Saturday, 28 February 2015

Birdwatching 101

It's always a joy to share your interest with someone who have never experienced it, it reminds you of the time you first began your hobby and everything was so exciting and new to you! To be able to show this whole new world for someone is a true delight.

Today, Long and I gave a tour of Long Valley with Victor; a friend of ours, the classic tour of Long Valley. This must be one of the most perfect place to start with, as the birds are relatively easy to see, and the wide range of species is also a good introduction to the birds of Hong Kong.

We started with the basics, a Spotted Dove right in front of us. Black-collard Starlings were everywhere, White Wagtails gave a good introduction of the idea of sub-species, with two ocularis in the flock. Siberian Stonechats are conspicuous and hard to miss. Smart looking Long-tailed Shrikes provided some fairly good views. Koels were calling everywhere, reminding us that Spring is truly amongst us. Black-winged Stilts, Avocets and Wood Sandpipers were all good introductions to waders in Hong Kong.

Spotted Dove

White Wagtail (ocularis)

Long-tailed Shrike

For the more uncommonly seen birds, we got some very shy Painted Snipes today, well hidden within the thick vegetation. A Citrine Wagtail made an appearance, a bird that should be leaving Hong Kong soon and back to breeding grounds up North. A flock of Garganey gave good text book comparison between male and females dimorphism. A Pied Kingfisher gave a good fly-by. Red-throated Flycatcher showed briefly. Common Buzzard and Kestrel circled above us.

Citrine Wagtail


Even better birds showed up, in form of Bull-headed Shrike which showed quite well, a Japanese Sparrowhawk that flew low and flushed all the sandpipers and stilts, Ruddy-breasted Crake and Eastern Water Rail showed well, the later especially so. Long and Victor managed to spot the male Bluethroat briefly. We ended the day with a more common crake species the White-breasted Waterhen.

Bull-headed Shrike

Eastern Water Rail

White-breasted Waterhen

A total of 64 species is really quite good as an introduction.

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