Sunday, 7 February 2016

Red as Lai See - Common Rosefinches at Shek Kong

Chinese New Year coming up, we will be getting 3 days of public holiday. Most will be busy visiting family and friends, as this is the time of the year to gather and wish for a better year to come. A Chinese tradition is to hand out red envelopes or Lai See as well call them, where the Lai See is a symbol for good luck and prosperity as well as to guard off evil spirits. Today, we are less superstitious, but we carry on with the tradition for a more festive reason.

This morning, I decided to visit Shek Kong Airfield Road once again, hoping to get some better shots of Common Rosefinches. Upon arriving at around 9:45am, around a dozen of birders and photographers were already there waiting for the Rosefinches. It didn't take long for me to spot a female that they were photographing. But very soon, I also spotted the male towards the back of the trees. After a while, the male finally came out to the front as well, giving wonderful views for all to enjoy! I am not sure what species of tree they are feeding on, but seems like a Rosefinch favourite at Shek Kong.

Common Rosefinch (male)

Common Rosefinch (female)

The stretch of trees they were feeding on

Soon after, more Common Rosefinches joined in, I counted at least 7 individuals (likely more), with 3 different males in the group! What a turn out! I felt a bit sorry to neglect the females, but I have taken enough photographs of females before and such wonderful view of males are by no means easy to come by! So thereafter, I concentrated on the males. One of them in particular was very mature and brightly coloured. They were all so very cooperative, in the next hour or so I had some of the best views I have had of this species. Such a wonderful encounter with this species, and right before Chinese New Year! Red is a very Chinese New Year colour, so I guess it's kind of the right time to be seeing these charming little "Lai See".

A few birders taking photographs of the Rosefinches

The neglected female...sorry!

The beautiful males!

There were also many warblers around the area, mainly Pallas's Leaf Warblers and Yellow-browed Warblers. Also quite a few Dusky Warblers. Japanese White-eyes were all very active, constantly feeding. The cold weather must have made them more hungry then usual and they take very little notice of you when they are concentrating on finding food.

Pallas's Leaf Warbler

Yellow-browed Warbler

Japanese White-eye

My Dad joined me to visit Long Valley later in the afternoon. There wasn't a lot of birds, and nothing particularly rare. But the weather was so nice that the walk was very pleasant. Most notable bird was a single Citrine Wagtail. Siberian Stonechats were everywhere, so were Scaly-breasted Munias. A few cute Little Ringed Plovers were enjoyable to watch at fairly close range. We did saw a very distant Dusky Thrush, and a lot of Painted Snipes but all were in cover and views weren't that great. The day ended with a flock of Silky Starlings.

Citrine Wagtail

Siberian Stonechats couple

Scaly-breasted Munia

Little Ringed Plover

Silky Starling

May I wish a Happy Chinese New Year to everyone, and for all birders I wish you 鳥運亨通 (good luck with birds)!

No comments:

Post a Comment