Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dairy Farm Loop, Halus 8Mar14

From KH

The four of us started the day at Dairy Farm for the confirmed Sakhalin Leaf Warbler. Previously, in Jan, we thought it was a Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, as Sakhalin was out of range and never came to mind. Now in Mar, the bird was singing and ID can now be confirmed by the song.

Initially, the bird was nowhere to be seen or heard. Then some time after 9 am, we started to hear it and soon everyone of us (including 5 other birders) got good views of the bird. There seem to be two birds around.

Also present was a male Siberian Thrush and a Dark-sided Flycatcher.

Next, we went to Halus for the Asian Palm-swift that Con missed previously and also the Jerdon's Baza. Sure enough two of each were present.

First adult Jerdon's Baza ©Tan KH

Second adult Jerdon's Baza ©Tan KH

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Marina Bay, Chinese Garden 01-02Mar14

From JS

Date: 1/3/14
Location: Marina Bay Sands
1) Oriental Honey-buzzard (1)

Date: 2/3/14
Location: Chinese Garden
1) Oriental Honey-buzzard (2, 1 dark morph male and 1 pale morph)
2) Brahminy Kite (2)

Brown Boobook at Chinese Garden ©Danny Lau
MacRitchie, Chinese Garden, Halus 1Mar14

From KH

After getting news of Barred Eagle Owl at MacRitchie, Con, Danny and I headed there. Unfortunately, except for a faraway Brown Boobook call, there were no other owls heard or seen.

When day break, we were off to Halus. Just when we were a few km from Halus, Con suddenly turned off Jln Kayu and informed us of the "mega rare" Band-bellied Crake at Chinese Gardens. So we took Con's car and headed straight there. We spent the rest of the morning at the pond where the crake was sighted yesterday, but only got Blue-winged Pitta, Black-browed Reed Warbler and "swintail" snipes.

After lunch, we were off to pick up our cars. Con decided it was too hot for afternoon birding and so Danny and I continued at Halus. As is routine now, around noon, our first stop is Halus Bridge for raptor watch. Seeing nothing special, we moved on to Sunshine Bridge and confirmed an Asian Palmswift mixed with the swiftlets.

Soon after, Con got wind that the crake has been spotted! So off we went to Chinese Gardens again... Sure enough the bird was foraging in a manicured drain with the statues are. And boy where there many birders and photographers.

I really have to hit myself on the head for not bringing my camera. So here is a crappy shot from my smartphone...

Fortunately, Danny was there with his scope:

Pulau Punggol 23Feb14

From JS

1) Black-Winged Kite (1)
2) Brahminy Kite (>4)
3) White-Bellied Sea-Eagle (>4)
4) Osprey (2)
5) Booted Eagle (1)
6) Accipiter sp. (1)

1) Long-toed Stint (1)
2) Wood Sandpiper (2)
3) Oriental Pratincole (13)
Imbiah, Tuas 22Feb14

From KH

Danny went to River Safari for "pandamonium"! So only Con and I birded today. First, we went to Imbiah at Sentosa for the Hwamei and sure enough a pair were in a bush right at the road side!

Next destination: Tuas for raptor migration. However, as Con put it, the migrant raptors were really rare because there were none. So having wasted our time, we broke early for lunch at The American Club, Con's treat! :)

NTL2, CCK Cemeteries 15Feb14

From KH

Con, Danny, JS and I went to NTL2 because we heard it is a good place for sniping. At the entrance, we were surprised to see a Blue-throated Bee-eater. Apparently, this migrant breeder have been found year round in Singapore, although the majority do migrate after breeding months.

Near the entrance, we also added two singing cuckoos to Con's Big Year list - Little Bronze and Plaintive.

The marsh was really dry, but Purple Swamphens, Common Moorhens and a non-breeding pond-heron were still making the best of what was there. Two Watercocks were spontaneously flushed from the reeds. Black-browed Reed-warblers, Yellow Bitterns and Ruddy-breasted Crakes were also around.

Then someone shouted "harrier!" It turned out to be a juvenile Eastern Marsh-harrier. By now, it was late morning and getting hot, but still no snipe.

Juvenile Eastern Marsh-harrier ©Lau JS

On the way out, in the drain, we saw a pair of Blue-eared Kingfishers, a Slaty-breasted Rail and two snipes! They appear to be a Swinhoe's/Pintail. Oh well...

Next stop, Bollywood drain. First, we unknowingly flushed a few snipes from the drain. Then, another singing cuckoo caught our attention. This time a Banded Bay.

After lunch at NTU, we headed to CCK Cemeteries. Our mission once again was to look for snipes. Sure enough, 4 individuals were spotted in a grass patch. We spent 2 hours observing them, hoping they would fan their distinctive tail. They turned out to be Pintail Snipes. This was a dry grass patch, so it seems Pintail Snipes do like dryer ground.

Pintail Snipe ©Con Foley

Also present were Slaty-breasted Rail, Cinnamon Bittern and Asian Palm-swift.

Asian Palm-swift ©Lau JS
Pulau Punggol, Halus 13Feb14

From Con

This morning I went to PB to try again for the Lanceolated Warbler. They didn’t call spontaneously at all. Finally I played a couple minutes of tape and I got a weak response from one bird, but no movement, so I gave up.

At the pond not much activity. The stint has gone but the Little Ringed Plover is still around. The pond continues to dry up. Only new bird at the pond one lonely Common Greenshank.

Then I went to Halus where I got the possible Dusky Warbler. At home I have listened to the calls on Xeno-Canto and the call was most definitely much more like the Dusky than Arctic. As soon as I saw him feeding low I thought Dusky, got my bins on him to confirm he was a warbler, and then tried to get a photo but failed. If I had kept me bins on him I my have mentally recorded more features, but I dropped the bins and went for the photo.

I walked up and down the track for an hour looking for him but no luck.
NTL2, SBWR, Bishan Park 10-11Feb14

From Con


Today’s haul was Black-capped Kingfisher, Purple Swamphen, Watercock and Copper-throated Sunbird (Sungei Buloh). There were two snipes in the open at the Neo Tiew Lane 2 pond and one snipe in the open on the road walking out. But I just had my shorter lens and they didn’t fan their tail or show their wings so I don’t think I can figure out what they were. There was also a Common Moorhen at the NTL2 pond. There was also a Rusty-rumped Warbler in the reeds at the NTL2 pond. Most surprisingly there was an Abbott’s Babbler on the walk in.


I went to Bishan Park to see the nesting Grey-rumped Treeswift that is all over Facebook. Yes, they are there, so only 1 tick for today.

Pulau Punggol 08Feb14

From KH

It was great to see the Long-toed Stint again! There were also 6 Red-throated Pipits around. Boy, the pond's really shrinking under this record dry weather!

Con managed to photograph a preening Common Snipe, showing some of the key features:
  • white secondary trailing edges
  • uniformly thick tail feathers
  • pale tip on rather plain upperwing coverts
  • thick dark lore

Danny managed to photograph the Lanceolated Warbler that has been wintering here with his compact camera. The heavy streaks on both the upper and underparts are clearly visible.

Satay by the Bay to MacRitchie 27Jan14

From Con

This morning I went to Satay-by-the-Bay to look for the Black-headed Munia that Francis recently posted. Actually I saw it back in December, but today it was a no show and December was in 2013.

So I left around 8:30 to head to Eton Hall which I heard is a great spot to see rare raptors.
I get into the MCE tunnel and as the road rises to the surface I see an ERP gantry ahead. Okay I think, before the road from this area to Keppel Road was free of tolls, so I think at most this can be one or two dollars. I am not even entering CBD, I am just passing along and exiting at Keppel Road.

HOLLY COW. Toll is SIX DOLLARS. !!! If this isn’t Highway Robbery, I don’t know what is !!!

After this shock I later reach Eton Hall, and stay for a couple of hours. No rare raptors. Then I head for an early lunch and pick up a Oriental Pied Hornbill flying across Tanglin Road, seen one here before, much easier than going to Ubin.

In the afternoon I went to check out the Germain Swiftlet colony at Peace Centre (level 9 carpark) and I get 3 likely piles of bird poo but no nests. So I think the birds are still around but why there are no nests I am not sure.

In the evening I go to the Bat Hawk area and get Chestnut-winged Babbler, Short-tailed Babbler and Siberian Blue Robin (female) ... also think I got a glance at a first winter male.
Eton Hall 26Jan14

From Danny

Last week I reported sighting of a single Crested Serpent Eagle over Eton Hall off AYE. Today, a shrill call drew my attention to the tall mostly bare tree within Eton Hall compound and locate this juvenile Crested Goshawk, back to car for my camera to take a few shots before it bended fwd and flew off with a loud shrill call, then a second Goshawk, a larger bird, likely adult female to my surprise took off from the same tree. I did not realise there were two raptors. About half an hour later both raptors returned and circled for a while, clearly a larger female and juvenile CG.

Juvenile Crested Goshawk

Adult Crested Goshawk

In between waiting a pair of CHE flew in and gave an aerial courtship display, highly entertaining but I didn't manage any aerial shots. I have been sighting CG around the area stretching from Mt Faber, Earth Trail, wooded area opp. Bukit Chermin over to Kent Ridge and Alexandra Hospital area. Finally, today confirmation of successful breeding.