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Kitsafari

124: Mute Swans, Singapore Botanic Gardens, August 30

 

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A pair of mute swans that is found in the Botanic Gardens. They were brought over from Amsterdam many years ago to grace a small lake in the gardens, aptly named Swan Lake. 

 

while watching them, a beautiful adult crimson sunbird (#178) decided to visit. it was certainly prettier than the previous one posted which was moulting. 

 

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and more parts of a black crowned night heron (#158) were revealed compared with the EBCs we had earlier. 

 

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Thank you to all the BY participants for the rousing encouragement and support to get me going on my first attempt at the BY.  I did wonder if I chose the wrong year to take part in as I have no

007 : Pacific swallow, Pasir Ris Park Feb 16     The only pictures I have of this swallow - they were too fast on the wings for me and I thought that sign was a good prop for the

003 Grey Heron Pasir Ris Park Feb 11     and adding this not too good a photo just to show the heron hoping to steal the otter's meal of a big fish - they were quite a distance aw

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22 hours ago, Kitsafari said:

finally we ended up watching the stork-billed kingfisher (#175) pose and preen for the photographers as it does every day at the river. 

 

 

For sure every day?!

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Kitsafari
On 9/10/2018 at 2:50 AM, xelas said:

 

For sure every day?!

 

@xelas I confess - I exaggerated! I was going to say almost every day but I shall err on the caution side and say very regular appearances. this is a resident bird at the river and you'll see at least a handful of photographers at the bridge waiting to practise their BIF shots each time the kingfisher takes a dip in the water. 

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Kitsafari

My OH pointed out my error - mute swan should have been #224 and not #124. :(

 

225: Pin-tailed Whydah, Pasir Ris Farmway 3, August 4

 

the spectacular male

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the courtship dance

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the objection of his affection

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The pin-tailed whydah is one of the many invasive species that emerges once a year into the open grasslands in Singapore when it begins its courtship rituals. The species is a result of the caged bird trade, and there must have been a critical group of escapees that managed to start breeding in our island state since the pin-tailed whydah apparently is not an excellent flyer so it can't fly across a large body of water. The whydah is originally found in Africa, but oddly enough I never saw it there! it's a brood parasite, and it seems to favour waxbills' nests to lay its eggs. it was courting a couple of females but with a group of exuberant photographers chasing it every day, I'm not sure if it managed to mate. and sadly, or otherwise, a couple of weeks after we saw it, the authorities came in and cleared its habitat - the bushes and trees - in the area. hopefully the whydahs found another, and quieter, place to court. 

 

here's a shaky vid of the  courtship 

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Kitsafari

226: Blue-Earred Kingfisher, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Sept 1

 

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Not quite the perfect EBCs but not quite the sharp clear photos either. this tiny tiny blue-earred kingfisher had us running around Singapore as the species popped up in a few places, but gave us a real runaround until the umpteenth visit to the Singapore Botanic Gardens when it emerged across a pond among the branches in low light. This kingfisher is even smaller than the common kingfisher, which it often gets confused with. It has  deeper blue upper parts and blue ear-coverts. This was a male (females have a reddish lower bill). Found in Indian sub-continent to southern China down to Southeast Asia, the beautiful kingfisher is a rare resident in Singapore. 

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Kitsafari

227: Yellow-Rumped Flycatcher, Bidadari, September

 

Male

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female

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With migrants starting to arrive to escape North Asian winters, we are beginning to see more beautiful birds, such as the yellow-rumped flycatcher. this species is found as far north as Siberia, China and Korea and flies into southern China and Southeast Asia during the year-end. 

 

 

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Kitsafari

228: Arctic Warbler, Bidadari, September 12

 

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Hanging around the yellow-rumped flycatcher in the same tiny garden was the arctic warbler, who is also an early arrival. This warbler flies in to Southeast Asia from northern Eurasia, Siberia, northeast China, Japan and Alaska - which sounds pretty amazing to me that such small birds can fly such massive distances to stay alive. But we are grateful beneficiaries. :) 

 

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Dave Williams

Your Singapore bird list continues to amaze me, just gets longer and longer ! I certainly underestimated the potential when I was there. 

Keep them coming, fascinating stuff.

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Same comment as Dave's; it was almost 20 years ago we have had a day in Singapore but I would never thought so many so beautiful birds could be found in this densely populated country.

Thanks for adding photos while the rest of us are either working hard in preparing to post or trying hard to find something new.

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Kitsafari

@Dave Williams @xelas thanks for the kind words. I"m still amazed at the number of species found in this really urbanised city of mine. 

 

Time for another visit to Singapore - and you'll have us to accompany you, though our eyesight is so bad, we'll in all probability miss that darn bird of prey in the dense leaves of that tall tree. 

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Another great collection of locals for us to admire.

I have never considered Singapore as other than a stopover but the idea is growing on me for a longer stay.

On the list.

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Kitsafari

@Galana thank you. it'll be great to see all of you here! a hot tropical BY GTG, perhaps. 

 

Well, it seems I am still failing in simple arithmetic. I've completely jumbled my count - Mute swans should be 214, not 124 or 224 as I alleged! and the subsequent numbers should have been 215 to 218. blame it on the grey cells. and the loss of wisdom (tooth - had it extracted on Wednesday). 

 

so the next number will be 

219: Eastern crowned warbler, Bidadari, Sept 9

 

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not a perfect EBC once again. The eastern crowned warbler looks almost like the arctic warbler except for the longer bill and the pale lower mandible. Like his close cousin the arctic warbler, this eastern crowned warbler flies down from Russia and northern Asia to Southeast Asia to pass the winter months. 

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Add me to the list of those who are amazed by the number and variety of birds in Singapore.

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Kitsafari

Getting in touch with my fellow birder on the Southern Thailand trip (for a potential day birding in HK) threw up a new species for my BY count!

 

220: Lesser Green Leafbird, Krung Ching Waterfall, June 15

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This is a female. the lesser green leafbird looks almost exactly like the greater green leafbird except that they are smaller and the males (which I didn't capture) have  a bit of yellowish borders around their black faces. The females spot a tiny streak of blue below the eyes. 


(p/s - i'm not sure why some of my photos come out so huge, and why some turn out normal-sized. sorry about that. )

 

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Kitsafari

221: Brown Shrike, Bidadari, Sept 17

 

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So easily mistaken for a tiger shrike, the brown shrike does not have scales or stripes on its back, which is very brown (hence its name I suppose) and clean. This winter migrant is an uncommon visitor and flies down SIberia, northern China, northern Japan and Korea to the warmer climes of India and Southeast Asia. a pretty bird and it seemed less shy of humans than the tiger shrike, which is also a winter visitor.

 

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Kitsafari

222: Asian Brown Flycatcher, Bidadari, Sept 22

 

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Another winter visitor from northern parts of Russia, China and Japan, the Asian Brown FC is a rather dull bird compared with to the paradise flycatchers. But the small bird is quite cute, and while I was watching it, it kept returning to the same branches just as a bee-eater would. It's a common migrant. 

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223: Amur Paradise Flycatcher, Bidadari, Sept

 

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In 2015, they split the Asian paradise flycatcher into three species - the blythe (#203), the Amur and the Indian - which sure boosts sales for bird books but sure is good for my count too! they look very alike, except the Amur has a taller black hood than the blythe's. The indian FC has a higher crest on the head. The amur is a winter migrant, visiting from Northern Asian countries. the top photo was taken on a later date. 

 

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224: Ruddy-Breasted Crake, Bidadari, Sept 21

 

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The ruddy-breasted crake appeared for a moment before realising it was had and it dashed into the tall grasses. Another time, Herman flushed out the skulking bird and it flew up across my view into the tall grasses and we lost it. The crake is rarely seen and mostly found in thick bushes and reeds. It's a resident in Indian sub-continent, China , Japan and southeast Asia. The crake above is a juvenile as the adults have a darkish maroon upperparts. 

 

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225: Grey Wagtail, Yishun Town, Sept 9

 

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226: Forest Wagtail, Yishun Town, Sept 9

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A palm tree full of grey and forest wagtails right in the heart of a public housing estate. I think the residents were getting used to strangers turning up with large lenses and tripods stalking the birds in front of their apartments in the evenings. The two species were co-mingling which says a lot about good protection in a larger flock. 

Both species are uncommon winter visitors but a flock seems to like  to return to the Yishun town having been seen last year at around the same vicinity. 

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Kitsafari

I've been in a hiatus for a little while, nursing my Rosy. I could feel time was about up for her and I wanted to spend as much with her as I could. She left us on October 21, breaking our hearts as she always had a larger than life presence in our home. 

 

My backlog of birds is growing, so I guess I should get a grip and start now. I'll roll out with a one-day visit in early October to Hong Kong's Long Valley for migrant birds. I was too early for the critically endangered spoonbilled sandpiper (which is now one of the top targets I want to see) and the endangered black-faced spoonbill but there were still a good number of migrant and resident birds. Long Valley has an interesting past - close to the border with mainland China, the area of rice fields and farms were threatened by the HK government's plans to build a rail line across the area. Local conservationists and naturalists mounted a spirited defence of the area which is one of the key wetlands that serve a number of migrant species from northern Asia. They won the battle, and now the area is conserved, which is a good thing as it is unlikely the conservationist group would have won now given the increasing control over HK matters by the mainland Chinese government. 

 

227: Pied Avocet, Long Valley, Hong Kong, October 4

 

 

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228: Chinese Bulbul, Long Valley, HK

 

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Also known as the light-vented or white-vented bulbul, this species is found in central and south China, HK, Northern Vietnam and Taiwan. Found mainly in lightly wooded areas or in scrublands. 

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Kitsafari

229: Collared Crow, Long Valley, HK

 

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who would have thought a sighting of a crow would be thrilling? that's only when a collared crow comes in to view as it is on a near threatened IUCN red  list. A resident in China, HK and Vietnam, its numbers are plunging with only an estimated population of 10,000-20,000. the biggest threat is the expanding agricultural landuse and widespread use of pesticides which killed a wide spectrum of the crow's prey. I was lucky to see one at the end of our walk. 

 

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Kitsafari

230: Black Drongo, Long Valley, HK

 

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Neither a perfect EBC nor a clear shot. I thought I had a few shots of this drongo as the species was seen several times, but I was mistaken. Against the clear blue skies lit up bright by a hot sun, it was  a struggle to get a good shot of this bird. Previously lumped with the African fork-tailed drongo, the Asian black drongo is now a separate species that is widely distributed in sub-continent India, China and Southeast Asia (including PNG). 

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Kitsafari

231: Chinese Pond Heron, Long Valley, HK

 

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this is a migrant species in Singapore, so when I first saw it as we entered into Long Valley, I naturally started snapping photos of it. I needn't have worried - it is a such a common bird in the locality. These are in non-breeding plumage, which makes it  identical to most other pond heron species (including Indian and Javan pond herons). in breeding plumage, they wear a startling chestnut maroon plumage that covers its head down to its chest. 

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