Author Archives: TAN Gim Cheong

Singapore Raptor Report – February 2017

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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.

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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.

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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

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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:

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Distribution of Japanese Sparrowhawk in the year:

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Distribution of Osprey in the year:

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Distribution of Peregrine Falcon in the year:

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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:

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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

Singapore Raptor Report – December 2016

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Eastern Imperial Eagle, juvenile, Pulau Ubin, 28 Dec 2016, by Robin Tan

Summary for migrant species:

An uncommon Grey-faced Buzzard (adult) photographed by Thio Hui Bing on the 1st on Pulau Ubin after rain was a good start for the month. The next day, on the 2nd, two rare raptors showed up: a grey morph Oriental Scops Owl photographed by Gavan Leong in the daytime, also on Pulau Ubin and a juvenile Black Kite photographed by Francis Yap at Jelutong Tower.

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Grey-faced Buzzard, Pulau Ubin, 1 Dec 2016, by Thio Hui Bing

Not to be outdone, a very rare Amur Falcon was photographed by Yip Peng Sun at Yishun Dam on the morning of the 16th – this being the second record for Singapore since the first occurrence on 21 Nov 2007.

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Amur Falcon, Yishun Dam, 16 Dec 2016, by Yip Peng Sun

The streak of rarities culminated with a juvenile Imperial Eagle, again on Pulau Ubin. The last record being on 18 Nov 2001, 15 years ago. First photographed on the 19th, the Imperial Eagle was relocated on the 27th at the same spot and appeared there everyday till the 31st, giving birders here a great opportunity to see this rarity. A juvenile Imperial Eagle photographed on the 24th at the eastern part of Singapore main island was most likely the same individual. As is the case with migrant eagles, this individual was occasionally mobbed by resident House Crows and Brahminy Kites.

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Eastern Imperial Eagle, juvenile, Pulau Ubin, 28 Dec 2016, by Frankie Cheong

A dark morph Booted Eagle was still wintering at Pulau Punggol Barat and the nearby areas, being recorded on the 3rd, 10th, 17th and 26th. Two Ospreys were recorded around the usual areas near the northern coast of Singapore. For the Accipiters, six Japanese Sparrowhawks were recorded, but none for the Chinese Sparrowhawk. Five Peregrine Falcons (3 juveniles, 1 adult, 1 un-aged) were recorded around the island, quite a good number for this uncommon species.

A total of 36 Black Bazas were recorded on the northern areas from Sungei Buloh to Pasir Ris, the largest flock being 15-strong at Punggol Barat. For the Oriental Honey Buzzard, 45 were recorded, the largest flock comprised 11 birds at Sungei Buloh on the 3rd, probably on migration. On the 15th, there was a sight report of a juvenile Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle, which cannot be verified due to the possibility of confusion with other similar-looking species.

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White-bellied Sea Eagle, immature, Pulau Ubin, 27 Dec 2016, by Tan Gim Cheong

Highlights for sedentary species:

By the 22nd, the Grey-headed Fish Eagle chick on the nest at Little Guilin had fledged – another successful nesting for the species at the same locality. Other records of this fish eagle came from Kranji Marshes (on 10th & 26th) and Pulau Ubin (on 15th & 29th).

The Crested Goshawk was recorded from the Botanic Gardens (adult on 3rd & 13th), West Coast Park (juvenile on 7th & 20th) and Sengkang Floating Wetlands (juvenile on 17th).  There were 2 torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzzards; the adult tweeddale morph recorded at Pasir Ris Park the previous month was still around on the 10th, 17th and 21st, while a juvenile tweeddale morph first recorded last month at Ang Mo Kio was photographed at the nearby Bishan Park on the 24th and 25th.

For the Changeable Hawk-Eagle, it was notable that nesting was observed at Mount Faber on the 20th. The White-bellied Sea Eagle, Brahminy Kite, and Black-winged Kite completed the roundup for the month.

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Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Robin Tan, Yip Peng Sun, Thio Hui Bing and Frankie Cheong for the use of their photos.

For a pdf version with more details, please click singapore-raptor-report-dec16

 

 

First observation of Necrophilia (sex with the dead) in the Red Turtle Dove

Early in January 2016, while driving along Lim Chu Kang Lane 1, I stopped the car to photograph a male Red Turtle Dove, Streptopelia tranquebarica, that was flushed by traffic up a lamp post.

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A male Red Turtle Dove on a lamp post

Moments later, the dove flew down to the road and started to puff itself up around a brownish clump lying motionless on the road.

Looking through my binoculars, i realised that it was displaying to a dead female Red Turtle Dove! I’ve never seen a live bird displaying to a dead one – interesting indeed.

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Male Red Turtle Dove displaying to a dead female

 

After a while, the male started to climb on top of the dead female.

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The male climbing on top of the dead female. (note the position of the female’s tail).

Then the male sat on the female and copulated, or attempted to copulate with the dead female, shifting her tail right-left-right a few times!

 

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The male on the female (note the female’s tail is shifted to the right).

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The male continues to copulate, or attempted to copulate with the dead female (note the female’s tail has shifted back).

 

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The male still copulating or attempting to copulate with the dead female (note the female’s tail is shifted to the right).

The female is probably a roadkill, which is not uncommon on rural roads such as this one.

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The fresh body of a female Red Turtle Dove on the road.

 

A quick search on the internet revealed that necrophilia has been reported in some species of birds, but not the Red Turtle Dove. This incident could be the first instance of necrophilia observed for the Red Turtle Dove.

Nature surprises in unexpected manners!

 

 

 

Singapore Raptor Report – November 2016

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Jerdon’s Baza, at Jelutong Tower, 30 Nov 2016, by Francis Yap.

Summary for migrant species:

The highlight of the month was the very rare Eurasian Sparrowhawk over Henderson Waves on the 17th, photographed by Keita Sin. This is the second record of this species in Singapore.

November being the peak month for migrant raptors in Singapore, saw the arrival of the Jerdon’s Baza, Black Baza, Black Kite and Booted Eagle. The first Jerdon’s Baza was photographed at Punggol Barat on the 13th and the second at Jelutong Tower on the 30th. The first Black Baza was recorded on the 8th, a rather late date compared to previous years. The only Black Kite was photographed at Tuas South on the 27th; it was a juvenile, as with most records for this species. A dark morph Booted Eagle was first photographed at Punggol Barat on the 6th and recorded several times later in the month; it will probably winter there.

A juvenile Eastern Marsh Harrier was recorded on video making many low passes over Kranji Marshes on the 19th. At Tuas South, a Common Kestrel was recorded on the 8th and the 16th, likely the same individual. Three Peregrine Falcons were recorded and the one at Millenia Tower right outside an office window presented a fantastic photo-opportunity.

Seven Ospreys were recorded, around the northern coast and Pulau Ubin. For the other accipiters, 23 Japanese Sparrowhawks and five Chinese Sparrowhawks were recorded. At Potong Pasir on the 7th, a juvenile Japanese Sparrowhawk collided into a window pane, carrying food, luckily it recovered after 10 minutes and flew off. Lastly, the Oriental Honey Buzzard, our most common migrant raptor, was represented by 202 birds.

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Oriental Honey Buzzard, a young torquatus tweeddale morph, at Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West, 25 Nov 2016, by Ender Tey.

 

Highlights for sedentary species:

A smart-looking, young torquatus tweeddale morph Oriental Honey Buzzard was photographed at Ang Mo Kio on the 25th, while an adult was photographed at Pasir Ris Park on the 30th. The rare Crested Serpent Eagle was photographed at three localities this month, at Kent Ridge on the 10th, at Sembawang on the 14th and at Rifle Range Road on the 18th. The uncommon Crested Goshawk was photographed at the Botanic Gardens (adult male and female) and Pasir Ris Park (juvenile). A pair of Grey-headed Fish Eagles are nesting high up on a tall tree at Little Guilin and we hope for a successful nesting. There was a sight report of a Blyth’s Hawk-Eagle, on the 14th at dawn, which cannot be verified due to the possibility of confusion with other similar-looking species. Other resident raptors recorded were Black-winged Kite, Brahminy Kite, White-bellied Sea Eagle and Changeable Hawk-Eagle.

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Eurasian Sparrowhawk, with 6 ‘fingers’ clearly visible, at Henderson Waves, 17 Nov 2016, by Keita Sin.

 

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Booted Eagle, at Punggol Barat, 13 Nov 2016, by Francis Yap.

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Peregrine Falcon, at Millenia Tower, 1 Nov 2016, by Zhang Licong.

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Crested Goshawk, at Botanic Gardens, feeding on a Peaceful Dove, 10 Nov 2016, by Laurence Eu.

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Francis Yap, Ender Tey, Keita Sin, Zhang Licong and Laurence Eu for the use of their photos.

Update (15 Feb 2017): Please note insertion of 9 OHB, 1 Jap Sparrowhawk, 2 Brahminy Kites, 2 WBSE, 1 CHE. These are highlighted in yellow in the updated pdf singapore-raptor-report-nov16-v2

 

Singapore Raptor Report – October 2016

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Common Buzzard, at Tuas South, 22 Oct 16, by Adrian Silas Tay.

Summary for migrant species:

October is the month when raptor migration starts to pickup and more than six hundred raptors of 9 migrant species were recorded. In terms of numbers, Oriental Honey Buzzards made up the bulk with 562 individuals, and the first influx of 246 birds was recorded on 16 Oct at Tuas South. There were 38 Japanese Sparrowhawks, mostly on passage, followed by 13 Chinese Sparrowhawks.

Observers spending time at Tuas were rewarded with a number of sought-after species. These included a Common Buzzard recorded on 22 Oct by Adrian Silas Tay and a few other birders; an immature male Eastern Marsh Harrier photographed on 22 Oct by Low Choon How; a dark morph Booted Eagle photographed on 23 Oct by See Toh Yew Wai; and a juvenile Pied Harrier photographed on 30 Oct by Low Choon How.

A Peregrine Falcon recorded at Lorong Halus on 29 Oct and an Osprey recorded at Kranji Marshes on 24 and 25 Oct completed the line up for the month. Surprisingly, there were no records of the Black Baza this October!

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Changeable Hawk-Eagle with prey (a Colugo), at Dairy Farm Nature Park, 1 Oct 16, by Siew Mun.

Highlights for sedentary species:

A rare image of a Changeable Hawk-Eagle with a Colugo in its talons was captured at Dairy Farm Nature Park on 1 Oct by Siew Mun. The rare Crested Serpent Eagle made a number of appearances at Kent Ridge this month, while a single record was reported at Sengkang Riverside Park. Kent Ridge and the nearby Telok Blangah Hill continued to be reliable areas to see the Crested Goshawk; additionally, there was a single record of an adult from Tagore/Lentor forest on 1 Oct. Also notable was an adult torquatus OHB photographed on 11 Oct by Marcel Finlay in the Central Forests.  The other resident raptors recorded included the Black-winged Kite, Brahminy Kite, White-bellied Sea Eagle and Grey-headed Fish Eagle.

S/N Species No.   S/N Species No.
(1) Osprey 1 Residents / Sedentary Species
(2) Oriental Honey Buzzard 562 (10) Black-winged Kite 2
(3) Eastern Marsh Harrier 1 (11) Brahminy Kite 3
(4) Pied Harrier 1 (12) White-bellied Sea Eagle 6
(5) Chinese Sparrowhawk

13

(13) Grey-headed Fish Eagle 2
(6) Japanese Sparrowhawk 38 (14) Crested Serpent Eagle 2
(7) Booted Eagle 1 (15) Crested Goshawk 5
(8) Common Buzzard 1 (16) Changeable Hawk-Eagle 11
(9) Peregrine Falcon 1  
Unidentified
(17) Unidentified Accipiters 20
(18) Unidentified Raptors 117
Total for Migrants 619 Grand Total 787

Table 1

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Chinese Sparrowhawk, adult female, at Pasir Ris Park, 9 Oct 16, by Rey Aguila

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Japanese Sparrowhawk, adult female, at South Buona Vista Road, 31 Oct 16, by Francis Yap.

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Crested Goshawk, adult, at Kent Ridge Park, 20 Oct 16, by Francis Yap

Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Adrian Silas Tay, Siew Mun, Rey Aguila and Francis Yap for the use of their photos.

For more details, please see the pdf version singapore-raptor-report-oct16

Singapore Raptor Report – Early Autumn Migration, July-September 2016

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Oriental Honey Buzzard (torquatus tweeddale morph) at Pasir Ris Park, 21 September 2016, by Tony Chua

The Osprey, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Japanese Sparrowhawk and Peregrine Falcon were recorded during early autumn migration. The number of records for the Oriental Honey Buzzard during this period has increased slightly to 21 (compared to 16 for the same period last year). Out of these, only 4 were of the resident torquatus form. The remainder 17 were orientalis and at least 7 were juveniles – 5 in July and 2 in August. These juveniles were continuing their moult, showing new primaries (up to P5) and missing some primaries (up to P6), whereas in the last 3 months from Apr-Jun, only new P1 & P2 (counting from inside) were seen. These juveniles would have spent the summer in this region.

The first Japanese Sparrowhawk arrived on 16 Sep, followed by one on 21 Sep and another on 28 Sep. 4 Ospreys were recorded, one at Hindhede Quarry on 19 July and another at Springleaf Nature Park on 1 Aug, the other two were at the usual areas near Sungei Buloh and Seletar Dam. A Peregrine Falcon was recorded at Singapore Quarry on 21 Sep, seemingly in an aerial ballet with a Brahminy Kite.

A striking torquatus Oriental Honey-buzzard (sedentary subspecies) tweeddale morph was photographed at Pasir Ris Park throughout the 3 months and an ernesti Peregrine Falcon (sedentary subspecies) was photographed at Pulau Punggol Barat on 31 Aug.

For the resident raptors, highlights included the locally rare Crested Serpent Eagle on 23 Sep at Bukit Kalang Service Reservoir. A juvenile Crested Goshawk was found dead near a window at the Botanic Gardens in early September. The unfortunate bird may have collided with the window and it is probably one of the 4 juveniles that fledged in the gardens in June. Another rescued juvenile was released at the Warren Golf Course. The Grey-headed Fish Eagles at Bukit Batok Town Park (Little Guilin) were spending time on and around the nest at end September and may be starting to breed again. An intriguing Changeable Hawk-eagle showing a rare mix of dark and pale morph features was photographed at Choa Chu Kang Park on 16 July.

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An unusual looking Changeable Hawk-eagle showing a mix of dark and pale morph characteristics, at Choa Chu Kang Park, 16 July 2016, by Lau Jia Sheng

Many thanks to everyone for sending in / sharing their records; and to  Tony Chua and Lau Jia Sheng for the use of their photos.

For the full report in pdf with more photos, please click here singapore-raptor-report-early-autumn-migration-jul-sep-2016-v2

 

 

Singapore Raptor Report – Late Spring Migration, April-June 2016

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A rare photo of an adult and a young White-bellied Sea Eagle “cartwheeling” over Sentosa, 21 Jun 16, by James Tann.

Summary:

On 21st June, James Tann captured a rare series of photos of two talon-locked White-bellied Sea Eagles ‘cartwheeling’ through the air over Sentosa. Some books described this as ‘talon-grappling’ and ‘tumbling’. Interestingly, an adult and a young eagle was involved in this instance whereas this behaviour is usually attributed to mated pairs but only mature adults have been known to form breeding pairs.

Now, for the migrants. Five migrant raptor species were recorded in the April to June period. Four of them – the Osprey, Oriental Honey-buzzard, Japanese Sparrowhawk and Peregrine Falcon were also recorded during last year’s late spring migration. The notable addition this year was the Rufous-bellied Eagle: a juvenile was photographed at Lorong Sesuai on 23 April enjoying a meal.

Of the 14 orientalis  Oriental Honey Buzzards recorded, 11 were juveniles (there were 10 in the same period last year), one was an adult female while the remaining two were not aged. Most of the juveniles were moulting their flight feathers (most were showing new P1 & P2, counting from the inside). It is worth mentioning again that juveniles are known to ‘over-summer’ in the tropics.

Only one Japanese Sparrowhawk, an adult female, was recorded on 2nd April. Two Ospreys were recorded at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in Apr and May, but none in June; elsewhere, there was a record at Singapore Quarry in Apr and another record at Seletar Dam in May.

Two Peregrine Falcons were recorded in April – one at Pulau Ubin on 8th and another at Chinatown on 21st. An ernesti Peregrine Falcon returned to its usual haunt at the rooftop of buildings at Church Street on 26 May and a juvenile, likely also ernesti, flew over Punggol Barat on 15 June.

Back to the resident raptors. The usually encountered resident raptors were all present. Notable records included the locally rare Crested Serpent Eagle which was recorded thrice in April (Kent Ridge Park, Ubin & Bidadari), twice in May (Sungei Tengah & Malcolm Road), and once in June (Chancery Lane).

Also, April to June was a good quarter for the Crested Goshawks – in April, two juveniles were photographed at the leafy compounds of the Singapore Zoo and an adult male was seen collecting twigs at the Southern Ridges where two nest structures were seen; in May, the species was recorded at the Botanic Gardens and Bishan; and in June, a total of four juveniles from two different nests were recorded at the Botanic Gardens.

Many thanks to everyone for sending in / sharing their records; and to  James Tann for the use of his photo.

For the full report in pdf, please click Singapore Raptor Report, Late Spring Migration, Apr-Jun 2016