26 December 2016

Mind your step - and some mid-winter birding, Deep Bay, Hong Kong

I'm grateful to Thomas Chan for spotting this Burmese Python on the southern boundary of Mai Po Nature Reserve.  Snakes are usually more frightened of people than we are of them, but still....that's a lot of fear to go round !

This shot of the head is a big crop with the 500mm lens - I wasn't getting close to it ...

Burmese Python (Python bivittatus)

Burmese Python (Python bivittatus)

And why were we down the "bottom" end of MPNR last Sunday (Dec 18th) ?

Because the adult Siberian Crane was still showing at Mai Po. Reports have been less frequent recently, perhaps because the crane isn't "news" any more.  Just when I feared it had left us, there's a report from Mai Po this afternoon (Dec 26th).

Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus

Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus
The bird has been going over to Nam Sang Wai now and then, and lurking unseen in the middle of that area.

Despite the occasional presence of cranes Nam Sang Wai is "not as good as it used to be", they say.

We were away for a big chunk of last winter, but I'd have to concede that there are far fewer duck around the slipway at NSW than there were a few years ago.

Still just one or two fly-bys in good morning light can raise morale.

Eurasian Teal - Anas crecca

Eurasian Teal - Anas crecca

Nam Sang Wai's waders are still pretty confiding.

Spotted Redshank - Tringa erythropus

Pied Avocet - Recurvirostra avosetta

Reflected blue morning light light as a background for a Grey Heron can make it seem more picturesque.

Grey Heron - Ardea cinerea

Black-collared Starlings - Gracupica nigricollis

A lot of photographers may feel that they have "moved on" from NSW in terms of their art (sarcasm alert !), but I will keep going back if the tide, light and season are right. It must be still the best place on the planet to photograph Black-faced Spoonbills.


Black-faced Spoonbill - Platalea minor


Black-faced Spoonbill - Platalea minor

Black-faced Spoonbill - Platalea minor

"S21" radio-tagged in Korea in the summer of 2013 is passing its fourth winter in Deep Bay.
Black-faced Spoonbill - Platalea minor

Last - and literally not least - Great Cormorants are abundant at NSW. They can make a pretence at decorum, even land in heraldic, griffon-like poses.....

Great Cormorant - Phalacrocorax carbo

Great Cormorant - Phalacrocorax carbo

But they'll always revert to type when there is a fish to be fought over.

Great Cormorant - Phalacrocorax carbo

Great Cormorant - Phalacrocorax carbo

Great Cormorant - Phalacrocorax carbo

This one was chased onto the mudbank with his prize, and even there had to defend it.

"No, after YOU, Dear Boy"



I can't finish a year's blogging with a picture like this, so here's an Amur Falcon from mid-November.


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

8 comments:

  1. Wow had no idea there were pythons in Hong Kong!

    Hope 2017 is a good one for you............

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    1. Only my 4th live one ever, I think !

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  2. That is one impressive snake.......not to be trifled with for sure. The sequence of the cormorants battling over the fish is quite amazing. It is now less than two months and I will be in Hong Kong. Maybe I'll luck out with that Siberian Crane after all. Hope 2017 is wonderful for you, John.

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    1. Yes David, the crane is still around.....fingers crossed for February!

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  3. Pythons...don't have much luck with those, only seen one at Pak Sha O a few years ago and never since! Great series!

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    1. Thanks Matt, as stated above, I haven't seen many- but I knew someone in the NT who kept goats years ago who found pythons raiding his goat pens almost monthly.

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  4. I assume that the Burmese Python is introduced to Hong Kong like they have been introduced to the Florida Everglades. It remains to be seen what the long term impact of them will be to the local wildlife. Great photos like always.

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    1. John, Burmese Python is native to tropical south China, including HK. I gather they've become a nuisance in the everglades.... but they are still rare (possibly endangered) here.

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