Sunday, 2 July 2017

Kranji Marsh 3Jun17

From KH

JS was stationed at the Kranji Marsh tower, so Con, Danny and I went there to give our support. Of course, his gf was there to support him too.

First, a land planarian worm crossed our path.

Then, a slug crossed our path.

At the tower, a male Baya weaver was busy weaving.

ebird list from JS:
  1. Gray Heron 2
  2. Purple Heron 1
  3. Osprey 1
  4. Black-shouldered Kite 1
  5. Changeable Hawk-Eagle 1 heard only
  6. Brahminy Kite 5
  7. White-bellied Sea-Eagle 1
  8. White-breasted Waterhen 5
  9. Red-wattled Lapwing 3
  10. Little Tern 7
  11. Spotted Dove 10
  12. Zebra Dove 2
  13. Pink-necked Pigeon 50
  14. Lesser Coucal 6
  15. Banded Bay Cuckoo 1
  16. Plaintive Cuckoo 1 - heard only
  17. Brush Cuckoo 1
  18. dark swiftlet sp. 30
  19. White-throated Kingfisher 1
  20. Collared Kingfisher 2
  21. Dollarbird 1
  22. Lineated Barbet 1
  23. Rose-ringed Parakeet 2
  24. Red-breasted Parakeet 7
  25. Long-tailed Parakeet 5
  26. Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot 2
  27. Common Iora 5
  28. Pied Triller 1
  29. Long-tailed Shrike 2
  30. Black-naped Oriole 1
  31. Malaysian Pied-Fantail 4
  32. House Crow 30
  33. Large-billed Crow 2
  34. Pacific Swallow 7
  35. Yellow-vented Bulbul 10
  36. Common Tailorbird 1 - heard only
  37. Ashy Tailorbird 1 - heard only
  38. Yellow-bellied Prinia 2
  39. Abbott's Babbler 1 - heard only
  40. Oriental Magpie-Robin 1
  41. Asian Glossy Starling 30
  42. Javan Myna 10
  43. Plain-throated Sunbird 3
  44. Olive-backed Sunbird 7
  45. Golden-backed Weaver 1 male seen. 3 nest seen, but don't know if in use.
  46. Baya Weaver 2
Rifle Range, Hindhede, Seletar East 27May17

From KH

Today, we have a guest, JS's gf. The five of us had fun with a pair of released Helmeted guineafowls at the carpark before heading to Jelutong Tower.

©Con Foley

List at Rifle Range from JS:
  1. Pink-necked Pigeon 10
  2. Thick-billed Pigeon 5 - Pairs seen flying in the distant.
  3. Banded Bay Cuckoo 1
  4. Plaintive Cuckoo 1 - heard only
  5. Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo 1 - heard only
  6. dark swiftlet sp. 20
  7. Blue-throated Bee-eater 2
  8. Dollarbird 1
  9. Common Flameback 1 - heard only
  10. Blue-rumped Parrot 7 - A flock of 7 seen flying in the distant. Identified by call, robust head and short tail.
  11. Long-tailed Parakeet 1
  12. Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot 2
  13. Black-naped Oriole 2
  14. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 2
  15. Pacific Swallow 1
  16. Olive-winged Bulbul 6
  17. Cream-vented Bulbul 2
  18. Common Tailorbird 1
  19. Dark-necked Tailorbird 1 - heard only
  20. Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 1
  21. Short-tailed Babbler 1 - heard only
  22. Oriental Magpie-Robin 2
  23. Asian Glossy Starling 20
  24. Common Hill Myna 11 - Predominant species calling in the forest with pairs and small groups seen.
  25. Javan Myna 2
  26. Greater Green Leafbird 1
  27. Orange-bellied Flowerpecker 1
  28. Plain-throated Sunbird 2
  29. Olive-backed Sunbird 2
  30. Crimson Sunbird 3

Con left after lunch and the four of us went to Hindhede. A Sunda Scops-Owl was still around.

©Tan KH

Next, we went to Pulau Punggol for the Horsfield's bronze cuckoo, but it started raining, so I left. The three of them proceeded to Seletar East and together with Low CH, who was there, managed to see one far away.
Fraser's Hill 21-23May17

From Con

Just back from a few days in Fraser's Hill. This Red-headed Trogon (male) was very confiding, but he asked me not to reveal his location.

Here is a shot of a Rufous-browed Flycatcher. I can never resist these cuties. This fellow was down in a ravine singing his heart out. The light was very dim, I could barely see the bird, but the autofocus had no trouble picking him up.

Upper Seletar 17May17

From Con

Several of us got a real treat today to see a troupe of Raffles' Banded Leaf Monkeys (Presbytis femoralis femoralis). Backlit and high, but this image turned out pretty okay, considering it's only my second time seeing this species in Singapore and first time photographing it! This subspecies exists only in Singapore and Johor and is quite rare in Singapore. Fortunately they are well protected. You can read a bit more at these links:-

Panti 13May17

Con and Danny went Panti today. The list below is reproduced from ebird.
  1. 1 Changeable Hawk-Eagle
  2. 3 Red-wattled Lapwing
  3. 1 Spotted Dove
  4. 2 Asian Emerald Dove
  5. 5 Little Green-Pigeon
  6. 2 Raffles's Malkoha
  7. 1 Banded Bay Cuckoo
  8. 3 Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo
  9. 1 Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo
  10. 3 Malaysian Nightjar
  11. 10 swiftlet sp.
  12. 2 Gray-rumped Treeswift
  13. 2 Whiskered Treeswift
  14. 1 Scarlet-rumped Trogon
  15. 2 Black Hornbill
  16. 1 Oriental Pied-Hornbill
  17. 2 Blue-eared Barbet
  18. 1 Red-crowned Barbet
  19. 1 Banded Woodpecker
  20. 2 Crimson-winged Woodpecker
  21. 2 Checker-throated Woodpecker
  22. 1 Buff-rumped Woodpecker
  23. 2 Buff-necked Woodpecker
  24. 1 Maroon Woodpecker
  25. 2 Banded Broadbill
  26. 1 Golden-bellied Gerygone
  27. 1 Large Woodshrike
  28. 1 Rufous-winged Philentoma
  29. 2 Dark-throated Oriole
  30. 4 Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
  31. 2 Black-naped Monarch
  32. 1 Malaysian Rail-babbler
  33. 1 Pacific Swallow
  34. 2 Velvet-fronted Nuthatch
  35. 2 Yellow-vented Bulbul
  36. 3 Cream-vented Bulbul
  37. 2 Hairy-backed Bulbul
  38. 2 Yellow-bellied Bulbul
  39. 1 Buff-vented Bulbul
  40. 6 Rufous-tailed Tailorbird
  41. 1 Yellow-bellied Prinia
  42. 10 Pin-striped Tit-Babbler
  43. 1 Black-throated Babbler
  44. 2 Chestnut-rumped Babbler
  45. 1 Gray-headed Babbler
  46. 1 Sooty-capped Babbler
  47. 3 Black-capped Babbler
  48. 1 Short-tailed Babbler
  49. 1 White-chested Babbler
  50. 4 Horsfield's Babbler
  51. 1 Asian Fairy-bluebird
  52. 1 White-rumped Shama
  53. 2 Pale Blue-Flycatcher
  54. 1 Gray-chested Jungle-Flycatcher
  55. 2 Rufous-chested Flycatcher
  56. 2 Javan Myna
  57. 2 Blue-winged Leafbird
  58. 3 Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker
  59. 1 Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker
  60. 6 Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
  61. 1 Plain Sunbird

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Singapore Strait 6May17

From JS

Facing stormy weather from the west, we headed out into the Straits of Singapore. Unlike last Saturday's outing, we had a mission to find a Swinhoe's Storm Petrel for Subaraj's client. Of course, the mission is only binding to Subaraj. We were just interested to find any birds that are passing through our waters.

We had a great start when Frank spotted an all-dark bird flying in the distance. Photos captured revealed a Short-Tailed/Sooty Shearwater.

Next, we saw feeding Little Terns everywhere we go.

Just when things was starting to get quiet, we spotted four dark blobs on the water aka sitting ducks. It must a relief for Subaraj when the birds turned out to be Swinhoe's Storm Petrels. Great! A new tick for the diehard birder. Honestly, Singapore's waters are really good for this species - much to the boredom of the residents... Nevertheless, we have learnt to find joy in the subtle behaviors and one individual even went to the extent of feeding right before our eyes. It was tiptoeing on the water as it repeatedly bowed its head to scavenge floating "food". Alas, its "food" was the plastic waste strewn all over the waters. *:(( crying

Besides the four storm-petrels, we encountered a further dozen more and another single Short-Tailed Shearwater.

That was the end of the five minutes of excitement. We floated around for another two hours without any notable sightings. Again, when things had gotten too quiet, eight terns flew passed our boat, heading westwards. Frank got a bit skeptical about their preliminary identity, Bridled Terns. Thanks to his skepticism, we found two greyer individuals among the eight and they were Common Terns of the longipennis race in breeding plumage, sporting an all-black cap and white tail streamers. Lovely!

Since it was past noon, we decided to head home. Facing St John's island, we spotted another all-dark bird, gliding above the surface of the water. The flight was rather slow with more gliding than flapping. My preliminary id of the bird was Short-Tailed Shearwater while Frank was leaning towards a Storm-Petrel. We were both wrong. It was none other than the area's third sighting of the Bulwer's Petrel.

The appearance of the Bulwer's Petrel brought life to the boat. Yes, the bird has been seen a week ago. But, who would believe that a pelagic bird would linger for a week? The id of the bird was cast in stone and the only questions in our heads were "was it in Singapore's waters?" and "are Bulwer's Petrels passing through our waters regularly?" Such trivial questions make the aftermath of seeing a bird more fun. The experience lingers longer when there is some reflection. Amazingly, the Bulwer's Petrel, a bird not recorded in our last couple of dozens of boat trips, was to be our last bird of this memorable trip. What a great closure!

  1. Bulwer's Petrel (Bulweria bulwerii) 1
  2. Short-tailed Shearwater (Ardenna tenuirostris) 1
  3. Sooty/Short-tailed Shearwater (Ardenna grisea/tenuirostris) 1
  4. Swinhoe's Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma monorhis) 14
  5. Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) 4
  6. White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) 1
  7. Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) 2
  8. Bridled Tern (Onychoprion anaethetus) 6
  9. Little Tern (Sternula albifrons) 31
  10. Black-naped Tern (Sterna sumatrana) 3
  11. Common Tern (longipennis) (Sterna hirundo longipennis) 2
  12. Lesser Crested Tern (Thalasseus bengalensis) 7
  13. tern sp. (Sterninae sp.) 10
  14. swiftlet sp. (Aerodramus sp.) 10
  15. Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 1
Singapore Strait 29Apr17

From JS

On 29 April 2017, we joined the pelagic trip (2x boats) organised by See Toh and Francis. Straits of Singapore is probably one of the last few frontiers for birdwatching in Singapore. There are still a lot of knowledge to discover concerning the movement of seabirds through this part of the world. With a bit of fortuity, a vagrant may appear - which is the case in other waters of the world. For birdwatchers seeking an additional tick for their Singapore list, the Straits of Singapore is the place to explore.

Setting off at 7am from Sister's islands where we had just cleared customs, we headed eastwards towards Horsburgh Lighthouse, our key destination for the day. For the first one and a half hour, we saw nothing. The weather was not favorable with dark clouds before us. Our first bird was a pair of Little Terns. Following which, we encountered an Arctic Skua in the distant. Thereafter, it was just Bridled Terns and Short-Tailed Shearwaters capturing our attention. To think that a couple of years ago, the latter was not even recorded and our count has exceeded 10 by the time we had reached Horsburgh Lighthouse!!!

Bridled terns

Short-tailed shearwaters

At Horsburgh Lighthouse, I was honored to finally record the Black-Nest Swiftlet for my Singapore list. To do so, I had to spot the birds on the black nest built below the window ledge of the buildings on the outcrop. Tough work!

Another interesting sighting at the lighthouse was a pod of three Indo-pacific Humpback Dolphins including one calf. To demonstrate our delight for the sighting, we actually spent additionally time circling the outcrop two times in search of them. Alas, they did not show again...

Indo-pacific humpback dolphin

Heading back, we stayed close to the Indonesian side of the International waters. This rewarded us with further sightings of Short-Tailed Shearwaters, Bridled Terns, three White-Winged Terns (including one individual moulting to breeding plumage) and an Aleutian Tern in breeding plumage. Great sightings, especially the birds in breeding plumages.

White-winged tern

Aleutian tern

Hoping to find something different, we checked the yellow buoys off the coastline of Indonesia and found resting Lesser Crested Terns, a new bird for the trip.

Just as we were leaving the last buoy to head back to Singapore, we saw an all-dark bird gliding at the surface of the waters. The flight of the bird resembled that of the Shearwaters. Thus, I was too quick to identify it as just another "Short-Tailed Shearwater". Thankfully, See Toh was quick to point out something unusual about the bird - it had pale upperwing coverts. This was no shearwater, it was a passing Bulwer's Petrel!!! Out of our excitement, we actually made a U-turn and attempted to look for the bird. The bird was probably long gone by then but we just wanted so much to re-find it. The significance of the sighting was simply the bird has yet to be recorded in our Singapore checklist. Any sighting of the species could mean a step closer to its inclusion...

Bulwer's petrel

After seeing 10 species of seabirds, including a potentially new species for the Singapore checklist, all the participants were in fine spirit. All of us would like the birds to come closer to our boats but as with any pelagic outings, nothing is certain. The potential of finding new birds or the risk of going home empty handed makes pelagic outings so interesting. With eagerness, we await our next pelagic adventure...

  1. Bulwer's Petrel (Bulweria bulwerii) 1
  2. Short-tailed Shearwater (Ardenna tenuirostris) 27
  3. Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) 1
  4. Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) 1
  5. White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) 1
  6. Arctic Skua (Stercorarius parasiticus) 2
  7. Long-tailed Skua (Stercorarius longicaudus) 2 - Species only seen by participants on another boat
  8. Bridled Tern (Onychoprion anaethetus) 26
  9. Aleutian Tern (Onychoprion aleuticus) 2
  10. Little Tern (Sternula albifrons) 2
  11. White-winged Black Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus) 3
  12. Black-naped Tern (Sterna sumatrana) 4
  13. Lesser Crested Tern (Thalasseus bengalensis) 22
  14. tern sp. (Sterninae sp.) 36
  15. Black-nest Swiftlet (Aerodramus maximus) 100
  16. Pacific Swift (Apus pacificus) 4
  17. Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 3
  18. Pacific Swallow (Hirundo tahitica) 10

Pacific swift