Monday, 25 May 2015

Breeding Oranges

After a whole week of heavy rain in Hong Kong, we finally have a break from the terrible weather and replaced by a bit of sunshine. Today was Vesak Day, a public holiday in Hong Kong, and public holidays are great for a family outings. My parents, Hoiling and I went for a walk at Tai Po Kau this morning, we didn't start early as it was intended to be a casual walk.

We were going to give Brown walk a go, as Hoiling stated she would love to know where the Fairy Pitta was seen a few weeks ago. But there were still a bit of clouds as we head up so we decided to leave the Brown walk for next time. We just went with the shortest Red walk.

Things started off pretty slowly, not much birds were seen except the common residents, even less birds were photographed except for a single Chestnut Bulbul which decided to come down for an eye-level view. Great Barbet called constantly in the background.

Chestnut Bulbul

It wasn't until we have past the mid-point of the Red walk until we bumped into something interesting. A Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo, calling in the tree right above us! After a few minutes of searching we finally got to see the bird, singing it's two-note call from a perch high up in the canopy. This was my Dad's and Hoiling's lifer! This species is a scarce summer visitor in Hong Kong, though not particularly rare in suitable habitat, it is by no means an easy bird to see, they can sometimes be quite skittish, so we were quite lucky to all see it today.

Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo

A bird flew out from the undergrowth of some bamboos near picnic area 3, it stopped right by the footpath and when I looked closer I saw a very smart looking orange head. An Orange-headed Thrush! What a surprise! It quickly hopped off down the slope and we relocated it not far off, foraging on the forest floor, picking up earth worms. It was obvious by this point that it was a breeding bird. Soon, I heard a very faint call behind us within the bamboos. The adult had it's beak full of worms and flew back up to the bamboos, where we saw behind the tons of branches two other birds, both juveniles. They look to be newly fledged but is capable of flying short distances now. In the end, the trio hopped out of sight up the slope, leaving us amazed!

The photographs weren't great, but we were happy to have seen these rare residents! I have seen this species elsewhere in Hong Kong, but never at Tai Po Kau, which is suppose to be THE regular breeding site for this species. It just shows anything can turn up anywhere, and we should always come prepared...

Orange-headed Thrush

1 comment:

  1. Orange-headed Thrush is always a thrill to see....Well found !