16 Dec 2018

Rays of sunshine

White-spectacled Warbler - Seicercus affinis
On the 30th November we joined some other keen birders to go to Po Toi Island to “twitch” HK’s first Silver Oriole, seen the previous day.

Well, we didn’t get the oriole but but the company and weather were just fine.  This “White-spec.” was some slight compensation.  

It was dark under the canopy where I took this, but the image quality is a tribute to the Image Stabilising on a handheld 500mm f4 lens.

On another fine evening, I went to Pond 14 at Mai Po to try for shots of the Chinese Penduline Tits reported from there.  They are attractive birds, but usually small, distant and skulky. 

Chinese Penduline Tit - Remiz consobrinus

Chinese Penduline Tit - Remiz consobrinus
Meanwhile, back in the woods, a steady procession of December “usual suspects” revealed themselves.

Red-throated Flycatcher - Ficedula albicilla

Daurian Redstart - Phoenicurus auroreus

Chinese Bulbul - Pycnonotus sinensis

Blue Whistling Thrush - Myophonus caeruleus

Japanese White-Eye - Zosterops japonicus

Grey-backed Thrush - Turdus hortulurum

(Asian) Brown Flycatcher - Muscicapa latirostris

Fork-tailed Sunbird - Aethopyga christinae 

Rufous-tailed Robin - Larvivora sibilans

Most of my Rufous-tailed Robin views have involved birds glimpsed through undergrowth, and this one was no different.

2 Dec 2018

Nam Sang Wai and Shek Kong Catchment, 29th Nov 2018

Black-faced Spoonbill - Platalea minor
Hazy sunshine and a low tide predicted in late morning made NSW seem like an attractive place to visit for the first time in over a year.

Common Teal - Anas crecca

White-breasted Kingfisher - Halcyon smyrnensis
I get the feeling that many of the more experienced HK photographers consider NSW a bit passé  And someone recently pointed out to me that hardly any real rarities turn up there. 

Grey Heron - Ardea cinerea

Northern Shoveler - Anas clypeata

Pied Avocet - Recurvirostra avosetta

Pied Kingfisher - Ceryle rudis

But the  slipway near the AFCD post is still great place to practice “birds in flight” photography.

Woodland birding sites can be pretty quiet after mid-morning, but a low winter sun meant that there would be plenty of dark gullies along the track at Shek Kong Catchment, so there I went.

As it turned out, the first noteworthy bird was another “BIF” -  a displaying Crested Goshawk.

Crested Goshawk - Accipiter trivirgatus

Crested Goshawk - Accipiter trivirgatus
I’ve seen them do this often before, but rarely so close and in such strong light.

Later on, a mixed feeding bird flock found me in a shady corner and I got shots of a couple of the more colourful species under the tree canopy.

Yellow-cheeked Tit - Parus spilonotus

Silver-eared Mesia - Leiothrix argentaurus
Daurian Redstarts, having mostly arrived for the Hong Kong winter three to four weeks ago, have established their territories and become more cautious of humans. 

Daurian Redstart - Phoenicurus auroreus

But this male gave me a brief photo opportunity as I returned to the end of the catchment road.

24 Nov 2018

Mai Po Boardwalk Hide, 22nd Nov 2018

A 2.1 metre tide was predicted at Mai Po, possibly one of the last of the year that would get anywhere near the boardwalk hides.

It was still overcast early on, but there was a large group of roosting gulls on the tideline.  From this group Saunders’ Gulls were taking to the air, and foraging over the mudflat, searching for mudskippers.

Saunders' Gull - Chroicocecephalus saundersi

Saunders' Gull - Chroicocecephalus saundersi

Saunders' Gull - Chroicocecephalus saundersi

Saunders' Gull - Chroicocecephalus saundersi

Also present, Dunlin.  For me, the “What’s that calidrid?” calidrid.

Dunlin - Calidris alpina

Dunlin - Calidris alpina

Dunlin - Calidris alpina

A few other birds came obligingly close to the hide.

Whimbrel - Numenius phaeopus

Grey Plover - Pluvialis squatarola

The sun came out..... 

Pied Avocet - Recurvirostra avosetta

(Mostly) Black-headed Gulls on the mudflat
- and on the way back to the Reserve entrance, this female Daurian Redstart posed for me in the shade of a pathside mangrove.

Daurian Redstart - Phoenicurus auroreus

Looking back towards the Border Security Fence, I saw a distant Eastern Imperial Eagle, interacting with a relatively puny-looking Black Kite. 

The eagle must have gone in a loop around the top of Mai Po because a few minutes later, it passed right over me.

Eastern Imperial Eagle - Aquila heliaca

Plenty of winter birds for an eagle to prey on now.....

Pond 7, Mai Po Nature Reserve

21 Nov 2018

Oh, what a grey day...for Long Valley "regulars"

November 20th, 2018

A late-autumn wander about Long Valley with Andrew Hardacre.  LV is an area of freshwater vegetable fields, and traditional crops like rice planted by Green Groups, including the HK Birdwatching Society.

Sheung Shui Town in the distance

Many of the usual avian suspects were in view. Photos in the order taken, then.

Masked Laughingthrush - Garrulax perspicillatus

Yellow-breasted Bunting - Emberiza aureola

Common (Fantail) Snipe - Gallinago gallinago

Common (Fantail) Snipe - Gallinago gallinago

Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus

Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus

"Chinese" Magpie - Pica serica

"Chinese" Magpie - Pica serica

Eastern Yellow Wagtail - Motacilla tschutschensis (taivana)

The overcast weather made for nice pastelly backgrounds.

Spotted Redshank - Tringa erythropus

Chinese Pond Heron - Ardeola bacchus

By the time we got to San Tin, the sun had come out…. 

Chinese Spot-billed Duck - Anas zonorhyncha

A fine way to start the day...