Tag Archives: Sungei Buloh

Bird Watching for Beginners 2 Oct 2016

Text and photos by Yap Wee Jin. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

It was a warm and sunny morning to start the day. By 7:30am, a group of us (21 members + 4 ) were already gathered at the Sungei Buloh Visitor Centre. After a briefing on shorebirds recognition and identification by Kim Chuah, we set off to the Main Bridge.

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The tide was just beginning to rise as we strolled to the Main Bridge. This meant some of the mudflats were exposed and a good place for us to scan for shorebirds and other water-birds. And we were not disappointed. In the far corner of the river, we saw a small flock of Common Redshanks, their red legs giving their identity away even at that distance. Several Common Sandpipers were chasing each other and their distinctive shrill calls could be heard. And nearer right under the bridge, three menacing looking Estaurine Crocodiles lurked just at the water surface. There were many other birds near the bridge – a lone Purple Heron stood at the edge of the water waiting for its breakfast, a Stork-billed Kingfisher gave its presence away with its loud raucous call. There were many Little Egrets showing off their dainty yellow toes as they flew further upriver as the tide came in. We spent almost an hour birdwatching at this bridge while we waited for the tide to rise.

dpp_11553Members birdwatching at the main bridge

dpp_11549A hungry crocodile waiting for its first meal of the day? (It has a ‘broken’ tail)

At about 9 am, Kenneth signaled that it was time to go to the Main Hide and wait for the arrival of the waders. And true to Kenneth’s words, the waders arrived on the dot. We were first greeted by the fly-in of Common Redshanks and then Whimbrels. It was simply an awesome and unforgettable spectacle. More waders flew and cameras clicked continuously to try to capture the moment.

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As the waders settled down, the lesson on waders resumed. Kim Chuah, Kenneth, Wing Chong then explained to the participants on how to differentiate the different waders – the Whimbrel with its long curved bill, the Common Greenshank with its light yellowish green legs and two-toned slightly upturned bill…..and the list goes on.

After an educational morning, we decided to call it a day at 11 am. On the way out, Kim Chuah decided to check if the Copper-throated Sunbird was around at the Mangrove Boardwalk. Some of the more lucky ones saw the sunbird hiding in the midst of the dense mangrove foliage which meant we could not fully appreciate the beauty of this sunbird. Well better luck next time!

Species of birds seen:                                                                  Species heard only:

1 Common Sandpiper                                                                  1 Asian Paradise Flycatcher

2 Common Redshank                                                                   2 Arctic Warbler

3 Stork Billed Kingfisher                                                              3 Oriental Magpie Robin

4 Striated Heron                                                                           4 Rufous Woodpecker

5 Little Egret

6 Painted Stork

7 Common Greenshank

8 Whimbrel

9 Red Turtle Dove

10 Spotted Dove

11 Lesser Sand Plover

12 Collared Kingfisher

13 Grey Heron

14 Purple Heron

15 Common Iora

16 Ashy Tailorbird

17 Little Tern

18 White Bellied Sea Eagle (juvenile)

19 Great Egret

20 Eastern Cattle Egret

21 Brahminy Kite

22 Marsh Sandpiper

23 White-breasted Waterhen (with chicks)

24 House Crow

25 Common Flameback

26 Copper-throated Sunbird

To those who were there to share the morning with us, here are some of the pictures taken. Birds and animal photographs – courtesy of Kim Chuah.

greenshank-redshank-buloh-20161002-5l5a5481Common Greenshanks and Common Redshanks

marsh-sandpiper-buloh-20161002-5l5a5530Marsh Sandpiper

redshank-buloh-20161002-5l5a5527Common Redshanks

Estaurine Crocodile

whimbrel-redshank-buloh-20161002-5l5a5503Whimbrels and Common Redshanks

Happy Birding!

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

 

 

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Of Godwits, Dowitchers and Curlew.

32 Black-tailed Godwits David Li

Part of the 32 Black-tailed Godwits that arrived at Sungei Buloh last week. Photo David Li.

The wetlands at Sungei Buloh came alive this September with the arrivals of three uncommon and sought-after shorebirds. David Awcock started the ball rolling with the sighting of a lone Black-tailed Godwit, Limosa limosa on the 7th. Timothy Lim managed to get a group photo of about 30 the next day. David Li, Researcher Officer the Reserve did a count and came out with a total of 32. The highest count were 60 here on 9 October 1994 ( Iora 1).

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Very hungry Asian Dowitchers feeding in a line.

As the excitement subsided, John Ang photographed a single Asian Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus on the 19th. This is listed as a rare winter visitor and passage migrant to our shores but have been sighted in the last few years. This was followed by a photo of a Eurasian Curlew, Numenius arquata taken at Hide 1D by Ben Lee the next day. He posted it on the WildbirdSingapore e-forum. Most of the sighting of this Curlew were at our sandy coasts like Con Foley’s sighting on 22 Sept 2007 and another by Lena Chow, Jimmy Lee and Gerard Francis on 14 November 2010. Both were at the Changi Cove. Frankie Cheong had not one but three records at newly reclaimed land at Pulau Tekong ( 18.9.10, 4.10.10 & 22.2.12).

Euraisan Curlew

Euraisan Curlew, a uncommon wader normally found at our sea coasts.

Ben Lee’s sighting brought Francis Yap, Zacc HD, Robin Tan and Alan OwYong to the main hide the next Monday morning. Fortunately we were joined by David Li and Mendis Tan later. Mendis was the one who picked the Curlew among the flock of Whimbrels just as we were about to give up.

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A most unexpected photo of both the Eurasian Curlew and the rarer Asian Dowitchers in the same frame.

Earlier Robin was photographing the Whimbrels when he found the Asian Dowitcher. We had a pleasant surprise when four birds were seen. In 2013, we had the highest count of 7 birds on 9th Sept, beating the old high count of 6 birds on 7th Sept 1980. Then heavy rain fell and to our delight, they all came down from the bund to feed. This gave all of us the opportunity of getting better and nearer shots, but the low light was not ideal. But we were compensated with precious photos of both the Curlew and the four Dowitchers in one frame. Everyone except Alan got their lifers for the day with Francis getting his long awaited global lifer, the Eurasian Curlew. PS. David Li made a very interesting observation. All these birds were juveniles. Could it be that they being younger need to have a stopover for a rest and refuel. The Eurasian Curlew was still around at the main pond on the 22nd.

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This photo was submitted on the 23rd clearly showed that there were seven Asian Dowitchers at SBWR on 21st Sept. This equals the highest count of seven birds in 2013.

Reference: The Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng 2009. A field Guide to the Waterbirds of Asia. 1993 Wild Bird Society of Japan. Thanks to David Li for the use of his photo and the alerts from David Awcock, John Ang and Ben Lee. Also thanks to Robin Tan and Mendis Tan for picking out the Dowitcher and Curlew on 21st.

They are on the way!

Dateline 6th August 2015

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Part of a group seven Asian Dowitchers at SBWR on 10.9.2013

On the first day of this month, Zacc HD reported sightings of 8 Lesser Sand Plovers and 2 Common Sandpipers at Seletar Dam. On the same day over at Sungei Buloh, Adrian Gopal counted 11 Common Redshanks and 2 Common Greenshanks, The Common Redshanks went up to 137 and Common Greenshanks to 15 two days later according to a post by Lim Kim Seng.  The Autumn migration has began. The shorebirds are on the way. Time to bring out the guide books, polish up on your shorebird ID and get ready with your long lenses for some mud flat birding.

Black-tailed Godwit

Black-tailed Godwit. A total of 8 were wintering at SBWR. 14.9.2014

So what can we expect to see in the next few weeks? The best guide is to go a year back and see which uncommon species turned up and where.

Common Redshank

File Photo: Common Redshank, the first shorebird to arrive.

On 8th a Greater Sand Plover was picked up at Seletar Dam (Henry Koh). We then have to wait until the end of August before a flurry of sightings were reported at Sungei Buloh. An Asian Dowitcher made a quick one-day stop over (Ben Lee), followed by Terek Sandpiper ( See Toh Wai Yew). Then 6 Black-tailed Godwits, a Grey-tailed Tattler and a Curlew Sandpiper on the last day got every one excited.

Luckily the passerine migrants keep us busy during in the middle of the month. A Grey Wagtail was reported at the Japanese Gardens on 15th (KC Chan); an Asian Paradise Flycatcher at P. Ubin on 18th ( Akaikimgyo); an Asian Brown Flycatcher at Sime Forest on 18th (Lim Kim Seng); a Common Kingfisher at the Gardens by the Bay (Shirley Ng) ending with a Yellow-rumped Flycatcher at Bidadari (Lawrence Cher).

And for good measures, a non-breeding visitor Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo was photographed at Bishan Park on 22nd by Christina See. Time to stake out the migrant haven Bidadari soon. Please report your important sightings in any of the facebook groups and pages. Your sightings are a great help for us to monitor their migration pattern and behavoir. Thank you.