31 Jan 2009

Mugi till you puke

On a tip-off, we explored the lesser-known (to us) corners of Shatin, and found the patch of woodland occupied as a winter territory by this bird. It was easy to locate, about a dozen photographers were already there, huddled on a narrow footpath. When the bird moved we all jostled and clattered to get a good angle, trying not to drop tripod legs into the drainage channel. Often hidden behind a tangle or in the shadows, we all had an entertaining hour or two trying to get some pictures. At a safe distance, I'd like to think the star of the show was enjoying himself, too.

These days the membership of the Hong Kong Birdwatching Society is scattered fairly widely, and this broader coverage means that good birds turn up in previously unregarded corners of HK. This Mugimaki Flycatcher, a winter visitor here, is an example of this, found by a teenage local birder in Siu Lek Yuen, on a wooded hillside behind his housing estate.

Nice one !

Mugimaki Flycatcher

29 Jan 2009

Good Afternoon, Your Majesty

Pootled around the New Territories with Andrew H. today. The weather could not decide if it was going to be hot or cold. "His Majesty" deigned to be photographed in Shek Kong in mid-afternoon.

Thanks to Peter, Michelle and the others who saw it first !

Black-naped Monarch

25 Jan 2009

Lunar New Year's Eve - Part I

Lunar New Year in south China is like Christmas and New Year combined in europe. There is still a wholehearted enthusiasm for traditional festivals here.

The streets in Hong Kong get very busy after dinnertime and people go out to buy flowers or small mandarin orange trees. So did we.

Are we having fun yet ?

Lunar New Year's Eve - Part II

Twenty-first century tops have lights in them ! Whatever next ?
Nice Hat !
SOMEBODY thinks I look like "Shrek" ! I deny everything !

Woodland Birds - Tai Po Kau

No really, we do have woodland in Hong kong, and the birders' traditional favourite spot is Tai Po Kau.

But this can be a bit of a fag to wander round with heavy gear. And the light is often poor, but that's why DIGITAL was invented.

These are Velvet-fronted nuthatch, Rufous-capped Babbler and Yellow-cheeked Tit. BUT not necessarily in that order.

And a "Lunar New Year Bonus" Moon Moth !

19 Jan 2009

Tideline fun at Mai Po 16th Jan 2009

Lurched out to the boardwalk hide on Friday 16th Jan. The tide came pretty high and the waders were exercised by a pair of Eastern Marsh Harriers and a Peregrine.


Eastern Marsh Harrier (the egret got away)

Why do they menace the other birds ?
Because they CAN.

18 Jan 2009

Streptopelia orientalis

When I started birding in Hong Kong in the 1980s we used to cheerfully call this "Rufous Turtle Dove". But, ornithological progress being what it is, this is now split as "Oriental Turtle Dove". I believe this species has turned up in Finland, where observant Finns have noticed the difference between this and European Turtle Dove. I read about it in the now-defunct Alula magazine.

15 Jan 2009

Eastern Marsh Harriers at Mai Po

Quite a few examples of "Circus spilonotus" around at the moment, here are two from last week:-


Who's a pretty boy, then ?

12 Jan 2009

Pallas's Leaf Warbler

Phylloscopus proregulus, another winter visitor to Hong kong.
The call is a soft "Tooeeeyyy" - "Reminiscent of the cork being removed from a wine bottle" said a birding friend twenty years ago. I can't imagine why that description has stayed with me so long !

Great Cormorant at Mai Po Nature Reserve

Phalacrocorax carbo (but you knew that) race "sinensis" is a winter visitor to south China.
Hoo Boy, there are LOADS of them ! - as the professional ornithologists say.
Several thousand winter in Deep Bay and counting them properly is all part of the fun of the winter waterfowl counts.

8 Jan 2009

"Peregrinator" - Mai Po Nature Reserve 8th Jan.2009

Some photos from Mai Po Nature Reserve today
The local race of Falco peregrinus is "peregrinator" which has these broad moustachial stripes... the migrant peregrines here can look quite a pale gray.

_ Having a "go" at Eastern Marsh Harrier ... fudged up the last shot but "Ho gwoh mo" - "Better than none!" as we say here in Hong Kong

7 Jan 2009

Art for art's sake...

A Great Egret on a grey day recently at Nam Sang Wai.

Olive-backed Pipits

Airfield Road, Shek Kong
Mai Po
As a credit crunch "two-in-one special offer" here on J's HK bird blerg, two shots of "OBP" , a widespread passage migrant and winter visitor here in south china.

3 Jan 2009

Happy New Year for a Black-faced Spoonbill

At Nam Sang Wai on New Years' Day there were about thirty photographers. I don't know how many frames were banged off at this BFS with a fish. A great "poseur", he caught the fish, then dropped it and picked it up again for the happy snappers who missed the photo opportunity the first time.

Happy New Year !