Thursday, 14 June 2018

Dragonflies, Damselflies and Indochinese Green Magpies

It rained for a solid whole week and it seems the draught was finally over, amphibians can finally rejoice! June marks the start of the quiet summer months, where bird movement is at it's minimum. The rain certainly helped brought down the temperature, although the high humidity still make you sweat like crazy. I visited Hok Tau near Fanling for a brief morning session, I was hoping to recreate my luck with the Speckled Piculet last year, however I was disappointed to find that the patch of bamboo near where I saw one last year had been chopped down. I kept my ears out for them but heard nothing. I was however greeted by the loud and piercing calls of the Indochinese Green Magpies, I followed the calls and soon saw up to three birds moving through the forest. They were quite shy, and kept their distance with me, but one bird perched just long enough for me to grab a record shot. This beautiful species had only been recorded in Hong Kong in recent years, and seems to have rooted around north eastern New Territories, where small flocks can often be observed also at Brides Pool. I would say it's highly unlikely that they derived from genuine wild birds, although not impossible, it would seems wild birds will need to get through a lot of habitat barriers to reach Hong Kong naturally, as closest wild population is near Hainan and Guangxi.

Indochinese Green Magpie - so shy and uncooperative!

A Plaintive Cuckoo called nearby, while a few Chestnut-winged Cuckoos sang constantly, but only gave me a brief flight views. A few Velvet-fronted Nuthatch caught my attention, not that they are rare, but because a pair were attending to a few young birds. Juvenile Velvet-fronted Nuthatch lacks the bright red bill that is iconic of this species, but it's certainly cute...

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch - adult

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch - juvenile

I spotted a single female Hainan Blue Flycatcher, I wonder whether this one is single or not, but I've yet to come across a nesting pair this year. I heard Lesser Coucals but none showed, Greater Coucals were more cooperative, one perched out in the open drying off it's wings after the morning shower.

Hainan Blue Flycatcher - female

Greater Coucal

The recent rain had certainly boosted insect numbers, and there were a lot more Damselflies and Dragonflies flying around streams that are once again flowing. At a small stretch of mountain stream near Lam Tsuen I spotted some of our very colourful Damselflies, including the beautiful Common Blue Jewel Rhinocypha perforata and the metallic green Stream Glory Neurobasis chinensis (I really love their common names, why can't birds have more common names like these?). While the more humble looking Black-banded Gossamerwing Euphaea decorata also frequented the stream.

Common Blue Jewel - Rhinocypha perforata

Stream Glory - Neurobasis chinensis

Black-banded Gossamerwing -  Euphaea decorata

I also saw quite a few Dragonflies, although I probably missed quite a few, there were a lot of Black Stream Glider Trithemis festiva around, the Blue Marsh Hawk Orthetrum glaucum and the bright and colourful Crimson Marsh Glider Trithemis aurora.

Black Stream Glider - Trithemis festiva

Blue Marsh Hawk - Orthetrum glaucum

Crimson Marsh Glider - Trithemis aurora