Bidadari, Pasir Ris Farmway 18Apr15
Following report of an Indian Pond Heron in breeding plumage at Bidadari yesterday, Danny and I went to Bidadari for the bird. When we reached, Kim Keang and See Toh were already on site searching for the bird. Soon a few other birders/photographers started showing up. Still the bird was nowhere to be seen.
Nevertheless, 1 Chinese Pond Heron and 2 Tiger Shrikes in breeding plumage were showing, so were a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Asian Paradise Flycatcher and Arctic Warblers. The local birds also keep us company - Oriental Pied Hornbill, Lineated Barbet, Coppersmith Barbet, Common Hill Myna, etc. The only raptor seen today was an immature pale Oriental Honey Buzzard orientalis with very heavily moulted tail.
Then, after 10 am, a photographer spotted the Indian Pond Heron on a tree. Soon the news spread. Con and some birders/photographers started showing up.
In breeding plumage, the bird is unmistakable - pale buff head to breast, and maroon mantle to scapulars.
After 1 hour or so, the bird went into hiding and many of us broke for lunch. All the while, it was on the tree, not tame and on the grass as reported on the previous day. After lunch, Con got a message that the bird was back and on the grass. So back we went.
Not long after, the bird went into hiding on the trees again and it was time to part ways.
While driving home, I decided to check out Pasir Ris Farmway 3, where an Indian Pond Heron had been spotted three years ago. No Indian, but a breeding Javan, a breeding Chinese, and a non-breeding pond heron were showing well.
The Javan Pond Heron in breeding plumage is also unmistakable - buff head to neck, orange breast, and slaty mantle to scapulars.
The Chinese Pond Heron in breeding plumage is also unmistakable - maroon head to breast, and slaty mantle to scapulars.
However, in non-breeding plumage, all three species look alike.
Also present at the farmway were 2 Little Egrets, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Pintail Snipe.
From these views above, it was only possible to narrow down to Pintail/Swinhoe's. Out of a few hundred shots, 1-2 showed signs of the outer pins, narrowing it down to Pintail Snipe. From the shot below, the outer pins could be seen in the water reflection.
This is also a great place to get close-up shots of Grey Herons.