Charlie Moores is one of three who run 10,000 Birds. Founded by Mike Bergin, this very popular birding blog is based in the US. And was I surprised to learn that Charlie operates from his base in Britain. But then he is travelling around the world most of the time. In fact he was in Singapore only a few days ago, on 31st October 2008, to be exact.
That’s him on the left with KC Tsang.
The very next day after he arrived, he was off to Sime Road to bird. And as luck would have it, he spotted a rare winter visitor, the von Schrenck’s Bittern (Ixobrychus eurhythmus) (below).
The bird was just “about 150 metres up from the Jelutong Tower standing very quietly besides a series of pools near to the stream that runs through that part of the forest.”
In fact Charlie has already made a post on his Singapore visit and the birds he saw.
Our bird specialist R Subaraj has this to say: “Yes, the photos show a Von Schrenck’s Bittern, very probably a sub-adult male. The area where it was photographed is a regular annual winter site for the species.
“This species is a migrant to Singapore, usually between October – May. It is not a great rarity… rather an uncommon migrant, with a few records each year. Though many are passage birds, a few are believed to winter too. While passage birds can turn up in various habitats, wintering birds prefer wooded habitats such as our Central Nature Reserves. They do also have crepuscular habits, sometimes feeding well into the night.
“To the untrained eye, this bittern appears very similar to Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis) but with careful observation, the Schrenck’s is rather different. Two features that stand out are the cinnamon back and/or nape, as well as the grey primaries (as opposed to black in Yellow Bittern, when in flight).
“Migrant bitterns are arriving now and I had a Black Bittern (I. flavicollis) from the Jelutong Tower on Friday the 30th, the morning before.
YC Wee, Charlie Moores & R Subaraj
(Images courtesy of Charlie Moores)