Singapore Raptor Report – December 2022

Osprey, 081222, Rowers Bay P, Rovena Chow, IMG 7407

Western Osprey, Rower’s Bay Park, 8 Dec 2022, by Rovena Chow

Summary for migrant species:

Nine migrant raptor species were recorded in December 2022. Three Common Kestrels Falco tinnunculus in a month is pretty good, one at Pasir Panjang on the 5th, one at Marina East on the 12th and 13th, and one at Tuas on the 25th. Six Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni were recorded, with four of them wintering at Coney Island through the month, one at Changi Business Park on the 5th, and another at the Botanic Gardens on the 12th.

For the five Chinese Sparrowhawks Accipiter soloensis, the site faithful at Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West was recorded on the 22nd, one at Jurong Lake Garden on the 16th, one at Neo Tiew Lane 2 on the 21st, and two wintering at Coney Island. Some of the 13 Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis were in moult, showing four or six ‘fingers’ instead of the usual five.

BB, 241222, PRP, Wong Sangmen

Black Baza, Pasir Ris Park, 24 Dec 2022, by Wong Sangmen

There were ten Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus, including site faithfuls at Anchorvale and Sembawang. There were also 22 Black Bazas Aviceda leuphotes, 62 Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus, and four Western Ospreys Pandion haliaetus.

For nocturnal raptors, there was a single record of an Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia that was rescued from crows and released safely.

JB, 121222, Coney, TGC

Jerdon’s Baza, Coney Island, 12 Dec 2022, by Tan Gim Cheong

Highlights for sedentary species:

The most amazing sighting was that of a Bat Hawk Macheiramphus alcinus photographed in flight at Lim Chu Kang on the 3rd, this being the third verifiable record for Singapore, some 13 years after the second one in 2009.

Breeding-related activities were noted only for the Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela, for which a pair at Neo Tiew Road mated on the 9th, this being only the second breeding-related record. The other resident raptors recorded were the Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus, Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus, Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus, Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus, and the common Brahminy Kite Haliastur Indus and White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster.

For nocturnal raptors, a Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus was recorded near Singapore Quarry on the 26th, and the pair of Buffy Fish Owl Ketuoa ketupu at Hampstead Wetlands had a chick on their nest on the 31st.

Escapee

The Harris’s Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus reported in November 2022, a bird with falconry anklets on both tarsi, was still around Mountbatten area on the 26th of December.

Table 1

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Rovena Chow and Wong Sangmen for the use of their photos.

For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report – December 2022

A New Beginning! First look at the Bidadari Hillock.

21 January 2023.

Early this week, NSS and other stakeholders like NParks were invited by the HDB to preview the one hectare Hillock at former Muslim cemetery at Bidadari. We have waited almost 7 long years to see the fruits of our engagement with the HDB on preserving and creating suitable habitats for the birds at Bidadari ( see article at https://wp.me/p4VGho-1Xk).

Sky Garden at the HDB block next to the Hillock Park.

The first surprise was being able to have a bird’s eye view of the hillock from the sky gardens on 11th floor on top of the block of flats. The lucky few who managed to live in this block can enjoy the million dollar view of the natural woodlands from their living room.

Bird’s eye view of the hillock from the sky garden with the huge Tembusu in the middle.

All the trees including a majestic Tembusu, dead old tree trunks, shrubs, wild grasses, and ground creepers were left untouched. Unfortunately the Albizia trees had to be removed for safety reasons. Buah Cherry trees, ficus and other native trees were added to fill in the gaps. NParks will look into planting a few White Mulberry trees to attract more frugivorous birds and cuckoos to this hillock. Overtime, we can expect to see a thicker canopy once these trees matured.

Looking a bit like the old Bidadari with wild grasses and weeds cover and dead tree trucks and creepers left on site.

We are glad that the planners did not provide any walking paths and installing lights within the the core refuge zone of the hillock. This will minimize any disturbances to the wildlife and the ground cover. Residents and visitors are discouraged to bash through the hillock as they can walk around the perimeter or take in the view from the sky garden.

An original cluster of wild growth surrounded by weed cover. Footpaths only at the perimeter of the hillock.

The hillock will be connected to the park by a above ground greenway now under construction ( top right)

That was what we did and the natural landscape of the hillock was more apparent when seen from the ground. Wild flowering shrubs like the Asystasia, Coat Buttons and Cupids Shaving Brush were left to grow wild. They in turn provide food for insects, butterflies and bees. We counted at least 10 butterfly species during our short walk round. They are the parkland species like Painted Jezebels, Plain Tigers, Yellow Emigrants and Grass Yellows.

Tiger Shrike, a eager migrant enjoying the buffet at the Hillock.

The tour ended on a high note when a Tiger Shrike was seen flying down to pick up a caterpillar from the weeds . Even though it is a common migrant that visited the old Bidadari in good numbers, its presence here hopefully signals the return of some of the migrants to one of our favourite birding hotspots when the 10 hectare Bidadari Park and Lake is completed.

The view of the open northern skies with the hillock at the foreground. The HDB planners replaced the high rise blocks with a ground level amenities hall and carpark down the slope for a unblocked flight path for migrants to the hillock.

Thank you to the HDB for organising and inviting us and NParks for enhancing the wildness of the hillock with the selective planting. The Hillock will be opened to the public by the middle of the year. Looking forward to see which migrants will be stopping over once again in the coming migratory season. Happy birding!

Singapore Raptor Report – November 2022

STSE, 111112 1228h, GBTB, Danny Khoo

Short-toed Snake Eagle, at Gardens by the Bay, 11 Nov 2022, by Danny Khoo

Summary for migrant species:

It’s yet another amazing November, with 21 migrant raptor species recorded (compared with last year’s already awesome list of 20). The rarities included a juvenile Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca, at Mount Faber on the 8th, and four sightings of the Short-toed Snake Eagle, Circaetus gallicus at Henderson Waves on the 2nd, Sungei Tengah and Telok Blangah Hill Park on the 7th, and Gardens by the Bay on the 11th. The only record of the Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus was at Henderson Waves on the 4th, and that of the Black Kite Milvus migrans at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on the 6th.

Unfortunately, the only Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus was a dead one found at Pasir Panjang on the 10th. The Besra Accipiter virgatus was recorded at the Southern Ridges on the 4th, 9th, and 16th, all juveniles. There was a juvenile Accipiter, at the southern ridges on the 6th, which was thought to be a Besra initially, but the structure seemed closer to Shikra; it seemed to have mixed characteristics, and it is probably wise not to be hasty to tag an ID to it.

Other scarce raptors included the Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus for which there were four sightings, at Henderson Waves on the 6th, Tuas South on the 7th & 8th, and Lazarus Island on the 18th; and the Common Buzzard Buteo buteo, for which there were three records all at Mount Faber, on the 4th, 5th and 9th.

The Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus was represented by six individuals in four sightings: three adults at Tuas South on the 2nd, one each at Tuas South & Mount Faber on the 7th, and one at Henderson Waves on the 20th. 

GFB, 021122, TSL4, TGC

Grey-faced Buzzard, adult, at Tuas South, 2 Nov 2022, by Tan Gim Cheong

For the five Eastern Marsh Harriers Circus spilonotus, two were frequenting the open spaces at Tuas South, and three were likely on passage, at Kranji Marsh and Henderson Waves on the 6th, and Mount Faber on the 21st. As for the Pied Harrier Circus melanoleucos, the eight individuals were recorded at Tuas South, Mount Faber and Lim Chu Kang area, with the only adult male at Tuas, and the only adult female at Neo Tiew Harvest Lane.

The seven Greater Spotted Eagles Clanga clanga, all probably on passage, were recorded at Dairy Farm Nature Park, Jelutong Tower, Mountbatten, and the southern ridges. The only Rufous-bellied Eagle Lophotriorchis kienerii was recorded at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on the9th.

There were many sightings of the Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni throughout the month, but the numbers were conservatively put down as 11, with the assumption that some may have flown around Singapore before settling at Coney Island, while others may have continued on to Indonesia.  Of the 76 Chinese Sparrowhawks Accipiter soloensis recorded, the site faithful adult female at Ang Mo Kio was spotted from the 5th onwards. We had 143 Black Bazas Aviceda leuphotes this month, with small flocks of up to 22 birds over the southern ridges.

PH, 011122, TSA16, Chen Boon Chong

Pied Harrier, juvenile, at Tuas South, 1 Nov 2022, by Chen Boon Chong

Most of the 244 Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis were recorded migrating over the southern ridges, with 53 birds being the highest in a day, on the 4th. Some adult females were in active moult of their flight feathers and one at Henderson Waves on the 11th had a “6-fingered” appearance due to moult of the inner primaries, and observers are advised to take note of moult to avoid mis-identification.

For the 980 Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus, a day high of 135 birds was recorded at Henderson Waves on the 11th. In addition, seven Western Ospreys Pandion haliaetus and fifteen Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus were recorded.

For the nocturnal Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia, there were two records on the 21st, one perched on potted plants along a HDB corridor, and another apparently concussed at Republic Poly.

BWK, 121122, GBTB, Wong Sangmen

Black-winged Kite, fledglings, at Gardens by the Bay, 12 Nov 2022, by Wong Sangmen

Highlights for sedentary species:

There were five Crested Serpent Eagles Spilornis cheela, one at the Lim Chu Kang Area, one on Pulau Ubin on the 23rd, one at the southern ridges, and two at the Botanic Gardens. Two torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzard were recorded: one at the Botanic Gardens on the 18th, and one at Tampines Eco Green on the 24th; while one ernesti Peregrine Falcon was recorded at Henderson Waves on the 12th.

The Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus pair at Gardens by the Bay produced three chicks which had fledged by the 2nd. Unfortunately for the fledgling Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu at SBWR, it was attacked by Oriental Pied Hornbills which damaged its wing feathers. The other diurnal resident raptors recorded included the Changeable Hawk-Eagle, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Crested Goshawk and the common Brahminy Kite and White-bellied Sea Eagle.

Escapee

A Harris’s Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus with falconry anklets on both tarsi was photographed at the Mountbatten area on many occasions in November.

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Danny Khoo, Chen Boon Chong and Wong Sangmen for the use of their photos.

For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report – November 2022

15th Singapore Raptor Watch Report

Autumn 2022 Migration – 6 Nov 2022

413A0511,-Harrier,-786x844

Pied Harrier, at Tuas South Link 4, 6 Nov 2022, by Tan Gim Cheong

As the scheduled date for the 15th Singapore raptor watch was rained out, a count was organized the next day, albeit for a shorter 4-hour duration. The exception was Telok Blangah Hill Park which was counted on 10 Nov 2022, and the team at Tuas View Drive soldiered on in the rain on the original date.

The numbers counted at each site varied from a high of 181 to a low of 17 birds. A total of 450 raptors were counted, including 364 raptors representing 10 migrant species and 68 raptors of 7 resident species. A further 18 raptors could not be identified to species level.

Summary:    
Number of raptors – 450
– 364 migrant raptors.
– 68 resident raptors.
– 18 un-identified raptors.

Number of species – 17
– 10 migrant species.
– 7 resident species.

Our usual sites are Tuas South, Jurong Lake Garden, Kent Ridge Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, Lorong Halus Wetlands, and Puaka Hill, Pulau Ubin – thanks to all the site leaders for their faithful support!

Fig 1

KRP, Alan OwYong

Alan OwYong and his team of raptor watchers at Kent Ridge Park, 6 Nov 2022.

The highest number of raptors recorded was at Jurong Lake Garden (181 birds), followed by Puaka Hill, Ubin (65 birds) and Telok Blangah Hill Park (54 birds).

Fig 2

The figure below provides a snapshot of the number of raptors according to the three categories – migrant, un-identified & resident raptors, at the sites. Jurong Lake Garden had the most number of migrant raptors (171), followed by Telok Blangah Hill Park (47), and Puaka Hill, Ubin (41).

Fig 3

There was an average of four migrant species and three resident species across the sites.

Fig 4

The Oriental Honey Buzzard was the most numerous raptor with 269 birds counted. The largest number of OHB was at Jurong Lake Garden (126 birds). The Japanese Sparrowhawk was second with a total of 49 birds, and it was the only species that was present at all the sites.

A total of 34 Black Bazas were recorded at four sites, the bulk (25 birds) was at Jurong Lake Garden. There were three Chinese Sparrowhawks, three Eastern Marsh Harriers (all at Tuas), and two Peregrine falcons.  

The only Pied Harrier was recorded at Tuas South Link 4, the only Greater Spotted Eagle at Kent Ridge Park, the only Western Osprey at Lorong Halus Wetlands, and the only Jerdon’s Baza at Puaka Hill, Pulau Ubin.

Fig 5

The resident species comprised 25 White-bellied Sea Eagles, 21 Brahminy Kites, 8 Changeable Hawk Eagles, 5 Black-winged Kites, 5 Crested Serpent Eagles, 2 Grey-headed Fish Eagles, and 2 Crested Goshawks.

Fig 6

A complete breakdown of the species counted at each site is shown in the table below:

Fig 7

Thanks to all the 31 people – site leaders, NParks staff, volunteers, for spending their time out in the open to count raptors:

Alan OwYongJohn SpencerQuen Fong Hsieh
Andy BellKurade BhagwantRichard and Geoff Sanders
Bey Swee HuaLai ChooRupesh
Chee Yuhan and FamilyLee Ee LingShalini
Chong Eng KeongLim Lee LeeSteven Lee
Clarissa Kay.LioeSusan Knight
Jacky SohLow Choon HowTan Gim Cheong
Jeff ObbardMartti SiponenTan Kok Hui
Jennifer ConceicaoMax ObbardWilson Wei-Hsien LAU

For a pdf version, please click 15th Singapore Raptor Watch – 2022

38th Singapore Bird Race (2022)

D_000136,-web

The 38th Singapore Bird Race was held from 12-13 November 2022 and attracted almost 300 participants of all ages, the youngest of whom was just 2 years of age. The teams were spread across seven categories – Marathon, Sprint, Photographer, Novice, Family, Youth and Student.

CategoryNumber of Teams
Marathon (24 hr)9
Sprint20
Photographer17
Novice18
Family20
Youth6
Student (Primary)6

Race Highlights

All in, more than 160 species of birds were recorded during the bird race, including more than 40 threatened species. Many teams recorded the Crimson Sunbird, the mascot of the Bird Race logo. The Straw-headed Bulbul, a threatened species that Singapore is known as a refuge for, also featured on the bird list for a number of teams. The rarest species recorded were the Indian Paradise Flycatcher at the Botanic Gardens, and the Daurian Redstart at Pasir Panjang.

Other birds recorded included the Siberian Thrush, Greater Green Leafbird and Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher at Dairy Farm Nature Park, Black-capped Kingfisher at Lim Chu Kang, Van Hasselt’s Sunbird at Bukit Batok Nature Park, White-throated Needletail at Henderson Wave, and Terek Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper and Common Kestrel at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

Other than the 2-hr Student category, all the champion teams in each category recorded more than 60 species of birds in a span of as little as four and a half hours. All in a very good performance by all the teams.

Acknowledgements

We are privileged to have Mapletree Investments as our main sponsor for the fourth consecutive year. It is through the generous support of Mapletree that the race could be conducted at this scale, and enable more young people and students to participate.

Thanks to Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for National Development, for gracing the event as the Guest-of-Honour. Thanks also to Mr Wan Kwong Weng, Group Chief Corporate Officer for Mapletree; Mr Vinayagan Dharmarajah, Regional Director (Asia), Birdlife International; and Mr Lester Tan, Vice-President of NSS; for their time at the prize presentation ceremony.

Thanks also to other event partners and sponsors – Birdlife International, NParks, eBird, Zoltan Pogonyi, Playlogue Creations, and Swarovski Optik. Thanks to the Organising Committee and all volunteers who helped in organising the race. Also, a big thank you to all the participants for taking part in the bird race. See you next year!

Bird Race Results

PositionStudent CategorySpecies
1Tomorrow No School36
2Champs 5 (Yumin Primary)21
3Champs 4 (Yumin Primary)18
4Champs 1 (Yumin Primary)17
PositionYouth CategorySpecies
1Team Moon93
2Dinosaur Hunter42
3Uric Acid38
4D’Birds37
PositionFamily CategorySpecies
1SSKY Birders62
2ClicKid55
3The Chungs52
4The Kingfishers38
PositionNovice CategorySpecies
1Malkohism68
2Birds-I-View64
3Pitta Penguin Posse56
4Pitta Pls53
PositionPhotographer CategorySpecies
1IDK leh61
2PTD46
3Long Live King Bill40
4Where Got Bird28
PositionSprint CategorySpecies
1Team Nuggets72
2Falconets70
3Three Men and a Little Lady70
4Creamsun Sunborb67
PositionMarathon CategorySpecies
1Singapore Stringers115
2Team Dippers110
3F4.0107
4The Watchers44

Singapore Raptor Report – October 2022

Shikra, 271022, Mt Faber, Ramesh T

Shikra, at Mt Faber, 27 Oct 2022, by Ramesh T.

post updated with Besra record

Summary for migrant species:

Raptor migration got off to a good start in October 2022, with 856 migrant raptors of 14 species recorded (in contrast, only 7 migrant raptors species were recorded in October last year).

The rarest migrant raptor to show up was a Shikra Accipiter badius, the third record for Singapore, photographed at Mt Faber on the 27th. On the same day, a Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus was recorded at Nanyang Technological Uiversity, and probably the same individual, at the Botanic Gardens. Also on the same day, a Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga was spotted at Tuas, followed by one each day for the next three days – at NTU on the 28th, Lorong Halus on the 29th, and the southern ridges on the 30th.

The 27th also marked the arrival of the first Black Bazas Aviceda leuphotes, with a flock of 70 birds over Mount Faber. Recorded everyday subsequently, at NTU, Lorong Halus, and the southern ridges, the month’s total was 156 bazas.  The most numerous migrant raptor was the Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus, with 365 birds, recorded throughout the month. The highest number recorded in a day was 72 at NTU on the 14th. At number two was the Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis, with 222 birds, recorded throughout the month. At the other end of the scale, there was one Besra Accipiter virgatus at Telok Blangah Hill Park on the 17th.

For the Rufous-bellied Eagle Lophotriorchis kienerii, there was an adult at the Rail Mall on the 24th, and an immature ranging from Bukit Timah to the southern ridges through the month. The Grey-faced Buzzards Butastur indicus started to arrive on the 22nd, passing through at Neo Tiew Road, NTU, Bukit Timah, and the southern ridges, with a total of eight birds.

BB, 271022, Faber, TGC, 413A6727,-BB,-1500x1000

Black Bazas over Mt Faber, 27 Oct 2022, by Tan Gim Cheong

Pied Harriers Circus melanoleucos started to show up on the 13th, and we had 6 of them in total. Five were passing through at Bukit Timah, Jelutong Tower, Mount Faber and NTU, while the one at Tuas could be staying on at the reclaimed land for a while. Not to be outdone, the Eastern Marsh Harrier Circus spilonotus came in bigger numbers – ten birds, passing through at Kranji Marsh, Bukit Timah, southern ridges and Lorong Halus. Apart from a male, most of them were juveniles, with one spending some time at Tuas.

Lastly, there were 60 Chinese Sparrowhawks Accipiter soloensis, recorded throughout the month; 12 Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus, and six Western Ospreys Pandion haliatus.

Highlights for sedentary species:

There were two Crested Serpent Eagles Spilornis cheela, one at Pulau Ubin on the 7th, and there other at the Southern Ridges throughout the month. A torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzard was at Marina East on the 9th, and another at Mount Faber on the 27th.

Breeding-related activities were recorded for four resident species. A pair of Black-winged Kites was nesting at Gardens by the Bay and aerial transfer of food was observed. At West Coast Park, a pair of Brahminy Kites and a pair of Crested Goshawks were nesting. At Hillview Link, a pair of Changeable Hawk-Eagles was active around a nest.

For the nocturnal Buffy Fish Owl, mating was observed twice at Hampstead Wetlands on the 13th, and at SBWR, a chick fledged successfully.

BFO, 171022, SBWR, TGC

Buffy Fish Owl feeding fish to its chick, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, 17 Oct 2022, by Tan Gim Cheong

 

Table 1, revised

For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report – October 2022, revised with Besra

Many thanks to everyone for their records, and to Ramesh T. for the use of his photo.

Migrant peak periods for every species – charts always updated!

Migrant-peak-4-marked,-cover

Did you know that graphs showing peak periods for every migrant species in Singapore is available to everyone, even if you don’t have an eBird account? And the graphs are always up to date.

Here’s the link: https://ebird.org/singapore/barchart?r=SG&yr=all&m=

Let’s scroll down to Japanese Sparrowhawk, and click on the graph icon

Migrant peak 2 marked

There are tons of info with different graphs. Let us look at “High Counts”. The Japanese Sparrowhawk’s highest count occurs in the week starting 8 October, and the highest count was 104 birds.

Migrant peak 4 marked, circled

So, go ahead, check out the peak periods for any migrants that you have an interest in, and remember the graphs are accessible even if you do not have an eBird account and are always updated. If you don’t have an eBird account, consider getting one, it’s free, and your checklists contribute to these graphs.

Singapore Raptor Report, Early Autumn Migration, July-September 2022

OHB, 230922, Potong Pasir, TGC

Oriental Honey Buzzard, Potong Pasir, 23 September 2022, by Tan Gim Cheong

Summary:

Seven Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis were recorded in September, with the first arrival on 16 September. These are probably the only migrants from north Asia.

A total of 37 observations were made for the Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus during the July to September period: 11 in July, 10 in August and 26 in September. Where photographs were available, the honey buzzards could be aged as sub-adults (2nd calendar year), right up to end September, so these are over-summering birds. Moult of the primaries (feathers) was consistent with last two years’ observation. From the photographs, up to six non-migratory torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzard were noted.

There were two records of the Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus of the ernesti (non-migratory) subspecies – one adult photographed at Pulau Ubin on 21 July, and another far away at Toa Payoh Town Park on 3 August. Another record on 18 September at Sentosa was not identified to subspecies.

An immature Rufous-bellied Eagle Lophotriorchis kienerii was recorded at the Upper Bukit Timah area through the 3-month period. There were only two reports of the Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus, one on 8 July and the other on 6 August, both on Pulau Ubin.  

The rare Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela was recorded thrice – an adult at Springleaf Nature Park on 13 July, an adult at Simpang Kiri PCN on 11 September, and an individual on Pulau Ubin on 22 September.  

There were nesting-related records for a number of species of diurnal raptors. At Gardens by the Bay, a pair of Black-winged Kites Elanus caeruleus was nest-building in late September and often harassed by crow. For the White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leocogaster, there were two big eaglets in a nest at Fort Canning on 17 July.

A pair of mixed morph Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus was near a nest at Dover East forest on 12 July and 2 August, and another pair at a nest near Dairy farm Nature Park on 2 August also. Mating was observed for a pair of Crested Goshawks Accipiter trivirgatus in late September.

In July, an immature Grey-headed Fish Eagles Haliaeetus ichthyaetus  was seen fighting with a White-bellied sea Eagle at a stretch of river at Potong Pasir. The common Brahminy Kites Haliastur Indus were ever present during this period.

Brown FO, 080722, Hindhede, HP Tan, 6.45pm

Brown Fish Owl, Hindhede Nature Park, 7 July 2022, by HP Tan

For nocturnal raptors, a Brown Fish Owl Ketupa zeylonensis was photographed at Hindhede Nature Park on 7 July and 22 July. A Brown x Buffy Fish Owl hybrid offspring, probably a second of its kind, was also photographed at Hindhede on 17 July.

A fledgling Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji was seen in the vicinity of a nature reserve on 17 July, and another fledgling was photographed at Pasir Ris Park on 9 September. At Hindhede Nature Park, a family of three Brown Hawk-Owls Ninox scutulata, including 1 fledgling, was photographed on 8 July and 31 July.

For the Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu family at Ulu Pandan, the chick was first observed on 10 September, ended up on the ground on 2 days, “rescued”, and by 27 Sep was perched high up.

For the Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo, a family of 3, with one fledgling, was recorded at NTU on 8 July. Another chick at Changi Coast ended up on the ground on 27 July, was “rescued”, and fledged on 13 August.

Lastly, at Thomson Nature Park, a Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus was seen on 9 July feeding on a plantain squirrel.

BBFO hybrid

Brown x Buffy Fish Owl hybrid offspring, Hindhede Nature Park, 17 July 2022, by Hubert Pak

For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report, Early Autumn Migration, Jul-Sep 2022

Many thanks to everyone for their records, and to HP Tan and Hubert Pak for the use of their photos.

NSS Bird Group went live on CNA93.8 to discuss World Migratory Bird Day

(abridged & edited version)

NSS, WMBD

World Migratory Bird Day fell on 8 October 2022 with the theme – Light Pollution.

On 7 October 2022, NSS Bird Group chairman Tan Gim Cheong went live on CNA93.8 radio’s “Asia First” program to discuss the theme with Arnold Gay and Yasmin Jonkers.

Host(s): Let’s get straight to the question of how light affect birds when they stop by Singapore during this migratory season.

NSSBG Chair: Singapore sits on the East Asian Australasian Flyway, and during this time, birds from north Asia will come and visit us. At night they migrate and use lights to guide them. When there are bright lights they become disorientated and can collide into buildings, suffer concussion, and some will die. Those that do not collide into buildings may circle bright areas, become exhausted, and become easy prey for predators.

Host(s): Light pollution is part and parcel of life in Singapore and there are events with bright lights like F1.

NSSBG Chair: Singapore is a city state and anyone on an aeroplane flying to Singapore at night will know that it is a really bright spot over the land, so it does affect birds. During this period we see more reports of birds on the ground at the side of buildings in the morning, some which are not too badly concussed may recover, but others pass away.

Host(s): What can we do to help these migratory birds as it is quite difficult to tone down our lights?

NSSBG Chair: Anything that is not essential should be switched off when we go to bed, like balcony lights or patio lights, especially where there are glass surfaces that reflect lights, they become bright areas that attract birds.

Host(s): Do lights from high rise CBD buildings affect birds more than from residential areas? How do we get people to do more for the birds?

NSSBG Chair: Both residential areas as well as high rise buildings affect birds as we have reports of bird collisions in both areas. We really need to think about which lights are essential and which are not. We try to create awareness in everybody on the problem of light pollution with this global campaign, to seed the idea that there is something that we should try to do, and get people to brainstorm to see which area they can do something to chip in for the birds.

Host(s): In this time of high energy prices, it is a good opportunity to switch off non-essential lights to save money and do something for the birds at the same time, isn’t it?

NSSBG Chair: Yes, indeed it is a good opportunity for people to rationalise their lighting requirements (to benefit the birds) and to save money.

Monk Parakeets – High Life Living at Pasir Ris.

Monk Parakeets – Living the High Life at Pasir Ris.

By Seng Alvin.

Parrots are the most popular pet bird species in Singapore resulting in many of these parrots being introduced into our parks and gardens over the years. The latest are the Monk Parakeets, originally from the subtropical forests of Argentina, that have established feral populations in many urban cities around the world. 

They were first seen at the reclaimed Changi Cove in 2009. The development of the area for the third runway and Terminal 5 forced them to look for another place to live. 

Their estate agent found for them a choice high rise location at Pasir Ris with beautiful sea views overlooking Pulau Ubin, just a short flying distance from a big park, food center, shopping mall and MRT. What more can they ask for?

You cannot miss their huge stick condominium nest on top of the lamp post at the swimming complex. Their communal living and breeding lifestyle in a single nest with separate entrances for privacy made it easy for them to gather and celebrate marriages, newborns, housewarming and birthdays. 

They are gregarious and totally at ease living next to humans just like the lupsup Javan Mynas. They are highly intelligent birds with urban survival skills. As pet birds, they were able to learn to talk making them popular in the bird trade.

They have since been seen in other parts of Singapore as far south as Gardens by the Bay, Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve in the north and Ulu Pandan in the west, but have yet to set up homes in these locations. 

They were also introduced into North America and Europe and their invasive and destructive behavior is well documented. The United Kingdom is studying how to remove them from the wild for threatening their native wildlife there. We may have to do the same if our Long-tailed Parakeets and other native parrot species are impacted as well.

Reference: Wikipedia.