Showing posts with label HK x Others. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HK x Others. Show all posts

9 January 2018

Doing our homework

After a ten-week trip there is always a lot of material to post, but also a risk that this blog could be re-named “John’s What I did on my Trip Blog”.

So, some Hong Kong birds this time. We have tried to catch up with some of the rarities reported during our absence.

Fortunately, three of these have hung around long enough for us to find them…
Rook - Corvus frugilegus
The rainy weather today has not seemed to bother a Rook, first sighted in October 2017.  According to the “Avifauna of Hong Kong” (2001) old reports of Rook were disregarded due to the possibility of misidentifications. But it seems fairly certain that this IS a first-year Rook…

Rook - Corvus frugilegus
….the Records Committee will have to scratch their heads about the likelihood of this being a wild bird or not.

Next, some common farmland birds…..
Stejneger's Stonechat - Saxicola stejnegeri

Masked Laughingthrush - Garrulax perspicillatus

Japanese White-Eye - Zosterops japonicus

Then, HK’s third Black Redstart which has been in Long Valley (an area of vegetable fields) since last October. It has established a winter territory in one small area, and, armed with directions from David Diskin, we found this fairly quickly. 
Black Redstart - Phoenicurus ochrurus

Near Brides Pool, NE New Territories, a supporting cast of wintering flycatchers.

Verditer Flycatcher - Eumyias thalassina

Mugimaki Flycatcher - Ficedula mugimaki

Asian Brown Flycatcher - Muscicapa dauurica

The flycatchers were "supporting" a first for several years species Crested Kingfisher, reported along the banks of Plover Cove Reservoir, near Chung Mei. I'll never tire of birds like this.

Crested Kingfisher - Ceryle lugubris

 My "safety shot" at long range - it flew off before I could get closer and I couldn't re-find it !

Another blog concept:-  "Miles Away but charismatic, honestly"

25 February 2017

Braving the Concrete Jungle

Chinese/Yellow-billed Grosbeak - Eophona migratoria

That's the birds braving the concrete jungle  of course, - I'm just an urban (urbane?) softy.

We returned from Brisbane to the news that a Baikal Bush Warbler was to be found in the carefully manicured planters in a private estate in east Kowloon - Telford Gardens.

"BBW" usually gives itself up to the ringers in Mai Po's reedbeds, so even though this was HK's sixth or seventh record, it was the first truly "twitchable" one.

Baikal Bush Warbler - Bradypterus davidi

Baikal Bush Warbler - Bradypterus davidi

Baikal Bush Warbler - Bradypterus davidi

Closer to home, I had seen photos of Yellow-billed Grosbeak online captioned only "Sheung Shui".  Days after getting back, I saw Grosbeaks in a tree between my Public Light Bus stop and Sheung Shui MTR Station.

I returned the following day and was disappointed to find them gone.  But then I noticed some photographers on another part of the pedestrian overpass.

Sure enough, the Grosbeaks were in a different and even closer tree.

Chinese/Yellow-billed Grosbeak - Eophona migratoria

Chinese/Yellow-billed Grosbeak - Eophona migratoria

Chinese/Yellow-billed Grosbeak - Eophona migratoria
It is 11 degrees centigrade today - and cold and wet.

The weather has gone all "English" on us.  But at least the temperature today reminds me why I live in Hong Kong and not the UK.  

5 January 2017

Shake your Booty .....

Booted Warbler - Iduna caligata
Thanks to Mike Kilburn for finding this in the scrubby margins beside some San Tin fishponds.  Hong Kong's fifth or sixth Booted Warbler - and the first for me in HK !
Booted Warbler - Iduna caligata

Booted Warbler - Iduna caligata
A reprise here of some of the birds wintering around Deep Bay in midwinter -

Eastern Marsh Harrier - Circus spilonotus

Oriental Turtle Dove - Streptopelia orientalis

Nordmann's Greenshank - Tringa guttifer

Long-billed Dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus

Long-billed Dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus

White-throated Kingfisher - Halcyon smyrnensis

White-throated Kingfisher - Halcyon smyrnensis

Dunlin - Calidris alpina

Saunders's Gull - Chroicocephalus saundersi

Saunders's Gull - Chroicocephalus saundersi

Saunders's Gull - Chroicocephalus saundersi

Saunders's Gull - Chroicocephalus saundersi

(mostly) Great Cormorants - Phalacrocorax carbo

Eastern Marsh Harrier - Circus spilonotus

Finally, a Common Kestrel ponders the year ahead.  
Common Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
We're certainly affecting their habitat everywhere... 

And we're away on a trip - so posting will be light for a month or so.

17 April 2016

Bee-Eaters at Pak Nai, Hong Kong

Blue-tailed Bee-eater - Merops philippinus

Once a month there is a Waterfowl Count in the Deep Bay area of northwest Hong Kong, centred on the Nature Reserve at Mai Po.  

The Waterfowl Count is part of the Governments’ meeting of its responsibilities of monitoring the birdlife in HK’s only Ramsar site; - “Inner Deep Bay”. Depending on the season, the habitat where birds are to be counted is divided between about two dozen counting volunteers.

Last Sunday, I was assigned to count part of Deep Bay from the pier at Tsim Bei Tsui, followed by the coastline between there and Nim Wan. 

I’ve done this area before, but haven’t felt quite as exposed as I did when looking behind me towards the west and seeing some huge, black rainclouds.

I managed to complete the pier section of the count, and scuttled back to the car before the first of several heavy squalls arrived.

It was quite obvious along my route that most of the birds didn’t like rain such quantity either, and they remained mostly hidden from view, until I completed the survey near the landfill site at Nim Wan.

On the way back I had reached Pak Nai when the rain eased off.  The weather had warmed a little, and I could see hundred of swifts and swallows circling in the still grey sky above. 

Starlings, both White-shouldered and Red-billed were active, too. Many were perched on power lines over a grave and scrub covered hillside, together with Crested Mynas.

Getting out of the car for a closer look there were about thirty Pacific Swifts in the flock, with two hundred House Swifts and a similar number of Barn Swallows. Two circling Blue-tailed Bee-eaters provided a vivid reminder that spring migration was in progress.

Pacific Swift - Apus pacificus

Many of the birds were hawking insects, mostly winged termites, which were swarming after the rain.  

Black-winged Termite - Odontotermes formosanus (?)

Red-billed Starling - Sturnus sericeus

Blue-tailed Bee-eater - Merops philippinus

More Bee-eaters paused in their migration to enjoy the feast.  I counted nineteen in total.

Blue-tailed Bee-eaters - Merops philippinus

Looking at the wall of concrete across the Bay in Shenzhen, the attraction to the birds of a scrub-covered hillside in Hong Kong seemed obvious, and the presence of swarms of termites must have been welcome to wet and hungry migrating birds.

Blue-tailed Bee-eaters - Merops philippinus
I managed to line up a few shots with a fairly neutral background, so that the birds, especially the Bee-eaters weren’t just silhouettes.The light was still lousy and (insert excuse here) the birds more distant than I'd have liked. Still, it all seemed like a bonus after the downpours earlier. 

Blue-tailed Bee-eater - Merops philippinus

Turned out nice again !