Sunday, 5 April 2015

Calling Away!

One hard evidence of Spring must be birds in song, singing their heart out as they try their hardest to attract a mate. Various birds are now heard daily, or in some cases even nightly! Large Hawk Cuckoos have been calling all night at where I live, very much annoying for some as they may keep you wide awake all night long.

Koels are very common in Hong Kong and can be found in many habitats including parks in the city. They are very inconspicuous during winter when they do not vocalise much, but become very much of a nuisance when Spring comes. You can hear their "Ko-el" calls pretty much everywhere.

There's been many reports of people complaining about Koels waking them up at 5am in the morning, but as of other things of nature, men are very much helpless in these kind of situations, all you can do is get some ear plugs and hope the bird outside find a mate soon and will shut up afterwards. Saw this male calling away at Mai Po carpark today, the males have this beautiful dark blue plumage and blood red eyes. Though extremely common, I have yet to take any good photograph of this species weirdly enough, so I was pleased this one stayed for me.

Koel calling

Also in Mai Po, a species that have gotten more and more common in recent years, the Azure-winged Magpie was introduced into Hong Kong through a few escapees. They nearly went extinct in Hong Kong a decade ago when only a handful were found at Tung Chung. Now, they are very common around Mai Po and nearby sites, with numbers increasing every year. I guess they have finally found their niche in the ecosystem. Not sure whether it's a bad thing, but they are quite good fun to watch, a beautiful species, too. Many were seen feeding on a ficus tree at the car park, obviously enjoying themselves.

Azure-winged Magpie

Birds are of course not the only living thing that vocalise during mating season, frogs are also very vocal when it comes to getting the ladies attention. Gunther's Frogs is a common amphibian species in Hong Kong, and can be found in pretty much any water body at this time of the year, making a dog like bark. They are quite good fun to watch, as males bloat to impress, I am guessing the bigger the better. This one was found in a little pool at Long Valley.

Gunther's Frog

Also at Long Valley were a flock of Cattle Egrets, which have now changed into their breeding plumage, when their heads turn a lovely golden brown. Though some are slower then others, the one I took inflight have yet to change colours, maybe age have something to do with it?

Cattle Egret

A visit to Chau Tau at the end of the day had us looking at a few Savanna Nightjars, they have also became quite vocal now that it's Spring. Photographing them was not really the intension, as it was nearly impossible to photograph them in near complete darkness while in flight! But, they sure gave a great display, circling above for a good while. Savanna Nightjars are not rare if you are in the right habitat, they favours grassy hills with sandy or rocky soils, which are quite abundant in Northern New Territories. They have even been reported to hawk for insects outside MTR stations where the lights attracts moths!

Savanna Nightjar

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