31 December 2008

So, Farewell Then, 2008

Best birds of 2008: 1) Biet's Laughingthrush (May)
2) Chinese Crested Tern (June)
3) Streaked Barwing (March)

Cold northerly winds on this grey New Year's Eve, I don't think I'll be taking any bird piccys today. As the sun sets on 2008, here - in my usual trite and predictable fashion - is a sunset photo

Mai Po Boardwalk 16th Dec.2008

30 December 2008

Grey Heron with fish at Nam Sang Wai










The heron "menaced" a Black-faced Spoonbill.
Startled, the BFS dropped the fish.
You can see there was NO WAY the heron would surrender the prize to any other bird !

23 December 2008

Airfield Road, Shek Kong 23-Dec-2008

Pottered around the nullah at the end of Airfield Road, near Shui Lau Tin. Some winter visitors made an appearance. It was quite cool, -about 10 degrees C.- and the birds were active.

Daurian Redstart (female)


Brown Shrike


**Star of the Show**

Siberian Rubythroat




You'd get a big crowd in Europe for one of these !

21 December 2008

Eastern Marsh Harriers at Mai Po boardwalk



"first winter" plumage


This adult female seems to think it is spring already, she's diving for...


A stick !

"Feel the lurve" this Christmas - 19th Dec. 2008

A Spotted Eagle was loafing around the mangrove beyond the new Mai Po boardwalk hide the other day. The Eastern Marsh Harriers seem to regard the area as theirs, and took the trouble to point this out.




Reviewing the pics, though, I wonder if this might be an immature Bonelli's Eagle. They WERE a long way away...

Christmas must be close - even Kwu Tung Market has some tinsel on display !

Baikal Teal - a "Local Patch" bird 16th Dec. 2008

Last Tuesday I pottered around the fields near our bijou residence. Despite the efforts of many to "trash" the landscape, their is quite a bit of birdable habitat left.... wait - I feel a 2009 theme coming on !

Meanwhile, the "bird of the morning" was this Baikal Teal - probably an eclipse male ( it's that time of the year, I suppose).

Most of them winter further north than hong kong, we seem to get only one or two per year, and mostly in Deep Bay, where they are all more distant than this one...




Baikal Teal (by popular request !)

16 December 2008

Black-faced Spoonbills at NamSang Wai 15th Dec 2008

About twenty BFS at NSW, here are two of them. Note that younger birds have plainer bills, dark (not red) eyes and black tips to the wings...


12 December 2008

Long Valley, 11th Dec 2008

Met Roger M and a couple of visitors at Long Valley. Roger spotted the Painted Snipe first then he went round until we were peering into the wet ponds from opposite sides..



Little Egrets at Nam Sang Wai

Yes, and having grizzled about what a slow autumn it has been at NSW there were a couple of days when the Little Egrets hovered in the stiff northerly breeze and plucked small fish from the water..







The Great Egrets were getting in on the act, too..

9 December 2008

Hill Fire Season

The weather is usually very dry in late autumn, and hill fires are easily started, either by carelessly-discarded cigarettes or during our Cantonese Chung Yeung "Grave Cleaning" Festival.

Burning hillsides are often doused by means of huge buckets, suspended beneath government helicopters. I took this from our rooftop this afternoon. There is a reservoir nearby that the helis use to fill the buckets.

It SOUNDS like "Apocalypse Now", mind....



Wocka, wocka.....

Mai Po Boardwalk on 09 Dec '08

I got to the farthest hide at a healthy 06:35, but the tide was lower than predicted, so all the birds were very distant. Here is a barge beyond the tideline. The barges always move up the Shenzhen river at high water, so if you see moving barges and the tide is still way out there (like today) your luck is way out too.



A single passing Eastern Marsh Harrier

3 December 2008

Slow Week at Nam Sang Wai

Yes, there is no pleasing some people....

But there certainly seem to be fewer photographable birds about at NSW this late autumn.

Here are a couple, anyway....

Little Egret
Common Sandpiper

I'll have to use my imagination and try somewhere else !

2 December 2008

Feeling Vulnerable ?

Collared Crow

Actually, this species is pretty much confined to the south China coast, and does not seem to occur in huge numbers anywhere. Finally, it is being recognised as of conservation concern. I must check what category. Pay attention, John.

Ringed Black-faced Spoonbill

Black-faced Spoonbill at Nam Sang Wai

I think he has lost the band on the other leg with his number, some have numbers, such as "K - 73". Monitoring and co-ordinated counting is conducted by YU Yat-tung here in Hong Kong. BFS breed in NE China and korea and disperse to South China, Taiwan, Vietnam and sometimes the Phillippines.

I posted this on the HKBWS website, and SZE has kindly advised me of the "Black-faced Spoonbill Conservation Association" webpage http://www.bfsa.org.tw/tc/colorband/index.php?lang=en.
This should be A 25.

"Hello Ducky"

All the usual suspects can be found at Nam Sang Wai on a winter morning, and I don't mean just the photographers.....

Eurasian Wigeon
Pintail
Shoveller - note two "ELLS" here
Teal

All the winter birds back at NSW, then