Tag Archives: Black Kite

11th Singapore Raptor Watch Report

Autumn 2018 Migration – 3 Nov 2018
compiled by TAN Gim Cheong

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Chinese Sparrowhawk, juvenile, at Puaka Hill, Pulau Ubin, 3 Nov 2018, by Henrietta Woo

The 11th Singapore raptor watch was held on Saturday, 3 November 2018 and involved 42 participants. The weather was mostly partly cloudy. There were seven raptor watch sites and the numbers counted at each site varied from a high of 193 to a low of 19 birds. A total of 556 raptors were counted, including 437 raptors representing 8 migrant species and 69 raptors of 6 resident species. A further 50 raptors could not be identified to species level.

Summary:
Number of raptors – 556
– 437 migrant raptors.
– 69 resident raptors.
– 50 un-identified raptors.

Number of species – 14
– 8 migrant species.
– 6 resident species.

Most of the sites were the same ones as previous years, thanks to all the site leaders for their faithful support!  The minor changes were the shifting of the Japanese Gardens site to Jurong Hill, due to ongoing works at the Japanese Gardens, and the shifting of the Tuas site slightly north to Tuas View Drive.

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Figure 1 : 2018 Raptor Watch Sites. (source of basemap – maps.google.com.sg)

The highest number of raptors recorded was at Telok Blangah Hill Park (193 birds), followed by Puaka Hill, Ubin (108 birds) and Jurong Hill (105 birds). Note that the count at Jurong Hill ended earlier, at 2:15pm, due to manpower constraints. Rather surprising was the low numbers at Tuas for the second year running.

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Figure 2 : Total count by Site

The peak hours for migrant raptors were between 10am to 2pm, with a high of 133 migrant raptors in the 11am to 12pm period. In the morning, 16 migrant raptors were recorded in the first hour between 8-9am, and in the later part of the afternoon, another 16 were recorded in the last 2 hours of observation.

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Figure 3 : Raptor numbers by 1-hour time periods (migrant raptors only)

The Oriental Honey Buzzard (OHB) reclaimed the top spot, with 248 birds counted. The largest number of OHB were at Jurong Hill (81 birds) despite the count ending earlier, Telok Blangah Hill Park (72 birds) and Kent Ridge Park (38 birds).  There were 120 Japanese Sparrowhawks, similar to last year. The main bulk of the Japanese Sparrowhawks (66 birds) were counted at Telok Blangah Hill Park. There were 30 Chinese Sparrowhawks, and most of them were recorded at Telok Blangah Hill Park (15 birds), and Puaka Hill, Pulau Ubin (14 birds).

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Oriental Honey Buzzard, at Puaka Hill, Pulau Ubin, 3 Nov 2018, by Henrietta Woo

Grey-faced Buzzards put up a good show this year, with 11 counted across four sites: six at Puaka Hill, two each at Telok Blangah Hill Park and Lorong Halus Wetlands, and an individual at Jurong Hill. Three Peregrine Falcons were recorded: singles at Jurong Hill, Telok Blangah Hill Park and Lorong Halus. Only one Western Osprey was recorded – at Jurong Hill and one Black Kite – at Tuas.

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Figure 4 : Migrant and Unidentified Raptors Counted

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Watching raptors at Puaka Hill, Pulau Ubin, 3 Nov 2018, photo courtesy of Jacky Soh

For the resident species, the total count was 69 birds of 6 species. The count for the resident raptors comprised 34 Brahminy Kites, 15 White-bellied Sea Eagles, 10 Changeable Hawk Eagles, 5 Grey-headed Fish Eagles, 4 Crested Goshawks, and 1 Crested Serpent Eagle.

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Figure 5 : Resident Raptors Counted

The figure below provides a snapshot of the number of raptors according to the three categories – migrant, un-identified & resident raptors, at the 7 sites. A larger proportion of the migrant raptors were detected in the southwest stretch from Jurong Hill to Kent Ridge Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park, with a peak of 159 migrant raptors at Telok Blangah Hill Park.

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Figure 6 : Raptor Sub-totals by Category (migrant /unidentified /resident) by Site

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

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Figure 7 : Raptor numbers by Site and break down of Species

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The team of raptor watchers/counters at Puaka Hill, Pulau Ubin, photo courtesy of Jacky Soh

Thanks to all the 42 wonderful birders, both leaders and participants, which included National Parks Board staff, for spending their Sunday out in the open to count raptors. The following fantastic people led or assisted in the raptor count:

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Thanks to Henrietta Woo and Jacky Soh for the use of their photos.

Please click here for a pdf version 11th Singapore Raptor Watch – 2018

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Singapore Raptor Report, Late Spring Migration, April-June 2018

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Oriental Honey Buzzard with what appears to be ‘landing lights’ at the shoulders! Goldhill Avenue, 6 April, 2018, by Zacc HD.

Summary:

Six migrant raptor species were recorded in the April to June period, a 50% increase compared to the previous year. The ‘additional’ species were the Black Kite and Black Baza. The other four species are regulars during this period – the Osprey, Oriental Honey-buzzard, Japanese Sparrowhawk and Peregrine Falcon.

A juvenile Black Kite Milvus migrans, a scarce visitor, was photographed at Choa Chu Kang christian cemetery on the 12th, scavenging on leftover food together with more than 20 Brahminy Kites; the kite was there for five days, from the 12-16 April. A single Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes was recorded at Pulau Ubin on 3 April.

Of the 22 Oriental Honey Buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus recorded, one was of the torquatus race and at least 13 were of the orientalis race. Of the orientalis race, all were juveniles or second calendar year birds – six of these young birds were recorded in April, 4 in May and 3 in June. Interestingly, Zacc HD photographed an individual, at Goldhill Avenue in April, that showed features that looked like ‘landing lights’ (white patches) at the shoulders, which could lead the uninitiated to think that they had seen a Booted Eagle. The single torquatus was recorded only on one day, on 6 May at Bukit Timah near the hill top.

Records of the Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis spanned from 1-20 April. Eight were seen at Jelutong Tower on the 1st, flying north; up to three were on Pulau Ubin, with the rest being singles at Dairy Farm Nature Park, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR), Kranji Marshes, Choa Chu Kang, and the last one at Jelutong Tower on the 20th.

Five Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus were recorded, one at Kranji Marshes-SBWR area in April, one each at Pulau Ubin and Bishan Park in April, and one each at Neptune Court and Goldhill Avenue in May. A single Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus was recorded at the Kranji Marshes-SBWR area from April to June, and another at Seletar in April and May.

CHE, 200418, KM, male of a nesting pair, female dark morph, TGC_1575

Changeable Hawk Eagle, a young pale morph male still in immature plumage, judged to be a second year bird, that paired with a dark morph female to raise a chick at Kranji Marshes, in flight after delivering food to the nest, 20 April 2018, by Tan Gim Cheong

Sedentary Raptors

One Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela was present at Goldhill Avenue area in April and May, with the exception of 9 April when two birds were seen. In addition, one individual was recorded at SBWR on 6 June.

For the Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus, there were 2 records each in April and May, and one in June. Next, for the Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus, there were 2 at Springleaf Nature Park and one at Seletar Camp in April, and one each at SBWR and Singapore Quarry in June.

One Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus was recorded at Kranji Marshes in April and May, and another at Yio Chu Kang in May.  The common Brahminy Kite Haliastur Indus was recorded in all 3 months and a maximum of 24 were recorded at Choa Chu Kang Christian cemetery in April, feeding on food scraps. 

Breeding Records

Three nestings of the White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster were observed during this period, one at Bukit Merah/SGH with at least one fledgling in early May, another at West Coast Park with at least one fledgling in early June and the best known one at Fort Canning with two chicks fledging in June.

A nest of the  Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus, with one dark morph adult and a young chick covered in white down on an Albizia tree at Kranji Marshes, was first reported on 3 April. During observations in April and May, the dark morph adult was usually present with the chick. The male, a pale morph and smaller in size compared to the dark morph, was observed to deliver food on the morning of 20 April and 19 May, leaving soon after on both occasions, leaving the female to feed the prey to the chick. Interestingly, the male was still in typical immature plumage with little streaking on breast and judged to be a second calendar year individual.

Nocturnal Raptors

A Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji flew into an apartment at Hougang Central on the night of 3 May surprising Janani Srinivasan, and the bird was guided out safely. On 24 May, Peter Ding had the good luck of encountering a Barred Eagle Owl Bubo sumatranus near Singapore Quarry and managed to photograph it. An Eastern Barn Owl Tyto delicatula was found at a Sims Drive condominium on 2 April, and another roosting in a stand of trees by the seaside along a path at Punggol end on 9 Jun, during the day. An unfortunate Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo was found dead on 28 April at Bartley.

Breeding Records of Nocturnal Raptors

The Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu fledgling at SBWR was seen on 3 April and 20 May. A Spotted Wood Owl chick, partially covered in white downy feathers, fell to the ground at Pasir Ris Park on 5 April and was placed back onto the tree by rescuers (it had previously fallen on 23 March and similarly rescued). The same chick had reportedly fledged on 21 April but was found on the ground, unable to clamber up the trees, and was again placed back onto the tree. By 25 April the young owl appeared to have truly fledged. A family of Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji, with a fledgling, was present at Pasir Ris Park (PRP) on several days in May, roosting in a dense stand of small trees.

For a pdf version with more details, please click Singapore Raptor Report, Late Spring Migration, Apr-Jun 2018, v2

Many thanks to everyone for sending in / sharing their records and to Zacc HD for the use of his photo.

Singapore Bird Report – April 2018

April continues to see the exodus of migratory species as well as breeding records.  Key species were a rarely encountered Malayan Night Heron, a juvenile, at Singapore Botanic Gardens, and an Indian Pond Heron seen at Bidadari. 

MNH, 230418, Feroz Fizah

The juvenile Malayan Night Heron photographed at the Singapore Botanic Gardens by Feroz Fizah on 23 April 2018.

A trickle of migratory birds continue to be reported. Eight Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis were spotted flying north by Francis Yap over Jelutong Tower on 1 April 2018. An Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii was seen at Bidadari by TT Koh on 4 April 2018, while Art Toh spotted a Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata at West Coast Park on 5 April 2018. Between 6 and 7 April 2018, a Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor was spotted at Pasir Ris Park by Harry Geno-Oehlers, Geri Lim and Art Toh.

IPH, 040418, TT Koh

An Indian Pond Heron photographed at Bidadari by T T Koh on 4 April 2018.

April’s first weekend also yielded a singing Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae by Yong Ding Li, Kozi Ichiyama and Geoff Lim, which was rather remarkable, given that the normal place to hear this flycatcher’s song would be “the montane broadleaved forest ecosystems of the Taihang-Wuling Mountains in Shanxi-Hebei-Beijing”; as well as two Dark-sided Flycatchers Muscicapa sibirica chasing each other in the canopy of an emergent tree. The birds were seen inside the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) on 7 April 2018. In addition, seven Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres and a globally endangered Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris were spotted by Lim Kim Keang on Pulau Seduku off Pulau Ubin during an NSS/NParks Comprehensive Ubin Bird Survey on 8 April 2018, while Vincent Lao spotted an Eastern-crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus within the CCNR and Pary Sivaraman spotted a female Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus in the north-western part of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR).

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The Green-backed Flycatcher in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve by Kozi Ichiyama on 7 April 2018.

Breeding activity was reported across several locations during the first week of April.  Lim Kim Chuah spotted a juvenile House Sparrow Passer domesticus on Jurong Island on 1 April 2018, a possible sign of successful breeding. A Malaysian Pied Fantail Rhipidura javanica was reported by Alan Owyong to be feeding two chicks, assessed to be a few days old, at Jurong Eco-Garden (JEG) on 2 April 2018, while on 4 April 2018, Yong Ding Li saw a White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis nesting around the vicinity of the Bukit Batok MRT Station. Two days later on 6 April 2018, Luke Milo Teo spotted a juvenile Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati while surveying Dairy Farm Nature Park (DFNP). Notable residents seen include a Rufous-tailed Tailorbird Orthotomus sericeus at Bukit Batok Nature Park (BBNP) by Vincent Lao; a Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting at Lorong Halus by Serin Subaraj; and a pair of Spotted Wood Owl Strix seluputo at Goldhill Avenue by Phua Joo Yong on 1 April 2018. Also, Gahyathree Arasu spotted a Lesser Adjutant at SBWR on the same day; this was further substantiated by Lee Van Hien, who saw three birds there on 3 April 2018. Ong Ruici heard a Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus passing over the National Biodiversity Centre on 5 April 2018; the call was verified by Albert Low.

GGLB, 120418, Luke Milo Teo

A juvenile Greater Green Leafbird Dairy Farm Nature Park by Luke Milo Teo on 12 April 2018.

Apart from the Turnstones and Knot encountered during the NSS/NParks Comprehensive Ubin Bird Survey on 8 April 2018, a Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana was seen by Roger Boey at its nest, which contained one chick,  at Balai Quarry. This nesting was first spotted by Francis Yap on 11 March. During the same survey, participants also recorded a Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus, Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha, Violet Cuckoo Chrysococccyx xanthorhynchus and Asian Palmswift Cypsiurus balasiensis. The same Sunday also yielded a Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinnus at Kranji Marshes, seen by Kelvin Leong.

The second week of April yielded fewer reports of migratory birds. On 9 April 2018, Hima Venkateswaran found a roosting site at Bedok Ria for about 40-plus Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis. Reports, by Tay Kian Guan, of a juvenile Black Kite Milvus migrans mingling with up to 24 Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus at the Choa Chu Kang Christian Cemetery on 12 April 2018, feeding on scraps thrown by a contractor, filtered across local social media circles. On 15 April 2018, See Toh Wai Yew reported seeing a Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula xanthopygia at Goldhill Avenue, while Pier Chua spotted a Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus at the Evolution Garden located inside SBG. Resident species reported included, a nesting Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata on 9 April 2018 by Doreen Ang at BBNP, and a Tanimbar Corella Cacatua goffiniana excavating a nest hole in a dead tree at Goldhill Avenue. Veronica Foo, along with Siew Mun, spotted Blue-rumped Parrot Psittinus cyanurus feeding on starfruit inside Venus Loop on 11 April 2018.

BK, 160418, Tan Eng Boo

The Black Kite at Lim Chu Kang, photographed by Tan Eng Boo on 16 April 2018.

Fewer migratory species were reported during the third week. A Pacific Swift Apus pacificus was spotted by Tay Kian Guan on 18 April 2018 at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR), while the Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus was spotted again on 18 April 2018 by Lee Chin Pong  and attracted many birders and photographers until the last sighting on 23 April 2018. Fadzrun Adnan also sighted a Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis brunneatus at Pulau Hantu during a pelagic trip on 21 April 2018, while an adult Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus was reported by several birders and photographers at Bishan Park on 22 April 2018. On the same weekend, Alfred Chia reported hearing three Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis on Pulau Ubin.

Tiger Shrike, Angela Yeo

A male Tiger Shrike was spotted at Bishan Park; photo taken by Angela Yeo on 21 April 2018.

Resident species reported during this week include a Changeable Hawk Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus  nest with one chick at Kranji Marshes, by Clarinda Yap on 16 April 2018; a Grey-headed Fish-eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus at Seletar Camp by Timothy Chua and Asian Palmswift Cypsiurus balasiensis at SBG by Richard Zhang on 18 April 2018, as well as House Swift Apus nipalensis, Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris, and Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra  by Tay Kian Guan at BTNR on the same day. On 20 April 2018, a possible sighting of the rare White-bellied Woodpecker Dryopus javensis was reported to NSS; Ana Maria Conzalez told a NSS volunteer seeking to verify her report that she saw the woodpecker from her balcony inside the grounds of Tanglin Park. On 21 April 2018, Alvin Seng spotted an adult Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea with two young birds at Pasir Ris Park, while Siew Mun reported seeing a Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji at BTNR. A white morph Pacific Reef Egret Egretta sacra was spotted by Lim Kim Keang at West Coast Park on 22 April 2018, while Alfred Chia reported seeing a Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii on Pulau Ubin.

YC Cockatoo, Alvin Seng

Yellow-crested Cockatoos spotted by Alvin Seng at Pasir Ris Park on 24 April 2018.

The final week of April yielded reports of a possible Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii in transitional plumage by Terence Tan in Bishan Park on 23 April, while Bidadari yielded a Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica and a Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus flying over the former hotspot on the same day, by Feroz Fizah and Martin Kennewell, respectively. An Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii subsequently appeared at Bidadari on 26 April, and reported by See Toh Wai Yew and Pary Sivaraman, among others. On 29 April, Fadzrun Adnan spotted a Pallas’ Grasshopper Warbler Locustella certhiola at Kranji Marshes.

IPH, Pary

As the migratory species made their way back to their breeding grounds, resident species were observed and reported by local birders and photographers. Alan Owyong reported seeing a few Long-tailed Parakeets Psittacula longicauda feeding with two Blue-rumped Parrots Psittinus cyanurus on starfruit in Venus Loop on 23 April 2018. On the same day, Oliver Tan saw a Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca at Bidadari; an Abbott’s Babbler Malacocincla abbotti was seen and photographed on 24 April 2018 at SBWR by Stuart Campbell while James Lambert saw a Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis cerulinus at Nanyang Technological University on 25 April 2018.

Abbotts Bab, Stuart

An Abbott’s Babbler spotted by Stuart Campbell at SBWR on 24 April 2018.

The weekend yielded several finds, including a dead adult Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo at Bartley on 28 April 2018 by Gina Koh; a White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata at Lorong Halus by Meilin Khoo, a possible escapee or released bird, also on 28 April 2018, and a Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus on Coney Island on 29 April 2018 by Tan Kok Hui.  Observers who spent time at DFNP over the weekend were rewarded. Khong Yew reported seeing Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu on 28 April 2018, which was further substantiated by Lim Kim Keang who saw three birds on 29 April 2018. Lim Kim Chuah spotted a Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii on 29 April 2018, while Alan OwYong spotted four Plume-toed Swiftlets Collocalia affinis with Pary Sivaraman, and a male and female Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis.

Abbreviations:
BTNR: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
CCNR: Central Catchment Nature Reserve
DFNP: Dairy Farm Nature Park
JEG: Jurong Eco-Garden
SBG: Singapore Botanic Gardens
SBWR: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
TEG: Tampines Eco-Garden

This report is compiled by Geoff Lim and Alan OwYong, edited by Tan Gim Cheong, based on 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 Feroz Fizah, TT Koh, Kozi Ichiyama, Luke Milo Teo, Tan Eng Boo, Angela Yeo, Alvin Seng, Pary Sivaraman, Stuart Campbell, and Arasu Sivaraman for the use of their photos.