21 Oct 2009

Emberiza aureola - Yellow-breasted Bunting

According to my 1974 edition of "Hong Kong birds" by Geoffrey Herklots, this species is "extremely abundant on migration in China"....and ...... "several flocks were seen at Ping Shan on 22 Oct. 1931"...

Well, on 21 Oct 2009 they were pretty abundant in the rice paddies at Long Valley, near Sheung Shui

Herklots again, quoting Lt. R.E. Vaughan and Staff Surgeon K.H.Jones from the January 1913 edition of "The Ibis" : -

"Rice birds are prized by Europeans and Chinese alike, and not only do the rich natives at Canton consume large quantities, but many are tinned and exported to Singapore and America for the benefit of Celestial exiles."......

"As a matter of fact, any small yellowish bird is sold as a Rice-bird by the Chinese, and one itinerant merchant in Macao was seen with two hundred Eastern Grey Wagtails to dispose of for culinary purposes."

Luckily we're all too clever to return to those dark days.... or are we ?

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