Monthly Archives: November 2019

Singapore Raptor Report – October 2019

OHB, 191019, HW, Zacc, crop

Oriental Honey Buzzard, juvenile, showing its long neck and slim bill, at Henderson Waves, 19 Oct 2019, by Zacc HD

Summary for migrant species:

October 2019 is as remarkable as last year, with 11 migrant species recorded (we usually record around 9 species in October). Henderson Waves continued to be a popular place to watch migrating raptors. A total of 712 migrant raptors were recorded, with another 48 unidentified accipiters, which are likely to be migrants too.

The most numerous were the 425 Oriental Honey Buzzards, followed by 135 Japanese Sparrowhawks, and 130 Chinese Sparrowhawks (quite a jump compared to last October’s 57). Notably no Black Baza was recorded.

Besra, 181019, Jelutong, Fryap 6, crop

Besra, juvenile, note the lightly marked underwing coverts and strong mesial stripe, at Jelutong Tower, 18 Oct 2019, by Francis Yap

A rare Besra was photographed by Francis Yap at Jelutong Tower on the 18th and amazingly, another at Henderson Waves on the 31st, photographed by both Deborah Friets and Looi Ang Soh Hoon, lucky birders indeed. Both the Besras were juveniles. Another rarity was the Common Kestrel, seen and photographed at Tuas South on the 5th.

Booted Eagles are now harder to see as they no longer seem to winter here, occurring only as passage migrants, but Keita Sin got lucky at Henderson Waves on the 30th, photographing one as it flew over. The uncommon Grey-faced Buzzard was only recorded on the 30th – two birds at Henderson Waves in the morning and one at Bukit Timah summit in the afternoon.

Common Kestrel, 051019, Tuas Sth St 13, Fryap, crop

Common Kestrel, at Tuas South, on 5 Oct 2019, by Francis Yap

The Eastern Marsh Harrier was recorded on passage at Kranji Dam on the 7th (a juvenile); at Kranji Marshes on the 14th (a female); and on the 28th, one juvenile was first photographed at Seletar at 9:01am and thereafter at Jelutong Tower at 9:28am.

The Common Buzzard was recorded at the Southern Ridges area only – a juvenile dark morph at Kent Ridge on the 11th, two adult pale morphs at Henderson Waves on the 12th, a juvenile pale morph at Henderson Waves on the 20th, and another juvenile pale morph at Kent Ridge on the 24th. (Note: the various subspecies are ‘lumped’ as Buteo buteo in the NSS bird checklist).

CB, 121019, HW, AST, crop

Common Buzzard, at Henderson Waves, on 12 Oct 2019, by Adrian Silas Tay

Four migrant Peregrine Falcons were recorded – one adult at Sembawang (21st & 25th), one at Dairy Farm Nature Park (26th), on at Lorong Halus (28th), and one at the Southern Ridges (20th, 21st & 27th). Two Western Ospreys were recorded, one at the Sungei Buloh and one at Henderson Waves.

Besra,-311019,-HW,-Deborah-Friets-edit

The 2nd Besra, a juvenile, note the lightly marked underwing coverts, mesial stripe and streaked body, at Henderson Waves, 31 Oct 2019, by Deborah Friets

Highlights for sedentary species:

There were two records for the locally scarce Crested Serpent Eagle, one at Henderson Waves on the 14th and another at Neo Tiew Harvest Link on the 18th; five records for the  Grey-headed Fish Eagle, one each at Pandan, Botanic Gardens, Coney Island and two at Henderson Waves; five records for the Crested Goshawk, one each at Satay by the Bay, Pasir Ris Park, Woodlands Street 81, and two at the Henderson Wave – Kent Ridge area. were observed mating at West Coast Park. Then on 23 Oct, 2 chicks of the were seen on a nest at Woodlands. These  are good signs for our resident raptors.

On 5th Oct, a Peregrine Falcon of the resident ernesti subspecies recorded at Henderson Waves; and on 30th Oct, a torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzard was photographed at Bukit Timah summit by Alan OwYong. The other resident raptors recorded included four Black-winged Kites at Tuas and two at Kranji Marshes; eleven Changeable Hawk-Eagles; and the common Brahminy Kite and White-bellied Sea Eagle. To streamline the report, only notable records, such as breeding-related or interesting behaviour, will be reported for the last two species.

Capture Table

For more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report – October 2019

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Zacc HD, Deborah Friets, Adrian Silas Tay and Francis Yap for the use of their photos.

Singapore Bird Report – October 2019

by Geoff Lim, Alan Owyong (compiler), Tan Gim Cheong (ed.)

The Black-naped Monarch at the Botanic Gardens

BN-Monarch,-211019,-SBG,-Kelvin-Ng-Cheng-Kwan,-Sony-RX10m4,-BICA-1-(this)-no-pointer

Black-naped Monarch, Botanic Gardens, 21 Oct 2019, a clear photo by Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan. Note the unnatural damage to the tail and tertials (broken & frayed tips); the feathers on the mantle also look unnaturally messy

The biggest find of the month was the extremely rare Black-naped Monarch, Hypothymis azurea, which also turned out to be the biggest disappointment, as it is in all likelihood an escapee. The monarch was first spotted at the Botanic Gardens on 18 October 2019 by visiting birder, Jan Lile, from Queensland, Australia. Her ebird record was picked up by Andrew Paul Bailey, who alerted birders on FB group ‘Bird Sightings’. Ramesh T. followed the lead the following day and found the bird, thereby alerting others to its continued presence. The bird remained at the Botanic Gardens until 24 October 2019, allowing many birders to see and photograph this great rarity, which unfortunately, turned out to be of captive origin.

A review of more than 60 photographs of the monarch showed evidence of unnatural feather damage, particularly to the tertials which were not only frayed, but also broken (tip of top left tertial); there were also unnatural wear to the tips of the primaries and especially to the tail feathers – indeed, the ends of three tail feathers were broken (see pic below); the mantle feathers were unnaturally messy – probably either through being handled or from flying against a cage; overall, the bird had a somewhat untidy appearance, hinting at its captive origin.

BN-Monarch,-271019-posted,-SBG,-Kelvin-Ng-Cheng-Kwan,-Sony-RX10m4-(this)

Black-naped Monarch, Botanic Gardens, 21 Oct 2019, a photo from an unusual but useful angle, by Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan. Note the unnatural broken tips to T2 & T4 (left side of tail), and broken T6 (right side of tail)

The Black-Naped Monarch had only been recorded on mainland Singapore once – on 1 January 2004. The species is rare on Pulau Ubin, and there are some records from Pulau Tekong; it is more usually encountered in the lowland rainforests, peat swamps, secondary forests and overgrown plantations in Malaysia (Wells, 2007:168-169).

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) and Fringe Parks

Birders visiting the CCNR core reported the influx of migratory birds visiting or passing over the central forests. On 5 October 2019, a White Wagtail Motacilla alba was spotted by Adrian Silas Tay. A full adult male Siberian Blue Robin, Larvivora cyane, was seen at Venus Loop on 13 October 2019 by Felix Wong, while a pair of resident Short-tailed Babbler, Malcocincla malaccensis, were spotted within the same locality on 18 October 2019 by Alan Owyong. On 20 October 2019, a first-of-the-season Ferruginous Flycatcher, Muscicapa ferruginea, was recorded by Luke Teo at Mandai Track 15. Towards the end of the month, a Cinereous Bulbul, Hemixos cinereus, a non-breeding visitor, was spotted on 25 October 2019 from Jelutong Tower by Francis Yap.

A first-of-the-season female Siberian Thrush, Geokichla sibirica, was recorded on 22 October 2019 by Richard White, while another individual was seen at Thomson Nature Park on 25 October 2019 by Lian Yee Ming. On the summit of the Bukit Timah Hill, a Yellow-vented Flowerpecker, Dicaeum chrysorrheum, was seen on 29 October 2019 by Alfred Chia, feeding in a fruiting fig tree. The next day on 30 October 2019, a first-of-the-season Grey-Faced Buzzard, Butastur indicus, was spotted flying over, by Fadzun Adnan.

Cinerous Bulbul, 251019, Jelutong, Fryap

Cinereous Bulbul spotted on 25 October 2019 from Jelutong Tower by Francis Yap

Further away, a Crow-Billed Drongo, Dicrurus annectans, was seen on 24 October 2019 at Dairy Farm Nature Park by Joseph Lim, while a Ferruginous Flycatcher was spotted on 29 October 2019 at the Singapore Quarry by Francis Yap. The next day, 30 October 2019, a Blue-and-white / Zappey Flycatcher, Cyanoptila sp., was spotted at the same location by T. Ramesh.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Besides the Black-Naped Monarch, other birds seen include four Grey-headed Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus – a juvenile and adult at the Symphony Lake, and two adult birds at the Gallop Extension on 26 October 2019 by Geoff Lim.

Central Singapore

Despite a drastic reduction in area, Bidadari continued to support a number of migratory birds. The globally vulnerable Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Cyornis brunneatus, was spotted on 1 October 2019 by T. Ramesh at the area near the fallen tree at the former side entrance to the area, while a male Siberian Blue Robin, Larvivora cyane, was also seen on the same day by Deborah Friets. On 3 October 2019, a Brown Shrike, Lanius cristatus lucionensis was spotted by Alan Owyong.

BCJFC, 111019, Bida, Fryap

Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher at Bidadari taken on 11 October 2019 by Francis Yap

On 7 October 2019, an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Ceyx erithaca, was spotted by Gan Lee Hsia, while a first winter Crow-billed Drongo, Dicrurus annectans, was seen on 7 October 2019 by Terence Tan. On 16 October 2019, a male white morph Amur/Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone sp., was spotted by Deborah Friets, while a Dark-Sided Flycatcher, Muscicapa sibirica, was seen on 26 October 2019 in the afternoon after the rain, by “Trustmind Ng”. The next day, on 27 October 2019, a Chinese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter soloensis, was spotted by Low Chong Yang, who visited the former cemetery at 7am.

APFC, 161119, Bida, Last Romeo Amin

A white morph Amur/Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher was spotted on 16 October 2019 at Bidadari, photo by Amin

Other birds reported within Central Singapore included an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Ceyx erithaca, that was found by Peng Ah Huay’s friend, in Ang Mo Kio Central, weak and not flying; a returning Chinese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter soloensis, that was seen on 27 October 2019 by Angela Yeo at Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West; while a Blue-Winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, was reported by Kwok Tuck Loong on 31 October 2019 at Geylang East Avenue 1 at about 7am.

Northern Singapore

On 1 October 2019, a single White-shouldered Starling, Sturnia sinensis, was seen along Seletar Club Road, flying from a tree to across the road with other birds, by Pary Sivaraman. On the same day, a mixed flock containing more than 100 Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea, and a Forest Wagtail, Dendronanthus indicus, were reported at a communal roost at Yishun by Khoo Mei Lin.

Wagtails, 061019, Yishun, Norhafiani A Majid

Roosting Grey Wagtail at Yishun on 6 October 2019 by Norhafiani Majid

An Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Ceyx erithaca, was reported to have crashed into a home at Recreation Road on 2 October 2019 by Janet Neo, and subsequently released, while a Blue-winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, was reported to have crashed into a home in Minton Condominium on 10 October 2019 by Tan Tze Khing and survived.

Not so fortunate was a von Schrenck’s Bittern, Ixobrychus eurhythmus, that was reported dead at the foot of a HDB flat along Compassvale Road on 29 October 2019 by Zhang Licong, while a Black Bittern, Dupetor flavicollis, was reported as having crashed into a home in Serangoon on 31 October 2019 by Charmiane Magnus Kuan, and subsequently released.

Eastern Singapore

The eastern islands of Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong had only two reports. We received a report of a first-of-the-season Long-Toed Stint, Calidris subminuta, on 3 October 2019 at Pulau Tekong from Frankie Cheong, while we had a report of more than 50 Swift Tern, Thalasseus bergii, on 4 October 2019 on Pulau Ubin from Tan Ju Lin and Tiak Lee.

The woods along a canal near Changi Business Park was reported to support two visiting Green Imperial Pigeon, Ducula aenea, (1 October 2019, Mike Hooper), a Crow-Billed Drongo, Dicrurus annectans, a first-for-the-season Grey Nightjar, Caprimulgus jotaka, and a Brown-Chested Jungle Flycatcher, Cyornis brunneatus, (28 October 2019, T. Ramesh). Further away at Bedok Camp, more than 300 Oriental Pratincole, Glareola maldivarum, were seen flying south on 27 October 2019 by Oliver Tan, while a Blue-Winged Pitta, Pitta moluccensis, was spotted within Eastwood Estate on 30 October 2019 by Herman Phua. Over at Pasir Ris Park, Josh Spiler made an unusual report of a Lanceolated Warbler, Locustella lanceolata, which was spotted within the mangrove woods of on 12 October 2019.

BWP, 301019, Eastwood Estate, Herman Phua

Blue-winged Pitta found exhausted at Eastwood Estate on 30 October 2019 by Herman Phua

Southern Singapore

A stray Spot-Billed Pelican Pelicanus philippensis on 3 October 2019 at Marina Barrage by John Marriott, possibly an escapee from our bird park, while a Drongo Cuckoo, Surniculus lugubris, was seen on 21 October 2019 at Gardens-by-the-Bay by Carmen Hui. Reports of the Blue Rock Thrush, Monticola soltarius, at Pinnacle@Duxton continued to filter through on 3 and 6 October 2019 from Tay Kian Guan and Norhafiani Majid, respectively. Further west, a first-of-the-season Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo, was seen on 11 October 2019 by Zacc HD.

The Henderson Waves proved to be a productive site during the migration season, not just for raptors, but also for other migrating birds. On 10 October 2019, ninety-three Red-rumped Swallow, Cecropis daurica, flying over the ridges were counted by Oliver Tan, who also spotted a Crested Serpent Eagle, Spilornis cheela, on 14 Ocotber 2019. A Brown-Backed Needletail, Hirundapus giganteus, was seen speeding over on 19 October 2019 by Zacc HD, as did an Asian House Martin, Delichon dasypus, by Gayathree Arasu. Raptor watchers who persisted their vigil were rewarded by a first-of-the-season Booted Eagle, Hieraaetus pennatus, on 24 October 2019 (Keita Sin), a first-of-the-season Sand Martin, Riparia riparia on 26 October 2019 (Martin Kennewell), four more Asian House Martin, Delichon dasypus on 27 October 2019 (See Toh Yew Wai), and a juvenile Besra, Accipiter virgatus, on 31 October 2019 (Looi Ang Soh Hoon).

Western Singapore

At Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, a single Lesser Adjutant, Leptoptilos javanicus, was seen soaring over the park on 1 October 2019 by Tay Kian Guan, while a rare Chinese Egret, Egretta eulophotes, was photographed on 6 October 2019 by Teo Nam Seng. The charismatic Black-capped Kingfisher, Halcyon pileata, appeared on 27 October 2019, a first-of-the-season record reported by Art Toh.

Oriental Pratincoles, 121019, Harvest Link, AOY

Part of a flock of Oriental Pratincoles spotted at Harvest Link by Alan Owyong, taken on 12 October 2019

A single Common Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus, was seen preening itself in the evening at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3 by Francis Yap. Over at Kranji Marshes, a first-of-the-season record of an Oriental Reed Warbler, Acrocephalus orientalis was reported on 2 October 2019 by Wing Chong. A few days later on 6 October 2019, another first-of-the-season report of a Lanceolated Warbler, Locustella lanceolate, was made by Tan Yew Chong. On 28 October 2019, Veronica Foo accounted for a first-of-the-season Von Schrenck’s Bittern, Ixobrychus eurhythmus, as well as a Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler, Locustella certhiola. Along Harvest Link just outside Kranji Marshes, a Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus japonensis, was reported on 12 October 2019 by Looi Ang Soh Hoon, as were 16 Oriental Pratincole, Glareola maldivarum, and two Long-Toed Stint, Calidris subminuta, (Alan Owyong), while 3 Pratincole were spotted the next day (13 October 2019) by Lim Kim Chuah, who also recorded a Little Ringed Plover, Charadrius dubius. On the following day, 14 October 2019, an Eastern Marsh Harrier, Circus spilonotus, was spotted by Tay Kian Guan.

Over at Kranji Dam, White-winged Tern, Chlidonias leucopterus, were seen flocking with Whiskered Tern, Chlidonias hybrida, on 1 October 2019 by Adrian Silas Tay, with eight of the latter flying towards Johor during last light. On 7 October 2019, a first-of-the-season record of an Eastern Marsh Harrier, Circus spilonotus, was reported by Chen Boon Chong, who noticed that it chased a Striated Heron out before flying back to the trees. The harrier later flew out in a south-westerly direction five minutes later.

A few adventurous birders ventured into Tuas and found a Common Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, on 5 October 2019 (Low Choon How), and a Jambu Fruit Dove, Ptilinopus jambu, on 28 October 2019 (Adrian Silas Tay).

This report is written by Geoff Lim, with records compiled by Alan Owyong and edited by Tan Gim Cheong. We are grateful for the birders and photographers whose postings in various Facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from eBird make up this report. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified.

Many thanks to Kelvin Ng Cheng Kwan, Francis Yap, Amin, Norhafiani A. Majid, Herman Phua and Alan Owyong for allowing us to use their photographs.

REFERENCE

Wells, D. R. (2007), The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula Vol. 2, London: Christopher Helm.

The 35th Singapore Bird Race (2019)

by Geoff Lim, Morten Strange, Tan Gim Cheong & Lim Kim Chuah. Photos by Francis Chia.

BR logo

The 35th Singapore Bird Race, which took place from 16-17 November 2019, attracted more than 130 participants who formed 43 teams – a record number. The participants included more than 60 students from Primary and Secondary Schools. The number of teams for the various categories were as follows: eight for Primary School, nine for Secondary School, five for Marathon, ten for Sprint, and 11 for Photographers.

The first ever race took place in 1984, and is today, one of the longest running citizen science events in South-east Asia. A key objective of the race is to promote the appreciation of birds and biodiversity to the public. It also brings people from different walks of life together, and get them to go outdoors to look at birds and nature.

Group pic, school

Participants of the School category – 35th Singapore Bird Race, @ MBC.

The Marathoners kicked off their gruelling 20-hour race at 4:30pm on 16 November 2019, while the race for the Sprint and Photographer categories was flagged off at 7:30am on 17 November 2019, followed by the School category at 8am, at Mapletree Business City.

group pic, sprint, photo

Participants of the Sprint and Photographer categories – 35th Singapore Bird Race, @ MBC.

Highlights for the School category

The school teams were confined to race in parks close to the vicinity of Mapletree Business City. The parks included HortPark, West Coast Park, Kent Ridge Park and Mount Faber Park. And unlike previous years, some calls were allowed this year so as to encourage more birders to take an interest in bird calls. The winner of the primary school category, Yumin Champs One recorded a respectable score of 20 species while the winner of the secondary school category, Goated-Spotters from Dunman Secondary School topped the category with a score of 35 species. The students had plenty of fun along the way and for many of them, this was the first time they were visiting these parks. Also, for most of them, it was also their first time seeing interesting species such as Oriental Pied Hornbill, the globally endangered Straw-headed Bulbul (pictured on the event T-shirt and allowed to be recorded by call), our delightful ‘little red dot’ unofficial national bird the Crimson Sunbird and many raptors, including the migratory Japanese Sparrowhawk.   

Champions of the School (Primary) sub-category

Champs - Pri YCO

Champions of the School (Primary) sub-category – Yumin Champs One (Yumin Primary School) with Mr Edmund Cheng, Chairman of Mapletree Investments.

School – Primary (top 3 placings)

Position Team Species
1st Yumin Champs One (Yumin Primary School) 20
2nd Top Wing (Teck Whye Primary School) 18
3rd Yumin Champs A (Yumin Primary School) 17

Champions of the School (Secondary) sub-category

Champs - Sec G-S

Champions of the School (Secondary) sub-category – Goated Spotters (Dunman Secondary School) with Mr Edmund Cheng, Chairman of Mapletree Investments

School – Secondary (top 3 placings)

Position Team Species
1st Goated-Spotters (Dunman Secondary School) 35
2nd Hwa Chong Hornbills (Hwa Chong Institution (Sec)) 33
3rd ISS Laughing Thrush (ISS International School (Sec)) 26

Highlights for the Marathon, Sprint and Photographer categories

The teams turned out a great set of results, including one team that exceeded 100 species of birds in a relatively short 20-hour period. There were also many close fights with placings determined by teams having just one more species than the next team. Indeed, the champions for the Sprint category edged pass the 1st runner-ups by just one species! The 1st runner-ups in the Marathon category also edged pass the 2nd runner-ups by one species. And the two teams in the Marathon category who tied for 4th place also lost to the 2nd runner-ups by just one species. The defending champions of the Photographer category were so well ahead of the pack that they were pretty close to the top three placings for the Sprint category, amazing.

Best bird of the race is arguably a rare Grey-headed Lapwing at Turut Track, spotted and photographed by a few lucky teams. The critically endangered Straw-headed Bulbul was recorded at the Kranji Marshes, Neo Tiew Woods, Gillman Barracks area, and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR). Dairy Farm Nature Park turned out to be a hotspot for uncommon birds such as the Jambu Fruit Dove, Greater Green Leafbird, Cinerous Bulbul, Blue-rumped Parrot, Red-crowned Barbet, Eye-browed Thrush and Siberian Thrush. Another rare bird recorded during the race was the Lesser Adjutant at SBWR.

Champions of the Marathon category

Champs - marathon

Champions of the Marathon category – The Weekend Birders, with Mr Lim Kim Chuah, Chairman of NSS Bird Group.

Marathon Category 

Position Team Species
1st Weekend Birders 121
2nd Birds are Reptiles 93
3rd dododo 92
4th Tied – Drongoes & dududu 91

Champions of the Sprint category

Champs - sprint

Champions of the Sprint category – Team Darters.

Sprint Category (top 3 placings)

Position Team Species
1st Team Darters 73
2nd CN Swiftlet 72
3rd NParks 68

Champions of the Photographer category

Champs - photo

Champions of the Photographer category – Where Where Where? with Mr Lucas of Leica and Dr Shawn Lum, President of NSS.

Photographer Category (top 3 placings)

Position Team Species
1st Where Where Where? 61
2nd Eurasian Birders 34
3rd Team Falcon 31

Acknowledgements

This year, we are privileged to have Mapletree Investments as our main sponsor. It is through the generous contribution of Mapletree that we were able to enable more schools to  participate in the bird race. This is especially important as the young are Singapore’s next generation who will inherit the natural heritage we leave behind.

Thanks also to other sponsors – Leica, Swarovski Optik, PUB, NParks, John Beaufoy Publishing and Wild Vigil Networks. Thanks to co-organiser Birdlife International, and thanks to the organising committee and all volunteers (logistics, guiding, arbitrating, etc.) helping to make the bird race a success. Also, a big thank you to all the participants for making this year’s bird race the biggest ever. Special thanks to the following schools for their support: Juying Primary School, Singapore Chinese Girls School (Pri & Sec), Teck Whye Primary School, West Grove Primary School, Yumin Primary School, Dunman Secondary School, Hwa Chong Institution (Sec), ISS International School (Sec), and Unity Secondary School.

Thanks to Mr Edmund Cheng, Chairman of Mapletree Investments, for gracing the event as the Guest-of-Honour. Thanks also to Mr Wan Kwong Weng, Group Chief Corporate Officer for Mapletree; Mr Kenneth Er, CEO of NParks; Dr Shawn Lum, President of NSS; and Mr Vinayagan Dharmarajah, Regional Director (Asia), Birdlife International, for their presence during the award ceremony held at the end of the day at Mapletree Business Centre.

Singapore Raptor Report Early Autumn Migration, July-September 2019

Osprey, 110719, SBWR, Sim Chip Chye

A Western Osprey with a big catch, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, 11 July 2019, by Sim Chip Chye

Summary:

The early migrants included all the five expected species, namely the Western Osprey, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Chinese Sparrowhawk, Japanese Sparrowhawk, and Peregrine Falcon, during the July to September period.

A total of 46 Oriental Honey Buzzards were recorded. There were at least seven immature orientalis in July, four in August, and three in September – these are individuals hatched last year, over-summering here this year and are expected to migrate to the north only next spring. At least two torquatus were recorded – one photographed at Springleaf on 20 July by Alex Fok, and a tweeddale morph photographed at Upper Seletar Reservoir on 10 September by Deborah Friets.

The first Japanese Sparrowhawk was recorded on 13 September at Jalan Bahar, and on 26 September, Adrian Silas Tay recorded 28 at The Pinnacles Duxton, including a flock of 12. Aother eight were recorded at Henderson Waves on 28 September. All in, 47 early arriving Japanese Sparrowhawks were recorded.

The first three Chinese Sparrowhawks were recorded on 22 September at Tuas. They were followed by two on 27 September at Jelutong Tower, 3 on 28 September at Henderson Waves, and 8 on 29 September at Tuas.

Four Western Ospreys were recorded, with one at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) on 11 July having caught a big fish. The others were singles at the Botanic Gardens on 7 July, Seletar Dam on 14 September, and Marina Bay on 26 September.

Four Peregrine Falcons were recorded – an adult ernesti on 6 Jul at Telok Blangah; a juvenile of indeterminate race on 27 July at Pulau Ubin; a far individual at Marina Bay on 3 August, possibly an ernesti; and another at Kranji Marsh on 29 Sep.

PF Capture

A resident ernesti Peregrine Falcon, note the dark ‘helmet’ and rufous-buff wash on chest, Telok Blangah, 6 July 2019, by Ros Qian

For the resident raptors, seven diurnal species were recorded. Apart from the usual ones, there were records of the rare Crested Serpent Eagle at Pulau Ubin on 2 July & 8 September, and at Malcolm Road on 6 July & 6 September. Notably for nocturnal raptors, a recently fledged juvenile Spotted Wood Owl at Pasir Ris Park fell to the ground on 11 July, but managed to climb back up the tree to reunite with its parents.

For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report, Early Autumn Migration, Jul-Sep 2019.

Many thanks to everyone for their records and to Sim Chip Chye and Ros Qian for the use of their photos.