“Goosey goosey gander,
Whither shall I wander?
Upstairs and downstairs
And in my lady’s chamber”. Nursery Rhyme.
Cotton Pygmy Goose. Two males and one female, Senoko Ponds. Alan OwYong 1994.
16th January 2015
This record photo of three Cotton Pygmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus) was the only photo of this rare resident in Singapore until last year. It was taken in 1994 at Senoko, one of our premier birding sites in the 90s, now gone. The fresh water ponds there also attracted wintering ducks like the Northern Pintails and Garganey.
A year back also in January, young Raghav Narayanswany was birding with his mum Subha at the Kranji Marshes when he photographed a female among the water hyacinths there. Finally after 21 years we had our second photographic record. Just goes to show how rare this duck is. Five years earlier, Lim Kim Seng saw one flying across the same marshes as well but could not get any shots. The largest number were 35 birds at Poyang Reservoir recorded on 16 May 1992.(SINAV 6.2)
Just 16 days back on 30th Dec, Lim Kim Seng again came across three female goose swimming at an inlet of the MacRitchie Reservoir. This time round he managed to photograph them. They stayed for only a day. But our hope of seeing this rare resident was raised.
And when we least expected it, news came in that two Cotton Pygmy Goose were seen at the lotus pond at Gardens by the Bay yesterday. Hio John and Lilian Tay were birding there in the morning when they saw some ducks flying around. Against the bright skies it was thought to be our common whistling ducks that have made their home here. It was only when they came down to the water that they realised that they were looking at a mega lifer. This started a wild goose chase for those of us who rushed down following the alert. Those who waited at the pond were lucky as they came back twice to feed. I was checking the other ponds and missed them in the morning.
When I returned in the afternoon, a heavy down pour forced us to take shelter at the food court. Luckily for us the rain stopped after a hour. When we came out to check, the two goose were merrily gorging themselves on the water weeds in the middle of the pond. We couldn’t believe our luck! Needless to say we all were high-fiving each other and smiling from end to end. Most if not all present had their Singapore lifer that day. They were reported to fly off at dusk and did not return today.
Ref: The Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng 2009. Thanks to alert from Hio John.