Sunday, 28 February 2021

One Out of Two Rarities - Japanese Grosbeak & Ryukyu Minivet

Recent rarities proves difficult to track down, where they have been consistently showing but have a tendency to not show up when I am there. My luck finally improves with the long staying Japanese Grosbeak at Yuen Long Park, on my third visit it finally came in with other Chinese Grosbeaks in the afternoon, and kept in view for over an hour. I first saw it feeding on a flowering Bombax tree, it later flew closer before finally landed on the ground to feed. This is a Hong Kong tick for me, with my only previously encounter in Jiangxi China many years ago.

Japanese Grosbeak

The Chinese Grosbeaks were far friendlier, coming in quite close while they actively feed on the ground. Males sporting their smart plumage with black heads and white wing-tips. I counted at least 7 birds in the area. 

Chinese Grosbeak - male

Chinese Grosbeak - female

The flowering Bombax trees in the area also attracted other birds, including numerous Crested Mynas and Red-whiskered Bulbuls. These trees are a main food source for birds at this time of the year and always provide wonderful photographic opportunities.

Crested Myna - on Bombax tree
Red-whiskered Bulbul - on Bombax tree

Other common birds around the lawns includes Japanese Tit, our 'Great Tit' in Hong Kong had gone through several name changes in the past few years, first changed to Cinereous Tit due to its all grey back, but it is now assigned as Japanese Tit race commixtus. Spotted Dove is our most common dove species in Hong Kong, they are actually quite pretty if you give them a good look. Chinese Blackbirds were numerous around the park.

Japanese Tit (commixtus)

Spotted Dove

Chinese Blackbird

I visited Mount Davis three times for the reported Ryukyu Minivet, a first record for Hong Kong. I have been extremely unlucky with this bird, it have been showing up either in the morning or in the afternoon, I somehow always seems to pick the wrong time to visit. On my third visit I decided to stay for the whole day to maximize my chances, but on this very day it decided to only show up briefly in the morning where I got a quick glimpse through my bins from afar, before it flew off into the distance and not to be seen again all day. While I would count this lifer as I got an identifiable view, I didn't get a satisfactory look at this rarity. Other birds in the area includes a young Crested Goshawk which patrols the area frequently, Emerald Doves are also quite numerous in the area.

Crested Goshawk

Emerald Dove

One of the better bird in the area other than the minivet is a scruffy looking Hume's Leaf Warbler, where it actively feeds around the pavilion. Without hearing it call it will be difficult to determine its identity, luckily for us this is quite a vocal individual. A few Common Tailorbirds also feed amongst the mango tree, often causing much confusion when you are trying to photograph a tiny bird in the thick foliage.

Hume's Leaf Warbler

Common Tailorbird

The closest I got to photographing anything that resembles a minivet there was a Black-winged Cuckooshrike...shame the minivet doesn't always stay with it. Hopefully some better luck next month!

Black-winged Cuckooshrike

1 comment:

  1. The Grosbeaks are very attractive. The big Hackberry Trees in YL park and elsewhere seem to attract them, too.