Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Pulau Ubin 24Dec16

From KH

Danny was in Finland catching Northern Lights. Con, JS and I went Ubin to get JS his darter tick. Sure enough the bird was at Pekan Quarry hanging out with Grey herons.

Oriental Darter drying itself with a Grey Heron looking on ©Tan KH

Grey Heron in breeding plumage ©Tan KH

What's this Malayan Water Monitor doing so high up?! ©Tan KH

On the way to Chek Jawa, we encountered a few Ashy Minivets, an Arctic Warbler and some resident birds, including a Little Bronze-cuckoo.

Ashy Minivet ©Tan KH

Elongate Mudskippers on coconut husk ©Tan KH

Then I saw something crawling in the leaf litter. Upon further investigation, it turned out to be a crab.

Crab hiding in leaf litter ©Tan KH

We checked out Frog Island, but no migrant eagle was in sight, only Grey Plovers and Whimbrels, plus a few Great Crested Terns. At the Chek Jawa mangrove boardwalk, we got a quiet Mangrove Pitta.

Mangrove Pitta ©Con Foley

At Chek Jawa, there were a group of Gold-spotted Mudskippers enjoying the receding tidal waves.

Gold-spotted Mudskippers ©Tan KH

Finally, along Sensory Trail, we had a Clouded Monitor basking in the sun.

Clouded Monitor sunning itself along Sensory Trail ©Tan KH

Monday, December 26, 2016

Seletar Dam, Pulau Punggol 17Dec16

From KH

Following yesterday's report of Amur falcon at Seletar Dam, Danny, JS and I met there to check it out. However, the bird was not around. As the tide was coming in, the waders and egrets were also leaving. So we left and went to nearby Pulau Punggol.

The dark morph Booted eagle was still around. It'll probably winter here. From below, the square-cut and sharp-cornered tail is obvious. From above, the white shoulder patches (landing lights) and pale wing coverts are diagnostic.

From JS

Lesser coucal

PRP, Halus, Pulau Punggol 10Dec16

From KH
Today, Con, Danny, JS and I started off at Pasir Ris Park. The owls nowhere to be seen, nor was the torquatus around, but we had a noisy Crow-billed Drongo at the carpark.

Crow-billed Drongo silhouette

Next, we went to Lorong Halus. The Little Grebes were still breeding in the old pond.

Juvenile Little Grebe

Finally, we went to Pulau Punggol for late morning birding. The dark morph Booted Eagle was still around. The other notable migrant is an immature Indian Cuckoo. We also flushed a few Pintail/Swinhoe's Snipes.

Immature Indian Cuckoo

There were also many local munias and introduced waxbills around.

Chestnut Munias
Neo Tiew, SBWR, Pulau Punggol 3Dec16

From KH

I missed the Ruff last evening by 30 steps, so while Danny and JS were at Kranji Marsh, I went Sungei Buloh to try to redeem myself, but there were hardly any waders around due to low tide.

After joining the father and son team at the marsh, we headed to Turut Track to feed mosquitoes before heading to SBWR to join force with Con, the only one in this group who got the prized Ruff last evening.

At SBWR, we only got a Bar-tailed godwit and the usual redshanks, greenshanks, whimbrels and a few Common sandpipers. There were also a small flock of 11 OHBs migrating and 2 Black bazas.

After lunch, Con left and the three of us went to Pulau Punggol. Before that, at Neo Tiew Lane 3, Danny and JS spotted a small flock of 5 Black bazas.

At Pulau Punggol, we got the Booted eagle (dark morph) and 5 Black bazas, on top of the residents - 1 Black-winged kite, 1 calling CHE, a few Brahminy kites and WBSEs.
SBWR 2Dec16

From Con


Bidadari, Tuas 26Nov16

From KH
Danny, Con and I went to Bidadari and didn't see much except for a flock of Ashy Minivets, an Asian Brown Flycatcher and an Arctic Warbler. Resident-wise, a pair of Rufous Woodpeckers was a welcomed sight.

Ashy Minivet. Male Rufous Woodpecker

The introduced Variable Squirrels may yet survive. This one was collecting nesting material.

Moving on to Tuas, we got a small flock of OHBs and a Hodgson's Hawk-cuckoo.

Langkawi 18-21Nov16

From JS

I got a pair of Brown-winged kingfisher at Kilim Mangrove. We explored the village during high tide at dawn and was rewarded with a calling pair.

But no luck with Black-hooded oriole at Kisap.

Mountain hawk eagle was seen along Datai. An immature bird was distressing Oriental pied hornbill.

Had a male singing Large green pigeon as well.

SBWR 15Nov16

From KH

Department retreat at Sungei Buloh. Who says hobby and work can't go together?!

The star of the day was a 1-m-long Estuarine Crocodile.

Its relative, the Malayan Water Monitor, is much more common and often mistaken for it. This one owned the raft!

The other reptiles found here include the Mangrove Pit Viper (left) and the Painted Bronzeback (right).

The star bird today was a lone Great Knot, seen here with a Whimbrel in the foreground and Common Greenshanks to the right.

The other uncommon wader today was a Terek Sandpiper (smaller and with upturned bill), surrounded by Common Greenshanks and Common Redshanks.

A Giant Mudskipper and a Violet Vinegar Crab were enjoying time together. What an odd couple!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Singapore Strait 12Nov16

From JS

We were about to fall asleep (for those at the lower deck) when Francis spotted a large, black bird flying close to the water. It flew like a shearwater, banking and gliding (with wings bent slightly). At one point of time, it even made a 180 degrees swerve. On closer look at the photos, its head is certainly not a shearwater's but closely resembled a storm-petrel's.

Given its shearwater-like flight and long unforked tail, this looks like a genuine contender for Singapore's first Bulwer's Petrel record.

Juvenile Red-footed Booby

Skua sp.

Red-footed booby from Danny

Changi 12Nov16

From Con

I was at what little is left of Newater plant grasslands with LKK, LCH, et al. We only got a few OHBs and accipiters. No harriers. Grassland patch now very small. Gone soon. SAF Yacht Club also gone. Being torn down.
Halus 6Nov16

From KH

Danny, Con and I were joined by some volunteers, including Kerry who was also here last year.

We were glad to record 8 species - 4 residents, 4 migrants. Nothing rare though.

The number of WBSE is definitely less than the total of 9 below as double/triple counting can't be ruled out.

Also the number of CHE could be less than 5, as I could only ascertain that there were 1 pale juvenile, 1 pale adult and 1 dark morph.

Lastly, the number of Black bazas should only be 3, i.e. that same 3 birds hanging around the casuarina trees.

TIME 9-10 10-11 11-12 12-1 1-2 2-3 3-4
White-bellied sea eagle 1 2 1 1 3 1
Brahminy kite 1 2 1
Japanese sparrowhawk 1 1 1
Oriental honey buzzard 3 5 5
Changeable hawk eagle 1 1 2 1
Chinese sparrowhawk 1
Grey-headed fish eagle 1
Black baza 3 3 3
Unid. Accipiter 1 1
Unid. Raptor 1 1 1
TOTAL 2 3 8 11 16 5 5

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Tuas 29Oct16

From KH

Danny and JS went to Ave 7 to check out the forested patch and got a Hodgson's Hawk-cuckoo.

When I reached Ave 16, they were already in the woods, but they informed me that there was a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo hidden in the trees along the road. Sure enough, there it was, skittish and well-concealed. Also around were Low CH and friend, and Lim KK.

Migrant raptor-wise, there was only a flock of Oriental Honey-buzzards heading south before the sky opened and we had to retreat to the new coffeeshop.

We returned to Ave 16 once the rain stopped, but there was nothing else of note.

The resident Brahminy Kite prowling its territory

"Shackled" House Crow with food in mouth

Scaly-breasted Munia feeding

"Botak" Common Myna

Beware of Giant Honey Bee nest!

Singapore Botanic Gardens 25Oct16

From Con
Oriental Pied-hornbills are trying out a potential nest in the Singapore Botanic Gardens at the entrance to the Rain Forest. The male is bringing mud to the female inside the tree hole.

Pulau Punggol, Tuas 22Oct16

From KH

Danny, JS and I planned to start the day's birding at Kranji Marsh, but upon reaching, we found the sky looked threatening and decided to head East. By the time we reach Lorong Halus, the rain clouds had caught up with us! So we adjourned to our favourite Punggol food court for breakfast.

Once the sky cleared, we headed to Pulau Punggol.

We didn't try very hard to turn the Paddyfield Pipits here into Angus pipits

A juvenile Sooty-headed Bulbul was begging for food

As nothing much else was going on here, we decided to head to Tuas for raptor watching. Although the sky was overcast, we saw 1 Common Buzzard and 1 immature male Eastern Marsh-harrier, on top of the usual OHBs and accipiters.

Common Buzzard

Immature male Eastern Marsh-harrier

There were also migrating Pacific Swifts.

Pacific Swift

Bidadari, Tuas, Singapore Strait 15Oct16

From KH

Con, Danny and I started at Bidadari. There were 3 Brown-chested jungle flycatchers, 1 juvenile Malaysian hawk cuckoo, 1 juvenile Slaty-breasted rail and the usual suspects.

Later, Danny and I went Tuas for raptor watching, but we only got 1 accipiter and 1 OHB.

JS went pelagic birding with Francis and gang in 2 boats. They got the usual terns (including Aleutian terns), Swinhoe's storm petrels and a flock of migrating Pacific swifts.
Tuas 10Oct16

From GC

Plaintive cuckoo, female
Rusty-breasted cuckoo (friendly)
Yellow-rumped FC, female
Brown-chested JFC (skittish)
Asian Brown FC
Eastern crowned warbler

Only 9 OHB (very high), some Blue-tailed bee-eaters and Barn swallows on migration.

1 tattered Jap sparrowhawk flying from Tuas to Johor!

Female Plaintive cuckoo ©Tan GC

Johor 7-8Oct16

From KH

Con, Danny, JS and I spent the weekend birding in Johor.

Grey-capped Woodpecker ©Con Foley

Lesser Fish-eagle ©Con Foley
Rifle Range, Wallace Centre, SBWR 1Oct16

From KH

Con brought along a couple from Colombia to join Danny and I today. We started at Rifle Range. Along the way to Jelutong Tower, we got the usual residents Banded woodpecker, Hill mynas, Greater racket-tailed drongos, Short-tailed babblers, Pin-striped tit babblers, Dark-necked tailorbirds, Asian glossy starlings, and the usual migrants Yellow-rumped flycatcher, Asian brown flycatchers, Eastern crowned warblers.

At Jelutong Tower, we managed to get some more birds: Blue-crowned hanging parrots, Pink-necked green pigeons, Olive-winged bulbuls, Brown-throated sunbirds, Scarlet-backed flowerpeckers.

On the way out, I saw a rare Brown-chested jungle flycatcher.

Shifting location to Wallace Centre, we found tonnes of photographers there! We got an adult White-bellied sea eagle soaring high up, a confiding male Yellow-rumped flycatcher, 3 noisy Asian fairy bluebirds, an almost invisible Little spiderhunter and singing Straw-headed bulbuls.

Moving on to Sungei Buloh, we met Martin and his friend, and there were only the usual waders.

Panti, Fraser's Hill 22-28Sep16

From Con


24 Sep: White-crowned hornbill near second yellow sign

Male Buff-rumped woodpecker ©Con Foley

Fraser's Hill

25 Sep: I finally saw the Collared owlet in Malaysia on Telecom Loop. Also recorded call of the owlet.
26 Sep: Best bird for today: a pair of Large scimitar babbler
27 Sep: Today Malaysian whistling thrush, Bamboo woodpecker and Bay woodpecker all seen. Got my first Slow loris!
Panti 13-17Sep16

From Con

13 Sep: Some of the better birds this morning: Grey-breasted babbler, Rail babbler, Rufous-chested flycatcher, Pale blue flycatcher.

15 Sep: Some of the better birds from today: Brown wood owl, Brown hawk owl, Blyth's frogmouth, Malaysian eared nightjar, White-necked babbler.

White-handed gibbon ©Con Foley

Oriental honey buzzard ©Con Foley

17 Sep: Brown hawk owl calling at 10 am on its own!