Monday, 9 November 2015

Pleasant day at Shek Kong Catchment

I had a morning stroll at Shek Kong Catchment. Weather's been lovely these few days, but I really would prefer if it wasn't so warm. It's suppose to be winter already but it sure feels the weather decided to skip that altogether. Never mind, sunny days are good for raptors. I had two Crested Goshawks and a Besra today, though the Besra only flew past quickly. A Crested Serpent Eagle kept circling behind trees so I couldn't get a clear shot of it.

Crested Goshawk

A flock of 30 Chestnut-collared Yuhinas made an appearance, they were exceptionally noisy. They seems to be doing quite well in Hong Kong, with breeding records at KFBG this year. Only a decade ago this species was considered an eruptive winter visitor, it really reminds you how much the forest birds ecology have changed in the last two decades. Mountain Tailorbirds, Pygmy Wren-babblers and Lesser Shortwings were extremely rare, now you can hear them everywhere. Chestnut Bulbuls were also an eruptive species, now common in most forested areas. Mountain Bulbuls were extremely uncommon occasional visitor but is now a resident. Speckled Piculet and Bay Woodpeckers were mega rare birds which have now became residents...well, more the merrier!

Chestnut-collared Yuhina - increasingly common species in Hong Kong

I encountered a bird wave soon after, with Scarlet Minivets, Grey-chinned Minivets, Yellow-cheeked Tit, Cinerous Tit, Japanese White-eyes and a Dark-sided Flycatcher. The female Minivets were particularly showy, coming in quite close to pose for photographs, the males were however a little camera shy. A few were so close that they even drew the attention of a few hikers, all exclaiming at the beauty of such colourful birds. Well, who wouldn't!

Scarlet Minivet - female

Grey-chinned Minivet - also female

The Dark-sided Flycatcher was a bit duller of the bunch, it hawked for insects from it's perch silently, trying it's hardest to stay away from the spotlight. Though not rare, I find this the least common of the three "Grey" Flycatchers in Hong Kong. Asian Browns being the most common, where Grey-streaked Flycatchers are very numerous during migration, I guess the Dark-sided just doesn't like attention much.

I spotted a largish warbler within the bird wave, with quite clean underparts and very sharp upper parts. Pale pinkish legs, single wing-bar with clear crown stripes. No doubt an Eastern Crowned Warbler. It didn't cooperate however and left me with a terrible photographic representation of the species, nevermind that...

The rest of the way was pretty quiet, I had another bird wave with a female Black-naped Monarch but it was gone in a flash. A few sneaky Mountain Tailorbirds, Black-throated Laughingthrushes and Pygmy Wren-babblers kept me entertained. A bird wave containing Silver-eared Mesias and a few Velvet-fronted Nuthatch ended my walk.


  1. I like SKC too....great eye-level minivet shots!

    1. Yes, a good place for forest birds that doesn't involve breaking your neck!