I ended with 209 species for the Big Year 2016 way below Lim Kim Keang’s winning total of 251. That’s fine as I was targeting 200 for the year. Thank you all for the alerts and help. You know who you are.
I decided to continue with BY 2017 partly because of the few rare species that was seen at Ubin on the second day. I needed the motivation to get off my butt to chase the goodies that will surely come around this year. And of course for the fun of the chase.
I have yet to hit the century this year while the leading pack are already in their 150 plus. But that’s ok, they are more hardworking. Good for them. Here are some of the characters I met in the first six weeks of the New Year.
Mountain Imperial Pigeon. A SG lifer thanks to Kim Seng for finding it on Ubin on New Year’s Eve. Only our third record partly as this montane species is a resident at Fraser’s Hill. Three Pied Imperial Pigeons were seen flying over Chek Java on the 2nd morning and we also had reports of the Green Imperial Pigeons foraging in Changi Business Park as well. Three imperials at one corner of Singapore at the same time. Not bad!
Loke Peng Fai found a different looking pigeon near Ketam Quarry on the first day. It turned out to be a young Cinnamon-headed Pigeon. The next day when we descended to look for it, there were twelve of them on the same tree. Unbelievable! Where did they come from? The female with two males behind.
I cannot resist going down to the Rain Forest of the Botanic Gardens to nail down these two gems that took up winter residence there. The bonus was a released Silver Pheasant and later on a Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher. The nesting Black Cobra under the log was more effective in keeping us back than the notice out up by Nparks.
Another easy tick was this young Jambu Fruit Dove feeding at Chinese Gardens. The trees were short and the berries were low hanging which means eye level shots. Can’t asked for more.
This juvenile Yellow Bittern definitely agrees with the saying ” No fish got prawns also can”. At the Chinese Gardens.
I was too lazy to drive to Bedok for the Crested Goshawk since I had some good photos of them from Bishan Park some years back. Same with the Green Imperial Pigeons at Changi Business Park. The snipe and the Grey Nightjar at Chinese Gardens left by the time I got around to visit. I have yet to visit Kranji Marshes and CCNR this year and will have to find an excuse to get my butt there… one of these days.
Dr. Chan Kai Soon from Ipoh first reported seeing one male and two female Siberian Thrushes,Zoothera sibirica, at Dairy Farm Nature Park on 16 November. This thrush is a rare passage migrant to Singapore with fewer than 20 records and not many photographs. When the news filtered out, the action swung from Bidadari to Dairy Farm.
A female and a male were photographed on the fig tree next to the Wallace Education Center on the 17th. It was fruiting but most of the figs were gone. It was the same tree that we had close views of the Eye-browed Thrush last year. It quickly became the hot spot for both photographers and birders this week. As luck would have it, a first winter male Blue and White Flycatcher was also seen flitting in and out from the forest edge. It stayed for a few days long enough for Tan Ju Lin to break her jinx. It was a lifer for many who turned up. Everyone had a big smile on their faces on their way out.
The bonus were a Mugimaki Flycatcher and a female Eye-browed Thrush, making brief appearances. While waiting for the target birds, the beautiful Asian Fairy Bluebirds kept everyone busy. It was a challenge to get bright images of this forest resident, especially the females, but we all loved the challenge.
Collectively, the list of birds that visited this fig was impressive. Apart from the species mentioned above, we had the Laced Woodpecker, Pink-necked and Thick-billed Pigeons, Asian Brown,Brown-chested and Dark-sided Flycatchers, Asian Gl0ssy Starling, Hill Myna, Yellow-vented, Cream-vented, Red-eyed, Olive-winged and Streaked Bulbul, Common Tailorbird and Crimson Sunbird. Please add in any other species not listed. Surprisingly the Red-crowned Barbet and the Flowerpeckers were no show.
On the way in I spotted this green snail on the road. It turned out to be our endemic SingaporeGreen Tree Snail, a rare snail that is confined to the Central Catchment Forest. My first endemic species here.