Autumn 2017 Migration – 5 Nov 2017
compiled by TAN Gim Cheong
The 10th Singapore raptor watch was held on Sunday, 5 November 2017 and involved 65 participants. Apart from a bit of drizzle at the start of the day, the weather was fine. There were 8 raptor watch sites and the numbers counted at each site varied from a high of 289 to a low of 21 birds. A total of 781 raptors were counted, including 567 raptors representing 7 migrant species and 113 raptors of 7 resident species. A further 101 raptors could not be identified to species level.
Number of raptors – 781
– 567 migrant raptors.
– 113 resident raptors.
– 101 un-identified raptors.
Number of species – 14
– 7 migrant species.
– 7 resident species.
Seven of the sites were the same ones as previous years, thanks to all the site leaders for their faithful support! The minor changes were the shift of the Tuas site slightly north to Tuas South Avenue 12 due to construction works at Tuas South Avenue 16, and the addition of Marina Barrage.
After a slow start in the morning, with less than 20 birds each in the first three 1-hour periods (probably due to the drizzle), the numbers of migrant raptors surged to 224 birds in the 12pm-1pm period, then dropping gradually, to 146 birds in the next hour, 80 in the following hour and 60 in the last hour of the count.
The Black Baza reclaimed the top spot, a position it last held in 2009, with 252 birds counted. The largest number of Black Bazas were at Kent Ridge Park (148 birds), Telok Blangah Hill Park (36 birds) and Pulau Ubin (28 birds). The largest groups were a flock of 61 birds at 12:29pm and another flock of 60 between 1pm-2pm, both at Kent Ridge Park. As for the Oriental Honey Buzzard (OHB), after 7 years as the most numerous migrant raptor during our Raptor Watch, it dropped to second place with 166 birds counted. The largest number of OHBs were at Kent Ridge Park (57 birds), Japanese Garden (45 birds) and Telok Blangah Hill Park (32 birds).
The Japanese Sparrowhawks come out in force, with 126 birds, almost double its previous high of 67 birds in 2014. The main bulk of the Japanese Sparrowhawks (65 birds) were counted at, coincidentally, the Japanese Garden! There were 18 Chinese Sparrowhawks, and most of them (14 birds) were recorded at Puaka Hill, Pulau Ubin. Only two Western Ospreys were recorded – one at Japanese Garden and the other at Puaka Hilll, Pulau Ubin. For the uncommon Common Buzzard, two were recorded at Lorong Halus Wetlands between 12pm-1pm. A single Peregrine Falcon was recorded at Kent Ridge Park at 3:10pm.
For the resident species, the total count was 113 birds of 7 species, one more species than the year before – the addition being the Crested Serpent Eagle. The count for the resident raptors comprised 53 Brahminy Kites, 33 White-bellied Sea Eagles, 16 Changeable Hawk Eagles, 5 Grey-headed Fish Eagles, 4 Crested Goshawks, 1 Black-winged Kite and 1 Crested Serpent Eagle.
The figure below provides a snapshot of the number of raptors according to the three categories – migrant, un-identified & resident raptors, at the 8 sites. A larger proportion of the migrant raptors were detected in the southwest stretch from the Japanese Garden to Kent Ridge Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park, with a peak of 229 migrant raptors at Kent Ridge. The highest number of un-identified raptors, also at Kent Ridge, were probably migrants flying too high for positive identification. Rather surprising was the low numbers at Tuas. Could the birds have avoided that area due to the ongoing constructions works?
A complete breakdown of the species counted at each site is shown in the table below:
Thanks to all the 65 wonderful birders, both leaders and participants, which included National Parks Board staff, for spending their Sunday out in the open to count raptors. The following fantastic people led or assisted in the raptor count:
Thanks to Jacky Soh and Lee Ee Ling for the use of their photos.
Please click here for a pdf version 10th Singapore Raptor Watch – 2017