16-Sep
Brown Hawk Owl 30-Sep
Caprimulgidae Large-tailed Nightjar 2-Sep
Apodidae

 

 

 

 

Pacific Swift 9-Sep
Pacific Swift 13-Sep
House Swift 11-Sep
House Swift 15-Sep
Alcedinidae Common Kingfisher 15-Sep
Pittidae Blue-winged Pitta 20-Sep
Laniidae

 

 

Tiger Shrike 3-Sep
Tiger Shrike 9-Sep
Tiger Shrike 13-Sep
Dicruridae Crow-billed Drongo 19-Sep
Monarchidae

 

Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher 23-Sep
Amur Paradise Flycatcher 16-Sep
Pycnonotidae Cream-vented Bulbul 30-Sep
Phylloscopidae

 

 

Arctic Warbler 10-Sep
Eastern Crowned Warbler 1-Sep
Eastern Crowned Warbler 12-Sep
Locustellidae Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler 22-Sep
Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler 23-Sep
Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler 25-Sep
Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler 28-Sep
Timaliidae Chestnut-winged Babbler 29-Sep
Irenidae Asian Fairy Bluebird 30-Sep
Sturnidae Daurian Starling 15-Sep
Muscicapidae

 

Dark-sided Flycatcher 11-Sep
Dark-sided Flycatcher 25-Sep
Dark-sided Flycatcher 26-Sep
Asian Brown Flycatcher 7-Sep
Brown-streaked Flycatcher 7-Sep
Brown-streaked Flycatcher 14-Sep
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 2-Sep
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 4-Sep
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 10-Sep
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 12-Sep
Estrildidae Java Sparrow 29-Sep
Motacillidae Forest Wagtail 2-Sep
Eastern Yellow Wagtail 15-Sep
Grey Wagtail 15-Sep

 

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2017 Year in Review – Residents and Non-breeding Visitors.

2017 Year in Review- Part 3. Residents and Non-breeding Visitors.

We had several important breeding records for 2017 but the most significant was the first documented record of the successful nesting of the Red-legged Crakes Rallina fasciata at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 3rd November by Mike Smith. Prior to this, all we had were sightings of juveniles being fed by their parents.

23415192_1723817844329938_6774436093789093053_o

Mike Smith’s timely photo of the hatching of the first Red-legged Crake chick at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

The other notable breeding record was the sighting of a pair of Great-billed Herons Ardea sumatrana sitting on a nest inside a row of Mangroves at Pulau Ubin near Chek Java on 2nd January by Daniel Ong. This was our first breeding record from the north of Singapore. On 30th August, Chua Yen Kheng of Sungei Buloh proudly announced the sightings of a pair of chicks with the adult Black-backed Swamphens Porphyrio indicus at Kranji Marshes, a first since its opening and an indication of the success of the enhancement of the Marshes.

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Pair of Black-backed Swamphens with youngs at Kranji Marshes. Photo: Bari Mohamed and NParks.

A juvenile Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus was photographed at Pulau Ubin by Serin Subaraj on 18th September during an NParks survey. The adults were heard calling (Jonathan Tan of NParks). Breeding evidence of this rare owl at Ubin?

Serin Subaraj

Juvenile Barred Eagle Owl photographed by Serin Subaraj at Pulau Ubin.

The nesting of the introduced Monk Parakeets Myiopsitta monachus at Pasir Ris Park was however a little worrying as these aggressive parakeets may impact negatively on our native parrots. (Lim Kim Keang on 24th February)

Staying in Ubin, David Tan retrieved the carcass of a Black-and-Red Broadbill Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos on 24 August, after it crashed into a building at the Outward Bound School there. This was our third record. A female Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus was reported at Ubin on 21st September by Alan OwYong with another sighting by Martin Kennewell at Sentosa, sex unknown.

Black Hornbill Rob Arnold

The female Black Hornbill was one of the latest addition to the Checklist. Taken at Ubin by Rob Arnold.

The nationally threatened Mangrove Blue Flycatcher Cyornis rufigastra was heard calling at the eastern end of the island by Lim Kim Keang and Low Choon How on 1st September. Sharinder Singh also reported seeing one across Lorong Halus on 13th May. Another rare resident seen at Pulau Ubin was the Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea, once on 1st April by Lim Kim Keang and again on 16th September by James Tann. Mike Hooper reported seeing another at Marina East on 30th July. This is the only Whistler here.

James Tann MW

A rare photo of the Mangrove Whistler taken at P. Ubin by James Tann in September

The Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster was reported at the Pekan Quarry on 22nd March, 4th June and 26th December. The surprise find by Thio Hui Bing at the Singapore Quarry on the same day 26th December could mean that there could be two darters around?  Seetoh Yew Wai and friends reported a skittish Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda at the southern mangrove area on 23rd September. Could this be our resident minor sub species extending its territory from Pulau Tekong? Rounding up at Ubin, a total of 68 Straw-headed Bulbuls Pycnonotus zeylanicus were recorded during a census on 4th June coordinated by Yong Ding Li. Pulau Ubin is the most important site for this globally threatened species.

SHB Ted Ng

Pulau Ubin is the most important site for this globally threatened species. Photo like this by Ted Ng will be difficult to get elsewhere.

Over at the resort island of Sentosa, Lim Kim Seng had our only record of the rare introduced Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea for the year on 30th September. He also reported a White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata there on 18th September. Two other records of the White-rumped Munias came from Chinese Gardens on 3rd Aug and Kent Ridge Park Forest Walk on 16th December. Their status and origin are not too clear as recent escapees cannot be fully ruled out.

Francis Yap had the only record of the rare Lesser Green Leafbird Chloropsis cyanopogon from our Central Forest for the year with a sighting at Jelutong Tower on 17th May.

Lesser Green Leafbird FYap

This is the only record and photo of the nationally threatened Lesser Green Leafbird taken by Francis Yap this year inside our Central Forest.

But the secretive King Quail Excalfactoria chinensis was more cooperative with multiple sightings from Kranji Marshes on 10th February, 5th November and Seletar end on 20th February all by Martin Kennewell.

The large Lesser Adjutants Leptoptilos javanicus had been making rounds over the Kranji Marshes and Sungei Buloh areas during the last quarter of the year. Again Martin Kennewell and Con Foley were there to record the sightings on 30th September, 8th October where four birds were seen, and 4th December.

The forest loving Blue-eared Kingfishers Alcedo meninting continued with their location expansion with records coming in from Hindhede, Bukit Batok and Dairy Farm Nature Parks between 15th May and 24th June. Good news for our nationally threatened kingfisher.

BEKF Gerals Chua

Gerals Chua’s photo of the spreading Blue-eared Kingfisher with its catch at Kranji Marshes.

This final part concludes the Bird Review for 2017. We want to thank all of you for your timely posts in the various facebook groups, e-forum and alerts. Let us look forward to another impressive year ahead with more lifers for all.

Compiled from the monthly Bird Reports for 2017 by Alan OwYong, edited by Tan Gim Cheong. Reference: Lim Kim Seng, The Avifauna of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore) 2009. Many thanks to Mike Smith, Bari Mohamed/NParks, Serin Subaraj, Rob Arnold, James Tann, Ted Ng, Francis Yap and Gerals Chua for the use of their photos. 

Seven New Species added to the 2013 Checklist.

The following seven new species were accepted into Category A by the Records Committee in 2015. They were added to the 2013 Checklist (385) making the total of 392 species for the 2015 Checklist. Many thanks to all who sent in their records for review.

Indian Pond Heron at Bida

Indian Pond Heron at Bidadari

  1. Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii: Joseph Tan shot this heron at Bidadari on the 11th April 2015 and did not think too much of this heron. Six days later, Er Bong Siong shot and posted it on his facebook and identified it as a Javan Pond Heron. Francis saw the post and immediately alerted everyone that an Indian Pond Heron was at Bidadari. He and others went the next day and found it at the open grass patch. This confirms an earlier record of another summer bird seen at Senoko on 20 Mar 1994 by Lim Kim Chuah and Lim Kim Seng which now constitutes the first record for Singapore. This record had been listed in Category D for wild species where possibility of escape or release cannot be excluded. (Link1)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk Jv. by Martii Simponen

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Jv. by Martii Simponen taken at Tuas.

2. Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus: an immature seen and photographed at Tuas on 14 Nov 2010 by Martti Siponen. He did not know that it was an Eurasian Sparrowhawk at the time until some friends of his saw it in his collection a few years later. We had several reports of this accipiter but the evidence presented was not sufficient for confirmation. An unconfirmed report of a female at MacRitchie Reservoir on 23 Jan 2001 had been listed  in Category F for species regarded as doubtful due to possible of mis-identification.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Oriental Darter taken at Bukit Combak

3. Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster: One seen at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on 26 June 2006 by Graham Langley. There were also two subsequent records that were accepted, from Bukit Gombak, in August 2014 from Jean-Marc Chavatte, Lee Tiah Khee and Alan Owyong, and Pulau Ubin in July 2015 from Francis Yap. These are the second and third records for Singapore.

Northern Boobook LCH

Northern Boobook at Tuas South. Photo by Low Choon How.

4. Northern Boobook Ninox japonica: a specimen in the LKC Museum mislabeled as Ninox scutulata and collected in Singapore in Nov 2000 is the first record for Singapore (Sadanandan et al 2015). There were five subsequent records in Oct 2013, Mar 2014, Nov 2014 and Nov 2015 (2 records) that are accepted as the 2nd to 6th records for Singapore. Alan Owyong, David Li and Low Choon How were the observers but it was Alison Wilson’s 23 March 2014 dead specimen’s DNA confirmation that put this difficult species on the Singapore List.

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Narcisus Flycatcher, female, taken at Bidadari. Photo by Hio John.

5. Narcissus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina: a female reported at Bidadari Cemetery on 2 Dec 2015 by Robin Tan, Alan Ng, Hio John and See Toh Yiew Wai.(Link5)

Scarlet Breasted Flowerpecker by Jimmy Tan

Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker taken in Panti. Photo by Jimmy Tan

6. Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker Prionochilus thoracicus: 1 seen on Pulau Ubin by Yong Yik Shih, Ng Chay Tuan and Elizabeth Rothwell.

richardspipit19oct03_mpw

Richard’s Pipit taken outside Singapore by Michelle and Peter Wong.

7. Richard’s Pipit Anthus richardi : One seen at Khatib on 19 Oct 2015 by Angus Lamont.

Reference: Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore 2009. Craig Robson. A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-East Asia. Asia Books Ltd 2000. Text copied from Lim Kim Seng’s Records Committee Report 2015.  Many thanks to Martii Siponen, Low Choon How, Hoi John, Jimmy Tan and Michelle and Peter Wong for the use of their photos.

 

Singapore Bird Report – June 2015

Rescued White-tailed Tropicbird from Tuas (Photograph courtesy of ACRES)

Rescued White-tailed Tropicbird from Tuas.  (Photograph courtesy of ACRES)

We all were expecting another quiet month when Yong Ding Li dropped a bombshell on 22nd. He reported that ACRES had retrieved a White-tailed Tropicbird, Phaethon Lepturus, from Pioneer Sector at Tuas. This will our very first record of an identified tropicbird in Singapore. From the yellowish wash in the plumage this is the Fulvus form. The Record’s Committee will be deliberating on its status and decide on its inclusion into the Checklist. There were two unidentified records of tropicbirds previously. One bird seen flying off Seletar on 11 December 1963 off (MBR 1964) and another in 1986 by Tan Gim Cheong off Serangoon Estuary. The nearest breeding colony is at the Cocos-Keeling and Christmas Islands.

Black-winged Flycatchershrike Wolfgang

The other big find for the month was a Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Hemipus hirundinaceus, photographed by a visiting German birdwatcher Wolfgang Kraemer, at Chek Java, P. Ubin on the 28th. This is our second record following Francis Yap’s sighting at the Jelutong Towers on 23 August 2013. This species was previously listed in Category F: Doubtful species because of mis-identification, but have since ungraded to Category A and added in the 2013 Checklist. Efforts to find this flycatchershrike two days later was not rewarded.

Oriental Darter Cherry Goh

The Oriental Darter captured by Cherry Goh at the Pekan Quarry on 2nd Ubin Day.

The migrants reported this month include a Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis at SBWR on 1st (Andy Dinesh). During Ubin Day an Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster, made a surprised appearance at the Pekan Quarry. It was first seen there by John Ascher sometime in April (per con Andy Dinesh). This Darter was first reported at Ketam Quarry co-incidentally during the first Ubin Day on 30th October 2014. It is not in our current checklist but these sightings will strengthen its inclusion. There were two sightings of the Oriental Honey Buzzards, Pernis ptilorthyncus, one a juvenile at the Botanic Gardens on 18th by Tan Eng Boo and the other a second year bird over at Dempsey Hill on 20th by Sampath Ah. Both are summering and will only return north next spring.

Blue-eared KF Wolfgang

A rare find for Pulau Ubin of a Blue-eared KingFisher by Wolfgang Kraemer.

Non-breeding visitors reported were a Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax, at the Kranji Park on 13th by Sampath Ah and the Cinereous Bulbul Hermixos flavala,at Chek Java on 28th by Wolfgang Kraemer. Wolfgang also photographed our forest Blue-eared Kingfisher, Alcedo meninting, there showing how this once Central Catchment species have spread. Choo Chong Teck showed us a photo of a Chrysococcyx cuckoo taken at the Tampines Mountain Bike Trail on 27th. It turned out to be another Horsfield Bronze Cuckoos Chrysococcyx basalis, at a new location. The Austral cuckoos at Punggol Barat were still wintering there as of the 28th based on reports from See Toh Wai Yew.

Grey-headed Fish-eagle David Awcock 2

Fishing Grey-headed Fish-eagle caught by David Awcock at the Swan Lake.

The resident Grey-headed Fish-eagles, Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus, were keeping the photographers busy with their daily fishing antics at the Singapore Botanic Garden’s Swan Lake. They were first videoed by Jeremiah Loei on 10th. A pair of Buffy Fish Owls Ketupa ketupu, were roosting at the Rain Forest section of the gardens (Zacc HD 13th). They were first spotted at the Gardens by Richard White last month on 8th May. We think that they may have been flushed out from the Tyersall side due to the construction of the new extension to the gardens.

The once rare Crested Goshawks Accipiter trivirgatus, are now being seen more often. Seng Alvin photographed a second year bird in flight over at Pasir Ris Park on 10th with another photographed at Ang Mo Kio Park by Audrey Ngo on 7th. Jia Wei Woo was delighted to have captured a Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus flying over at the Swan Lake on 27th. It was the resident ernesti race.

Other notable records were an Asian Drongo-Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris, photographed at the Dillenia Hut by Vincent Lao on 28th. This should to be our resident subspecies barussarum. A pair of Plaintive Cuckoos, Cacomantis merulinus were photographed at Punggol Barat on 23rd by Liz How. We usually get to see single bird of this species. From the sightings this month, it is evident that we cannot slack off for any periods if we are to keep track of the rarities.

Reference: Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng. 2009. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South-east Asia. Craig Robson Asia Books Ltd.2000. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Simpson and Day, Edited by Francis Yap and Yong Ding Li. The above records are taken from the various bird FB groups. pages, reports and forums.  Many thanks for your postings. Many thanks to ACRES, Wolfgang Kraemer, David Awcock and Cherry Goh for the use of the photographs.

Singapore Bird Report – March 2015

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An adult Malaysian Night Heron at the Jacob Ballas Children Garden by Craig Williams.

On the 2nd we have the third sighting of the Buff-rumped Woodpecker, Meiglyptes tristis, when Lim Kim Keang videoed one at Bidadari Cemetery. This is a non-breeding visitor that was seen twice at the Sime Forest before it was accepted into the 2003 Checklist. This has to be the standout bird of the month. Not to be outdone, Lim Kim Chuah managed to photograph a Pied Cuckoo, Clamator jacobinus, at Lorong Halus on 15th. This is the second record for the year for this non-migratory cuckoo in Singapore.  It has yet to be accepted into the Checklist as there were question marks on its origin after the first sighting. Kim Chuah also reported that Robert Teo told him that an Oriental Darter, Anhinga melanogaster, was seen at the Pekan Quarry at Pulau Ubin on the 31st. This Darter was first reported in August 2014 by Jean-Marc Chavette at another disused quarry at Gombak. According to Robert Teo, this Darter had been seen at the Ketam Quarry last November during Ubin Day. This species is now pending acceptance into the Checklist.

Large Hawk-Cuckoo

A juvenile Large Hawk Cuckoo at Bidadari by Francis Yap.

This March is noted for the returning of the migrant cuckoos, four species were recorded with the rare Large-hawk Cuckoo, Hierococcyx sparverioides, being the most sighted, which is quite a surprise. Bidadari Cemetery on 9th by Frankie Lim, Pasir Ris Park on 12th by Lim Kim Keang and Lorong Halus by Tan Eng Boo on the 18th. An Indian Cuckoo, Cuculus micropterus,  was photographed at Pasir Ris Park by Seng Alvin on 9th, Squared-tailed Drongo Cuckoo, Surniculus lugubris, at Bukit Timah NP by Seetoh Kin Meng on 4th and a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Clamator coromandus, at Seletar by Yong Yik Shih on 22nd. Resident Cuckoo species include a male Violet Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus, videoed singing at Wilton Close on 12th by Lucy Davis. We think that this is its mating call, the first time we got it on tape.

Yellow-browed Warbler by Surin Kumar.

An uncommon Yellow-browed Warbler captured by Surin Kumar at Kembangan.

Other migrants on the way back include the two rare Wagtails, Forest, Dendronanthus indicus, at Lower Pierce Boardwalk on the 4th by Lee Van Hien, White Wagtail, Motacilla alba, at Lorong Halus on 7th by Lim Kim Seng. Two warblers, Yellow-browed, Phylloscopus inornatus  on a fig tree at Kembangan photographed by Surin Kumar on 15th and two Eastern-crowned Warblers, Phylloscopus coronatus, at Sime Forest on 30th by Lim Kim Seng. A single uncommon Sand Martin, Riparia riparia, was seen hawking insects by Lim Kim Keang also at Halus on 15th. A Hooded Pitta, Pitta sordida  at Sime Forest on 25th by Francis Yap. Three Daurian Starlings, Sturnus sturninus was seen at Kent Ridge Park during ABC on 22nd by Alan OwYong. The adult Malaysian Night Heron, Gorsachius melanolophus, that was first reported last month returned to the Jacob Ballas Children Gardens on the 12th. Craig Williams was there to capture it.

Javan Pond Heron

A Javan Pond Heron is breeding plumage taken at Farmway 3 by Francis Yap.

The pond herons at the Farmway 3 drain have started to assume their summer plumages. Francis Yap photographed both the Javan and the Chinese Pond Herons, Ardeola speciosa and Ardeola bacchus, there on the 15th. We have only one record of a non-breeding visitor the Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu. A male was photographed by Diana Jackson at Bidadari on 17th.

Notable resident species reported were a Yellow-crested Cockatoo, Cacatua sulphurea at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 1st by Robin Tan, a Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji and a Brown Hawk-Owl, Ninox scutulata, on 4th by Shunda Lee at the MacRitchie Boardwalk. A Little Spiderhunter, Arachnothera longirostra, at the Durian Loop on the 7th and the Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Phaenicophaeus sumatranus, at Kent Ridge Park on 22nd both by Alan OwYong and a Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamoneus at Lorong Halus on 28th by Francis Yap.

Spotted Wood OwlCinnamon Bittern

The Pasir Ris Park young Spotted Wood Owlet and a Cinnamon Bittern from Halus by Francis Yap.

Breeding and post breeding records were evident with the sightings of an adult and juvenile Crested Goshawks, Accipiter trivirgatus, at Pasir Ris Park by Aldwin Recinto on 6th. Pasir Ris Park was also the breeding ground for our Spotted Wood Owls, Strix selopotu, where a pair of young was attracting hordes of photographers. The parents of a pair of Laced Woodpeckers, Picus vittatus, at the same park had to be happy with the successful fledging of its youngs. A pair of Changeable Hawk Eagles, Nisaetus cirrhatus,  was also preparing for a family at Mount Faber. Laurence Eu found a pair of Rufous-tailed Tailorbirds, Orthotomus sericeus building a nest at the Singapore Zoo on 4th.

Migrant raptor species reported were a Jerdon’s Baza, Aviceda jerdoni over at Halus on 1st by Lim Kim Keang, a Chinese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter soloensis, at Pasir Ris Park on 12th by Alan Ng, a hunting Peregrine Falcon, falco peregrinus, over at One-north Park on 13th by Alan OwYong and an adult female Japanese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter gularis, over at Punggol Barat on 24th by Joseph Tan.

There is only one reported casualty for the month. A juvenile Crested Goshawk, Accipiter trivirgatus crashed into a HDB block at the Bukit Timah area on the 20th, from David Tan.

Reference: The Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng. 2009. Edited by Francis Yap. The above records are taken from the various bird FB groups. pages, reports and forums.  Many thanks for your postings. Thanks to Francis Yap, Craig Williams and Surin Kumar for the use of your photos.

Singapore Bird Report – November 2014

Yellow-eared Spiderhunter FY

A very rare resident Yellow-eared Spiderhunter at Dillenia Hut by Francis Yap.

The Central Catchment Forest was the center of attention this November with the appearance of  four mega rare resident species. The Yellow-eared Spiderhunter was spotted (FY) feeding on a flowering Eugenia tree near the Dillenia Hut on 20th. It was last seen 8 years ago at Rifle Range Link (YDL). Two days later two rare flowerpeckers, the Thick-billed and the Yellow-vented followed the spiderhunter out to check on a flowers on 22nd (DL,LJS,TKH). It was good to know that they are still around in our central forests besides Bukit Timah NR. Even the rarely seen Lesser Green Leafbird was attracted by the flowers. It came out on the 23rd together with the larger Greater Green Leafbird giving us (LKS, LKK, AOY) a few brief views.

Thick-billed FP See Toh

Another rare resident the Thick-billed Flowerpecker at Dillenia Hut by See Toh Yew Wai.

Elsewhere there were many notable sightings include a Gull video swimming at the main pond at SBWR on 7th (LeC). Unfortunately it was too far away for a proper id. An irruption of over 200 Ashy or Cinereous Bulbul was seen over at Chek Java on 4th (LKK,WT). We are still looking for answers as to where they come from. They were later reported all over the island throughout the month. The first Common Kestrel was seen over Tuas South on 1st (LC) with more sightings in the following days. A Greater Spotted Eagle over at Tuas on 13th (AOY) was the third sighting of the year. The Japonensis Peregrine Falcon returned to the CDB on14th (LEL) after a year of absence.  A very rare non-breeding visitor the Streaked Bulbul was seen feeding with the Ashy Bulbuls at Canterbury Road on 13th (LKK). Two days later another two were photographed at Tuas South Ave16 bush (FY) and another on 23rd at the same area (LJS). The rare Japanese Paradise Flycatcher passed through at Bida on 28th (FY,STYW). A surprise Green Broadbill was seen feeding at East Coast Park on 27th (STYW) and 28th. This former resident is now extinct. The Records Committee will have to deliberate on its status.  And right up to the last day, an Oriental Darter was seen at the Ketam Quarry, Ubin (AL). Will this find help to determine the status of one seen in August at the Seng Chew Quarry?

Green-backed FC Alan Ng

Rare migrant Green-backed Flycatcher, male, at Bidadari by Alan Ng.

Bidadari remains the top spot for incoming migrants while we had some surprises from Tuas South.

First the migrants at Bidadari. A juvenile Oriental Cuckoo seen on the first two days of the month (AL) could very well be the same cuckoo reported last month. A passing Black-backed Kingfisher was a good find on 1st (BQ) followed by a late Dark-sided Flycatcher on the 2nd (AR) and 20th (KLH). An early Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo was photographed on the 8th (AR). This was followed by another Hodgson’s at SBWR on the 15th (LKK).  The Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoos are normally seen towards the end of November. Female Mugimaki Flycatchers made their land fall on the 12th (FY) followed by a few males later on. They were still around at the end of the month. The long awaited Hooded Pitta appeared on 24th (LKK). An Eye-browed Thrush on 27th (LKS) was the first for the season while a male Green-backed Flycatcher was seen on the same day (AN). A skittish uncommon Malayan Night Heron was reported on 28th (STWY), rounding off with a Eastern Crown Warbler on 30th (KLH)

Streaked Bulbul See Toh

A very rare non-breeding visitor Streaked Bulbul at Tuas South by See Toh Yew Wai.

Over the skies at Tuas South we had a few surprises. A Brown Hawk Owl was photographed flying over on 1st (LCH). Could this be the northern migrant race of Boobook that is not on our Checklist. A Eurasian Curlew on 7th (TGC), a Black-capped Kingfisher on 9th (STYW) and flocks of Oriental Pratincoles were still coming in with 12 on 13th (AOY) and 73 counted on 15th (LCH). Three Little Ringed Plovers flying pass on 16th (STYW). A single Black Drongo at Tuas Avenue 9 on 20th (RA). The bush in the middle of the open field at Tuas South seems to be the preferred land fall for the passerine migrants with at least two Malayan Night Herons seen on 21st (FY) and 28th (LCH). A juvenile Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo on 22nd (LKS, AOY). STYW photographed his Streak Bulbul here on the 23rd after being alerted by LJS.

Reports from other parts of the island include a warbler was mist-netted at the Ecolink on 8th by NParks team (CYF, DT) and appeared to be the Sakhalin Leaf Warbler. Blood samples are being analysed.  Flocks of migrating Fork-tailed or Pacific Swifts were seen all over the island,  40 over Kent Ridge Park feeding on flying termites on 4th (AOY), 50+ thermaling over Telok Blangah Hill on the 9th (AOY). A juvenile Rosy Starling was seen together with the Glossy Starlings at Kent Ridge Park on 10th (FY).  It stayed for a few days. A first winter male Blue and White Flycatcher was reported at Tampines Eco Park on 11th (JA) and later a female on 21st (SA). The White Wagtails of both Leucopsis and Ocularis races were seen at Seletar Dam on 14th (GP). A Green-backed Flycatcher was photographed at Bishan Park on 23rd related by YDL.  The Reed Warblers are back with the Black-browed  seen at Bishan Park on 23rd (JL) and the Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler at Sengkang Wetlands on 27th (AC). A first of the season Black Bittern was seen at Bishan Park on 27th (LKS).

Pomarine Jaeger FY

Probable rare Pomarine Jaeger at the Straits of Singapore by Francis Yap.

The only pelagic trip to the Straits of Singapore on the 23rd was organised by STYW and the lucky day trippers photographed a probable rare Pomarine Jaeger and a Common Tern besides the usual Swift and Lesser Crested Terns.

The casualties continued to mount as expected. A Lanceolated Warbler crashed into a window at Sengkang Square on 9th, recovered after resting, but was eaten by a House Crow much to DT dismay. A Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, first winter male found dead at Jervios Hill on 14th.  A Black Bittern found dead at Jurong West on 16th and a dead Cinnamon Bittern, probably a migrant at NTU Building the next day. The globally threatened Brown-chested Flycatcher was also a casualty crashing into a flat at Woodlands Ave 8 on the 26th (KK). Meanwhile over at Jurong Island, LKC nursed back to health a Blue-winged Pitta that crashed into his office on 22nd but was not able to save a Hooded Pitta that was found dead on 24th.

A comprehensive Raptor Report for November will be published by Tan Gim Cheong at a coming date.

Reference: The Avifauna of Singapore Lim Kim Seng 2009.  Edited by Francis Yap. Bird crashed records are from David Tan. All other records were taken from postings in the various facebook, bird forums and individual facebook pages belonging to Francis Yap (FY), Seng Alvin (SA), Rey Aguila (RA), See Toh Yew Wai (STYW), Lim Kim Seng (LKS), Lim Kim Keang (LKK), Wellington Tan (WT), Lau Jiasheng (LJS), Lawrence Cher (LC), Lena Chow (LeC), Ben Quek (BQ), Low Choon How (LCH), Aldwin Recinto  (AR), Tan Gim Cheong (TGC), Chung Yi Fei (CYF), David Tan (DT), Danny Lau (DL), Tan Kok Hui (TKH), Janice Ang (JA), Koh Lian Heng (KLH),  George Persanis (GP), Jimmy Lee (JL), Kennneth Kee (KK) and Alan OwYong. Many thanks for your records..