Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Getting warmer...

It's been nearly a month since I last went out for any birding, work have been keeping me away from going anywhere. I was busy working on the "Choose Life! Harvest Festival" at Sangwoodgoon in Kam Tin for the past month, it was an art exhibition for our agriculture and photography workshop this year. I've of course been observing the birds in the area, and noticed many White-shouldered Starling starting to nest, as well as Plaintive Cuckoos and Large Hawk Cuckoos calling constantly. Working outside in the sun all day gave me a nice sun burn, the temperature is soaring up to the high 20s now...

Today I finally got a day off and decided to do some light birding at Tai Po Kau with Hoiling, I didn't get up particularly early so it was already 9am when we arrived. Signs of Spring is very apparent, with many Pallas's Leaf Warblers singing it's spring song, various species are also in song and are much more vocal then before.

Another sign of Spring were raptors displays, a few Crested Goshawk were giving their distinctive ariel displays, beating their wings very quickly while soaring in the hot air current. A few Besra joined in and gave them a fight, might be territorial behaviour, they gave a few calls, which always reminds me of the Bay Woodpeckers (In fact I have confused their calls in the past).

Crested Goshawk

Grey-chinned Minivets are now pairing up, some are busy gathering nesting materials. Sights of Minivets are always welcoming, a pair of them gave great views.

Grey-chinned Minivet

Blue-winged Minlas were very active today, they were accompanied by Huet's Fulvettas, Silver-eared Mesias and Rufous-capped Babblers.

Blue-winged Minla

We managed to encounter a nice bird wave, with a nice selection of Yellow-browed and Pallas's Leaf Warblers, all the different babblers, Mountain Tailorbirds calling away, a Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher which should be heading off very soon, also a male Blue-and-White Flycatcher which I is the first sign of Spring migration. I couldn't manage a good shot, just a very rough record shot, but was happy to see it for the first time this year.

Mountain Tailorbird

Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher

Blue-and-White Flycatcher

On our way down the shortcut from Red Walk, a few trees attracted many birds, including Velvet-fronted Nuthatches and Yellow-cheeked Tits, I am not sure what tree species it was but whatever it was attracted the birds enough that the Nuthatches were actually feeding on the ground! A behaviour I rarely see.

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch

Yellow-cheeked Tit

In the afternoon I visited Long Valley alone. Nothing particularly interesting, but Snipe numbers were back up, with a few Pintailed Snipes along with many Common Snipes. The Painted Snipes have moved their location to the pond near entrance of Ho Sheung Heung, they were much further then before and most were hiding deep inside the tall grass, I thought it wasn't worth taking any photographs.

Common Snipe

I saw the first Chinese Pond Heron in breeding plumage, their head turn to this lovely reddish brown while their bills turn to blue and green, a complete transformation from their dull winter plumage.

Chiense Pond Heron

Black-winged Stilts should be getting ready for their breeding season as well, hopefully we will see some hatchlings this year!

Black-winged Stilt

A bird of moderate interest was this tschutschensis Yellow Wagtail, a subspecies of the ever complex Yellow Wagtail family. We do get them every year, but in much smaller numbers then our regular winter visitor talvana Yellow Wagtails from Taiwan.

tschutschensis Yellow Wagtail

Red-throated Pipits are also changing into breeding plumage, much more easily recognise this time of the year.
Red-throated Pipit

What Spring migrant will be next? Exciting times!

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