18 October 2018

Just passing through

I imagine that big raindrops must be quite a hazard for insects, they are no fun for humans generally, either.
Sand Martin - Riparia riparia

But when the rain is hard enough, the insects are beaten down and make a flying feast for  swifts and swallows.  There was a high proportion of Sand Martins with a group of mostly Barn Swallows, and I mused on the various names we humans have for these. “Sand Martin” in HK became “Pale Martin” and has now become “Sand Martin” again.  If you record your birding using E-bird, they are “Bank Swallows”. It all keeps the researchers busy.

Himalayan Swiftlet - Aerodroma brevirostris


Himalayan Swiftlet - Aerodroma brevirostris

Himalayan Swiftlet - Aerodroma brevirostris

I met Koel KO by chance in Tai Sang Wai and it was he who alerted me to a single Himalayan Swiftlet among the dozens of hirundines. The swiftlet appeared and disappeared from sight as if by magic.

Himalayan Swiftlet - Aerodroma brevirostris

Himalayan Swiftlet - Aerodroma brevirostris

Himalayan Swiftlet - Aerodroma brevirostris

There are usually ten or fewer records of Himalayan Swiftlet in HK annually, and they are difficult to see well, so  I made an effort to get a few shots, hoping it might be something even more exotic….but it wasn’t.

Due to the rain and clouds, it seemed like “Bee-eater weather” and so it proved on Mai Po Access Road, where about 35 Blue-tailed Bee-eaters caught bees (mostly) and ate them !

Blue-tailed Bee-eater - Merops philippinus

Blue-tailed Bee-eater - Merops philippinus

Blue-tailed Bee-eater - Merops philippinus

Blue-tailed Bee-eater - Merops philippinus

Blue-tailed Bee-eater - Merops philippinus

Blue-tailed Bee-eater - Merops philippinus


Raindrops in almost every shot, it was that kind of day......


7 comments:

  1. Rain didn't stop some excellent BIF work here!

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    1. Thanks Stu - followed up by photoshop work too, to try to squeeze some colour into the shots..

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  2. They are Bank Swallows on eBird because eBird is America-based. As far as I know the species is known as Sand Martin everywhere else in the world.

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    1. Ah Yes, is this an example of "American Exceptionalism" ?
      For eBird's bird names, I guess that's where the scientific names come in handy...

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    2. Great great pun on the term “American Exceptionalism” which is about the worst oxymoron I can think of.

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    3. Just to be clear, you can choose from many different naming systems on eBird. If you choose to use the site using British English, you will see the name Sand Martin for this species.

      This difference of nomenclature in America/Britain/other countries is often given as a reason not to use eBird, but they've actually tackled the issue pretty well in my opinion. I use eBird a lot and rarely even think about the fact that some species may have different names like this.

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    4. Thanks, John A - I promise to try harder with eBird !

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