Saturday, 28 March 2015

Forest Birds Research - Qiniang Mountain, Nan Au

A weekend spent with Captain Wong at Qiniang Mountain(七娘山)near Nan Au, a National Geology Park located at Mirs Bay peninsular in Shenzhen. The purpose of the trip is a forest bird research around Southern Guangdong near Hong Kong, where we will like to survey the species recorded and the habitat status of various sites. This may give us an insight into understanding the spreading and colonisation of species back into forests in Hong Kong or vice-versa.

Young secondary forest of Qiniang Mountain

We took the 6pm bus from Kowloon Tong to Nan Au on Friday night, spent a night at a local hotel there. Rooms were fortunately very tidy, however the town of Nan Au really don't have much charms to it...It's a sea side town that supposedly popular amongst local tourists for it's sea food; which we opted not to try to be safe.

Over looking Mirs Bay towards Tung Ping Chau in Hong Kong

We woke up at 6am, after some light breakfast we headed out to Qiniang Mountain, a small mountain standing at 870m high. The hiking trail was located quickly, it was a short trail that runs from the bottom to the top of the mountain, so it was extremely steep, a vertical climb of nearly 700m in only 2km of trail! I guess the government didn't really give the trail much thought when they built it. It was an exhausting climb with steep steps, our heavy gear did not help much.

Habitats were not great, mostly very young secondary forest, there were very little big trees, which explains to absent of several tree depending species. There were also very little understory birds, which suggest a period of near complete deforestation in the past.

We travelled from near bushland to young secondary forest, the forest disappears again near the 750m mark, where grassland take over at the top. As the trail travelled in a straight line, the area we were able to survey was very limited, hence we saw very little birds, most of our records were heard...

A common bird here, the Fork-tailed Sunbird were everywhere.

Scarlet Minivets were also very common, not surprising as they do thrive in secondary forests in Hong Kong as well.

An interesting record, we heard a few Rufous-tailed Robin in Spring song! A first time for me.

Sooty-headed Bulbul were recorded lower down, they are open country birds.

Other interesting birds recorded as heard or seen only were Mountain Tailorbirds, Pygmy Wren Babblers, Asian Stubtails, Brownish-flanked Warblers, Red-billed Leothrix and Lesser Shortwing. Pygmy Wren Babblers and Lesser Shortwings were both interesting, as they only started to be recorded in Hong Kong just over a decade ago. The present of Red-billed Leothrix was also interesting, this species was suggested to be of ex-captive origin in Hong Kong, but Captain have found they were present in nearly all locations outside Hong Kong, making this a possible candidate of the original avifauna! More studies will help us understand this.

All in all, a successful trip of research!

1 comment:

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