Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Summer - Quiet Happenings

The long summer months are here and we birders pretty much keep a very low birding activity, although rarities could turn up from time to time (Black Noddy offshore of Tap Mun for instance, but I got no time for that...), but things pretty much settles for a few months of slow and quiet. 

I did visit Mai Po earlier at the beginning of the month, not much excitement, a few Far Eastern Curlews were still hanging around with a flock of Eurasian Curlews. 

Far Eastern Curlew and Eurasian Curlew

Perhaps a bird of interest for this time of the year, a Great Cormorant had decided to hang around just outside the education centre, not a common sight at all in the summer months! The Asian Barred Owlets outside tower hide are back again for breeding, and now can be found perched along the access road with relative ease.

Great Cormorant

Asian Barred Owlet

A strangely confiding White-breasted Waterhen that didn't seemed quite bothered by me was a welcoming sight on a quiet summer day. I saw another attending to a few chicks not too far away but didn't allow any photos to be taken. Azure-winged Magpies were of course now a long term resident at Mai Po and plenty signs of breeding.

White-breasted Waterhen

Azure-winged Magpie

Talking about breeding birds, I found a Chinese Bulbul nest at work late last month. The nest was built a mere metre off the ground, you could say that it provided best viewing access for everyone...Three chicks were observed, an they grew fast! The first photo shows probably second day of hatching, while the second photo was only a day apart!

Chinese Bulbul chicks at nest from 17th May - 25th May

I observed them for just over a week, when suddenly one day I found the nest empty. At first I thought they might have fledged, but they really were still very young to go far, and a quick look around the area confirmed my worst fear, they clutch had fallen victim to a feral cat. I have left out the most gruesome photo, but the cat seems to have taken all the chicks out of the nest but only ate one of them. It was devastating for me, and it really shows much big a problem feral cats can be. Although, you can't blame the cats for what their instincts tells them to do, ultimately the true criminals are the people that abandon their pet cats. Without whom, cats would never have ran wild in the first place.

Raided nest and a dead chick nearby...

The pair made a second attempt in an older nest nearby a few days later. I would have loved to tell you that the new clutch hatched successfully and three chicks grew big and strong before fledging...but as the story goes it wasn't a happy ending either...the eggs never hatched and disappeared all of a sudden one day, it just shows how much risk and hardship wild birds faces when they are nesting, nature is not always fun and games.

Second clutch, unsuccessful unfortunately...


  1. Pity about the breeding bulbuls - stray cats are really a menace. It annoys me to see misguided people leaving food for them...

    1. Yes it was a pity, interestingly the Bulbuls is making a third attempt nesting in the same area! I hope it's third time lucky.