Six migrant raptor species were recorded during this period compared with four in most other years. A Chinese Sparrowhawk Accipiter soloensis photographed by Jared Tan at Sentosa on 25th June came as a huge surprise, as it should have been at its breeding grounds now, and this individual is unseasonally late. The three other records for this species were on 1st April at Telok Blangah Hill Park, 2nd April at Henderson Waves (3 birds), and 9th April at Dairy Farm Nature Park.
The only record for the Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes was a flock of 25 at Henderson Waves on 2nd April, recorded by Zac C. In some years, this species is not recorded from April onwards for spring migration.
The twelve Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus on 2nd April – eight at Henderson Waves and four at Pinnacle@Duxton – might have been the last migrants to head north for the breeding grounds. There were another 13 records in April, 12 in May and 9 in June, and where photos were available, were all immatures, which would be over-summering here.
Fifty four Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis were recorded between 1st to 19th April, a high number compared with only five last April. Three Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus were recorded, one adult at Bangkit Road on 18th April, one at Chek Jawa on 25th April, and a juvenile at Sembawang from 18th April to 3rd May. Small numbers of Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus were also recorded between April to June.
The biggest surprise came in the form of a tiny Black-thighed Falconet Microhierax fringillarius photographed by Art Toh at Goldhill Avenue on 30th May, doing what the species like to do – perching on the top of a bare branch. Unfortunately, it did not stay long. Apart from the juvenile at Yishun in February this year, the last confirmed record for this species was more than 30 years ago, amazing.
The next great find was the first breeding record of the Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela, for which a fresh juvenile was photographed by Tan YinLing on 25th May at Goldhill Avenue. For the next two weeks it appeared on and off alone, and it was only on 8th June that lucky Koh Lian Heng managed to see an adult catching a skink and then passing it to the juvenile before flying off, leaving the juvenile to feed by itself, showing that it had recently fledged and was still dependent on its parents. On 10th June, Zacc HD had the good fortune of seeing the adult serpent eagle holding a snake, and the juvenile flew to the same perch, no doubt to feed on the prey. Other records of the serpent eagle came from Pulau Ubin, on 7th and 10th April, and a sub-adult at Upper Peirce Reservoir on 1st June.
There were breeding records for five other resident raptors. Three nestlings of the Brahminy Kite Haliastur Indus were noted by Lee Chin Pong on 3rd April at Dover Road. On 24th May, three Changeable Hawk-Eagles Nisaetuscirrhatus, an adult and two fresh juveniles, all pale morphs, were photographed at Tampines Avenue 12, where a pair has had a nest for a number of years. On 1st June, a fresh juvenile Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus that was apparently still dependent on its parents for food was photographed by Ash Foo at Little Guilin.The Crested Goshawks Accipiter trivirgatus at Sin Ming raised a second brood and two chicks were noted on 5th April, however one died on 15th April and the remaining chick was seen perching a few metres outside the nest on 23rd April. Another Crested Goshawk nest was discovered at Toa Payoh on 5th May, with an adult on the nest.
There were five nesting records for the White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster. The pair at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve bred again this season and two chicks were out of the nest on 30 May. The pair at Fort Canning also bred again, re-using their old nest which held two chicks on 7th June. At Loyang Avenue, an active nest was reported on 25th April, and two fully grown chicks were recorded on 29th May. At Yishun Avenue 1, a nest with two chicks was seen on 26th April, and at West Coast Park, a chick was reported to have made its maiden flight on 23rd June.
There were breeding records for five species of nocturnal raptors. A fledgling Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus was photographed at Rifle Range Link on 4th April, while two adults, presumably its parents, were seen the day prior at the same locality.
On 19th April, a family of Spotted Wood Owls Strix seloputo with two chicks was spotted at Pasir Ris Park, and one of the chicks was already out of its nest, which was fittingly a bird’s nest fern. The other chick was also out of the nest on 27th April. At Benjamin Shears bridge, a fully grown Eastern Barn Owl Tyto javanicachick was spotted on 27th April, with its parent.
In May, a fledgling Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji was photographed at the Botanic Gardens, and the adults were seen bringing food to the young owl. On 26th June, a family of Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata with two fledglings was discovered at Hindhede Nature Park.
On 10th June, the mixed Brown Fish Owl Ketupa zeylonensisandBuffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupupair was spotted at Hindhede Quarry, together with their hybrid offspring. This family was first discovered in February 2021.
Many thanks to everyone for posting / sending in / sharing their records, and to Jared Tan & Art Toh for the use of their photos.
For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report, Late Spring Migration, Apr-Jun 2021