All the excitement came during the last 10 days of July. On the 19th, a few days after its extreme date, Laurence Eu photographed a Brown-streaked Flycatcher, Muscicapa williamsoni, a rare non breeding visitor, at Lower Pierce Boardwalk.
Brown-streaked Flycatcher, a rare non breeding visitor at Lower Pierce. Photo: Laurence Eu.
The record that we were waiting for came on the 26th when Lim Kim Seng spotted three Lesser Sand Plovers, Charadrius mongolus, at the Lower Seletar Dam. On the same day Danny Khoo photographed a Common Sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos, at the Marina Barrage. Three days later, Frankie Cheong reported three Whimbrels, Numenius phaeopus and 30-40 Lesser Sand Plovers, at the southern part of Pulau Tekong. On 30th Francis Yap brought news of the arrival of our first passerine migrant, the Barn Swallows, Hirundo rustica, at Punggol Barat and two Common Greenshanks, Tringa nebularia, at Seletar Dam. This heralded the return of the wintering shorebirds to Singapore. Bring out your scopes, the migration season is going its way. Last year the first waders arrived on the 1st August. Another sign of climate change?
A rare appearance of the Mangrove Whistler at Pasir Ris Mangroves captured by Seng Alvin.
But the bird of the month had to be the sudden one day appearance of the rare resident Mangrove Whistler, Pachycephala cinerea, at Pasir Ris Mangroves on 29th (Eric Bronson & Seng Alvin). Most of our past records were from Tekong and Southern Islands. The last mainland record was at Changi Cove in 2014.
The proud King Quail parents showing off their family of five chicks over at Punggol Barat. Photo: Millie Cher.
As expected during the tail end of the breeding season, records of fledglings came in from all over the island. The most welcomed was a family of rarely seen King Quails, Excalfactoria chinensis with five chicks over at Punggol Barat. Joseph Tan Kok Beng reported the fledgling of two Crested Goshawk chicks, Accipiter trivirgatus, at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 3rd and 6th. This is the second family of Crested Goshawks to have successfully raise a family there in the same season. Over at Burgundy Drive, Doreen Ang reported two juvenile Blue-crowned Hanging Parrots, Loriculus galgulus, seen with two adults feasting on her neighbour’s mango tree on the 7th. On the same day, she also reported a juvenile Thick-billed Pigeon, Treron curvirostra, at Lorong Sesuai. Good to know that some of our uncommon residents are doing well.
Two juvenile Blue-crowned Hanging Parrots feasting on the mango with their parent. Photo: Michael Toh.
Over at Pulau Ubin, Yap Wee Jin reported the fledgling of the White-rumped Shama, Copsychus malabaricus on 9th. Lim Kim Keang reported the nesting of the Olive-winged Bulbul, Pycnonotus plumosus, on 14th and three dependent Abbott’s Babbler, Malacocincla abbotti, juveniles on 28th.
Both parents with the newly fledged Spotted Wood Owls at Woodlands. Photo: Ria Tan
A second record of a successful nesting of the Spotted Wood Owl, Strix seloputo, this season came from the Woodlands area with Ria Tan’s posting on 26th. One fledgling was seen with both parents. Like the earlier nesting at Cashew they were also using the Bird Nest Fern as nest. On 26th Laurence Eu photographed a Little Spiderhunter, Arachnothera longirostris, looking after a juvenile at Dairy Farm Nature Park. We are have not documented an active nesting of this forest species yet.
Following the sighting of the Sunda Scops Owl, Otus lempiji, at Lower Pierce last month by Vincent Lao, we found two juveniles with a parent there on the 5th (Alan OwYong). Two days later Johnny Chew came across three Sunda Scops Owls at Telok Blangah Hill. Lim Kim Keang photographed an adult with a juvenile at Mandai Track 7 while Subha and son Raghav reported one adult together with a Brown Hawk Owl, Ninox scutulata, at Hindhede Nature Park, on the 16th. This has to be the largest number of breeding Sunda Scops Owls in a month.
The drama of a Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo being chased by a Olive-winged Bulbul over the Central Forest captured by Francis Yap. This bulbul may have caught the cuckoo red-handed trying to replace its eggs.
Other notable sightings include an Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Dicaeum trigonostigma, at Burgundy Drive near Bukit Batok NP, on 4th (Doreen Ang), a resident Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo, Surniculus lugubris, being chased by a Olive-winged Bulbul was superbly captured by Francis Yap from the Jelutong Tower, a male Greater Green Leafbird, Chloropsis sonnerati, a first for Sentosa on 8th (James Tann). We have yet to determine the status of this individual. Mark Nelson Valino photographed a Black-crowned Night-Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax, at the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital pond on the 16th. Edwin Choy recalled seeing four adults and two juveniles there. Daniel Ong confirmed that they were there since the beginning of the year. Lets hope these choosy herons will make this place their permanent home as their numbers have not increased much over the years.
First record for Sentosa, a male Greater Green Leafbird may be an escapee. Photo: James Tann
We had two mainland records of the White-rumped Shama, the first at the Durian Trail on the 15th by Kerry Pereira and a calling bird at Upper Pierce Reservoir on the 23rd (Reuben Braddock).
Lim Kim Seng reported a Banded Bay Cuckoo, Cacomantis sonnerati, and another Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo at the Central Catchment Forest on the 17th. This is our resident race that is quite vocal around this time of the year. A few uncommon Glossy Swiftlets, Collocalia esculenta, were seen flying over the Hindhede Quarry on the 19th by Alan OwYong. Zacc photographed a lone Great-billed Heron, Ardea sumatrana, at the Seletar Dam on the 23rd. As far as we know this is the first record for the area, indicating the spreading of this uncommon resident coastal heron.
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 Laurence Eu, Seng Alvin, Millie Cher, Michael Toh, Ria Tan, Alan OwYong, Francis Yap and James Tann, for the use of their photos.