Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bidadari, SBWR, Pulau Punggol, Coney Island 26Oct12

From KH

Following the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher sighting last Sun-Thu, I headed to Bidadari hoping to tick this bird off. Alas, only managed to get two of its cousin, Asian Paradise Flycatcher. The Black-backed Kingfisher we saw during the bird race was also gone, while the Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher that we missed was present. In fact, there were two of them! How did we miss them during the race??

Other notables were an immature Chinese Goshawk, 6 OHBs, 5 Drongo Cuckoos, 1 Indian Cuckoo, 1 Crow-billed Drongo, Ashy MinivetsFlycatchers (Asian Brown, Yellow-rumped), Arctic Warblers.

Seetoh came and reported the Chinese Egret was still at SBWR. But by the time I reached SBWR, the bird was nowhere to be found... Nevertheless, it was nice to record 50 Red-necked Stints at Hide 2D. There was also a Broad-billed Sandpiper. Raptor-wise, there were only 1 dark morph Changeable Hawk Eagle and 2 adult White-bellied Sea Eagles.

How many stints can you see here? Hint: one of them is not a stint.

Red-necked Stints and Curlew Sandpiper in direct size comparison. Also note difference in bill length and shape.

Broad-billed Sandpiper showing upperwing and tail pattern. Also note the split supercilium and kink in bill.

At Pulau Punggol, a Japanese Sparrowhawk was roosting, an adult Brahminy Kite was thermalling and most importantly, the Booted Eagle is back! This sets the early date back by 11 days (from 6 Nov). The dark morph Booted Eagle was gliding with an avian prey in talon and with a bulging crop. It must be keeping the remains for dinner!

Dark morph Booted Eagle with avian prey.

Finally, at Coney Island, there were hardly any birds. Nevertheless, there was a roosting Chinese Goshawk, 1 Black Baza flying away, 3 Brahminy Kites (2 adults, 1 juv.) and 2 White-bellied Sea Eagles (1 adult, 1 juv.).
Singapore Bird Race 20-21Oct12

From KH

Danny, JS and I formed Team Drongos to participate in this year's bird race. Con joined Seetoh's team, as the team size is limited to a max of 3 this year.

The race started on Sat 5 pm at SBWR and ended Sun 5 pm at Dairy Farm, so we arrived early at SBWR to recce. When we reached, the weather was good and the birds (waders and egrets) were around. However, when the race started at 5 pm, it started pouring! All teams were stuck at the Main Hide for about 1 hour. Fortunately, we ticked off all the waders and egrets seen earlier, except Bar-tailed Godwit and Intermediate Egret.

When the rain was lighter, our team took the opportunity to escape to Seletar Dam. Along the way, we ticked off some common bird. The surprises were 2 Changeable Hawk Eagles and 3 Grey-headed Fish Eagles along SLE.

At Seletar Dam, The plovers (Oriental, Malaysian, Greater Sand) were all MIA. We only ticked off Terek Sandpiper and 3 common birds. By now, the sky was dark and we were off to Seletar West to tick off some night birds, namely Savanna Nightjar and Black-crowned Night Heron. Then at Lower Peirce, we only got Large-tailed Nightjar. No owls for the night. We ended the night with 30 species. Not too bad considering how bad the weather was.

The next morning, we went Rifle Range for the forest birds and managed to salvage two owls. A Collared Scops Owl perched at eye level calling, making it an easy target. Almost immediately after that, a pair of Brown Hawk Owls started calling high up in the tree and soon they flushed, making them another easy tick. We waited at Jelutong Tower for the morning fly-bys. There were swallows and swifts for picking, as well as Blue-winged Leafbird, bulbuls (Red-eyed, Olive-winged) and others. In total 20 species were counted from the tower within less than 1 hour.

We took the boardwalk to the reservoir and got 3 birds from the boardwalk but none from the reservoir. We should skip it next time... On the way back to Rifle Range, we managed to tick off Ashy and Crow-billed Drongo. The former got us the Bird of the Day award! A fruiting tree drew in a Red-crowned Barbet and an Asian Fairy Bluebird. We also got Greater Green Leafbird and Striped Tit Babbler to round up our forest league. Dark-necked Tailorbird and Short-tailed Babbler were heard-only, so they never made it to our list. There was also supposed to be a Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo (seen by other teams).

Our next stop was Bidadari. We got 10 more bird here, including Black-backed Kingfisher, Drongo Cuckoo and Lineated Barbet, but Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher was MIA.

Next up was Halus for the terns (Little, White-winged, Whiskered) and Little Grebe. We ticked off 14 birds in total. Prinia called, but did not show. We missed the Rosy Starling and Streaked Weaver. Soon it started pouring and our exploration of Halus was shortened. Fortunately, we have covered most of it.

At Pasir Ris Park, we braved the rain to tick off Spotted Wood Owls (1 adult, 1 juv.). We stopped for lunch at Changi Village and ticked off Rock Pigeon only, because the target birds here had been ticked off elsewhere. At Changi Beach, we got our Oriental Magpie Robin. The pickings were thin with 1-2 birds per site! Fortunately, our next destination was Changi grassland. There should be some good birds here. Indeed, we ticked off 9 birds within 1 hour including Ruddy-breasted Crakes, a Chinese Goshawk, a male Eastern Marsh Harrier and the usual residents.

By now it was 2 pm. With 3 hours to go, we made a decision to head for NTL2. On the way, a single Purple-backed Starling mixed with Asian Glossy Starlings along Loyang Ave made 99; and the Intermediate Egret we missed at SBWR seen when entering SLE made 100. Guess what our 101 bird was. It was Eurasian Tree Sparrow along Kranji Industrial Estate. At Kranji NSRCC, Yellow Wagtail and Little Ringed Plover made up 102 and 103, respectively. By now, it was getting harder and harder to add birds.

Nevertheless, the decision to go NTL2 turned out fruitful. We got 11 more birds by 4 pm. These included the target birds, Purple Swamphen and Common Moorhen, as well as bird like Emerald Dove, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Indian Cuckoo and Red-whiskered Bulbul. Black-browed Reed Warbler called, but did not show.

Finally at Dairy Farm, we heard the Straw-headed Bulbul, but no tick. Fortunately, at the entrance of MOE Adventure Centre, a Laced Woodpecker made 115 for our list. Other teams that arrived later got Eastern Crowned Warbler right at the entrance, but by this time JS and Danny were tallying the numbers, so this bird did not make it to our list too.

So after 24 hours of hard work in bad weather, we came in third behind the second team (LKS, CC with 116) and the winning team (LKC, YDL, LBW with 120).

Our biggest misses were Brahminy Kite and the munias.

Here's a reconstruction of our list:

No. Species Location
1-12 Whimbrel, Common Greenshank, Common Redshank, Curlew Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Pacific Golden Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Pink-necked Green Pigeon SBWR main hide
13-15 Common Sandpiper, White-breasted Waterhen, Oriental Pied Hornbill SBWR entrance
16-20 Javan Myna, Spotted Dove, Asian Glossy Starling, Black-naped Oriole, White-bellied Sea Eagle Kranji
21-23 Yellow-vented Bulbul, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Grey-headed Fish Eagle SLE
24-27 Little Heron, Barn Swallow, Common Myna, Terek Sandpiper Seletar Dam
28-29 Savanna Nightjar, Black-crowned Night Heron Seletar West
30 Large-tailed Nightjar Lower Peirce
31-33 Collared Scops Owl, Brown Hawk Owl, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Rifle Range
34-52 Red-rumped Swallow, Pacific Swallow, House Swift, Fork-tailed Swift, Glossy Swiftlet, Grey-rumped Treeswift, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Dollarbird, White-throated Kingfisher, Blue-winged Leafbird, Red-eyed Bulbul, Olive-winged Bulbul, Crimson Sunbird, Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Large-billed Crow, Arctic Warbler, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Hill Myna Jelutong Tower
53-61 Banded Woodpecker, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Common Iora, Ashy Drongo, Crow-billed Drongo, Red-crowned Barbet, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Greater Green Leafbird, Striped Tit Babbler Rifle Range
62-71 Black-backed Kingfisher, Drongo Cuckoo, Tanimbar Corella, Oriental White-eye, Common Goldenback, Lineated Barbet, Brown-throated Sunbird, Olive-backed Sunbird, Collared Kingfisher, Tiger Shrike Bidadari
72-85 Little Tern, White-winged Tern, Whiskered Tern, Little Grebe, Yellow Bittern, Purple Heron, Pied Fantail, Baya Weaver, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Paddyfield Pipit, Red-breasted Parakeet, Common Kingfisher, Zebra Dove, Common Tailorbird Halus
86 Spotted Wood Owl Pasir Ris Park
87 Rock Pigeon Changi Village
88-89 Oriental Magpie Robin, House Crow Changi Beach
90-98 Ruddy-breasted Crakes, Black-winged Kite, Chinese Goshawk, Red-watted Lapwing, Red Collared Dove, Lesser Coucal, Eastern Marsh Harrier, Long-tailed Shrike, Asian Koel Changi grassland
99 Purple-backed Starling Loyang Ave
100 Intermediate Egret SLE
101 Eurasian Tree Sparrow Kranji
102-103 Yellow Wagtail, Little Ringed Plover Kranji NSRCC
104-114 Purple Swamphen, Common Moorhen, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Brown Shrike, Long-tailed Parakeet, Pied Triller, White-crested Laughingthrush, Emerald Dove, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Indian Cuckoo, Red-whiskered Bulbul NTL2
115 Laced Woodpecker Dairy Farm

Friday, October 26, 2012

Singapore Strait 13Oct12

From Geoffrey

Probably the worst day we have ever had for birds.
  1. Great Crested Tern 30
  2. Lesser Crested Tern 1
  3. Whiskered Tern 1
  4. Barn Swallow 4
  5. Swiftlets >100
  6. Brahminy Kite 1

Dolphins – I thought there were at least three in the first pod, and at least 8 in the second pod (but could have been more), giving at least 11 and maybe up to 15 when the two pods joined up at about 08.20.

Definitely the best day we have ever had for these guys!

From KH


From Con

Left: Lesser Crested Tern. Right: Whiskered Tern

Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin
Mt Faber 7Oct12

From Danny

Bought the camera on Saturday evening from Iphoto but remote sensor not available. Tested out this morning at Mt Faber car park C. Refer to attached pic. of the female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, pretty skittish and high just below canopy. Pretty neat camera, but still getting used to it. Just realized I did not shoot in RAW. The camera is much lighter, brighter and so far within 5X zoom no need for increasing my scope magnification. Much to test out.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Changi, Pasir Ris Park, Serangoon Tidal Gates 06Oct12

From KH
Danny and I recced a couple of places today, namely Changi, Pasir Ris Park, Serangoon Tidal Gates, Sengkang Floating Wetland, Pulau Punggol and Seletar Dam. However, it started raining when we reached the last two locations, so no birds were recorded there.

At Changi, the whistler was apparently gone. Nevertheless, the sparrowhawks were in. We recorded a juvenile Japanese Sparrowhawk and an unid accipiter (too high up).

Juvenile Japanese Sparrowhawk at Changi

Next at Pasir Ris Park, the Spotted Wood Owl couple was in, but they flushed as soon as you point at them.

At Serangoon Tidal Gates, we dipped at the Malaysian Plover, but had 43 Little Terns and 13 White-winged Terns. We missed the Whiskered Tern sighted at the Halus bridge as we didn't go over. There were lots of Baya Weavers and a pair of Golden-backed Weavers, but no Streaked Weaver identified.

Baya Weavers at Serangoon Tidal Gates

Finally, at Sengkang Floating Wetland, there were no reed warblers, nor bitterns.

1. Grey Heron 5
2. Red-wattled Lapwing 2
3. White-bellied Sea Eagle 1
4. Black-winged Kite 3
5. Brahminy Kite 1
6. Changeable Hawk Eagle 1 pale
7. Japanese Sparrowhawk 1 juv
8. White-throated Kingfisher 3
9. Common Goldenback 2
10. Rufous Woodpecker 1 female
11. Spotted Dove >50
12. Zebra Dove >50
13. Pink-necked Green Pigeon 2
14. Red Collared Dove >10
15. Red-breasted Parakeet 2
16. Swiftlet spp.
17. Lesser Coucal 3
18. Golden-bellied Gerygone 1 heard
19. Brown Shrike 2
20. House Crow >20
21. Black-naped Oriole >10
22. Pied Fantail 1 heard
23. Common Iora >8
24. Asian Glossy Starling >20
25. Javan Myna >50
26. Common Myna 2
27. Pacific Swallow >5
28. Barn Swallow >5
29. Yellow-vented Bulbul >15
30. Zitting Cisticola 1
31. Yellow-bellied Prinia 1 heard
32. Common Tailorbird 1
33. Baya Weaver >30
34. Scaly-breasted Munia >20
35. White-headed Munia >10

Pasir Ris Park
1. Red Junglefowl 1 male
2. Common Sandpiper 2
3. Collared Kingfisher 1
4. Sunda Woodpecker 1
5. Oriental Pied Hornbill 1 female
6. Asian Koel 2
7. Spotted Wood Owl 1 pair
8. White-breasted Waterhen 1
9. Golden-bellied Gerygone 1 heard
10. Black-naped Oriole 1
11. Common Iora >5
12. Asian Brown Flycatcher 1
13. Yellow-vented Bulbul 2
14. Ashy Tailorbird 1 heard
15. Arctic Warbler 1
16. Olive-backed Sunbird 1 male

Serangoon Tidal Gates
1. Common Sandpiper 1
2. Little Tern 43
3. White-winged Tern 13
4. White-bellied Sea Eagle 1
5. Changeable Hawk Eagle 1 dark
6. Dollarbird 1
7. Swiftlet spp.
8. Long-tailed Shrike 1
9. Black-naped Oriole 1
10. Purple-backed Starling 1
11. Yellow-vented Bulbul 2
12. Sooty-headed Bulbul 2
13. Eurasian Tree Sparrow 2
14. Baya Weaver >30
15. Golden-backed Weaver 1 male, 1 female

Saturday, October 6, 2012

NTL2, SBWR 29Sep12

From KH

Today, Danny and I went to Neo Tiew Lane 2 and Sungei Buloh.

We started at NTL2 and saw several migrants: e.g. Black-browed Reed Warbler, Grey Wagtails, Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Common Kingfishers, as well as some notable residents: e.g. Grey-headed Fish-eagle, Purple Swamphens, Common Moorhens, Plaintive Cuckoo. However, there were no terns at all. We were sorry to see a decomposed nightjar along the track.

At SBWR, we met Jimmy and Gerard, and saw 12 species of waders altogether. The Main Hide was pretty disappointing with just the usual common waders. Then came the rain, which dampened the mood even more. Fortunately, Hide 2D & E offered the less common waders - Red-necked Stints, Terek & Broad-billed Sandpipers at 2D; Greater Sand-plover at 2E.

Neo Tiew
1. Purple Heron 1
2. Osprey 1
3. White-bellied Sea-eagle 1 immature
4. Grey-headed Fish-eagle 1 adult
5. White-breasted Waterhen 5
6. Common Moorhen 1
7. Purple Swamphen 3
8. Common Sandpiper 2
9. Zebra Dove 5
10. Spotted Dove 10
11. Red Collared Dove 2
12. Pink-necked Green-pigeon 10
13. Long-tailed Parakeet >10
14. Plaintive Cuckoo 1
15. Banded Bay Cuckoo 1 heard
16. Asian Koel 2 heard
17. Lesser Coucal 1
18. Swiftlet spp.
19. Common Kingfisher 3
20. White-throated Kingfisher 2
21. Dollarbird 2
22. Banded Woodpecker 1
23. Common Goldenback 2
24. Golden-bellied Gerygone 1 heard
25. Pied Fantail 4
26. Pied Triller >5
27. Black-naped Oriole >5
28. House Crow 2
29. Brown Shrike 3
30. Long-tailed Shrike 2
31. Common Iora 3 
32. Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 1 female
33. Oriental Magpie Robin 1 female
34. Asian Glossy Starling >50
35. Purple-backed Starling >10
36. Javan Myna >10
37. Barn Swallow >10
38. Pacific Swallow >10
39. Yellow-vented Bulbul 5
40. Straw-headed Bulbul 1 heard
41. Black-browed Reed Warbler 1
42. Common Tailorbird 5
43. Zitting Cisticola 1
44. Yellow-bellied Prinia 1
45. White-crested Laughingthrush 1
46. Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker 2
47. Brown-throated Sunbird 1
48. Olive-backed Sunbird 5
49. Yellow Wagtail >20 at NSRCC
50. Baya Weaver 1
51. Scaly-breasted Munia 1

1. Grey Heron 2
2. Little Egret 35
3. Cattle Egret 1
4. Striated Heron 3
5. White-bellied Sea-eagle 4
6. White-breasted Waterhen 5
7. Greater Sand-plover 1
8. Lesser Sand-plover >50
9. Pacific Golden-plover >50
10. Whimbrel >50
11. Rufous-necked Stint 5
12. Curlew Sandpiper >40
13. Broad-billed Sandpiper 1
14. Terek Sandpiper 1
15. Common Sandpiper 5
16. Marsh Sandpiper >20
17. Common Redshank >100
18. Common Greenshank >20
19. Red Collared Dove 1 male
20. Asian Koel 1 male
21. Swiftlet spp.
22. White-throated Kingfisher 1 heard
23. Collared Kingfisher 4
24. Stork-billed Kingfisher 1
25. Oriental Pied Hornbill 1 heard
26. House Crow 10
27. Common Iora 2
28. Ashy Tailorbird 3 heard

Greater Sand-plover ID tips from Danny

Classic view where the shape of face is square not round; observer is almost perpendicular to Plover.

Far away view of Plover with thick, long bill - typical view first attracting birder attention.

Back view exposing the long tibia.

View of Plover feeding on crab/crustacean unlike LSP which feed on worms.

The angular view which make the bill look shorter, however, drawing virtual parallel lines across bill tip, bill base and eyes will show up bill as long.

Applying the same virtual lines as GSP above will show up the shorter bill of the LSP below.