17 September 2015

Away with the Fairies

Fairy Pitta is a scarce passage migrant here in Hong Kong.

Fairy Pitta - Pitta nympha


One or two are seen each year by a lucky few birders.  As it happens, I've only seen one once before, a spring bird at Tai Po Kau in 2006.

On Monday, 14th September, David Diskin was birding near Lau Sui Heung Reservoir when he discovered a Fairy Pitta near post 2207 of the Maclehose Trail.

I was out birding when I saw Dave's message on a Bird News "Whats App" group.  Ah, technology ! - birding information in real-time.

I got to the site named by Dave in 45 minutes, and spent a while staring into the woods to no avail.

Then, there was another message from Dave to say that the Pitta ( or another individual) had been found by him near Lau Shui Heung Reservoir, a kilometre down the track I was on.

I told him where I was and Dave kindly agreed to meet me and show me exactly where he'd last seen the bird.   At the reservoir we had the briefest glimpse of the pitta again, but Dave had to leave.

Fairy Pitta - Pitta nympha

I decided to hang about and see if the bird would come back to the footpath, which is exactly what it did after about half an hour.

It was suitably alert but not too shy, and I kept seeing it on-and-off in the waterside vegetation.

Fairy Pitta - Pitta nympha

Handholding a 500mm f4 lens I did my best to line up angles to get a clear view. I used no tape or bait - but if I had thought a pitta would eat crumbled oatmeal biscuits I would have offered it some !

Fairy Pitta - Pitta nympha
I left at about 11:45 and I know the bird was seen at the same place later in the afternoon.  But as a typical passage bird, it moved off overnight and was not seen on the Tuesday or Wednesday.

Fairy Pitta - Pitta nympha

Anyway, I was very pleased to make its acquaintance.

7 comments:

  1. What a bird! Great photos. I have never seen a pitta. I did get a few antpittas in Ecuador. Not nearly so colorful as the true pittas.

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  2. Any shot of a pitta is a great shot. In my limited experience they are very difficult birds to see, let alone photograph. Great job here.

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  3. Really great shots John! They are such a thrill to see!

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  4. Great stuff John, always wanted to see a Pitta......................and never succeeded. Unless we're talking about the bread that is.

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  5. Every pitta encounter has a touch of magic to it. This one is no exception. Well done!

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  6. Thanks everyone...this was an annual highlight for me!

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  7. Would love to see one, great pics!

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