28 Sept 2013

"Up close and personal" with the Tragopan V3 Hide

Typhoon Usagi came and went last weekend, and its' tidal surge damaged some of Mai Po's floating boardwalk hides, which are now closed for repair.

Little Ringed Plover - Charadrius dubius
So I've dusted off a present Jonathan Martinez gave me a few months ago; the Tragopan V3 hide.

A short drive from home is a broad storm drain that Hong Kong's commoner waterbirds find irresistible.

There is plenty of space to park a standalone hide at the edge of the water.

Tragopan V3 hide in situ

Here's the view from the hide...  

Up the creek...

Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus

In the driving seat

At this time of the year I was hoping for a the odd exotic migrant, but was happy to settle for close views of a variety of the more common passage migrant and winter visitors...

Common Sandpiper - Actitis hypoleucos

Green Sandpiper - Tringa ochropus

Green Sandpiper - Tringa ochropus

Common Greenshank - Tringa nebularia

Common Greenshank - Tringa nebularia

Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus

Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus

Wood Sandpiper - Tringa glareola

(Juvenile) Black-crowned Night Heron - Nycticorax nycticorax

Chinese Pond Heron - Ardeola bacchus

Here's a video of Jonathan demonstrating folding up the hide.  My hand-eye co-ordination is pretty poor, but even I can do it ! 


There are eight small windows (top of each hide "face") for good all-round vision, and -if required-  more than one of the four large windows can be used simultaneously.

A couple more pics..

More bird photos to close with...

Little Egret - Egretta garzetta

"Amur" Wagtail - Motacilla alba leucopsis

Great Egret - Casmerodius albus

So the hide was very useful. One "Bonus Bird" for the morning was this : -

Greater Coucal - Centropus sinensis

A reminder that we're in the tropics !

More about the hide in due course......

23 Sept 2013

Great Knot at Mai Po Nature Reserve

I really have been trotting around clumps of Hong Kong's woodland looking for migrating flycatchers, but I've got no pics to show for it.

So you'll have to settle for these, taken from the boardwalk hides in Deep Bay a few days ago.

Great Knot - Calidris tenuirostris - with Terek and Blackwit

Eurasian Curlew - Numenius arquata

Eurasian Curlew - Numenius arquata

Marsh Sandpipers - Tringa stagnatilis

Terek Sandpipers - Xenus cinereus

Common Redshank - Tringa totanus

Great Egrets - Casmerodius albus

Common Sandpiper - Actis hypoleucos

Common Greenshank - Tringa nebularia

Black-tailed Godwit - Limosa melanuroides

Eurasian Curlew - Numenius arquata

Eurasian Curlew - Numenius arquata
Proof,  if any were needed,  that I'm just a "Fair Weather Photographer" ....

Toodle Pip !

8 Sept 2013

It's September - Are we having fun yet ?

Early last week I made a couple of woodland forays with Andrew Hardacre.  He's much more diligent about recording insects and landscapes than I am. 

We glimpsed a few interesting birds but they were mostly too quick for me. But a couple of residents were more co-operative.

Emerald Dove - Chalcophaps indica
A patchy-plumaged female.  Juvenile, perhaps ? 

Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius - eyeing moth pupae

Around the fishponds there are a lot of juvenile Greater Coucals. I thought this one looked very dinosaur-like. 

Greater Coucal - Centropus sinensis

Long-tailed Shrike - Lanius schach

White-cheeked Starling - Sturnus cineraceus

And an actual passage migrant - a single Red-necked Phalarope.

Red-necked Phalarope - Phalaropus lobatus

At Mai Po the wader passage is going on, some juvenile Curlew Sandpipers here:

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea (with Redshank, Marsh Sandpipers)

Sometimes there is a stark reminder that some of the waders are not going to go any further…

Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus

And the species said to make the longest migration flights on the planet, Bar-tailed Godwit. Some birds fly across the Pacific from the Aleutian Islands non-stop to their wintering grounds in New Zealand.  

Not ALL of them do, obviously, as there are some that pass through HK every autumn, a few dozen in recent years.  These (mostly the form "menzbieri") may be wintering in Australia, as Australian-banded birds have been seen in Hong Kong, and vice versa.. 

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica (menzbieri)

Late August and early September see numbers of Whimbrel peak.  Hong Kong's are the east asian form, "variegatus". A common bird on autumn's tidelines.

Whimbrel  Numenius phaeopus (variegatus)

Whimbrel  - Numenius phaeopus (variegatus)

At sunset yesterday I was keen to photograph anything that would oblige...

Black Drongo - Dicrurus macrocercus

A few starlings around...

White-shouldered Starling - Sturnia sinensis

A "mixed bag" of starlings at a roost… mostly Grey-cheeked, a few White-shouldered...

 and three passage migrant Daurian (Purple-backed) Starlings...

Daurian Starling Agropsar sturninus

Daurian Starling Agropsar sturninus*

*A new (to me) latin name, gleaned from the 2011 HK Bird Report !

In answer to the question posed above; "Are we having fun yet ?" - the answer is "Yes" ....autumn migration is ON.