4 Feb 2011

Nam Sang Wai - Part IV

I have been noting how many different birds I can photograph in a winter from one spot, in this case the slipway at Nam Sang Wai.  This is the fourth collection of images.

As I was getting the camera out of the back of the car yesterday morning, Jemi spotted this White's Thrush in the grass between the road and the old police post. 

A "bonus bird" for NSW.

White's Thrush (Zoothera aurea)

Zoothera dauma was "White's" Thrush in the 1980s when I first saw it here in Hong Kong - named after the Vicar of Selborne, Gilbert White, who wrote his famous nature diary over 200 years ago.   Later we called this bird "Scaly" Thrush, a more descriptive name.  However the Himalayan population has been split from the long-distance migratory one - and our  winter visitors are now Zoothera aurea and have gone back to being "White's" Thrush.

Why am I boring you with all this ?  In July 2010 the Hong Kong Birdwatching Society brought out a revised list of Kong Kong Birds, and I find I have to keep checking to make sure I'm using the current English and scientific names. Which I try to, usually.  When I remember the name has been revised.

But most nomenclature issues are small compared to the wonderful world of Large White-headed Gulls (LWHGs).  Not only are LWHGs hard to identify, but the taxonomic goalposts keep moving, too.

And to get the worst shot out of the way, here's a Masked Laughingthrush that was in one of the invasive mangrove trees  - sonneratia - just over the wall in front of the car.

Masked Laughingthrush (G. perspicillatus)

All the other photos in this post were taken from the Nam Sang Wai slipway yesterday.  ( I could increase the final "NSW" species tally by lugging the big lens and tripod around the fishponds in the area  but Spotted Dove and Common Myna, etc. won't count unless I can photograph them at the water's edge, where the egrets and spoonbills are. )

Black-headed Gull (C. ridibundus)

White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)

Tufted Duck (A. fuligula)

Eastern Buzzard (Buteo japonicus)

Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)

Heuglin's Gull (Larus fuscus heuglini)

As you can see, a LWHG.  Don't panic !  I may have misidentified it anyway !

The slipway at Nam Sang Wai - small turnout due to the New Year festival

So, for number of species photographed in or nearby the slipway, it adds up to 24 (Parts I - III) plus 7 here - 

31 species to date in this series. 


  1. Good work photographing a Whites Thrush, I haven't managed it yet.........

    I've never seen a Heuglins but we do get 'Tamiyr' Gulls here in winter, supposedly an intergrade/hybrid between Heuglins and Vega. And that bird in Kent may have been an intergrad/hybrid with Vega and Slaty Backed..........


  2. Wow from the last photo, I can see lots and lots of birds there! I also noticed that the Scaly and White's were split in Craig Robson's latest Birds of Thailand & SE Asia. I'm sure I have seen both of them, cos the Scaly is a resident in northern Thailand and I have seen them raising fledglings, and the White's is a more widespread winter visitor, but I really can't distinguish the two by just looking at their appearance. I've just found a White's Thrush here in Japan for the first time a few days ago as well. As for the LWHGs, they are a true nightmare! I'm afraid in the future we won't be able to identify any birds in the field, just cos they will be all genetically differentiated lol