Sunday, 27 November 2022

My 500th Hong Kong Bird - Brown Crake

Over the years I have missed several major rarities for various reasons, most notably between 2003 and 2009 I was mostly away from Hong Kong. Brown Crake was one of those rare birds that eluded my Hong Kong list for years, since the relatively easy one at Nam Chung back in 2009, theres not been any twitchable ones. So, when one was reported in Lam Tsuen it was an opportunity I dare not miss. I am not sure why this species is so difficult in Hong Kong, as it is a relatively common species in China, I've seen them several times in Jiangxi and Guangxi. This rather shy individual only show up in the morning and often while it's still quite dark. Luckily for us, this bird seems to appear like clockwork and appear briefly each morning.

Brown Crake

With this bird, I have officially reached 500 species on my Hong Kong list. This had been a target for me for quite some time. Glad that my 500th species was a great one! 

Brown Crake - my 500th bird in Hong Kong

I visited Wu Kau Tang one morning, walking towards Sheung Miu Tin, it was drizzling slightly and later turned to actual rain. Before the rain came in I managed a rather confiding Radde's Warbler, although the light conditions was horrendous for photos. Rufous-tailed Robins are now back and saw quite a few of these along the trail. Theres been a large influx of Indochinese Yuhinas of late, I've been seeing them everywhere including urban areas! So, I wasn't surprise to find quite a few flocks here. A Lesser Shortwing decided to show itself on this dim morning, while a relatively common species, I don't get to see them often enough.

Radde's Warbler

Rufous-tailed Robin

Indochinese Yuhina

Lesser Shortwing

I led a half day outing to San Tin and Tai Sang Wai recently, a rather enjoyable morning with a flushed Yellow-legged Buttonquail being the best bird, although it was too quick and there was no way I could have gotten a photo. A rather nice looking Eastern Yellow Wagtail amongst other more drab looking ones was quite unusual given the time of the year, but every so often we get some birds retaining some of the breeding plumage through the winter months. An Osprey circling above was one of the several raptor species we had that morning. Several Yellow-breasted Buntings were seen, two of which allowed relatively good views. Black-faced Buntings and Little Buntings both showed well.

Eastern Yellow Wagtail - race taivana


Yellow-breasted Bunting - female

Black-faced Bunting - male

After the tour I returned to Tai Sang Wai briefly to hopefully relocate the Buttonquail, which obviously was not seen again. But, I did find a very confiding male Yellow-breasted Bunting feeding on the road, probably the closest I've ever been to this species! It was hard to resist taking more photos of this awesome bird, I ended up with hundreds of photos of it feeding, thought I shouldn't miss the chance of an up close experience with a critically endangered species.

Yellow-breasted Bunting - friendly individual

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