Monday, 12 January 2015

Looking for "Chickens"


The family of Crakes and Rails in Chinese translates as "Paddy Chickens", which I feel describes these birds very well. Back in the days when farmers were working on the paddies I am sure they would've seen a lot of these "Chicken" like birds, which was probably how they got their names from.

Got news from HKBWS that a Purple Swamphen was seen yesterday at Long Valley. Accepted in Hong Kong only as Cat E, this species was treated as escape back in the days. It was recorded from 1988 to 1998 at Mai Po. But, there are no reasons why this species could not appear in Hong Kong through natural causes.

I went in the afternoon and straight to the place where it was reportedly seen yesterday. It have not been seen the entire morning, a bunch of exceedingly bored photographers were staking out the bird without much success. I waited around for a while and decided to move on. Not far away at another pond with clumps of reeds, a few were photographing another "Chicken", the Eastern Water Rail. A bird I have not seen for some time, at one point it did run from one clump of grass to the other, that's when I took a few shots of the bird. There was also a male Bluethroat at the location, however was too quick for me to take any photographs.

Eastern Water Rail

The other "Chicken" in the area was the Ruddy-breasted Crake, the same bird that's been sticking the the same patch of reeds for nearly two months!

Ruddy-breasted Crake

Other birds includes a rather cooperative Red-throated Pipit, a Wood Sandpiper that came very close when we were waiting for the Water Rail.

Red-throated Pipit

Wood Sandpiper

At the other side of Long Valley, a flock of 7 Greater Painted Snipe were hiding in the vegetations as usual, barely visible to the naked eye.

Greater Painted Snipe

A female Bluethroat was flushed not far away, strangely it chose a stock of reed to roost. A pose I am certainly not accustomed to, as Bluethroats are usually very shy in Hong Kong, this is a behaviour only observed mainly during Summer at their breeding grounds up North. Looking through the view finder it felt I landed myself in Hokaido! Only thing that was lacking was a Spring song from the bird.


Maybe the Swamphen left to Mai Po?


  1. Perhaps the Bluethroat is looking for handouts from his new friends ?
    Nice photos - it's a pity the Painted Snipe are so deep in their field, but they are undisturbed there.

  2. Yes, I am glad the Painted Snipes are doing good, but I haven't seen an adult female within that group, I wonder where they are...