12 March 2018

In praise of - Oriental Pratincole (Glareola maldivarum)

In spring, Oriental Pratincoles pass through Hong Kong between the end of February and mid-May. A couple of days ago, I had the luck to come across a pond with twenty or more of these birds wheeling around taking insects in the late afternoon sunshine.

In flight they are surprisingly erratic - at least that's my excuse for not getting more shots in focus.

The low sun angle made it possible to appreciate the cinnamon-coloured underwing lining of this species.

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

A wader that flies like a swallow - what's not to like ?


3 March 2018

Southern Ecuador

It's lucky that this blog isn't read for its topicality.

Here are some shots from the final leg of our South America trip, in southern Ecuador, back in November 2017.

We booked through Mindo Bird Tours, and the three reserves we visited are operated by the Jocotoco Foundation.

Accommodation was simple but comfortable, and profits are ploughed back into buying more habitat and educational programmes.

White-tailed Jay - Cyanocorax mystacalis
Our first stop was Urraca Lodge, inside Jorube Reserve.  A dry forest site at the southern end of Ecuador with Peru visible to the south.

Dining Area, Urraca Lodge
Blackish-headed Spinetail - Sinallaxis tithys

Pale-browed Tinamou - Crypturellus transfasciatus

Our next stop was Umbrellabird Lodge, Buenaventura.   These photos were all taken from the lodge viewing deck !

Long-wattled Umbrellabird - Cephalopterus penduliger

Black-and-White Owl - Ciccaba nigrolineata

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan - Ramphastos swainsonii

And finally to Casa Simpson Lodge, in Tapichalaca, adjacent to Ecuador's Podocarpus National Park.

Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager - Dubusia taeniata

Chestnut-naped Antpitta - Grallaria nuchalis

Casa Simpson blends in with its' surroundings.

Casa Simpson


This is the view of the lowlands from along the thirty-minute walk to the Antpitta site...


The world-famous Jocotoco Antpittas are well-worth a birders' pilgrimage to go and see them. They are charismatic, handsome and touchingly confiding.

It's remarkable to think that they were unknown to science until well into the 1990s.

Jocotoco Antpitta - Grallaria ridgelyi
Birding can bring so many surprises.