compiled by TAN Gim Cheong
Oriental Honey Buzzard at Tuas South Avenue 8, 15 Nov 15, by Tan Gim Cheong.
The 8th Singapore raptor watch was held on Sunday, 15 November 2015 and involved 61 participants – the largest number of participants thus far. The weather forecast was for rain throughout the island. By noon, showers had passed through most of the island, leaving the rest of the day overcast – not the best weather conditions to observe raptor movements! We counted 320 raptors representing 6 migrants species and had 143 sightings of 5 resident species; a further 70 raptors could not be identified. There were 10 raptor watch sites and the numbers counted at each site varied from a low of 9 to a high of 124.
||Tuas South Ave 16
||Tuas South Ave 12
||Tuas South Ave 8
||Kent Ridge Park
||Telok Blan-gah Hill Park
||Ubin Puaka Hill
||Ubin Pekan Quarry
||Changi Busi-ness Park
Figure 1 : Total count/sightings by Site
Of the 10 sites, all the eight sites from last year were maintained, a big thanks to all raptorphiles, especially the site leaders. Two sites were added – Tuas South Avenue 12 and Tuas South Avenue 8 – to supplement Tuas South Avenue 16 in order to cover as much ‘sky’ as possible in the west, knowing that the raptors migrate across a broad front at Tuas.
Figure 2 : 2015 Raptor Watch Sites. (source of basemap – maps.google.com.sg)
Raptor activity was ‘slow’ the whole day, the weather conditions a dampener no doubt. The small increase in the late morning was mainly due to a flock of Black Bazas at Telok Blangah Hill Park, while the jump in the afternoon was mainly due to the movement of 108 Oriental Honey Buzzards migrating across Tuas South Avenue 8.
Figure 3 : Raptor numbers by 1-hour time periods (migrant raptors only)
The six migrant species recorded included, in descending order, 181 Oriental Honey Buzzards, 96 Black Bazas, 31 Japanese Sparrowhawks, 9 Chinese Sparrowhawks, 2 Peregrine Falcons and 1 Common Kestrel. The 34 unidentified Accipiters were most likely migrants as well. The 36 unidentified raptors on the other hand, could be migrants or residents. The migrant raptor of the day would be the Common Kestrel – formerly considered a rare migrant, recently upgraded to ‘uncommon’ – photographed at Tuas South Avenue 12.
The main bulk of the Oriental Honey Buzzards (OHB) were recorded at Tuas South Avenue 8, which had 114 birds. Nearby Tuas South Avenue 12 only had 9 OHB while Tuas South Avenue 16 had 4 OHB. Japanese Garden had 23 OHB and Kent Ridge Park 13 OHB. Small numbers were recorded at another 3 sites, whereas none were recorded at Pekan Quarry (Pulau Ubin) and Changi Business Park.
As for the Black Bazas, 39 were at Telok Blangah Hill Park, 34 at Puaka Hill (Pulau Ubin), 18 at Kent Ridge Park and 5 at Pekan Quarry. The Japanese Sparrowhawk was recorded in single digits at eight sites, but none at Tuas South Avenue 16 and Pekan Quarry. The uncommon Chinese Sparrowhawk was recorded from three sites only – Puaka Hill (5 birds), Kent Ridge Park (3 birds) and Telok Blangah Hill Park (1 bird). The Peregrine Falcon, another uncommon migrant, was only recorded from Tuas South Avenue 12 and Japanese Garden.
||Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus
||Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes
||Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis
||Chinese Sparrowhawk Accipiter soloensis
||Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
||Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
||Total Migrant Raptors
||Total Unidentified Raptors
Figure 4 : Migrant and Unidentified Raptors Counted
For the resident species, the counts should be considered as ‘sightings’ rather than as individual birds as the same birds may visit the same site more than once. This is especially so for the more common resident raptors and less so for the rest. There were 68 sightings of the Brahminy Kite, 46 sightings of the White-bellied Sea Eagle, 15 sightings of the Black-winged Kite, 11 sightings of the Changeable Hawk Eagle and 3 sightings of the Grey-headed Fish Eagle. Similar to the year before, the Grey-headed Fish Eagles were only seen at Pekan Quarry (Pulau Ubin).
||Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus
||White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster
||Changeable Hawk Eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus
||Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus
||Grey-headed Fish Eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus
||Total Sightings of Resident Raptors
Figure 5 : Resident Raptors Counted
Figure 6 : Raptor Sub-totals by Category (migrant /unidentified /resident) by Site
Number of raptors
– 320 migrant raptors counted.
– 70 unidentified raptors.
– 143 sightings of resident raptors.
Number of species
11 species counted, including:
– 6 migrant species.
– 5 resident species.
A complete breakdown of the species counted at each site is shown in the table below:
Figure 7 : Raptor numbers by Site and break down of Species
Thanks to all the 61 wonderful people, both leaders and participants, for spending their Sunday sitting out the rain and bearing with the gloomy weather to count the raptors that were willing to show themselves. National Parks Board staff and NParks volunteers also participated. The following fantastic people led or assisted in the raptor count:
For a pdf version of the report, please click 8th Singapore Raptor Watch – 2015.