Author Archives: TAN Gim Cheong

Singapore Raptor Report, July-September 2017

PF, 170817, Ubin, Xu Weiting

Peregrine Falcon (ernesti subspecies), at Pulau Ubin, 17 August 2017, by Xu Weiting

Summary:

The Osprey, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Chinese Sparrowhawk and Peregrine Falcon were recorded during the July to September period. The Osprey was recorded in small numbers all 3 months, at the Kranji-Mandai and Yishun Dam areas. The 5 Oriental Honey Buzzards recorded from 13 July to 6 September are more likely to have stayed for the summer; and the first autumn arrival was on 24 September at Lorong Halus, followed by another on 25 September at Bidadari and small flocks on 30 September at Tuas. A torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzard tweeddale morph was photographed at Toa Payoh on 30 September.

The first arrival of the Japanese Sparrowhawk was on 24 September at Lorong Halus (3 birds), followed by singles at Bidadari and Jelutong Tower before the month ended. The first arrival of the Chinese Sparrowhawk was also on 24 September at Lorong Halus (2 birds), followed by an individual at Jelutong Tower later on. A Peregrine Falcon (ernesti subspecies) was recorded at Pulau Ubin on 17 August; another reported from the 39th floor of OCBC Building on 24 August was also seen feeding on feral pigeons on previous occasions.

CHE, 030917, Springleaf, Laurence Eu, 3DX_3089

A Changeable Hawk-eagle, adult pale morph, at Springleaf, 3 Sep 2017, by Laurence Eu

For the resident raptors, highlights included the locally rare Crested Serpent Eagle on 13 July at South Buona Vista Road. On 18 August at Little Guilin, a juvenile Grey-headed Fish Eagle was observed whining constantly in the presence of an adult, but just 2 weeks later, on 1 September, the adults were seen building a new nest on a tall tree.

A juvenile Crested Goshawk was recorded at Pasir Ris Park on 13 July, and Changi Village on 10 September, with a shrew in its talons; adults were recorded on 17 August at Kent Ridge Park, 21 August at Aljunied (2 birds), and 7 September at Sentosa, with a Plantain Squirrel in its talons. The Black-winged Kite was recorded on 9 July at Kranji Marsh, 10 July at Punggol Barat (2 birds) and 20 August at Changi Point Ferry Terminal. A Changeable Hawk-eagle which probably fledged sometime in June or earlier was seen on the nest at Dairy Farm area on 1 July and 15 July, maybe it was ‘homesick’.

Many thanks to everyone for their records and to Xu Weiting and Laurence Eu for the use of their photos.

Compiled by Tan Gim Cheong 

For a pdf version with more details pleas click Singapore Raptor Report, Early Autumn Migration, Jul-Sep 2017

 

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33rd Singapore Bird Race (2017) – Arbitrator’s Report

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Participants of the 33rd Singapore Bird Race

The 33rd Singapore Bird Race, held from 7-8 October 2017, saw the participation of 27 teams across three categories. The 20-hour ‘Marathon’ category attracted 4 teams, the 5-hour ‘Sprint’ category 11 teams and the ‘Photography’ category 12 teams.

Marathon Category – Winning Teams

Scouring the island from the Marina Bay to the Southern Ridges to Bukit Timah and Kranji-Sungei Buloh areas, the Weekend Birders (Silas Tay & Jerold Tan) topped the Marathon category with 101 species. The Malay Pot-bellied Laughingthrushes (Sutari Supari, Ali Jaafar, P Pandian & Soh Lay Bee) came in second with 89 species. Teams ChonkChonkChonk (Keita Sin, Sandra Chia & Geraldine Lee) and ChongChongChong (Justin Nai, Ng Shao Hua, Teo Hui Min & Wong Chee Weng) tied for third place with 85 species. Alas, all 4 teams in the Marathon category walked away with prizes! Congrats.

Sprint Category – Winning Teams

To minimise time spent travelling, most of the Sprint teams limited themselves to the Kranji-Sungei  Buloh areas. In this relatively small area, Team Darters (Alfred Chia, Desmond Lee, Lim Kim Keang & Albert Low) turned in an amazing 75 species to top the Sprint category. The Falconets (Benjamin Lee, Chung Yi Fei, Chua Chong Tzeh & Thereis Choo) came in second with 68 species. The team JSP (Simon Siow, Alyce Ang, Fance Chua & Jimmy Lee) was a close third with 66 species. Well done.

Photography Category – Winning Teams

The Horseshoe Crabs (Goh Cheng Teng & Lester Tan) topped the Photography category with 59 species caught on camera. The team Gotcha (Michael Toh, Jane Rogers & Doreen Ang) came in second with 42 species. Right behind them was TnT (Tay Sia Ping, Ting Tuan Eng & Gan Lee Hsia) at third with 41 species photographed. Great work.

With several teams having photographed 40-odd species according to their log sheets, the fight for second and third place in the photography category was a tight one. In the end, it boiled down to things such as ensuring the photos for all species listed were submitted, submitting the photos in readable format (i.e. jpg and not raw, which we couldn’t read) and how closely the logged name matched the checklist name, etc. Future teams please note!

Race highlights

All teams combined, a total of 150 species were recorded. Among these, 3 species are listed as rare. They are the Lesser Adjutant at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on 7 October at 6:11pm (an excellent record!); Little Grebe at Lorong Halus Wetlands on 8 Oct – both species were recorded by the Malay Pot-bellied Laughingthrushes; and the Blue-eared Kingfisher at Kranji Marshes on 8 Oct recorded by various teams.

Other interesting species included the Greater Sand Plover at SBWR on 7 Oct, Ruddy-breasted Crake at Satay by the Bay on 7 Oct, and the globally threatened Straw-headed Bulbul at Bukit Batok Nature Park on 7 Oct, and at SBWR and Hindhede Park on 8 Oct. Others on 8 Oct: Black-capped Kingfisher at Lorong Halus; Chinese Sparrowhawk and Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot at Kranji Marshes; Dark-sided Flycatcher and Slaty-breasted Rail at SBWR; Cinnamon Bittern at Neo Tiew Lane 3; Violet Cuckoo and Red-crowned Barbet at the Central Catchment Forests; Rusty-breasted Cuckoo at Neo Tiew area; Little Ringed Plover at Lim Chu Kang; Great-billed Heron at Seletar Dam; Blue-rumped Parrot at BTNR and Central Catchment Forests; Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Black-crested and Asian Red-eyed Bulbuls at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

A shout-out to fellow arbitrators Kenneth Kee, Morten Strange, See Toh Yew Wai and Francis Yap for generating the results so quickly.

Tan Gim Cheong
Chief Arbitrator, 33rd Singapore Bird Race

Bird Race Results

Position Marathon Category Score
1st Weekend Birders 101
2nd Malay Pot-bellied Laughingthrush 90
3rd ChonkChonkChonk & ChongChongChong 85
     
Position Sprint Category Score
1st Team Darters 75
2nd Falconets 68
3rd JSP 66
4th Jiak Hong Birders 61
5th Wings 58
6th Friends of Buloh 58
7th The Jiao Langs 53
8th Phalaropians 52
9th Robin’s Magpies 46
10th Bathawk, Robin & Penguin 37
11th Serendipity 33
     
Position Photography Category Score
1st Horshoe Crabs 59
2nd Gotcha 42
3rd T&T 41
4th Avian Pixels 40
5th JAWsome 40
6th The 3 Roosters 37
7th MNSJ Eagle 36
8th See & Shoot 33
9th The Trio 32
10th Wings of Johor 28
11th OK:-) 5
12th Kingfisher Blues

Singapore Bird Report – August 2017

Eurasian Curlew, 29-8-17, SBWR Hide 1D, STYW

Eurasian Curlew, at SBWR on 29 Aug, by See Toh Yew Wai

August was a busy month as the migrant species continue to arrive. On the 1st, Robin Tan had an Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia at SBWR. On the 2nd, an Orange-headed Thrush Geokichla citrina was found dead at Bendemeer Road by John Chan, probably after having crashed into the apartment flats. On the 3rd, David Li had a Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea at SBWR.

On the 5th, Frankie Cheong recorded the Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa at Pulau Tekong; while Martin Kennewell had a Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius at Kranji Marshes. On the 6th, Martin Kennewell recorded 4 Grey Plovers Pluvialis squatarola at Pulau Ubin. On the 7th, Luke Milo Teo and Francis Yap found a lone Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus at Seletar Dam. On the 11th, a rare Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx basalis, juvenile, was photographed at the Kranji Marshes by lucky Deepthi Chimalakonda and Tanvi DG.

Brown-streaked FC, 18-8-17, PRP, Francis Yap

Brown-streaked Flycatcher, at Jelutong Tower, on 18 Aug, by Francis Yap

On 13th, a rare Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni was recorded at Pasir Ris Park by “Trust Mind”; See Toh Yew Wai had even better luck, seeing an adult and a juvenile on the 14th; while Francis Yap saw the juvenile on the 15th; Seng Alvin saw it on 17th; and Con Foley had his on the 18th. At the Jeutong Tower, Francis photographed another Brown-streaked Flycatcher on the 18th.

Also on 13th, a Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone affinis, first of the season, was recorded at Venus Link by Siew Mun. On 21st, a Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis was photographed at Jurong Eco Garden by Luke Milo Teo. On 25th, Veronica Foo reported a Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis at SBWR in the late morning; while David Tan reported that an Eastern-crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus was found dead at Winsland House.

Terek Sandpiper, 27-8-17, Seletar Dam, Goh Cheng Teng

Terek Sandpiper, at Seletar Dam, on 27 Aug, by Goh Cheng Teng

On 27th, Goh Cheng Teng found a lone Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus at Seletar Dam. On 28th, Robin Tan photographed an Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata at SBWR; See Toh Yew Wai found it on 29th; and Lim Kim Keang reported that the bird was still around on the 31st.

On 28th, David Li recorded a flock of Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa at SBWR, and on 30th, Veronica Foo reported 10 birds in the afternoon. On 31st, Koji Ichiyama photographed a Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia at Dairy Farm Nature Park. A Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea was also photographed this month at Upper Changi Road East by Ramesh Thiruvengadam.

Gerals Chua

Stork-billed Kingfishers mating, at Pasir Ris, on 3rd Aug, by Gerals Chua

For the residents – Gerals Chua photographed a pair of Stork-billed Kingfishers Pelargopsis capensis mating at Pasir Ris Park on the 3rd; while Luke Milo Teo documented an adult Rufous Woodpecker Micropternus brachyurus feeding a juvenile at the Chinese Gardens.

Siew Siew Ang

White-rumped Munia at Chinese Gardens on 3rd Aug, by Ang Siew Siew

A White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata was photographed at the Chinese Gardens by Ang Siew Sew on the 3rd and seen again by See Toh Yew Wai on the 10th. On the 4th, James Tann recorded a Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis at the southern Ridges near Kent Ridge Park, and Laurence Eu had another of this secretive bird at Dempsey Hill on the 7th. On the 5th, a family of Ruddy-breasted Crakes Porzana fusca with 3 chicks were seen at the Gardens by the Bay by Terence Tan.

On the 7th, Alan OwYong recorded a Malaysian Pied Fantail Rhipidura javanica feeding an juvenile at the Chinese Gardens. On the 9th, James Tann saw 10 Pied Imperial Pigeons Ducula bicolor feeding on palm dates at Bukit Batok; Francis Yap photographed an Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis at the Chinese Gardens; and Dr Tan-Koi Wei Chuen reported several Grey Herons nesting at Pasir Ris Park. On the 10th, Seng Alvin photographed a juvenile Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana at Seletar Dam; while James Tann had an adult male Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu at the Green Corridor near Hillview Station.

During the NSS birding walk at Bishan Park for beginners on 13th, the Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus and Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo were recorded. On 16th, an Eastern Barn Owl Tyto delicatula was recorded at SBWR by Meena Vathyam; a Chestnut-winged Babbler Cyanoderma erythropterum at Old Upper Thomson Road by Marcel Finlay; and Tan Eng Boo spied a pair of Little Grebes Tachybaptus ruficollis mating at Lorong Halus Wetlands.

WB Crake, 14-8-17, Halus, Seng Alvin

White-browed Crakes, Lorong Halus Wetlands, 14 Aug, by Seng Alvin

On 14th, Seng Alvin recorded 2 usually secretive White-browed Crakes Amaurornis cinerea at Lorong Halus; on 16th Terence Tan photographed one; James Tann also photographed one on the 18th. On 18th, Francis Yap photographed a Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta at Jelutong Tower, while another was found dead at Lornie Road by Vincent Lao on the 26th.

On 20th, a Spotted Wood Owl was spotted at Pasir Ris Park by James Ngeo. On 22nd, Siew Mun photographed a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting at Jurong Eco Garden. On 24th, David Tan reported that a rare Black and Red Broadbill Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos crashed into Ubin Outward Bound School.

Pied Fantail, Aug 17, PRP, Harry Geno-Oehlers 2

Malaysian Pied Fantail at Pasir Ris, mid-August, by Harry Geno-Oehlers. This nest was placed on a single horizontal twig. On 18th, the nest was found to have swivelled downwards, emptying the nest of 2 young chicks.

On 30th, NParks announced that a family of Black-backed Swamphen Porphyrio indicus, including 2 juveniles, were seen ‘recently’ near a pond in the core conservation area, marking the 1st evidence of breeding since the opening of the marshes in March 2016. Alan OwYong reported the successful nesting of a pair of Grey-rumped Treeswifts Hemiprocne longipennis at One North Crescent, with the adult still feeding its young as at August. On 16th, Ang Siew Siew photographed a juvenile Pied Fantail apparently begging for food from its parent. Over at Pasir Ris Park, Harry Geno-Oehlers reported that the nest of a pair of Malaysian Pied Fantails toppled over, killing the 2 chicks; Seng Alvin added that it was the 3rd round of nesting. Finally on 31st, Terence Tan photographed a Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus at Kranji Marshes.

 

SBWR = Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

References:

Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. 2009 Nature Society (Singapore).

Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2013. John Beaufoy Publishing Limited.

Craig Robson. A field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South East Asia. 2000.

This report is compiled by Tan Gim Cheong and Alan OwYong from selected postings in various facebook birding pages, bird forums, individual reports and extracts from ebird. This compilation is not a complete list of birds recorded for the month and not all the records were verified. We wish to thank all the contributors for their records. Many thanks to See Toh Yew Wai, Francis Yap, Goh Cheng Teng, Gerals Chua, Ang Siew Siew,  Seng Alvin and Harry Geno-Oehlers for the the use of their photos. Please notify alan.owyong@gmail.com if you find errors in these records.

Pulau Ubin Nocturnal Bird Survey Report

Nocturnal Bird Survey Report at Pulau Ubin by Sandra Chia.

The nocturnal fauna of Singapore has long held the fascination of many nature-enthusiasts. From the inquisitive stare of the Buffy Fish Owl to the wide-eyed Sunda Scops Owl, nocturnal birds have been seen throughout the island, and garnered the attention of many. Several of us have seen owls on Pulau Ubin before, but how many are there exactly? And where?

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One of Ubin’s the Buffy Fish Owls. Photo: Sandra Chia.

To get a better understanding of the diversity and numbers of nocturnal birds present on Pulau Ubin, the Bird Group in collaboration with Nparks conducted its first ever Ubin night survey. On 22 July, while hordes of people were headed home after a long day at the beach, a group of us were headed towards Changi Point Ferry Terminal for a very different reason. Boarding a bumboat, 11 of us set off into the sunset for Pulau Ubin. Headed by an experienced leader, the group was further split into three teams of three to four surveyors each. Three survey routes were established, covering the east, west and central portions of Ubin.

Upon reaching the starting point of each survey route, the group embarked on a slow walk back to the kampong centre, that took about 2 hours. Whenever a nocturnal bird was encountered or heard, the species and coordinates of the encounter were jotted down and compiled into a datasheet thereafter. When nocturnal mammals were encountered, the species and location of the encounter were likewise noted down, on a separate datasheet.

In total, 16 individual birds were seen or heard. The most numerous were the Large-tailed Nightjar and Sunda Scops Owl, of which 6 individuals of each species were encountered throughout the survey. The Buffy Fish Owl and Black-crowned Night Heron were encountered once each, while the Savanna Nightjar was encountered twice. To our delight, Greater Mousedeer were seen by all three groups and one group even saw a herd of wild boar with 3 adults and 13 piglets!

datauri-file[1]

There is probably a much wider diversity and greater number of nocturnal birds on Ubin, based on historical sightings as well as the fact that there are many parts of Ubin our routes did not cover. For example, all species of owl known in Singapore are recorded on Ubin except for the Short-eared Owl. We hope to continue to conduct more nocturnal census and hopefully uncover more nocturnal birds on Ubin.

The Bird Group is grateful to all the survey leaders for leading the surveys and to all participants who assisted. The survey leaders included Lim Kim Keang, Willie Foo and Alfred Chia and participants included Sandra Chia, Emmanuel Goh, Dillen Ng, Lim Hong Yao and Tan Julin. We would also like to thank Robert Teo, Grace Ang, Joseph Lin and Jacky Soh from NParks for supporting our work.

Singapore Raptor Report – Late Spring Migration, April-June 2017

Jap SH, m, 250617, PRP CP C, Kozi Ichiyama, (informed by Fryap) crop

Japanese Sparrowhawk, male, at Pasir Ris Park, 25 June 2017, a new and amazingly late date for the species, by Kozi Ichiyama.

Summary:

Four migrant raptor species were recorded in the April to June period. They were the Osprey, Oriental Honey-buzzard, Japanese Sparrowhawk and Peregrine Falcon, all of which were also recorded during last year’s late spring migration.

The most amazing record must have been the Japanese Sparrowhawk photographed on 25th June at Pasir Ris Park by Kozi Ichiyama. This is a full month beyond the extreme date (25 May) in An Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Singapore and well beyond that in The Avifauna of Singapore (1 May). Elsewhere, singles of the Japanese Sparrowhawk were recorded at Bukit Timah and Kranji up to mid April, followed by 2 birds –  a male and a female – flying north at Punggol Barat on 16th April.

Of the 18 Oriental Honey Buzzards recorded, 1 was of the torquatus race and at least 12 were of the orientalis race. Of the orientalis race, 10 were juveniles or second calendar year birds – 4 of these young birds were recorded in April, 2 in May and 4 in June. There were also 2 adult orientalis in April. On 25 April, a young OHB was chased away from the tree where it had perched by a resident Grey-headed Fish Eagle. A single torquatus was recorded from April to June at the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio area.

A single Osprey was recorded at the Kranji-Sungei Buloh area from April to June, and another at Seletar in May. Two Peregrine Falcons were recorded, one at Church Street (migratory race) in April and another at Hindhede in May.

Sedentary Raptors

A Crested Serpent Eagle on 2nd April at Pulau Ubin was the only record of this rare raptor during this 3-month period. For the Grey-headed Fish Eagle, there were 3 at the Kranji-Sungei Buloh area, 2 at the Botanic Gardens, 2 at the Ubin-Changi area, 1 at Bukit Timah area and 1 at Jurong Lake. Small numbers (up to 3 together) of the Black-winged Kite were record at the Kranji-Sungei Buloh area and at the Punggol-Seletar area in all 3 months.

Two nestings of the White-bellied Sea Eagle were observed during this period, one at Pasir Ris (2 chicks) and another at West Coast Park (at least 1 chick). Elsewhere, this common raptor was observed in many areas, with up to 6 birds at any one time. For the Crested Goshawk, there was another successful nesting, with 2 chicks, at the Singapore Botanic Gardens during this 3-month period. Elsewhere, apart from 3 birds calling at West Coast Park on 1st June, all other records were mostly of single birds.

The common Brahminy Kite was recorded in all 3 months and a max of 18 was recorded at Kranji Marsh in April. For the uncommon Changeable Hawk Eagle, records were mostly singles, mainly from the Central Forest areas, Kranji-Sungei Buloh and Simpang Kiri-Punggol stretch. 

addendum to March Raptor Report
2 adults and 1 juvenile Grey-headed Fish Eagle, which was being fed, at Little Guilin was recorded on 27 March 2017 by Keita Sin.

For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report, Late Spring Migration, Apr-Jun 2017

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Kozi Ichiyama for the use of his photo.

Singapore Raptor Report – March 2017

OHB cover

Oriental Honey Buzzard, pale morph (left) at Alexandra Road on 9 Mar 2017 & dark morph (right) on at the Botanic Gardens on 18 Mar 2017, both by Laurence Eu.

Summary for migrant species:

In March, 176 raptors of 8 migrant species were recorded. The Black Baza was the most numerous with 70 birds, of which 39 were recorded at the Kranji Marshes on the 4th and another 20 at the National University of Singapore (NUS) on the 20th. The Oriental Honey Buzzard, with 54 birds, was the next in line and 11 were recorded at the NUS on the 21st, all heading north. Of the 32 Japanese Sparrowhawks recorded, 11 were seen at the NUS on the 22nd.

Ten Chinese Sparrowhawks were recorded this month, good numbers for this uncommon migrant. Apart from one bird at Jelutong Tower, the other nine were all recorded at the NUS. Four Ospreys were recorded, at the Seletar Dam and Sungei Buloh – Kranji Marshes areas. On the 9th, one Osprey at Sungei Buloh had its catch stolen by a White-bellied Sea Eagle. Four Peregrine Falcons were recorded; none of the resident race.

A Grey-faced Buzzard at Kranji Marshes on the 19th was a very good record for this rather uncommon migrant.  Lastly, an Oriental Scops Owl, unfortunately, flew into a glass panel at the NUS on the 9th.

CGH,-180317,-SBTB,-Saravanan,-w

Crested Goshawk, juvenile, feeding on a young Monitor Lizard, at Satay by the Bay, 18 Mar 2017, by Saravanan Krishnamurthy

Highlights for sedentary species:

A huge nest on a tall tree at Pasir Ris holding two young chicks of the White-bellied Sea Eagle was reported on the 3rd. At the Botanic Gardens, the Crested Goshawk pair was seen mating on the 7th and reinforcing their nest with sticks, around one month after their first brood of chicks had fledged. Over at Punggol, the Black-winged Kites were seen mating on the 18th, also about a month after their chick had fledged.

As for the Grey-headed Fish Eagle, there were records from Kranji Marshes (4th & 5th), Sungei Serangoon (5th) and Seletar (19th) but none from Little Guilin, where it was reported on the 7th that the nest tree had fallen. A rare Crested Serpent Eagle was recorded at Pulau Ubin on the 12th. At Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on the 17th, a juvenile pale morph Changeable Hawk-Eagle was seen raiding the nest of a Striated Heron and flying off with a chick in its talons. A loose flock of 17 Brahminy Kites was reported at Kranji Marshes on the 5th. Lastly, a torquatus tweeddale morph Oriental Honey Buzzard was recorded at Pasir Ris Park on the 2nd and another juvenile torquatus tweeddale moph at Jelutong Tower on the 26th.

Table 1

Addendum to February 2017 Singapore Raptor Report:

A rufous morph Oriental Scops Owls (OSO) was recorded at Dairy Farm Nature Park in a well concealed position on 10 Feb 2017, by Keita Sin (Note: two OSO – a grey and a rufous morph – were reported at the same locality from 10 to 22 Jan 2017). Additional records on 19 Feb 2017 at Kranji Marshes: 4 Black Bazas, 1 Brahminy Kite, 1 White-bellied Sea Eagle, 1 Grey-headed Fish Eagle, plus 4 un-identified raptors, suspected to be Oriental Honey Buzzards, all recorded by Henrietta Woo.  

For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report – Mar 2017

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Laurence Eu and Saravanan Krishnamurthy for the use of their photos.

Singapore Raptor Report – February 2017

TGC_4374,-Chinese-Sparrowhawk,-female

Chinese Sparrowhawk, adult female, Ang Mo Kio, 17 Feb 2017, by Tan Gim Cheong.

Summary for migrant species:

In February, 66 individuals of 7 migrant species were recorded. While the 26 Oriental Honey Buzzards were similar to last February’s numbers, the 19 Black Bazas represented a drop of more than half compared to last February. All the Black Bazas were recorded at the Punggol – Pasir Ris – Tampines area. Six Jerdon’s Baza were recorded, five at Punggol on the 4th and one at Pasir Ris Park on the 12th, good numbers for this species.

Jerdon's Baza, 040217, Punggol East, Danny Lau, another bird

Jerdon’s Baza, Punggol East, 4 Feb 2017, by Danny Lau.

Of the six Peregrine Falcons recorded, two adults were photographed fighting at Seletar Airport vicinity on the 27th. Three Japanese Sparrowhawks were recorded; two of them, adult males, on the 6th at Changi Business Park and 10th at Bidadari, showed signs of moult, similar to what was observed last February, and had only 4 ‘fingers’ instead of the usual 5 ‘fingers’. Five Ospreys were recorded, including three over Bukit Timah Hill on the 20th. Two Chinese Sparrowhawks were recorded, one at Kent Ridge Park on the 2nd and another, an adult female, at Ang Mo Kio on the 5th, 17th and 19th.

CSE,-100217,-Kent-Ridge,-Gavan-Leong-(3rd-yr-burmanicus,-Chaiyan),-DSC_2596,-original,-w

Crested Serpent Eagle, 3rd year burmanicus, Kent Ridge Park, 10 Feb 2017, by Gavan Leong

A Crested Serpent Eagle photographed at Kent Ridge Park on the 10th by Gavan Leong turned out to be a 3rd year burmanicus, thanks to Dr Chaiyan for his expertise. This is the second occurrence of the burmanicus form, a short distance migrant from Indo-China, to Singapore. The previous record was in September and November 2014 when an individual was photographed at the Japanese Gardens. Ferguson-Lees & Christie (2001) indicates that malayensis is distinctly smaller than adjacent burmanicus, cheeks and throat darker brown, underparts more clearly spotted and barred white. Birders are encouraged to photograph any Crested Serpent Eagle encountered and post them online for identification of subspecies.

TGC_3919,-Crested-Goshawk

Crested Goshawk, fledgling, exercising its wings, Ang Mo Kio, 17 Feb 2017, by Tan Gim Cheong.

Highlights for sedentary species:

This month, there were significant developments for the Crested Goshawk, an uncommon resident. Not one, but four separate nestings were reported, with a total of 8 chicks fledging from the nests. Unfortunately, the Bedok North nesting suffered 2 misfortunes. First, the male was found dead on the roadside when the chicks were still on the nest. Fortunately, prey (mainly Javan Myna and rats) is plentiful in the area and the female was able to raise the 2 chicks on her own until they fledged. The second misfortune was the removal of one of the Bedok North chicks from the mother on the day of fledging, brought to a vet the next day, given a clean bill of health and released back into the wild on the same day at an unspecified location, to fend for itself. This was due to a series of well-intended human actions which may not have been appropriate. Considering that the remaining fledgling continued to be fed by its mother for another 2 weeks, it would probably be miraculas for the solitary fledgling to survive on its own. The four nestings, together with a few other sightings elsewhere, brought the tally of the Crested Goshawk to an all time high of 19 birds.

Other nesting records included the Black-winged Kite at Pulau Punggol on the 18th, with one chick seemingly ready to fledge; the White-bellied Sea Eagle at Pasir Ris on the 26th, with 2 young chicks still covered in white down feathers; and a Grey-headed Fish Eagle on its nest at Jurong. An adult torquatus tweeddale morph Oriental Honey Buzzzard was photographed at Pasir Ris Park on the 14th and 28th. The Brahminy Kite and Changeable Hawk-Eagle completed the roundup for the month.

Table 1

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Danny Lau and Gavan Leong for the use of their photos.

For a pdf version, please click here Singapore Raptor Report – Feb 2017

 

 

Migrant Raptors 2016 – the Year in Review

TGC_4323-Imperial-Eagle-mobbed-pano

Eastern Imperial Eagle being chased by House Crows, Pulau Ubin, 27 Dec 2016, by Tan Gim Cheong

A total of 1,623 records of migrant raptors spanning 21 species were obtained in the year 2016. The Oriental Honey Buzzard topped the chart with 1,200 records. The Black Baza was a distant second with 178 records, followed by the Japanese Sparrowhawk with 125 records.

Dropping down to double digits, there were 31 records of the Osprey, 27 for the Peregrine Falcon, and 22 for the Chinese Sparrowhawks. Do note that the Osprey comprise winter visitors and non-breeding visitors and the same few birds may have been recorded month after month. The Peregrine Falcon comprise a mix of winter visitors and passage migrants, while a greater percentage of Chinese Sparrowhawks are passage migrants.

In the single digits (consider yourself very lucky if you had seen these !), there were the Booted Eagle & Jerdon’s Baza with 7 records; the Common Kestrel with 5 records; the Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle with 4 records; the Northern Boobook & Common Buzzard with 3 records; and the Eastern Marsh Harrier & Black Kite with 2 records.

Now for the single records (it’s like striking lottery, isn’t it?), there was the Amur Falcon, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Grey-faced Buzzard, Pied Harrier, Oriental Scops Owl, Eastern Imperial Eagle, and the huge Himalayan Vulture.

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The monthly distribution of the raptors is shown below:

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Monthly species diversity picks up in October and tapers off from March onward:

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Distribution of OHB in the year, they should be passing through in the opposite direction in the month of March (anyone out there now?) :

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Distribution of Black Baza in the year:

Black Baza

Distribution of Japanese Sparrowhawk in the year:

JSH

Distribution of Osprey in the year:

osprey

Distribution of Peregrine Falcon in the year:

Peregrine

Distribution of Chinese Sparrowhawk in the year:

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Rare records of 8 species, (start looking in October) :

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Single records of 7 species, December was the best month for the rarities:

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Singapore Raptor Report – January 2017

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Oriental Scops Owl, rufous morph, roosting, Dairy Farm Nature Park, 10 Jan 2017, by Tan Gim Cheong

Summary for migrant species:

The highlight for January was the two Oriental Scops Owls at Dairy Farm Nature Park first seen on the 10th. Amazingly, both the grey and rufous morph of this rare migrant were present, roosting on the same tree next to the Wallace Education Centre!

All in, a total of 106 migrant raptors of 8 species were recorded. The Black Baza claimed the top spot with 43 birds, relegating the Oriental Honey Buzzard to the second place with 40 birds. There were 11 Japanese Sparrowhawks, including a juvenile feeding on a Zebra Dove at Pasir Ris Park on the 2nd.

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Oriental Scops Owl, grey morph, which was more alert and often opened its eyes, Dairy Farm Nature Park, 10 Jan 2017, by Tan Gim Cheong

Two Jerdon’s Bazas were first photographed at Chek Jawa on the 14th, and 2 birds photographed at Pasir Ris Park on the 18th were most likely the same individuals. The juvenile Eastern Imperial Eagle was still at Pulau Sekudu on the 1st and 2nd. Unfortunately, there was an oil spill on the 3rd which affected the area and the eagle was not seen again until the 8th when it appeared briefly in the afternoon and was photographed. After that it was not seen again.

There were 4 Peregrine Falcons, including a juvenile in pursuit of a Grey Plover in level flight at Pulau Ubin. The young Peregrine failed to catch the agile Grey Plover. Of the 3 Ospreys, 1 was at Pulau Ubin and 2 at Kranji Marshes. The absence of the Chinese Sparrowhawk was notable.

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Crested Goshawk, male (left), female (right), Bedok North, 23 Jan 2017, by Tan Gim Cheong.

Highlights for sedentary species:

January was a good month for the rare Crested Serpent Eagle as 4 birds were recorded – one at Pulau Ubin, one at the Kent Ridge area and two at Sembawang. Amazingly, 12 Crested Goshawks were recorded, probably the highest number ever in a month! Two adults and 2 juveniles at West Coast Park, a chick on a nest near the top of a raintree at the Botanic Gardens and a pair with 2 young chicks on a nest among the thick foliage of a tree in the car park of an HDB estate in Bedok North bode well for the population of this uncommon resident.

A single adult male torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzzard was photographed at Jelutong Tower on the 6th, and a single Black-winged Kite was recorded at Pulau Punggol on the 14th. On the 26th, 8 White-bellied Sea Eagles comprising 3 adults and 5 immatures were present at the same time at Chek Jawa, with a number of them harassing a Great-billed Heron which had caught a catfish. The Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Brahminy Kite and Changeable Hawk-Eagle completed the roundup for the month.

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For the pdf version, please click singapore-raptor-report-jan-2017

9th SINGAPORE RAPTOR WATCH REPORT

Autumn 2016 Migration – 6 Nov 2016

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Peregrine Falcon at Tuas South Avenue 16, 6 Nov 2016, by Tan Gim Cheong

The 9th Singapore raptor watch was held on Sunday, 6 November 2016 and involved 72 participants – the largest number of participants thus far. It had been raining the past few days prior and we were lucky that it did not rain during the count, although we had overcast conditions almost the whole day. We counted 343 raptors representing 7 migrant species and 92 raptors of 6 resident species. A further 41 raptors could not be identified to species level. There were 8 raptor watch sites and the numbers counted at each site varied from a high of 164 to a low of 4.

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Apart from the addition of Hindhede Quarry, the other seven sites were the same ones as previous years, thanks to all the site leaders for their faithful support!

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Most of the migrant raptors were recorded between 9am to 1pm, with the numbers trailing off later in the afternoon. Oriental Honey Buzzards migrating across Tuas South from 10-11am and 12-1pm contributed to the two ‘mini-peaks’ in the graph below.

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The Oriental Honey Buzzards (OHB) was the most numerous migrant raptor counted, with 289 birds. Being the most widespread, the OHB was recorded at all the 8 sites. Highest numbers for the OHB were at Tuas South Avenue 16 (139 birds), Japanese Garden (43 birds) and Kent Ridge Park (39 birds).

Usually, the Black Bazas would constitute the second highest count, but not this year. The second spot was claimed by the 38 Japanese Sparrowhawks, which was recorded at six out of 8 sites, with 16 birds at the Japanese Gardens alone. Only ten Black Bazas were counted at two sites – 9 at Lorong Halus Wetlands and 1 at Puaka Hill on Pulau Ubin.

Two Booted Eagles – one at Japanese Gardens and the other at Changi Business Park – were exceptional for this scarce passage migrant. Only two Peregrine Falcons and one Common Kestrel were counted, and all three birds were recorded at Tuas South. The one and only Chinese Sparrowhawk was recorded at Lorong Halus Wetlands.

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For the resident species, the total count was 92 birds of 6 species, one more species than the year before – the addition being the Crested Goshawk. The count for the resident raptors comprised 43 Brahminy Kites, 29 White-bellied Sea Eagles, 11 Changeable Hawk Eagles, 4 Grey-headed Fish Eagles, 3 Black-winged Kites, and 2 Crested Goshawks. The decrease in the count for the Black-winged Kites was notable.

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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.

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Summary:    

Number of raptors
– 343 migrant raptors.
– 41 un-identified raptors.
– 92 resident raptors.

 Number of species
13 species counted, including:
– 7 migrant species.
– 6 resident species.

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

Capture, Fig 7.JPG

Thanks to all the 72 wonderful birders, both leaders and participants, for spending their Sunday out in the open to count raptors. National Parks Board staff and NParks volunteers also participated.  The following fantastic people led or assisted in the raptor count:

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This report was compiled by TAN Gim Cheong

Please click on the link for a pdf version of the report 9th-singapore-raptor-watch-2016