There stood a tourist, likely a Siberian, in front of me.

Just in case you didn’t read the prequel to this post, see what happened when I went in search of raptors last Saturday i.e. 1st Dec’18.

Now that you know the background you can feel what my mind went through at the undreamed-of sight that the goddess of nature presented before me the very next morning.

It was already 7 am when I woke up on 2nd Dec and I would have to take a cab to reach my Sunday haunt, Sungei Buloh wetlands, early to be able to witness any natural dramas unfolding there before the arrival of joggers, walkers and visitor groups. So, by 7.20 am I closed my house door behind me and was hurrying towards the lift when my eye detected an unusually large pigeon perched on the water tank atop the apartment block directly opposite to mine. As the bird was silhouetted against the brightening eastern sky its facial details and colors were not much distinguishable. But then the bird gave its identity away by popping its head up, down and side ways in typical raptor fashion. I felt the raptor-kind sensed my disappointment the previous day and was kind enough to send one of their kin to fulfill my wish. I assembled my camera quickly and ran to 16th floor of my building from my 11th floor so as to be closer to and more level with the bird. What I saw through the fully zoomed lens – the aquiline beak and fully-feathered legs – confirmed my guess that its a raptor. At first glance it looked like an osprey but it is unlikely that an osprey to perch on top of a building leaving its more familiar, tree-lined canal banks. 

Meanwhile, as if to confirm that the bird was a predator a bee-eater hovered around the big bird for a while and – 

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– settled on top of my building.

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After I took several pictures of the bird it suddenly plunged down from the roof top and disappeared from sight. I left for the marsh lands feeling elated that mother nature had acknowledged my passion for her non-human offspring. Upon returning home that afternoon I started viewing enlarged pictures of my morning visitor in attempt to identify its exact identity. I tried to associate with various members of raptor family that can be found on this little island but was unable to pinpoint the species of the bird. I finally went for a google photo search and in no time confirmed it to be a Oriental Honey Buzzard. What I learnt about the bird surprised and thrilled me for days. Oriental Honey Buzzard happens to be a winter migrant to Singapore from anywhere between Siberia and Japan. It specializes in preying on bees and bee-hives. Now I know the reason for its presence in my neighborhood. I see honey bees almost everyday hovering around the corridor lights of our apartment block. I saw the bird two more times perched once on a multistory car park beside my block and on top of another building farther away the third time. I think it has taken up its residence in this neighborhood till its time for it to return to its home land. Winter season in Siberia / Japan lasts from December to March and the timing of the bird’s presence here suits that well.orienta honey buzzard    

🦅 🕊 🦅 🕊 🦅 🕊 🦅 🕊 🦅 

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