16 December 2016

Winter visitors

Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus

Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus
As of this morning, the adult Siberian Crane has been here for two weeks, mostly findable by birders and photographers after a longish pilgrimage from the car park and Visitor Centre to the south end of Mai Po Nature Reserve.

Long may this most distinguished of visitors hang around.

Hazy sunrise - San Tin

Elsewhere, we've been having cool November weather in December, and flocks of starlings around fishpond edges are very seasonal.

"Red-billed" Starlings - formerly known as "Silky" are present in vigorous and noisy flocks...

Red-billed Starlings - Spodiopsar sericeus

Red-billed Starlings - Spodiopsar sericeus

Red-billed Starlings - Spodiopsar sericeus
And one - band on tail - White-shouldered Starling, above.

Red-billed Starlings - Spodiopsar sericeus

Red-billed Starlings - Spodiopsar sericeus

Red-billed Starlings - Spodiopsar sericeus

Red-billed Starlings - Spodiopsar sericeus

Red-rumped Swallows exert a strange fascination on me, and one sunny morning last week there were dozens of them over a particular pond. 

But first a Pale Martin - but is it ?  What we used to call Sand Martins became known as Pale Martins, but now could be going back to their previous classification.  They are difficult to differentiate, both physically and categorically.

Pale Martin - Riparia diluta

And the streaky eastern forms of Red-rumped Swallow may be heading for a "split" from the plainer, western European ones.

(Asian) Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropsis daurica

(Asian)Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropsis daurica

The streaking on every Red-rumped Swallow seems to be different, too.  Some of this may be age and gender-related, of course.
(Asian) Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropsis daurica

(Asian) Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropsis daurica

And egrets, egrets everywhere, especially around partially-drained ponds..

Border area fishpond, Shenzhen in background

There's no escape from the higher pollution levels brought by northerly winds, but every sunset is different.

Some may even pleasantly surprise.
Fishpond sunset, near Mai Po 


6 comments:

  1. The Siberian Crane is no doubt the star of the show, but those flocks of Red-billed Starlings are pretty spectacular too. As a family, starlings are an incredibly varied and often stunningly beautiful assemblage of birds.

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    1. Bold, noisy and colourful- I like starlings too !

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  2. I hope the Crane stays as well, it adds so much excitement!

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    1. Hi Matthew- the crane is a brilliant bird to have around, I agree.

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  3. Nice sunset pic............

    So re those hirundines, I may get 2 armchair ticks......!

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    1. "Armchair ticks" entirely possible!!

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