11 Nov 2013

Warblers and other "wonderments"

Oriental Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus orientalis

Last Friday (Nov 8th) I joined Andrew Hardacre at Nam Sang Wai.  The good news was that we found that a government contractor had trimmed some of the sonneratia trees and other foliage at the slipway, freeing up sight lines and photo opportunities (if the tide was right) of the waterbirds.

But the bad news was that the light was poor, so we popped around the back of the AFCD post and had a "go" at photographing the warblers in the reed beds there. 

Here are some of the results..

Oriental Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus orientalis

Black-browed Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus bistrigiceps

Black-browed Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus bistrigiceps

Black-browed Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus bistrigiceps

Having looked at a paper in the 2011 Hong Kong Bird Report called "Seasonality of Acrocephalus and Locustella warblers in the reed beds at Mai Po Nature Reserve" (pp234 - 267) I can confidently assert that Oriental Reed and Black-browed are much commoner in autumn than they are in winter. Both species are coming to the tail end of their autumn passage.

An "also seen" was this phylloscopus

Dusky Warbler - Phylloscopus fuscatus

Dusky Warbler - Phylloscopus fuscatus

On a "Phylloscopus warblers" theme, here are some shots of Yellow-browed Warbler, taken from a window in the flat.

Yellow-browed Warbler - Phylloscopus inornatus

Yellow-browed Warbler - Phylloscopus inornatus

Yellow-browed Warbler - Phylloscopus inornatus

Off to Long Valley this morning, Andrew H. and I decided we'd try to get some shots of the Baillon's Crake that has been occupying a particular LV pond for a few days.  The pond is used for the cultivation of the little red worms people feed to aquarium fish. For the sake of science, I can report that Baillon's Crake eats those worms too.  I didn't get a decent photo of it doing so, but Andrew did:-


Anyhow, here are my efforts....

Baillon's Crake -  Porzana pusilla

Baillon's Crake -  Porzana pusilla

A bonus bird - for Long Valley anyway, Grey-headed Lapwing, with an altogether bigger catch.

Grey-headed Lapwing - Vanellus cinereus

Grey-headed Lapwing - Vanellus cinereus

Finally, not a warbler at all, really….

Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis

Zitting Cisticola….included in this post because it used to be called "Fantail Warbler".

5 Nov 2013

"Halcyon Days"

"Halcyon - Greek halkuon, a mythical bird, long associated with the kingfisher, which nested on the sea. It was beloved of the gods, who calmed the waves while it incubated and raised its young. Such days of peace and calm became known as 'halcyon days'." 

(from "A Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names"  by James A. Jobling)

When I came to Hong Kong in 1978, and before mainland air pollution became a feature of our winter weather, every autumn seemed to be filled with such days.

White-breasted Kingfisher - Halcyon smyrnensis

White-breasted Kingfisher - Halcyon smyrnensis

Or perhaps it was something to do with youth.