Pulau Mantanani: 8 – 12 Oct 2012: Raptors

The first raptors I saw were also probably the rarest – a couple of juvenile Chinese Goshawks arriving high off the sea from the north on 8th Oct.

These are described as ‘scarce’ (Mann) or ‘very uncommon’ (Myers) in Borneo. I saw another one the next day!

The most evident raptor was Japanese Sparrowhawk. I saw these zipping about various parts of the island almost daily, but it was hard to estimate numbers – whether just one or two lingering to catch migrants, or more passing through. There was one bird that regularly hung around The Point, shown here having a go at a Collared Kingfisher!

Most views were like this – a dash-past! Once I was watching an Asian Brown Flycatcher when a ‘Jap Sprawk’ smashed into the bush where the flycatcher was. It all happened so fast I really couldn’t say whether the flycatcher escaped or was caught, but either way, I didn’t see it after that!

This is the bird that hung around The Point. Imagine being a small passerine and arriving on the island exhausted after a substantial sea-crossing, only to find these lethal things waiting to pick off anything that’s not at the very top of its game! Migration is just amazing!My notebook  records that this Osprey flew over the beach at 6.17am, just after a White-throated Needletail went through, showing that it pays to be out at first light! It was my only sighting.

This adult calidus/japonensis Peregrine was sitting looking utterly miserable in a storm (I wasn’t feeling at my best myself, being soaked to the skin!). I had had a brief view of an unidentified falcon soaring with the frigatebirds the previous day, so I was glad to clear that little mystery up – well, probably…!

The locals! I believe the pair of White-bellied Sea-eagles at the north-western end of the island had three youngsters – though perhaps not all from the same clutch.


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