Saturday, 21 February 2015

Chinese New Year!

A planned trip to Yinping Shan near Shenzhen was suddenly cancelled, because this morning when I was about to head out I found that my Return Permit was missing! Such rotten luck...

Anyway, as it was still very early in the morning, I decided to head out to Tai Po Kau. It was very foggy and humid, morning mist covers the hills. The walk up was rather quiet, only a flock of Striated Yuhinas on a treetop was worth mentioning.

Got to the public toilet and waited for a bit. A few Rufous-capped Babbler foraged nearby, making their distinctive Do-do-do-do-do calls. Right next to the toilet, a pair of Tristram's Buntings was present, however only the female decided to make an appearance, it perched for a short while, allowing some photographs to be taken before disappearing again into the thick undergrowth.

Rufous-capped Babbler

Tristram's Bunting

Waited around and saw very little, so I decided to take a loop around the red walk. Again, nothing  particularly exciting, I heard the Bay Woodpecker call at a distance but it never came closer. Bird waves of various common birds were encountered, but nothing really interesting. One wave contained at least 6 Streak-breasted Scimitar Babblers, which provided some good photographing opportunities, these are by far the best photographs I have taken of this species.

Streak-breasted Scimitar Babblers are medium sized babblers that skulks in the undergrowth, they are normally well hidden within covers. Good views are always well relished, while this group of particularly cooperative. Their beautiful markings on their chest, as well as their smart looking mask and eyebrows definitely makes them one of the best looking babbler species in Hong Kong.

Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler

Nothing much were seen on the way down, only a Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Rufous-tailed Robin and Japanese Thrush were worth noting.

Back down to the AFCD warden quarters where the popular coral tree stood, a Blue-winged Leafbird made an appearance shortly, feeding on the nectar. This particular bird have been around Tai Po Kau for over two years. A likely ex-captive bird, the Blue-winged Leafbird is currently placed in Category F. It is smaller then the naturally occurring Orange-bellied Leafbird, its nearest natural range is Southern Yunan. However, this was still a beautiful bird to see none the less.

Blue-winged Leafbird

A pair of Black-throated Laughingthrush made an appearance on the way down to the car park. This Laughingthrush species is not uncommon in Hong Kong and can be found in many wooded areas. Easily seen or heard, but not easy to photograph as they stay well hidden in thick undergrowth a lot of the time. Their white cheeks gives them away in the shades.

Black-throated Laughingthrush

Back at the car park, a flock of Scarlet Minivet made an appearance. They were kind enough to come down to the lower branches. A Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike was also seen along with them.

Scarlet Minivet (male)

Scarlet Minivet (female)

Chinese New Year is always a busy time to visit friends and relatives! Wishing everyone a prosperous year of the goat and happy birding! 

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