BESG 2014: The year in review

on 31st December 2014

BESG had a satisfying year with the continued support from nature enthusiasts (that included birders) such that were able to make a posting a day, sometimes even twice a day. This was in spite of being in business for a decade LINK. One would expect that after 10 years of posting more than 3,200 items of bird behaviour, there would be not much else new to post – or even discover.

Yet discover we did, and new ones at that – thanks to avid birders and photographers.

In April we posted the first record for Singapore of a pair of Common Flamebacks (Dinopium javanense) using tree sap to rid its feathers of ectoparasites LINK. The phenomenon was recorded on video by Lena Chow, so there should be no dispute of what the bird actually did. Under normal circumstances, birds may make use of ants in what is known as “anting” for this purpose LINK. But then there are instances when they make use of millipedes, snails, beetles and even discarded cigarette butts as seen in this LINK.

Another new discovery, and the world’s first, was posted in May. This was an account of cooperative breeding among the Grey-rumped Treeswifts (Hemiprocne longipennis) LINK. Credit goes to photographer Wong Weng Fai when he documented the female treeswift flying off and the male taking her place to incubate the single egg in the nest. Soon, another male arrived to take over the incubation from this male LINK. Prior to Weng Fai’s video, there were no records of cooperative breeding among the Grey-rumped Treeswifts. Again, video evidence of this new discovery is hard to dispute, especially by skeptics. The above again proves the usefulness of photographic and videographic evidence in birdwatching.

We also posted the first ever sighting of the Red-footed Booby (Sula sula) in Singapore – with photographic evidence to boot. The photographs were taken on 9th February 2011 at the former Muslim Cemetery in Lim Chu Kang by long-time contributor Chan Yoke Meng LINK.

Of a total of nearly 400 posts made during the year, nearly 80%% were on birds and their behaviour. The rest were on other aspects of nature like mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects, plants and others.

This was because we made a major decision in 2013 to widen our field of cover beyond birds LINK. This came about when experienced birdwatchers made comments in the local press and in the process unintentionally publicised their lack of knowledge of the local nature (besides being able to recognise birds in the field) LINK.

With this move, postings on non-birds came to nearly 20% during the year under review. To go into the field looking at birds but turning a blind eye to other aspects of nature is a wee bit short sighted.

In conclusion we would like to thank the following for their contributions during 2014:

Ah Pin; Ali Ibrahim; Am; Amar-Singh, HSS; Bakewell Dave; Chan Melinda; Chan Yoke Meng; Cheah Weng Kong Jonathan; Chan Boon Hong, Cherriman Simon; Chia Yeong Kwong; Chiew Frank; Chin Yoon Loi; Chng Rosemary; Ch’ng Lionel; Ch’ng Boon Hock; Chow Lena; D’Rozario Vilma; Dinesh Andy; Fletcher Christine; Fung Tze Kwan; Goh Juan Hui; Guttensohn Teresa; Hale Richard; Ho Jean; Huang Natalie; K; Kazmierczak, Krys; Khew Sin Khoon; Khoo Siew Yoong Connie; Kulis Januarie; Kwong Wai Chong; Lbou; Lee Chiu San; Lee Benjamin; Leong Tzi Ming; Liew Derek, Lim Gary; Lim Jasper; Lim Mark; Lim Mei Hsiang; Lim Sheau Torng; Lim Shiang Han; Lim Swee-Im; Loei Jeremiah; Lynn John; Machida Hiro; Ng Angie; Ng Bee Choo; O’Neill Daisy; Ong Ei Leen; Peeters Hans; Subaraj Rajathurai; Sharp Ilsa; Sim Pearlynn; Soh JY Eunice; Strange Morten; Sun Chong Hong; Susanto William; Syafiqah, Omar; Tan David; Tan Eric; Tan Hugh; Tan Rosemary; Tan Samson; Tan William; Tang Hung Bun; Tay Andrew; Teo Allan; Teo Lee Wei; Thong Chow Ngian; Tsang KC; Tsang Amy; Wang Luan Keng; Wee Johnny; Wee YC; Wells David; Wong Weng Fai; Xu Weiting; Yap Von Bing; Ung Lily; and Zhi Yong;

BESG further thank Kenneth Pinto and N Sivasothi from the National University of Singapore for providing technical support and the numerous fans who regularly visit our site.

And If we had left anyone on the list of acknowledgement, our apologies. Please inform us and we will do the necessary.

THANK YOU ONE AND ALL. And here’s to another exciting year ahead.

YC Wee
31st December 2014

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

3 Responses

  1. Congrats, YC! Another successful year for BESG and thanks for widening the observations beyond birds. Keep up the excellent work and Happy 2015 to you and all your readers!

  2. BES is the first email that I select to open each day in Los Angeles and it never disappoints. Thank you so much for your efforts in operating BES! I look forward to the jewels that await me in 2015 and send you best wishes for 2015!

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