9 Jan 2018

Doing our homework

After a ten-week trip there is always a lot of material to post, but also a risk that this blog could be re-named “John’s What I did on my Trip Blog”.

So, some Hong Kong birds this time. We have tried to catch up with some of the rarities reported during our absence.

Fortunately, three of these have hung around long enough for us to find them…
Rook - Corvus frugilegus
The rainy weather today has not seemed to bother a Rook, first sighted in October 2017.  According to the “Avifauna of Hong Kong” (2001) old reports of Rook were disregarded due to the possibility of misidentifications. But it seems fairly certain that this IS a first-year Rook…

Rook - Corvus frugilegus
….the Records Committee will have to scratch their heads about the likelihood of this being a wild bird or not.

Next, some common farmland birds…..
Stejneger's Stonechat - Saxicola stejnegeri

Masked Laughingthrush - Garrulax perspicillatus

Japanese White-Eye - Zosterops japonicus

Then, HK’s third Black Redstart which has been in Long Valley (an area of vegetable fields) since last October. It has established a winter territory in one small area, and, armed with directions from David Diskin, we found this fairly quickly. 
Black Redstart - Phoenicurus ochrurus

Near Brides Pool, NE New Territories, a supporting cast of wintering flycatchers.

Verditer Flycatcher - Eumyias thalassina

Mugimaki Flycatcher - Ficedula mugimaki

Asian Brown Flycatcher - Muscicapa dauurica

The flycatchers were "supporting" a first for several years species Crested Kingfisher, reported along the banks of Plover Cove Reservoir, near Chung Mei. I'll never tire of birds like this.

Crested Kingfisher - Ceryle lugubris

 My "safety shot" at long range - it flew off before I could get closer and I couldn't re-find it !

Another blog concept:-  "Miles Away but charismatic, honestly"


  1. All I can say, John, is that for most of the world, whether it's one of your far flung adventures, or local coverage, it is pretty exotic for most of us. I cannot even imagine a ten week trip; three weeks is about the maximum time I can get my wife to leave home.

    1. Hi David, having shelled out for the air fares, etc. it seemed like a good idea to roll 3-4 "bucket list" activities into one trip.

  2. A nice mix including lots of stuff we see here.

    Rooks are becoming more common here, I'm surprised you don't see more of them.

    1. Stu, Rooks get down to south China in the winter, but hardly any, it seems, get all the way to HK. Please send Waxwings to us - any kind, I'm not fussy !

  3. Hi John: Thanks for your recent comment on my blog. I know that Ontario probably seems pretty pedestrian when compared with all the fabulous trips you take, but I really hope that you will make it here one day. It would give me great pleasure to reciprocate your kindness to me when I was in Hong Kong last year.

    1. Hi David - Snowy Owl must turn up in Riverside Park sooner or later...just kidding, the other birds are great, too.

    2. If you were here in the winter I could almost guarantee Snowy Owl. Sometimes I can find them within twenty minutes of my front door.

  4. Glad you're back in HK and caught up with a few star birds John! The Crested King must be one of my top bird for 2017.

    1. Matt - Crested Kingfisher is in my "Top Ten" for the year, too !

  5. A beautiful collection of bird pictures, John.