Tag Archives: Singapore.

8th Singapore Raptor Watch Report

compiled by TAN Gim Cheong

CSC_1502,-OHB,-TSA18

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.

SITE Tuas South Ave 16 Tuas South Ave 12 Tuas South Ave 8 Japan-ese Garden Kent Ridge Park Telok Blan-gah Hill Park Halus Wet-lands Ubin Puaka Hill Ubin Pekan Quarry Changi Busi-ness Park Grand Total
TOTAL 33 14 124 47 78 69 26 99 34 9 533
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

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

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.

S/N Species (Migrants) Count
1 Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus 181
2 Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes 96
3 Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis 31
4 Chinese Sparrowhawk Accipiter soloensis 9
5 Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus 2
6 Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 1
Total Migrant Raptors 320
   
1 Unid. Raptor 36
2 Unid. Accipiter 34
Total Unidentified Raptors   70
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).

S/N Species (Residents) Sightings
1 Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus 68
2 White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster 46
3 Changeable Hawk Eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus 11
4 Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus 15
5 Grey-headed Fish Eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus 3
Total Sightings of Resident Raptors 143
Figure 5 : Resident Raptors Counted
Figure 6

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

Summary

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

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:

Figure 8

For a pdf version of the report, please click 8th Singapore Raptor Watch – 2015.

Noah Strycker’s Global Big Year stop in Singapore.

 

Pointing-Con Foley

Pointing to the Grey Nightjar tree at Bidadari. From left Low Choon How, Con Foley, Noah Strycker, Wong Chung Cheong and Yong Yik Shih. Not in the photo out looking for flycatchers were Lim Kim Keang, Alfred Chia, Tan Ping Ling and Tan Ju Lin

Singapore has the distinction of being the shortest birding stop for Noah Strycker in his Global Big Year quest on 27th December. He had a couple of hours layover enroute from Perth to New Delhi. Instead of relaxing in the airport, Noah checked out and ended up with four ticks here with the help of Con Foley and other members of the Bird Group. He now needs eleven more species to hit the 6,000 mark before the year end.

When he first contacted Con in early December, his target species included the Hodgon’s Hawk Cuckoo, Lanceolated Warbler, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Grey Nightjar, Straw-headed Bulbul and some rare flycatchers among others.

Con took up the challenge and enlisted the bird group members for help to locate some of the target species. Not leaving anything to chance, Con spent a few days checking out Bidadari Cemetery, Bukit Batok and Changi Village for the wanted species.

Straw-headed Bulbul fron Bukit Batok

Straw-headed Bulbul from Bukit Batok

On the day itself, the trip was executed with military precision. The first stop was Bukit Batok after picking up Noah from the airport. Low Choon How had already staked out the Straw-headed Bulbuls there. A quick stop and a great start for Noah. This is the most reliable place to see this globally threatened species. A third study on this bulbul will begin next year.

Grey Nightjar at Bidadari

Grey Nightjar at Bidadari

Our top migrant site Bidadari was next. Con had the roosting Grey Nightjar “tagged” but Wong Chung Cheong was on hand to make sure it did not moved to another tree. One more tick down. Another team led by Lim Kim Keang combed the rest of Bidadari for the Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo, Green-backed, Narcissus and Japanese Paradise Flycatchers that were wintering there earlier this month. But they must have all moved on.

The Sengkang floating Wetlands is the most likely place to tick the Lanceolated Warbler but this super sulker did not give in so easily. All Noah got was a nice photo of our urban nature parks which he used as his cover photo in his blog “Birding without Borders”. Kim Keang suggested nearby Punggol Barat for the Ruddy-breasted Crake. Again it did not show, but at least it called, good enough for the tick.

The last stop was for the Tanimbar Corellas at Changi Village, which is close the the Changi airport. This feral species can be seen from the carpark compared to a long trek at its Tanimbar Island home in Indonesia.

We are glad that Singapore made a small contribution to Noah’s Global Big Year. All of us at the Bird Group wish Noah safe journeys and breaking the 6,000 species mark before the end of the year.

All photos: Con Foley. You can read about his trip here at https;//www.audubon.org/news/day-361-birding-singapore.