Saturday, 26 September 2015

Forest Birds Research - Wutong Shan

A short day trip to Wutong Shan(梧桐山)was planned with Captain, David Chan was able to join us this time. This is one of the closest patch of forest to Hong Kong, directly across the border of Sha Tau Kok. Wutong Shan is the tallest mountain in Shenzhen, standing at 944m above sea-level. Being so close to the border suggest many shared species between Hong Kong, and is no doubt the closest "stepping stone" for any dispersing birds. Please be warned that all photographs taken on the day were record shots only...may I apologise for the poor images in advance, but lights were poor and birds were quite far away in general.

Location of Wutong Shan in relation to Hong Kong

The day started early, I woke up at 5:30am and got on the first mini bus to the nearest MTR station. I met Captain and David in Sheung Shui at 7:15am. From there we took the MTR to Lo Wu and crossed the customs from there, got directly into a taxi and we got off at Wutong Shan at around 8am. Many weekend tourists and hikers were already there, but the crowds were not as bad as expected. Birding was quite slow to begin with, common species were heard and not many seen as it is the case for many forest reserves in China...First "good" bird was a Buff-breasted Flowerpecker spotted by David! We also got a flock of Silver-eared Mesias, but were soon gone before we got any proper look.

Buff-breasted Flowerpecker

The walk up was gruelling and made extremely uncomfortable by the humid and stuffy conditions, the scorching sun did not help. We managed to pull ourselves up to a store situated at around 450m mark. There, we encountered two separate flocks of Greater-necklaced Laughingthrushes, which according to Captain were quite common in this forest reserve.

Greater-necklaced Laughingthrush

A little further up at a little reservoir we encountered our first proper bird wave, with Blue-winged Minlas, Rufous-capped Babbler, Mountain Tailorbirds, Chestnut Bulbuls and Japanese White-eyes. A Crested Serpent Eagle circled nearby.

Blue-winged Minla

Crested Serpent Eagle

Things slowed down again, by noon we managed to get up to around 600m where we sat down for a spot of lunch. A bottle of cold coca-cola was greatly satisfying! After some rest, we started to head back down and surely we felt the change in weather, a light breeze blew in clouds, and that somehow woke the forest up. We first got a few Grey Treepies, though they did not give any good views. Then we encountered a large flock of Chestnut-collard Yuhinas, another typical South China forest species. With recent breeding records in Hong Kong, I can foresee them becoming a more abundant resident very soon.

Chestnut-collard Yuhina

Back at the little reservoir, we encountered yet another bird wave, this time a Japanese Paradise Flycatcher caught the eyes of Captain, the dark breast and duller brown mantle and tail suggest this as Japanese instead of Asian. Another small bird caught my eye amongst the flock of birds, and what else could it be but a Speckled Piculet! A very pleasant surprise indeed! It went away as quickly as it came, so I only managed some very poor "recognisable" shots before it disappeared. Finally, two Arctic warblers foraging along with the White-eyes and White-bellied Epornis were the last migrants we saw.

Japanese Paradise Flycatcher

Speckled Piculet

Arctic Warbler

The weather continued to change as we descend, a sudden downpour forced us to take shelter at a little store by the hillside. Getting soaked through seems to have become the trend of our forest birds research...

1 comment:

  1. Good variety! Woodland birding is always hard work, though.