Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Something to be cheerful about - Bull-headed Shrike

Took half a day off, main reason being I really want to try my luck with the Amur Falcon. I first started the afternoon at Ma Tso Lung area, but nothing much were there except for a fly-by Japanese Quail, it never showed itself from the tall grass once landed. With nothing else interesting I headed over to Long Valley.

It started slow, birds didn't quite want to show themselves, the Buntings were all hiding somewhere. A Richard's Pipit gave fairly good views, there were quite a few of them on the fields. A few Red-throated Pipits were also present, you don't really see the "red throats" at this time of the year.

Richard's Pipit

Red-throated Pipit

Siberian Stonechats numbers have increased drastically, you see them everywhere now.

Siberian Stonechat

Things picked up slightly when I got to a field with tall grass, where a Black-browed Reed Warbler made an appearance, it showed fairly well though photographing them is still a huge challenge. I managed these two half decent shots.

Black-browed Reed Warbler

Things got interesting when I suddenly saw a bird perched on top of a tall grass at a distance. I looked through my bins and saw a shrike, initially I thought it could be a Brown Shrike, but once the bird turned around it was clear what it was; a male Bull-headed Shrike. This is only my second male seen in Hong Kong, I usually see females or juveniles. A very handsome bird indeed! Though it remained quite skittish and was flushed very easily, never allowing you to get close. This was the only half decent shot I managed.

Bull-headed Shrike - A scarce migrant and winter visitor in Hong Kong

Things got a little quiet after the Shrike, a few Chestnut-eared Buntings showed briefly but views weren't great. I also found a Painted Snipe amongst some tall grass. A few Sooty-headed Bulbuls kept me entertained at one point.

Sooty-headed Bulbul

The most photogenic bird appeared all of a sudden, a male Yellow-breasted Bunting in non-breeding plumage! These are usually skittish birds but sometimes you get an odd bird that's not shy at all. This was one of those, and what a beauty it was! A truly privileged view of this now endangered species. The day ended with a Japanese Sparrowhawk that flew past, a Peregrine Falcon hunting for bats at dusk, finally two Cinnamon Bitterns before it went dark.

Yellow-breasted Bunting

1 comment:

  1. BHS - a reason to be cheerful indeed. BBRWs are always difficult