“Recently, on a couple of visits to the city, I had some strange bird encounters. These took place around Bernam Street, where there is a green space with a grove of yellow flame (Peltophorum pterocarpum), frangipanni (Plumeria sp.) and butterfly trees (Bauhinia sp.).
“First, on November 8th morning, I was shocked to hear the crow of a Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) at the junction of Anson Rd/Bernam St. I found the cockerel foraging on a roadside verge, at Anson Road, in front of the Fuji Xerox building. Studying and photographing the bird, it had all the classic features of the authentic wild bird and even had the right ‘crow’ (below left).
“Obviously an escapee or a released bird, I followed it as it weaved through the pedestrian traffic along the walkways to Bernam Street. Occasionally, it would stop to ‘crow’. The junglefowl then crossed Bernam Street, to the open space, where it chased pigeons and continued foraging near the grove. It was last heard ‘crowing’ from across Tanjong Pagar Road.
“I returned to Bernam Street on November 10th morning. There was no sign of the junglefowl but I had a few other unexpected sightings. Firstly, in the open space, I spotted an Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica) with the usual city birds attracted by food that is put out for them (above right). This woodland bird looked quite out of place in the city.
“After it had flown off, I noticed two Large-billed Crows (Corvus macrorhynchos) also visiting the area (above left). In an area dominated by House Crows (Corvus splendens), our native twosome still appeared dominant. Overhead, a Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot (Loriculus galgulus) flew around calling. This little parrot seems to be spreading well.
“Finally, as I was about to leave, I discovered a Brown-chested Jungle-Flycatcher (Rhinomyias brunneata) in the grove, by the open space (above right). This uncommon migrant usually prefers wooded areas but seemed quite comfortable here. Nearby, both Arctic Warblers (Phylloscopus borealis) and an Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica) called….so I figure this little grove may be a small sanctuary for migrants.
“Considering how wayside trees and vegetation are everywhere in Singapore, it is always worth keeping an eye open, no matter where you are!”
12th November 2010