Saturday, 24 October 2015

Forest Birds Research - Yinpingshan Forest Park #2

The second Yinpingshan Forest Park(銀瓶山森林公園)visit for me, and third for Captain. After the first visit I have found this site worthy of a few more attempts, the forested area is quite large, nearly equivalent to the entire Tai Mo Shan Country Park in size, while the habitat seems decent enough to hold some interesting species.

We stayed overnight at Zhang Mu Tou (樟木頭) again, the high speed railway got us there in no time. Friday night was not as busy as expected, we got settled into our hotel room and got some rest. The next morning we got up at 6am, after another KFC breakfast we hopped onto a Taxi straight away which took us directly to the entrance of Yinpingshan Forest Park (70RMB).

Guan Yin Zuo Lian Gu Dao (觀音座蓮古道) was clearly our best choice of trail, we followed it up the hill. We immediately were greeted by calls of Pygmy Wren Babblers and Lesser Shortwings, which seemed quite active today. Our first bird was however a male Daurian Redstart, a recently arrived winter visitor to our region, the first one for me this season!

Daurian Redstart

Bird activity was slow, Mountain Tailorbirds were also calling but none showed themselves. It wasn't until we got to where we saw the Piculet last time that we heard something interesting, the call of the Bay Woodpecker. This species have been recorded here before, but we have not found this bird in our visits. I played a recording of the bird and a pair flew right in giving some half decent views, though they didn't stay long and soon flew out of sight, leaving us with their haunting calls. Still, a record shot none the less!

Bay Woodpecker

Flocks of Chestnut-collared Yuhinas kept us entertained though they were quite high up and views were not good, an interesting bird to note was a single Radde's Warbler that skulked in the undergrowth, calling constantly. It's call is easily recognised and distinguished from the similar Dusky Warbler by it's softer and more muffled tone. It did not stay long nor did it allow any photographs to be taken. Things were pretty quiet afterwards, I managed to get a clear shot at a Mountain Tailorbird. Commoner birds such as Grey-chinned Minivets made appearances.

Mountain Tailorbird

Grey-chinned Minivet

It wasn't until near the end of the trail we found some interesting species, including a flock of Blue Magpie. Lesser Shortwings were very active today, but none showed well, we found one that responded well to playback but remained fairly well hidden in the undergrowth, I only managed some record shots. 

Lesser Shortwing

We heard our second pair of Bay Woodpecker, I immediately played a burst of playback and the pair responded very quickly! One actually flew out to the open at one point, which gave very good views (Bay Woodpecker standard), allowing Captain and I to take a few half decent shots before they disappeared. Captain most definitely got some better shots then I did, which make me consider very seriously about upgrading either my camera body or my lens (or both!). Bay Woodpeckers are very widespread throughout the region but is never easy to see well, this was one of my best encounter with this species so far. Seeing them so well established here, it's clear that the Hong Kong birds that have only became regulars in recent years come from forest reserves similar to this, which indicate places like Yin Ping Shan as important stepping stones for forest birds dispersal.

Bay Woodpecker

It was extremely quiet the rest of the way, we barely saw a bird! A flock of Red-billed leiothrix at close range compensated. This species have been found in all forest sites we have been to so far, and seems to be doing quite well if not better then the birds in Hong Kong. Likely because there are less competition here then in Hong Kong?

Red-billed Leiothrix

1 comment:

  1. Fine selection of birds over there....outstanding Leiothrix image.