Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Hok Tau - Brown-breasted Flycatcher and More

Brown-breasted Flycatcher - a pleasant surprise

It's actually been quite a good summer in the birding department, with a few interesting birds to see here and there, I haven't even have time to visit the breeding terns yet! But hot weather doesn't usually help with outdoor excursions, you can only be outside for so long before feeling exhausted and just want to sit at home with fan pointing straight at you. So, I can only stick to early morning to escape the intense mid-day heat.

I gave Hok Tau another go this week, hoping to find a Piculet or two which had been elusive for me but showed for a few other birders. Things started off rather slow, a large flock of Scarlet Minivets were noted, lower down were Streak-breasted Scimitar Babblers and Rufous-capped Babblers, of which I only managed a shot of the latter. I noticed two flycatchers, which turned out to be juvenile Hainan Blue Flycatchers.

Rufous-capped Babbler

Hainan Blue Flycatcher - juvenile

I walked around the camp site with little success, but things improved immensely when I walked down to the stream, where I was greeted by the beautiful song of a Lesser Shortwing across the stream, as I went and investigate, I noticed a bird perched silently on a low branch, a flycatcher for sure, I first thought it was another Hainan Blue Flycatcher. On closer inspection however, it was clear that it was in fact a Brown-breasted Flycatcher! A bit scruffy looking, but a very nice bird to see! It was quite approachable and allowed fairly close views. This is the second bird I encountered in Hong Kong this summer, and the first time I've seen one at Hok Tau, so it's clearly a good sign.

Brown-breasted Flycatcher

I returned to the car park and heard the now familiar whistles of the Indochinese Green Magpie, this is now somewhat of a specialty at Pat Sin Leng Country Park, not exactly common but certainly becoming more widespread. I walked up the stairs and the calls got louder, there were quite a lot of movements, it was clear that it was a flock with more than just Magpies. A few Greater-necklaced Laughingthrushes were present, as well as Grey Treepies, but curiously I saw what I believe to be a Koel following the Laughingthrushes, as far as I know they are not known to parasitise Laughingthrushes, especially such a forested species such as Greater-necklaced!

I soon got glimpses of a few birds with Chestnut wings, the whistles got even louder. I stood there and wait, surely enough a brilliantly green bird with bright red bill hopped up right in front of me! I just managed a few photos through a gap between the branches. The Indochinese Green Magpies moved on soon after. Whether this species will impact the natural avifauna in Hong Kong is unclear, but it does seems that they have found a niche in the ecosystem and is here to stay. One thing is clear though, they are great looking birds!

Indochinese Green Magpie

During summer I probably spend more time outdoors at night than I do by day, and for good reasons...It's certainly not as hot, plus it's a good time to observe other creatures. I was at Lung Fu Shan with Hoiling earlier in the month, and we were fortunate enough to come across a Masked Palm Civet feeding on a Ficus variegata. Wild Boars were also very common around Lung Fu Shan, we saw plenty that night. Last but not least, a very confiding Short-legged Toad, a near endemic species that is quite common around the hill sides of Hong Kong Island, they are quite charismatic!

Masked Palm Civet

Wild Boar

Short-legged Toad

I will be off to West Java tomorrow for a few days of birding at Gunung Gede, hopefully the good weather we are having will be carried over to Indonesia.

1 comment:

  1. The Indochinese Green Magpies are nice to see - but I'd swap them for Red-headed Trogon, a "real" South China bird.

    Great post, as usual.