Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Bride's Pool Delights

Crested Kingfisher - One of the best bird on offer at Bride's Pool at the moment

A great day at Bride's Pool earlier this month urged me for more visits, this area can be quite good during winter months, you may also yield some surprising birds occasionally. It is relatively difficult to get to without a car, so it's usually quiet during early mornings, while weekends can be slightly crowded with hikers and people firing up the barbecues. I usually starts by descending on the long steps down to the main barbecue site, often there will be a large bird wave passing through. I was fortunate enough to encounter the pair of Verditer Flycatchers at close range, which landed me the shot that I've always wanted! They are truly stunning birds and their turquoise blue is unmistakable.

Verditer Flycatcher - male, pleasing to the eye front or back!

There were also two Grey-headed Canary Flycatchers amongst the bird wave, giving fairly good views. Across the road to the other side I found a 1st winter male Mugimaki Flycatcher, it's male patterns are just about showing but overall still very washed out.

Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher

Mugimaki Flycatcher - 1st winter male

Other then some more common birds, there were a few Mountain Bulbuls around. One of a more surprising find amongst the bird wave was perhaps an Eastern Crowned Warbler, a species that is more common during passage, so it's either a wintering bird or a very late migrant. Wintering Olive-backed Pipits are common here.

Mountain Bulbul

Eastern Crowned Warbler

Olive-backed Pipit

The trademark species you can't miss here is the Plumbeous Redstart. Near the reservoir I found yet another pair, this time a male and a female. Both were equally photogenic and extremely cooperative. They are always a delight to see, and no doubt a winter specialty.

Plumbeous Redstart - male

Plumbeous Redstart - female

It was around the same area that I heard the call of the Crested Kingfisher, this is a species that had greatly decreased in recent years and rarely reported nowadays. John Allcock saw one near Ting Kok last month, but it had not been relocated since. I followed the shoreline of the reservoir and sure enough flushed a large kingfisher from the trees ahead! For the next two hours I observed the bird a few more times, always flying low over the reservoir, and on a few occasions perched quietly on trees near the water edge. They really are huge, measuring up to 43cm, definitely adds to the "wow" factor. In China they favours large rivers with a good flow of water; a habitat we lack in Hong Kong, so they often make use of wide channels within the reservoirs. I hope they will become a more regular bird again in Hong Kong, they are difficult to get bored of.

Crested Kingfisher - perched on the opposite side of the reservoir

The other rarity that had been spotted at Bride's Pool was a Rufous-faced Warbler. I heard a bell like ringing call last week but couldn't get a sight confirmation so I was not confident enough to report the bird, Kwan found this one on Sunday morning and I decided to give it a try on Tuesday. Long and I arrived early morning and within ten minutes of our arrival we locked our bins onto the bird, a tiny warbler with an unmistakable rufous face. The last time I saw one in Hong Kong was all the way back in 2004 at Tai Po Kau, so I am glad to be able to connect with this little guy. After encountering these great birds, who knows what else may be lurking around the corner at Bride's Pool!

Rufous-faced Warbler - quite a tiny stunner


  1. Great shots of the Rufous-faced Warbler.... I missed this at Brides Pool, but did bag a glimpse of the Crested Kingfisher....like you, I hope it hangs around.

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