2007 December 19

This afternoon we take a boat (the green little boat on the left) from Batu Putih village.
Metres from the beach, Frigatebirds fly above us.
The water is very choppy. I feel quite sick and unsafe without any safety equipment.
On the return journey it rained.
Highlight: Sulawesi Masked Owl in a cave at Pintu, and Great-billed Kingfisher at Sampirang village.

2007 December 18

Our nice and clean semi-detached house.
A double bed with mosquito netting and a single bed without netting. The floor is tiled. There is a fan mounted on the wall.

The bathroom is tiled from floor to wall. Can flush toilet! Still shower from a pail because the water pressure is very low.

2007 December 17

This is our chalet on the first night. A kitten likes to rest on the staircase.

Bed with mosquito netting, but somehow still get bitten.

Toilet has no flushing system. The yellow pail is used for showers.

Indonesia - Tangkoko

2007 December 17 till 21 - Tangkoko Nature Reserve

Our guide, Mr Semuel Baware (Untu).
The place where we stayed.
Semi-detached house on the left, chalets on the right.

On the first night at the dining hall I was bitten by mosquitoes. 6 bites on the left leg and 1 on the right ankle.
On the third night, I was bitten on the right leg. A cluster of 4 bites within an inch diameter.
Lisa and Daisy, daugthers of the cook.

2007 December 2 - Some Winter Visitors

Contributed by Doreen Ang.
This is an edited version.
AH and I birded on Sun, 2 Dec. As usual, we covered more than one site. First stop was the Venus Drive car park. We took the 'Rubber Plantation' trail. Lousy birding, we learnt the hard way - rubber trees = more hard nuts and squirrels than birds. Too bad because it was such a beautiful trail with gushing clear stream, leave-strewn path and hardly any people. This trail ended at the open field passage behind the private estate. Here we saw a Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, two Asian Brown Flycatchers, 3 Blue-tailed Bee-eaters and ...

At 0920hrs, we were standing outside house No. 83, Jupiter Road when AH exclaimed, "Big Birds!". We saw two raptors, not too high up in the sky, as if circling up the thermals. The birds changed course and decided to glide on outstretched wings in a straight path overhead us. (Both of us observed only the second bird, sorry.) It was bigger than a Brahminy Kite but smaller than a White-bellied Sea Eagle. From below, the overall colour of the bird was 2-tone: rufous underbody and underwing coverts, and whitish everywhere else, finely barred. Its distinct black cap stood out, like a peregrine falcon's, but without the 'teardrop'. The tail was spread out like a triangular fan, also thinly barred.

We think it was an adult Rufous-bellied Eagle (a lifer for AH) because (1) it bore a strong resemblance to the illustration in Craig Robson's field guide which we used after the birds left (2) it had a black hood and (3) its overall rufous and white colouration.

After a celebratory vegetarian hor-fun, our second stop at 1250hrs was Lorong Halus. Soon as we got out of the car, we caught a glimpse of another flying raptor! It was such a waste because we couldn't identify it. Anyway, noteworthy sightings here included 4 Black Bazas, 1 Chinese Pond Heron and 1 Brown Shrike. There was only one Little Grebe in the pond. On our way back c. 1345hrs, we made an obligatory stop by the river (at the kennels) and scoped a motley group of 2 Common Sandpipers (seen sitting snugly in the hot sand but not for long), 3 Great Egrets, 8 Little Egrets, 2 Pacific Golden Plovers, 1 Marsh Sandpiper, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Chinese Pond Heron and 1 Ruddy-breasted Crake.

2007 November 4 – Kent Ridge Park

Around the bigger pond, end of the footpath, under the bushes.
Sat on the pavement and the birds were literally flying overhead, just missing me by inches. On occasions, had to duck to avoid collision.
Caught a glimpse of an Asian Paradise Flycatcher (APF).
More than a handful of yellow-vented bulbuls, olive-backed and brown-throated sunbirds, and a dark-necked tailorbird were moving about the branches and feeding on the fruits.
After about 20 minutes and several mosquito bites, I walked out from the footpath.

Hoping to have a better view of the APF, I entered the bushes again.
An olive-winged bulbul was right ahead at slightly below eye level.
A crimson sunbird appeared with his juvenile.
A female oriental magpie-robin hopped from branch to branch.

No sight of the APF, I walked out again feeling disappointed.
Just then, a white-throated kingfisher flew across the pond.
A purple heron was perched on a tree drying its feathers.

Walking around the pond when a flock of yellow-vented bulbuls flew across the pond back and forth.
Among the flock was an APF!!!
It landed on a tree with a red damselfly and finished its meal quickly. Then it moved frantically on the tree, occasionally flying across the footpath onto another tree, finally flew to higher grounds.

2007 October 28 - Botanic Gardens

Was seated at the bench next to lamp post R14, along red brick path.
Did not pay much attention when I saw a bird flying about on a tree straight ahead, as I was munching on a snackbar.
It kept moving about. From the tree down to the grass patch, then from branch to branch.
Stopped munching and took a good look.

It's a female yellow-rumped flycatcher!!!

Then an asian brown flycatcher and an arctic warbler came.

2007 October 14

Contributed by Doreen Ang.
This is an edited version.

Part 1
Sighting of one of our rare resident breeders, the Buffy Fish Owl at Khatib Bongsu on Sunday, 14 Oct. At around 0825h, while scanning for kingfishers by a 'hidden away' stream not far away from the entrance, AH saw an owl staring right back at her. All four of us - Alfred, NK, AH and I - enjoyed good looks of the perched bird (in the daytime) for about 5 minutes before it flew off deeper into the woods on silent wings.

Part 2
AH and I did another recce of Changi this afternoon. There is this plot of land just before the Safra Yacht Club that's being developed. From a mound, we gleefully counted and recounted a flock of 12 Red-wattled Lapwings, our personal best in terms of quantity for Red-wattled Lapwing sightings in Singapore at any one location. Simply wonderful!

2007 September 22 - Chek Jawa

Went to Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin with some friends.

We took the mini-bus from the jetty and were at the gate in about 10 minutes.

Birds recorded at carpark, Changi Ferry Terminal:
  1. Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker
  2. White-vented Myna
  3. Pied Triller
  4. Brown-throated Sunbird
  5. Golden-bellied Gerygone
  6. Red-breasted Parakeet
  7. Cockatoo spp. (h)
  8. Asain Glossy Starlings
  9. Common Myna

View from Jejawi tower
Birds recorded on Pulau Ubin:
  1. Oriental Dollarbird
  2. Grey Heron
  3. Pacific Swallow
  4. Striated Heron
  5. Tern spp.
  6. White-bellied Sea Eagle
  7. Black-naped Oriole
  8. House Swift
  9. Swiftlet spp.
  10. Common Sandpiper
  11. Collared Kingfisher
  12. House Crow
  13. Common Emerald Dove
  14. Common Iora
  15. Flowerpecker spp. (h)
  16. Dark-necked Tailorbird (h)
  17. Straw-headed Bulbul (h)
  18. Brahminy Kite
  19. Peregrine Falcon
  20. Olive-winged Bulbul (h)
  21. Laced Woodpecker (h)
  22. Spotted Dove
  23. Common Pigeon
  24. Purple Heron
  25. Red Junglefowl
  26. Munia spp.
  27. Yellow-vented Bulbul

Nipal palm
Flower of Nipal palm

2007 September 16 - Tuas

Contributed by Doreen Ang.
This is an edited version.

AH and I birded briefly at Tuas today starting from 0830h. The heavy pre-dawn rain messed up our original plan to bird with NK at 0730h. We managed only a straight walk in and out, i.e. no deviation to the extreme left or right due to time constraints. It drizzled lightly for a brief moment when we were there. AH looked smashing in her new wellingtons!
I was pleasantly surprised to see the 'straight path' totally covered with patches of yellow mimosa. As expected, puddles of water had formed after a few days' rain. A bund clearly demarcates the left and right fields. No sign of any bull dozers which is a good sign!
Our list:-
  1. 7 red-wattled lapwings - noisy birds, flying in 2 distinct groups across the field towards the back end. 
  2. 40+ mixed flock of black-headed and scaly-breasted munias - adults and juveniles. Feeding.
  3. 5-6 white-headed munias - not as sociable as the earlier species. Kept to themselves. Outstanding white head.
  4. several paddyfield pipits - distinct white outer tail feathers evident as it flew, and just before landing.
  5. plaintive cuckoo - silent. Perched on a bush. Black eye and bill. Striped undertail. No distinct supercilium. Brownish all over. Juvenile?
  6. 2 savannah nightjars - accidentally flushed two on the gravel patch. Flew close past us on both occasions. Silent. Had good views of unbroken white outer tail feathers (on one - obviously a male) and white patch on wing. A lifer for AH!
  7. several zitting cisticolas - one puffed up individual reminded AH of a white golf ball! 
  8. house crows
  9. a pair of sunda pygmy woodpeckers - chasing each other on a blooming acacia tree. A different harsh call was heard. 
  10. a pair of golden-bellied gerygones - on the same acacia tree. One of the smallest birds in Singapore with a unique bird song to match. 
  11. 6 pink-necked green pigeons - males and females. Perched together, drying their wet feathers. 
  12. 1 blue-throated bee-eater - dark brownish head contrasting with body. Still around in mid Sept? 
  13. 1 pied triller - brilliant black and white seen clearly even at a distance. 
  14. 1 spotted dove
  15. egret sp - in the sky far away. 
  16. snipe sp - two accidentally flushed. Flew off a short distance to the left field. Typical fattish snipe jizz. Silent. 
  17. common goldenback - heard only. 
  18. shrike sp - heard. 
  19. 1 common tailorbird – further away from the plaintive cuckoo. 
  20. black-naped oriole
  21. white-vented myna
  22. yellow-vented bulbul
  23. a small flock of asian glossy starlings
  24. swiftlet sp. 
  25. barn swallows
  26. crake/rail sp - AH spotted one uniform darkish bird disappearing deeper into thicket.

2007 May 13 - Lentor Avenue

Contributed by Doreen Ang.
This is an edited version.
Time: close to 1400h
We witnessed a pair of Oriental Magpie Robins mating on a thick horizontal branch of an Albizia tree at Lentor Avenue. Well spotted and thanks to AH, I got the chance to time the incident .. 1, 2, 3 .. not more than 4 seconds and the radiant male de-mounted. (Not bad for a bird, I thought. I've seen worse.) The male then flaunts his strong black and white tail plumage to the fullest (like a fantail) before he flew away. No one knows what that was all about. An after-courtship display or another courtship display. Anyway, he left the female singing for more before she too flew off in the opposite direction.

2007 May 13 - Lorong Halus

Article contributed by Doreen Ang
Photo of Ivy Tan

Time: 0850 - 0910h
Weather: Sunny and very humid
Disturbances: None except for mosquitoes

We were ambling along the Grebe pool at Lorong Halus when Fee Hian spotted some movements in an acacia tree by the pool. She caught a glimpse of its long tail. On closer scrutiny, Ivy found a Pied Fantail sitting on its nest!!

We beckoned the rest of the group to come over. All ten birders e-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y saw the bird.

It sat still for more than ten minutes, flew off and returned about 5 minutes later.

The bird may be incubating its egg(s) as there was no chick in the nest. Close by, I heard the call of another Pied Fantail.

The fairly deep, cup-shaped nest (with an untidy trail at its base) hung from a thin branch approximately 2.1 metres above the ground.

2007 April 15 - West Coast Park

A Common Moorhen was seen preening at the marsh garden.

Red-whiskered Bulbul moving about on the banyan tree by the pond at carpark 1.

Five Red Junglefowls at carpark 2. One of them was crawling on the tarmac and eventually sat down at one end of the carpark.
Are these chickens “planted” by Nparks? Or are they “released” by owners?

2007 March 8 - Hindhede Park

Saw an orange-headed thrush opposite the outdoor classroom.

At the quarry look-out point, saw a pied fantail building nest on the dried branches of a fallen Acacia tree.

A male common flameback flew across to a tall tree on the right and pecked around the hole in the trunk. About 10 minutes later, a female joined him.
Seconds later, the male flew off. The female took position and started pecking.
Not sure if they were trying to start a nest.

2007 January 2 - West Coast Park

On the morning of 2 Jan 2007, at West Coast Park, near the fitness corner, opposite the bicycle obstacle course.
A lone bird in the shade under a coral tree.
My first thought was it is one of the many mynas in the area. But it seems smaller and shorter.
Anyway, use the bino to ID it.
What a surprise?! A pitta!!!
It has a dark brown/chestnut crown, black mask around the eyes till the back of neck (somewhat like that of the Black-naped Oriole), light green body, green wings with a tinge of luminous blue on the primaries, red vent.
Quick check of the guide book confirmed it to be Hooded Pitta.
It pulled out a worm from the ground. With its body in the upright position, worm in its beak, the worm was long enough to touch the ground.
In a gulp and the worm was consumed.
The bird did not seem bothered by the soil on its beak and continued digging for more food.

At the pond near carpark 1, a man was throwing bread into the pond.
Almost immediately, a Black-crowned Night-heron flew into the water to scoop out the bread and started eating at the edge of the pond. A Great Egret and a Grey Heron also flew down from a tree and started eating while in the water. A Striated Heron flew across the water without getting any bread. They were all within 2 meters from the man.
The Black-crowned Night-heron lingers on after the man has left, while the others flew up to the trees once they have finished the food.
At another end of the pond, a Common Kingfisher was perched at the bank and flew into the water every now and then to catch small fish.

Found an Atlas Moth on a Willow tree.

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