Long-eared Owl, a first for Singapore, harassed by crows, at Marina East, 20 Nov 2021, by Choo Shiu Ling
Summary for migrant species:
It’s another amazing November, with 20 migrant raptor species recorded (compared with 18 last year). Most astonishing was Singapore’s first record of the Long-eared Owl Asio Otus, an individual harassed by crows at Marina East on the 20th, well captured on camera by Choo Shiu Ling. The only Northern Boobook Ninox japonica was unfortunately found dead at Ghim Moh on the 1st. An Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia appeared on the kitchen floor of a resident on the 15th; and on the 17th, a rufous morph was found concussed on the ground, in front of some shops at Jurong Street 52 where it was placed on a tree as it recovered and subsequently flew into the dense foliage higher up a tree.
The rarity for diurnal raptors is no doubt the Amur Falcon Falco amurensis that showed well at Lorong Halus Wetlands on the 26th, found by Lim Yu Jun and Tan Kian Hoe, hunting and feeding on the wing for prolonged periods over the wetlands. It continued to frequent the same area everyday for the rest of the month, resting on an apartment block undergoing construction, in between its feeding flights (it is still around as of this report).
Amur Falcon, at Lorong Halus Wetlands, 27 Nov 2021, by Chen Boon Chong
The one and only Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus, a pale morph, was photographed by Zacc HD and others at Mount Faber on the 6th (Zacc also photographed the only Booted Eagle, a dark morph, last November). Only one Common Buzzard Buteo buteo so far this season, a juvenile pale morph, was recorded on the 6th at Henderson Waves. One Rufous-bellied Eagle Lophotriorchis kienerii was recorded at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and its vicinity on the 5th, 17th and 20th.
Only two Pied Harriers Circus melanoleucos were recorded, a juvenile at Nanyang Crescent on the 5th, and a female at Henderson Waves on the 17th.
Three Common Kestrels Falco tinnunculus were recorded, one on the 1st, perched on a low branch at Canterbury Road, another on the 6th at Henderson Waves / Mount Faber, and the last on the 14th at Mount Faber. Also three in number were the Black Kites Milvus migrans, one on the 11th at Telok Blangah Hill Park (TBHP) / Mount Faber, one on the 19th at Bukit Timah hill, and the third at TBHP on the 22nd.
All four Greater Spotted Eagles Clanga clanga recorded were juveniles. One was photographed from Skyville@Dawson on the 2nd; another at Mount Faber on the 9th, gliding straight through the site without flapping nor turning; one at Tuas on the 13th, harassed by a juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagle, and another at Henderson Waves on the 21st.
Jerdon’s Baza, at Dairy Farm Nature Park, 22 Nov 2021, by Dave Koh
Juveniles made up the majority of the seven Eastern Marsh Harriers Circus spilonotus recorded. One was at Mount Faber on the 5th; another at Lorong Halus Wetlands on the 6th; the only male at Henderson Waves on the 6th; singles at Mount Faber on the 16th, Bukit Timah hill top on the 19th, Jurong Lake Gardens on the 20th, and East Coast Park on the 25th.
The first Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni was recorded at the southern ridges from TBHP to Henderson Waves to Mount Faber, with a max of five at Mount Faber. Subsequently, they were recorded at Dairy Farm Nature Park, Bukit Timah hill top, Lorong Halus Wetlands, and Coney Island where three birds seem to be wintering. Altogether, 16 of these charismatic raptors were recorded.
Eighteen Grey-faced Buzzards Butastur indicus were recorded, spanning from the 1st to the 28th, mostly along the southern ridges to Marina Bay belt, with one outlier at Lorong Halus Wetlands on the 27th. All of them appear to be on passage migration. Four Western Ospreys Pandion haliaetus were recorded along the northern coast, and sixteen Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus throughout, including site faithfuls at Bedok South, Sembawang and Jurong West.
Grey-faced Buzzard, juvenile, at Telok Blangah Hill Park, 26 Nov 2021, by Tan Gim Cheong
Of the thirty four Chinese Sparrowhawks Accipiter soloensis recorded, the site faithful adult female at Ang Mo Kio which arrived last month continued to be present. Most of the 175 Japanese Sparrowhawks Accipiter gularis were recorded migrating over the southern ridges, with 15 birds being the highest in a day, on the 4th.
We had 236 Black Bazas Aviceda leuphotes this month, with 40 birds over Mount Faber on the 11th, and 30 birds on the 16th. For the 819 Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus, a day high of 71 birds was recorded at Tuas on the 4th, with another 56 birds on the 10th, and 57 birds on the 16th at Mount Faber.
Grey-headed Fish Eagle, juvenile, at Potong Pasir, 30 Nov 2021, by Wong Sangmen
Highlights for sedentary species:
There were five Crested Serpent Eagles Spilornis cheela, three on Pulau Ubin on the 5th, one at Kranji Marshes on the 21st and another at the southern ridges on various dates. Only one torquatus Oriental Honey Buzzard was recorded, at Lock Road on the 28th.
The other diurnal resident raptors recorded included the Black-winged Kite, Changeable Hawk-Eagle, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Crested Goshawk and the common Brahminy Kite and White-bellied Sea Eagle. An adult Brahminy Kite attacked a Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo at Pebble bay on the 15th, and the pair of Grey-headed Fish Eagles at Little Guilin may be starting to use their nest again.
For the nocturnal residents, the Eastern Barn Owl Tyto javanica was recorded at Hotel G near Bugis on the 6th, and at Bishan Street 12 on the 13th mobbed by crows. The pair of Buffy Fish Owls Ketupa ketupu at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is raising a chick and there were three Spotted Wood Owls Strix seloputo at the Botanic Gardens on the 8th and at Mandai on the 17th, both suggestive of adults with a young owl.
Many thanks to everyone who had reported their sightings in one way or another, and especially to Choo Shiu Ling, Chen Boon Chong, Dave Koh, and Wong Sangmen for the use of their photos.
For a pdf version with more details please click Singapore Raptor Report – November 2021