Monthly Archives: January 2022

Singapore Raptor Report – December 2021

Cinereous Vulture, 291221, SBG, Vincent Yip

Cinereous Vulture, SBG Learning Forest, 29 Dec 2021, by Vincent Yip

Summary for migrant species:

Five rarities were recorded in December, including a species new to Singapore. The Amur Falcon Falco amurensis that arrived in November was still around at Lorong Halus / Punggol until 14 Dec 2021. Amazing photos by Lai Yeu Huan show the falcon stealing katydids carried by flying Digger Wasps Sphex diabolicus, with the wasp letting go of the katydid at the last moment. The kleptoparasitic behaviour was repeated many times, allowing other photographers to also capture the theft on camera.

On 9 Dec 2021, a Rufous-bellied Eagle Lophotriorchis kienerii was photographed at Kranji Marshes. A Black Kite Milvus migrans showed up at the Neo Tiew area on 12 Dec 2021 and was recorded sporadically through the month.

On 8 Dec 2021, a single Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis was seen at Dairy Farm Nature Park, and at the Botanic Gardens. Then on 27 Dec 2021, a flock of five vultures were seen flying over Tan Tock Seng Hospital towards Orchard Road area. Those following the vultures over the next few days eventually found them perched in the vicinity of the Botanic Gardens, and they were astonishingly in the company of a Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus, a first record!

HV, 301221, SBG, Wong Sangmen

Himalayan Vulture, SBG Learning Forest, 30 Dec 2021, by Wong Sangmen

Scarce migrant raptors included a juvenile Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus wintering at Telok Blangah Hill Park, a juvenile Eastern Marsh Harrier Circus spilonotus at Neo Tiew area on 15 Dec 2021, a Common Buzzard Buteo buteo at Holland Road area on 29 Dec 2021

Six Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni were recorded, with four of them at Coney Island most of the time. Six Chinese Sparrowhawks Accipiter soloensis were recorded, including the site faithful female at Ang Mo Kio, and two birds at Coney Island.

Twenty one Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis were recorded throughout Singapore, whereas the 35 Black Bazas Aviceda leuphotes were mostly at Neo Tiew and Coney-Pasir Ris areas.

There were also 36 migrant Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus, two Western Ospreys Pandion haliaetus, and twelve migrant Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus, many perched on tall buildings.

Amur Falcon, posted 041221, Lai Yeu Huan

Amur Falcon, about to catch a katydid as the digger wasp releases its prey, 4 Dec 2021, by Lai Yeu Huan.

Highlights for sedentary species:

Breeding-related activities were noted for four resident species. Mating was observed for a pair of Brahminy Kites Haliastur Indus at East Coast Park on 20 Dec 2021, and at West Coast Park on 24 Dec 2021. For the White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster, an adult pair mated at SBWR on 24 Dec 2021, while a pair comprising an adult female and an immature male was in a mating position at Pasir Ris Park on 25 Dec 2021. At Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, an adult Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus was seen in flight carrying a stick, apparently for nest-building. At Pasir Ris Park, a nest of the Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus held two chicks, with the mother in attendance, catching a young monitor lizard on 21 Dec 2021.

WBSE mating, 251221, PRP, Wong Sangmen 2

White-bellied Sea Eagles in mating position, immature male on top, Pasir Ris Park, 25 Dec 2021, by Wong Sangmen

The rare Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela was only recorded at Goldhill Avenue (7 Dec 2021), and at Pulau Ubin. An adult ernesti Peregrine Falcon was photographed at Central Boulevard on 27 Dec 2021. A male torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzard was recorded at the Botanic Gardens on 4 Dec 2021 and at Gilman Barracks on 12 Dec 2021, while an immature was recorded at Jelutong Tower on 9 Dec 2021. The other diurnal resident raptors recorded were the Black-winged Kite and Changeable Hawk-Eagle.

For the nocturnal raptors, an Eastern Barn Owl Tyto javanica was recorded at Kusu Island on 4 Dec 2021, and a juvenile Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji at Sentosa on 12 Dec 2021. In addition to two Barred Eagle Owls Bubo sumatranus at Rifle Range Link on 9 Dec 2021, one was at NTU on 16 Dec 2021 and another at Labrador Park on 28 Dec 2021. And for the Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu, the pair at Hampstead Wetlands mated on 2 Dec 2021 and an individual was seen at Berlayer Creek on 19 Dec 2021.

Table 1

Addendum to November 2021 Raptor Report

A juvenile Pied Harrier Circus melanoleucos was photographed at Sungei Buloh on 26 Nov 2021 by Kin Hong Pun.

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Vincent Yip, Lai Yeu Huan and Wong Sangmen for the use of their photos.

For a pdf version with more details please click Singapore Raptor Report – Dec 2021

First ever sightings of 12 species of birds for Singapore in 2021, a summary

By Geoff Lim

The year 2021 was an incredible year with many species of birds seen for the first time in Singapore. Here’s a quick summary of what showed up.

1. Siberian House Martin Delichon lagopodum

Found by: Fadzrun A. (ID by Frank Rheindt)
Location: Neo Tiew Harvest Lane
Date: 3 January 2021
Remarks: another sighting on 28 December 2021 at Marina East by Oliver Tan

Siberian House Martin, 281221, MED, Art Toh, same 3

Siberian House Martin, photo by Art Toh, Marina East, 28 Dec 2021

2. Brown Fish Owl Ketupa zeylonensis

Found by: Jackie Yeo (ID by Tan Gim Cheong)
Location: Hindhede Nature Park
Date: 17 February 2021
Remarks: Jan Tan’s photo of an owl at Singapore Quarry on 3 August 2019 turned out to be a Brown Fish Owl , making hers the first sighting.

Brown and Buffy Fish Owl, 220221, Hindhede, TGC

Brown Fish Owl, shown next to a Buffy Fish Owl, composite photo by Tan Gim Cheong, Hindhede Nature Park, 22 Feb 2021

3. Wedge-tailed Shearwater Ardenna pacifica

Found by: William Khaw (ID by Eric Tan)
Location: Bishan – Ang Mo Kio Park
Date: 23 June 2021

Shearwater, 230621, BAMK, Art Toh

Wedge-tailed Shearwater, photo by Art Toh, Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, 23 June 2021

4. Javan Plover Charadrius javanicus

Found by: Frankie Cheong (ID by James Eaton)
Location: Reclaimed land off northeast SG
Date: 16 July 2021
Remarks: another sighting on 17 December 2021 at Marina East by Pary Sivaraman

Javan Plover, 150721, Tekong, Frankie Cheong

Javan Plover, photo by Frankie Cheong, 16 July 2021

5. Ashy-headed Green Pigeon Treron phayrei

Found by: Yip Jen Wei ( ID with Martin Kennewell)
Location: Dillenia Hut, Central Catchment
Date: 9 October 2021

1, AHGP, Art Toh, 101021, crop

Ashy-headed Green Pigeon, photo by Art Toh, CCNR, 10 Oct 2021

6. Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata

Found by: Alex Kang (ID by Yang Chee Meng & Yong Ding Li)
Location: Kent Ridge Park
Date: 15 October 2021

4, Spotted FC, Geoff, 231021

Spotted Flycatcher, photo by Geoff Lim, Kent Ridge Park, 23 Oct 2021

7. Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis

Found by: Soo Kok Choong (ID by Vincent Yip)
Location: Ulu Pandan PCN – Clementi Road junction
Date: 23 October 2021

6, Tree Pipit, LKS, 311021

Tree Pipit, photo by Lim Kim Seng, Ulu Pandan PCN – Clementi Road junction, 31 Oct 2021

8. Pale-legged Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus tenellipes

Found by: Yong Ding Li, Sreekar Rachakonda
Location: Petai Trail, MacRitchie Reservoir
Date: 12 November 2021

Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, 251121, Petai, TGC

Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, photo by Tan Gim Cheong, Petai Trail, 25 Nov 2021

9. Long-eared Owl Asio otus

Found by: Choo Shiu Ling (ID by Tim Marshall)
Location: Marina East
Date: 20 November 2021

Long-eared Owl, 201121, MED, Shiu Ling FBBS, crop

Long-eared Owl, photo by Choo Shiu Ling, Marina East, 20 Nov 2021

10. Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros

Found by: Ian Cash (ID by Art Toh)
Location: Jambol Place
Date: 28 November 2021

Black Redstart, 061221, Jambol Place, Art Toh 1

Black Redstart, photo by Art Toh, Jambol Place, 6 Dec 2021

11. Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris

Found by: Gabriel Koh
Location: Marina East
Date: 13 December 2021

Common Starling, 141221, MED, Lee Chin Pong

Common Starling, photo by Lee Chin Pong, Marina East Drive, 14 Dec 2021

12. Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus

Found By: Cecilia Lee, Justin Jing Liang (ID by Martin Kennewell)
Location: Forest west of Tyersall Avenue
Date: 29 December 2021

Cinereous Vulture, 301221, SBG, Danny Khoo

Cinereous Vulture, photo by Danny Khoo, SBG, 30 Dec 2021

This is a summary of the birds seen for the first time in Singapore in 2021.

Accepted records will be inserted into the NSS Bird Checklist is due course.

Thanks to Art Toh, Tan Gim Cheong, Frankie Cheong, Geoff Lim, Lim Kim Seng, Choo Shiu Ling, Lee Chin Pong and Danny Khoo for allowing us to use their photos.