Over 400 migrating Oriental Honey Buzzards were counted from the top terrace at Telok Blangah Hill (TBH) on 9th November 2014 as part of the Annual Raptor Watch. This is the largest count for any inland locations apart from Tuas South. Kent Ridge Park which lies west of TBH also reported a high count in the hundreds. It seems that the change of wind direction at the on set of the North East Monsoon may have push the migration further inland.
The kettle sizes ranged from 15 to 40 birds all flying in from North West to South East. It was quiet the whole morning and the first wave came at 1.50 pm. Then it was wave after wave with all of them gliding in one direction. At times they looked like an invasion armada of planes . Once they found a thermal, they will then ride on it circling up to gain height before continuing with the journey southwards.
Yoshio Yamane-san told me that they found the OHB hotel in northern Johor near the highway from the satellite tracking program. This is partly why we get to see them flying over our island in the early afternoon.
Towards the end some came down to eye level to where we were. One of two even dropped down into the trees below to take a rest. This reminds me of the spectacle at Tanjong Tuan where the Honey Buzzards came down low after crossing the Malacca Straits. Many of them were less than ten storeys high when they glide over the hill top giving us excellent views and opportunity for some good photos.
Surprising all the photos of the OHBs showed a lack of the dark trailing wing edges.These are juvenile first year birds making their migration after all the adult birds have left This behavior was the same for the European Honey Buzzards as well They will spend the next two winters in Indonesia and matured. Then they will fly back to Korea and Japan during Spring 2016 together with the rest of the adult birds ( per con Yoshio Yamane)