Pied Pilferers On The Wrong Side Of The Tracks

Tuesday saw Team Sausage brave the elements for a trek along the Rail Corridor. We started at Tanglin Halt just as the dark clouds, foreboding rumbles of thunder and spectacular lightning were tearing through the sky. Chances of decent birding and clear photography were looking very unlikely. The rain eventually fell, but we poncho’d up and carried on though, hoping the rain may bring some some birds down. Aside from the usual Mynas and Peaceful Doves, we weren’t exactly festooned with visible wildlife. A very shy Long-tailed Shrike briefly put in an early appearance, but it wasn’t until we were over half way through our walk that the rain finally stopped and things started to happen.

As a humid mist hung over the trail, the insistent songs of both Coppersmith and Lineated Barbets echoed around. We came to an open area and paused, around 7 or 8 Crested Laughing Thrush quickly passed us, congregating loudly in the denser greenery. As if this were a call for other birds to show themselves we then had this Banded Woodpecker put in an appearance. The crimson plumage managing to break through the misty grey air around us.

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We then had noisy Rose-ringed and Red-breasted Parakeets chattering across the sky and arguing in branches and this Tanimbar Corella, screeching to announce its presence.

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A Greater Racket-tailed Drongo eluded our camera but we did manage to indulge in this female Laced Woodpecker.

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As we came to the old Bukit Timah station we were able to watch a spot of daylight robbery being carried out by four Oriental Pied Hornbills.

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They were quite boldly stealing and eating the flowers and fruit growing on an overlooking balcony.

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Closer inspection suggests that these may well be chillies. Let’s hope these cheeky birds are able to take their spices!

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These noisy, large birds remained visible for some time and in reasonable light so please forgive us if we indulge in some more pics of these remarkable looking birds.

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We were all about to wrap up for the day when a Brahminy Kite appeared from nowhere. Kindly perching for a brief moment. I have had to lighten these pictures a little so the quality isn’t great but another raptor close encounter was too good not to document.

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Even in pretty poor weather the Rail Corridor was alive with life. Other species seen during our walk included a family of Water Hen, several Plantain Squirrel, Common Iora, Common Flameback, Grey Heron and Zebra Doves.

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