Saturday, 19 December 2015

Birds Appreciation at Mai Po

After a morning of work, headed over to Mai Po for a short visit. Wasn't really aiming for any birds so it was just a casual stroll along the entrance roads and paths. I was lucky to get a hovering Pied Kingfisher straight away upon arrival, it was at a fairly reasonable distance and hovered around the same pond for a minute or so. Classic Pied King pose!

Pied Kingfisher - hovering poses

A pair of Magpies again announced their presence by their cheerful laughs. One stopped on top a wooden pillar. As I drove into the reserve, I noticed a wader sitting on the bank next to the road, a Common Sandpiper was stretching. I stopped the car directly beside the bird, it stayed long enough for me to get my camera up and took a few closeup full-framed shots! Cars are very useful when it comes to birdwatching, as birds seems to be less afraid of these huge metal cases, making them good mobile hides.

Eurasian Magpie

Common Sandpiper - a full frame stretch!

Along the road leading to the AFCD warden's post, a single female Chinese Grosbeak was spotted. Very unusual to see a single instead of a flock or at least a pair. A Common Kingfisher perched nearby, the sun was right on it and what a beauty! Their colours really pops out when the sun hits the feather at the right angle, it still amazes me till this day that we get to see such exquisite beauty so often. Later in the day I took a photo of the same Kingfisher at the same pond, but with different lighting. A comparison here to show how big a difference the right lighting makes.

Chinese Grosbeak - a lonely looking female

Common Kingfisher - same bird, different lighting.

At the same pond, a Little Grebe dived around for fish, popping up every ten to twenty seconds. The lighting was brilliant on this crisp winter day that I couldn't resist to take a few shots, able to observe and appreciate the fine details on this bird.

Little Grebe - time to appreciate the water droplets!

Taiga Flycatchers (Red-throated Flycatcher as I used to know it as) were everywhere, I saw a total of four individuals today. None of them came down to the lower perches but one at least came close enough for a good photo. We very rarely get males in breeding plumage (with red throats), more often we get females or males in winter plumage. You can always tell one is around simply by their diagnostic call, a low "chrrr" that it will repeat again and again, the sound is often accompanied with classic tail flicks.

Taiga Flycatcher - only good shot I managed...

Waited around for the Booted Warbler, but the bird never showed, hopefully it had not moved on...A common Yellow-browed Warbler took it's place in the reed bed.

Yellow-browed Warbler - unusual backdrop for this species

Finally, a single Tufted Duck on one of the fish pond, looks like a young drake. You more often see a flock of Tufties instead of singles, it was looking so very lonely. But, being quite close to shore it also allowed some closeup views and shots to be taken on this calm day.

Tufted Duck - the lonesome young drake

No incredible species like the Eurasian Black Vulture Peter Chan had the day before at Stanley...But, common birds should still be appreciated. And I will like to thank them for giving me such a pleasant afternoon at Mai Po.

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