I'm talking about the cruddy weather of the last few weeks or so. It's official ! - according to the HK Observatory, in November 2012 Hong Kong experienced the fewest hours of bright sunshine in any November since 1885.
December won't be greyer than November, will it ? Let's hope not.
Last week began slowly and just got better. In mid-week, the high-ish tides in late afternoon at the Mai Po boardwalk gave some decent viewing opportunities, but it was a bit gloomy for photos.
Saunders's Gull - Saundersilarus saundersi
For a small cute-looking gull, Saunders's is an astonishingly effective crab-killer…and it scatters its prey all over the mudflats.
Grey Plover - Pluvialis squatarola - with a piece of crab carapace.
At Nam Sang Wai, though, things perked up when the sun came out on Thursday (6th December), and the NSW regulars paraded along the edge of the creek. You've seen 'em all here before, but here they are again, in all their sun-drenched glory !
Pied Avocet - Recurvirostra avosetta
Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus
Black-faced Spoonbill - Platalea minor
Grey Heron - Ardea cinerea
Three shots of Marsh Sandpiper - Tringa stagnatilis
Great White Egret - Casmerodius albus
Last Sunday's sunshine inspired me to try to "improve" on the Red-rumped Swallow shots I'd taken a few days earlier… in the end though, my "Bird of the Week" was a Northern/Common House Martin.
With a copy of the 2009-10 Hong Kong Bird Report beside me, I can tell you that Hong Kong's first confirmed Northern House Martin was found by Paul Leader on Nov. 20th 2009 (Photos by Martin Hale).
Two other NHM reports followed in quick succession, possibly birds of the same influx due to cold weather.
I don't know how many sightings of Northern House Martin have been made in the intervening three years, but there are still only a handful of records, due to the difficulty of seeing House Martins well enough to distinguish "Asian" from "Northern/Common".
Some record shots and discussion are here, but here are the photos I posted on the HKBWS website.
Northern House Martin - Delichon urbicum
A Hong Kong "Tick", and December off to a flying start....