11th Singapore Raptor Watch Report

Autumn 2018 Migration – 3 Nov 2018
compiled by TAN Gim Cheong

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Chinese Sparrowhawk, juvenile, at Puaka Hill, Pulau Ubin, 3 Nov 2018, by Henrietta Woo

The 11th Singapore raptor watch was held on Saturday, 3 November 2018 and involved 42 participants. The weather was mostly partly cloudy. There were seven raptor watch sites and the numbers counted at each site varied from a high of 193 to a low of 19 birds. A total of 556 raptors were counted, including 437 raptors representing 8 migrant species and 69 raptors of 6 resident species. A further 50 raptors could not be identified to species level.

Summary:
Number of raptors – 556
– 437 migrant raptors.
– 69 resident raptors.
– 50 un-identified raptors.

Number of species – 14
– 8 migrant species.
– 6 resident species.

Most 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 shifting of the Japanese Gardens site to Jurong Hill, due to ongoing works at the Japanese Gardens, and the shifting of the Tuas site slightly north to Tuas View Drive.

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Figure 1 : 2018 Raptor Watch Sites. (source of basemap – maps.google.com.sg)

The highest number of raptors recorded was at Telok Blangah Hill Park (193 birds), followed by Puaka Hill, Ubin (108 birds) and Jurong Hill (105 birds). Note that the count at Jurong Hill ended earlier, at 2:15pm, due to manpower constraints. Rather surprising was the low numbers at Tuas for the second year running.

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Figure 2 : Total count by Site

The peak hours for migrant raptors were between 10am to 2pm, with a high of 133 migrant raptors in the 11am to 12pm period. In the morning, 16 migrant raptors were recorded in the first hour between 8-9am, and in the later part of the afternoon, another 16 were recorded in the last 2 hours of observation.

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Figure 3 : Raptor numbers by 1-hour time periods (migrant raptors only)

The Oriental Honey Buzzard (OHB) reclaimed the top spot, with 248 birds counted. The largest number of OHB were at Jurong Hill (81 birds) despite the count ending earlier, Telok Blangah Hill Park (72 birds) and Kent Ridge Park (38 birds).  There were 120 Japanese Sparrowhawks, similar to last year. The main bulk of the Japanese Sparrowhawks (66 birds) were counted at Telok Blangah Hill Park. There were 30 Chinese Sparrowhawks, and most of them were recorded at Telok Blangah Hill Park (15 birds), and Puaka Hill, Pulau Ubin (14 birds).

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Oriental Honey Buzzard, at Puaka Hill, Pulau Ubin, 3 Nov 2018, by Henrietta Woo

Grey-faced Buzzards put up a good show this year, with 11 counted across four sites: six at Puaka Hill, two each at Telok Blangah Hill Park and Lorong Halus Wetlands, and an individual at Jurong Hill. Three Peregrine Falcons were recorded: singles at Jurong Hill, Telok Blangah Hill Park and Lorong Halus. Only one Western Osprey was recorded – at Jurong Hill and one Black Kite – at Tuas.

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Figure 4 : Migrant and Unidentified Raptors Counted

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Watching raptors at Puaka Hill, Pulau Ubin, 3 Nov 2018, photo courtesy of Jacky Soh

For the resident species, the total count was 69 birds of 6 species. The count for the resident raptors comprised 34 Brahminy Kites, 15 White-bellied Sea Eagles, 10 Changeable Hawk Eagles, 5 Grey-headed Fish Eagles, 4 Crested Goshawks, and 1 Crested Serpent Eagle.

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Figure 5 : Resident Raptors Counted

The figure below provides a snapshot of the number of raptors according to the three categories – migrant, un-identified & resident raptors, at the 7 sites. A larger proportion of the migrant raptors were detected in the southwest stretch from Jurong Hill to Kent Ridge Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park, with a peak of 159 migrant raptors at Telok Blangah Hill Park.

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Figure 6 : Raptor Sub-totals by Category (migrant /unidentified /resident) by Site

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

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Figure 7 : Raptor numbers by Site and break down of Species

CRBJ1962

The team of raptor watchers/counters at Puaka Hill, Pulau Ubin, photo courtesy of Jacky Soh

Thanks to all the 42 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:

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Thanks to Henrietta Woo and Jacky Soh for the use of their photos.

Please click here for a pdf version 11th Singapore Raptor Watch – 2018

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