A good portion of Bidadari near the Mount Vernon side have been cleared and fenced up. A really sad and sorry sight. Fortunately the studio hillock and the forest facing Bartley Road are still intact. Last Friday Lim Kim Keang went down to Bidadari to see if any of the passerine migrants are still dropping by. They were!
The Albizias at Bidadari are very important in giving shelter and refuge for many of the returning migrants.
He saw an Eastern-crowned Warbler, an Asian Brown and a female Yellow-rumpedFlycatcher. Zacc was there to photographed a sizable flock of Daurian Starlings on a bare tree. Despite his best efforts inside a light room, he cannot find any with a chestnut cheek, Good try Zacc.
The next day Richard White had better luck. He came back with three more flycatchers. A juvenile Dark-sided, a Ferruginous affectionately dubbed “Iron Boy” and the globally threatened Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher. His shot of the day was a Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo, a non-breeding visitor.
When word got out, birders and photographers were out in force crisscrossing the forest looking for more migrants on Sunday. I went down and joined them to find out if the remaining green patch is still “birdable”. The HDB will leave the hillock untouched. Will this be big enough for the migrants to spend the winter here? I hope so.
The Tiger Shrikes, all juveniles and the Asian Paradise Flycatchers were every where. Invariably we were all asking if they are Amurs or Orientals. The split was recent and the literature are still being defined. But safe to say that the ones we saw are mostly migrants.
We added a first winter Crow-billed Drongo and an Arctic Warbler to the list on Sunday. This was a great start and I am sure we will be getting more dropping by in the coming weeks. Do pay Bidadari a visit before more trees and greenery are being cleared.
Reference: Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist Guide to the Birds of Singapore. John Beafoy Publishing Ltd. 2003.
The closest we get to seeing a Bird of Paradise in Singapore are the Pin-tailed Whydahs, an escapee from Africa and the handsome Paradise Flycatchers especially the males with its long dangling tails. Two species visit and pass through Singapore, the rare Japanese Paradise Flycatcher and the commoner Asian Paradise Flycatcher. The latter was a former resident in our forests but went extinct early in the 20th century (Hails 1988b, Lim K.S. 1992). During the Autumn migration, most of the Paradise Flycatchers that come through are female birds. In Spring, only then do we get to see a few males stopping by on the way back north.
This afternoon an alert from Vincent Ng shook me out from my nap. A male white morph Asian Paradise Flycatcher was spotted at Bidadari. I missed one the year before and I do not want to missed out again. Tried my best not to speed down Lornie Road and arrived at Bidadari where many of the Sifus were shooting away. With its long white tail fluttering behind and a dark purplish head, it was a truly splendid looking bird.
it was moving from tree to tree staying mainly at mid storey, behind the foliage. I was told that it came lower down earlier and some great videos and shots were taken. Nevertheless, we somehow managed to get some shots before the light started to fade.
Last year, the last Asian Paradise Flycatcher male was recorded on the 10th April again at Bidadari. The extreme date was 26th April which makes this late record our new extreme date.
I first saw this white morph with its long tail at Taman Negara way back in the 90s and was totally in awe. Got to see them again at the Kubah National Park in Kuching where they are breeding residents. But did not have a chance to get any decent photos until now. Hope it will stay for another day for the rest to get to see and photograph it.
Reference: The Avifauna of Singapore. Lim Kim Seng. 2009.