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

5 April 2019

Po Toi Fever, - a Wood Warbler "Twitch" on 4th April 2019

Wood Warbler (Phyloscopus sibilatrix)
On the ferry from Po Toi back to Aberdeen on 2nd April, one photographer showed another some shots of an odd phylloscopus warbler he had seen that afternoon.

It did look unusual….

Mobile phone photos of the finder’s camera review screen were quickly circulated and almost instantly the verdict was in:

Wood Warbler (Phyloscopus sibilatrix) - a “First” for Hong Kong !

Ten of the keenest of HK’s twitchers chartered a boat to Po Toi on Wednesday, 3rd April (there’s no regular ferry on Wednesdays) and re-found the bird.

I was a bit slower and went to Po Toi on Thursday’s public ferry. There were about twenty birders and photographers on board. 

We were directed to the very tree favoured by the Wood Warbler over the previous couple of days by Peter WONG, who had seen it the previous day. After an anxious hour or so, the bird re-appeared.

Wood Warbler (Phyloscopus sibilatrix)

Wood Warbler (Phyloscopus sibilatrix)

Wood Warblers breed in western Europe and winter in Africa - there are very few east asian records.

Some other passage migrants* gave decent views as well.

Five-bar Swordtail - Pathysa antiphates

Ferruginous Flycatcher - Muscicapa ferruginea

Ashy Minivet - Pericrocrotus divaricatus

Ashy Minivet - Pericrocrotus divaricatus

Ashy Minivet - Pericrocrotus divaricatus
* Caution - One of these is not a bird

Happy “twitchers” return to the Po Toi public ferry pier.

2 April 2019

Last week of March 2019 - unsettled weather and some migrants at last

Grey-capped Greenfinch - Chloris sinica
More unsettled weather around 23rd/24th March brought a few interesting birds into view.

These usually seem to be high and distant, maybe often overlooked by birders looking closer to hand, including me.

Grey-faced Buzzard - Bustatur indicus

A spring passage regular…

Eastern Yellow Wagtail - Motacilla tschutschensis (taivana)

At Long Valley there were two different Water Rails about, I missed one but got the second !
Eastern Water Rail - Rallus indicus

When seagoing passage migrants such as phalarope turn up on inland patches of water, like the ponds at LV, you know it must be rough at sea. 

Red-necked Phalarope - Phalaropus lobatus

Red-necked Phalarope - Phalaropus lobatus

Red-necked Phalarope - Phalaropus lobatus

Red-necked Phalarope - Phalaropus lobatus

On March 28th the diligence of the fishpond surveyors paid off again with the finding of this unusual wagtail, which may be a Western Yellow Wagtail.  Richard Lewthwaite and I arrived at the same time for a twitch of this potential HK first, feeding on a fishpond bund at Lut Chau.

Western Yellow Wagtail ?- Motacilla flava leucocephala (rear)

Western Yellow Wagtail ? - Motacilla flava leucocephala

Wagtail and admirers

At the boardwalk hides of Mai Po Nature Reserve, on the final day of March, it felt like winter was turning to spring. The wintering gulls were fewer in number and the terns were coming through.  Here’s one -

Gull-billed Tern - Gelochelidon nilotica

Gull-billed Tern - Gelochelidon nilotica

And the Black-faced Spoonbills were colouring up for their return to their Korean breeding grounds.

Black-faced Spoonbill - Platalea minor

The commoner passage migrants had increased in number and were also adopting some breeding plumage…

Greater Sand Plover - Charadrius leschenaultii

Curlew Sandpiper - Calidris ferruginea

There are fewer than ten records per year of Oriental Plover -and, actually, I haven't seen one in such good plumage for several years, - so it was great when this was pointed out to me on the Deep Bay mudflats :

Oriental Plover - Charadrius veredus

Oriental Plover - Charadrius veredus
And April is just getting started… 

21 March 2019

Distinguished Visitors

Glossy Ibis - Pelegadis falcinellus

There was a flurry of activity yesterday afternoon on various “Whats App” birding groups - two Glossy Ibis had been briefly seen and photographed on the scrape (Ponds 16/17) Mai Po Nature Reserve. 

There are only two previous Hong Kong records - single birds (also at Mai Po) in May 1994 and April 1978.

Immature Glossy Ibis are described as “wanderers” in the bird books, and these two seemed to have wandered on.

However, this afternoon - 21st March 2019 - the very same person who had seen them at Mai Po, found them again, this time in Long Valley, where they lingered through the afternoon and were the subject of many mobile phone messages.

Glossy Ibis - Pelegadis falcinellus

Long Valley is ten minutes from where I live, but first I had to collect Jemi, who was returning from downtown on the 978 bus. I scrambled into the car with bins and camera, and arrived at Choi Po Court just in time to pick her up.  Someone had kindly “dropped a pin” on the phone message group thread and the birds and attendant admirers were easy to find.

Long Valley's vegetable fields seemed to suit the rare visitors well, and they were actively foraging around the bases of the vegetation.

Glossy Ibis - Pelegadis falcinellus

Both individuals are in non-breeding plumage, having light-streaked heads and necks, and actually, as can be seen here, look very similar.

Glossy Ibis - Pelegadis falcinellus

Glossy Ibis - Pelegadis falcinellus

Here's hoping they hand around a bit longer than the previous ones, which were one or two-day "wonders".

Today’s warm sunshine also served as a reminder that the main spring migration is coming....

Postscript (Sunday, 31st March)

These birds disappeared from Long Valley after Friday 22nd March, so weekend-only "twitchers" felt they had missed out.

However, there followed rumours of Glossy Ibis out at Nam Sang Wai from Wednesday 27th March.  It was true.

The Ibis pair have been present in the NSW area for the past four days, so previously frustrated twitchers have enjoyed a second chance to add Glossy Ibis to their HK lists.

Glossy Ibis - Pelegadis falcinellus

Glossy Ibis - Pelegadis falcinellus

Glossy Ibis - Pelegadis falcinellus

These photos were taken at sunset on 28th March

29 January 2019

First “Twitch” of 2019 - Fire-capped Tit at KFBG

The Hong Kong birdwatching Society has a forum on its’ website and requests for bird identifications are often made.

One such request appeared on 26th January, about a bird seen the previous day at Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden in Hong Kong’s New Territories.

Fire-capped Tit - ( Cephalopyrus flammiceps )
I missed the posting but had a group WhatsApp message to the effect that Paul Leader thought the bird in question was a Fire-capped Tit - ( Cephalopyrus flammiceps ).

Fire-capped Tit would be a first for HK, so it seemed worth a bash down to KFBG for a look, especially when news came through that it had been re-found on Monday morning (28th Jan), in the same flowering apricot tree.

The limited parking spaces were fully occupied, so we arrived by bus at KFBG’s front entrance.

Also fully occupied were seats on the hourly Shuttle Bus to the top of KFBG’s grounds, so we had a fairly stiff walk up to the spot, which took about 30 minutes.

Fire-capped Tit - ( Cephalopyrus flammiceps )

Fire-capped Tit - ( Cephalopyrus flammiceps )

Fire-capped Tit - ( Cephalopyrus flammiceps )

Fire-capped Tit - ( Cephalopyrus flammiceps )

Fire-capped Tit - ( Cephalopyrus flammiceps )

But we were in luck, and the bird was showing well to a small but appreciative audience.

Fire-capped Tit - ( Cephalopyrus flammiceps )
It was vigorously bashing away at the apricot blossoms, - above with flower stamen in its bill - and also found one or two caterpillars among the flower buds while we were watching.

Fire-capped Tit - ( Cephalopyrus flammiceps )
Most characteristically, it sometimes held the apricot flower buds in one claw while pecking at them.

Fire-capped Tit - ( Cephalopyrus flammiceps )

Fire-capped Tit - ( Cephalopyrus flammiceps )

Fire-capped Tit - ( Cephalopyrus flammiceps )
After another 45 minutes or so, the bird moved on. Having trudged up the hill we were prepared to wait for it to return. But eventually, after a couple more hours it hadn’t come back and we left.

Fire-capped Tits breed in Sichuan and Northern Yunnan and there are regular records from Yunnan in the winter (indeed, we saw them on our recent trip there.)

Richard Lewthwaite was at KFBG and noted there there are no previous Guangdong or southeast China records for this species. In the western part of their range some disperse to central India, with others in northern Thailand.  So, vagrancy is not impossible, and a female seems less likely than a gaudy male to be an escaped cage bird. 

The HKBWS Records Committee have a difficult task to declare whether they think this bird is wild or escaped. But, meanwhile we can just enjoy the thought of it, on a Hong Kong hillside, bashing around the blossom-laden apricot branches.


16 December 2018

Rays of sunshine

White-spectacled Warbler - Seicercus affinis
On the 30th November we joined some other keen birders to go to Po Toi Island to “twitch” HK’s first Silver Oriole, seen the previous day.

Well, we didn’t get the oriole but but the company and weather were just fine.  This “White-spec.” was some slight compensation.  

It was dark under the canopy where I took this, but the image quality is a tribute to the Image Stabilising on a handheld 500mm f4 lens.

On another fine evening, I went to Pond 14 at Mai Po to try for shots of the Chinese Penduline Tits reported from there.  They are attractive birds, but usually small, distant and skulky. 

Chinese Penduline Tit - Remiz consobrinus

Chinese Penduline Tit - Remiz consobrinus
Meanwhile, back in the woods, a steady procession of December “usual suspects” revealed themselves.

Red-throated Flycatcher - Ficedula albicilla

Daurian Redstart - Phoenicurus auroreus

Chinese Bulbul - Pycnonotus sinensis

Blue Whistling Thrush - Myophonus caeruleus

Japanese White-Eye - Zosterops japonicus

Grey-backed Thrush - Turdus hortulurum

(Asian) Brown Flycatcher - Muscicapa latirostris

Fork-tailed Sunbird - Aethopyga christinae 

Rufous-tailed Robin - Larvivora sibilans

Most of my Rufous-tailed Robin views have involved birds glimpsed through undergrowth, and this one was no different.