24 Oct 2014

Birds - many with wet feet

Yes, I know I'll have to be more imaginative in my choice of attention-grabbing blog post titles.

Anyway, a "mixed bag" from the past couple of weeks. Here's one from Shek Kong Water Catchment...

Dark-sided Flycatcher - Muscicapa sibirica
At the "scrape" at Mai Po, exotic Harriers proved elusive for me, but this male and juvenile Painted Snipe provided something to look at.

Greater Painted-Snipe - Rostratula benghalensis

Black-faced Spoonbills have really started to come back to Deep Bay in the last few days, November is actually the month of Hong Kong's high counts of these.

Black-faced Spoonbill - Platalea minor

Near Mai Po's "Tower Hide", an Asian Brown Flycatcher -

Asian Brown Flycatcher - Muscicapa dauurica

And from the "Tower Hide" itself, another species now building up in numbers;

Great Cormorant - Phalacrocorax carbo

A few of the "usual suspects" in my favorite drain, taken from a portable  "Tragopan V3" hide….

Common Snipe - Gallinago gallinago

Wood Sandpiper - Tringa glareola

Marsh Sandpiper - Tringa stagnatilis

Back out at Mai Po's boardwalk hides -

Black-tailed Godwit - Limosa limosa (melanuroides)

Common Greenshank - Tringa nebularia
Finally, another group of birds returning for Hong Kong's winter. "Large White-headed Gulls" give me identification headaches, but someone suggested that I just call all the 1st and 2nd-winter birds "Brown Gulls".

Chances are, this is a Heuglins Gull (now held by the I.O.C. to be a race of Lesser Black-backed Gull), because most of our LWHGs are this type.  But I'm not sure.

Heuglin's Gull - Larus fuscus (heuglini) ??
Ho hum.  Looks like I've got all winter to re-acquaint myself with the gulls.


  1. An interesting post. The light was lovely on some of the birds at Mai Po. I'm glad to hear that someone else struggles with Gulls!

    1. Thanks for the comment, yes … generally I'm trying to ignore gulls.

  2. So Sooty Flycatchers do in fact exist. I've given up hope of ever seeing/photographing one.

    1. Stu, - I'm worried that I might have mis-identified Grey-streaked Flycatcher, so perhaps "Sootys" don't exist after all !

  3. A good selection John even without exotic harriers. I wish I could join you but I am exotic dog sitting.

  4. Andrew, - Have a good weekend with Lulu !

  5. Some really great photos like always. I especially like the snipe photos. If I saw a Dark-sided Flycatcher I would probably pass it off as an Asian Brown and never know the difference. I love the title of this post as well.

    1. Thanks, John - actually I'm often confusing Dark-sided with Grey-streaked "variable and confusing" says Mark Brazil in "Birds of East Asia"

  6. Great images as usual. We seldom get gulls here in Malaysia and those winter/juvenile plumages are a real pain in the neck.

    1. Malaysia has few gulls ? I think I'll move down there….