Monday 19 February 2024

February - Generally Quiet

Its been one of the quieter winters in Hong Kong, with fewer wintering birds in general. One of the very few wintering species we've had quite a few this year is the Gould's Sunbird, they seems to be popping up in several different locations. Including these two I bumped into, one adult male and the other a juvenile male. Both were found on a blooming Rhodoleia tree, obviously attracted to the sweet nectar of this wonderful native species.

Gould's Sunbird - adult male

Gould's Sunbird - juvenile male

Our local Fork-tailed Sunbirds were also attracted to these flowers, there were quite a few of them dancing around the trees. Mountain Bulbuls are also frequent visitors to these flowers, this one looked on from another treetop before coming down to feed on the flowers.

Fork-tailed Sunbird - male

Fork-tailed Sunbird - female

Mountain Bulbul

Over at Pak Tam Chung, I had a female Mugimaki Flycatcher near the visitor centre. I've also been seeing a pair of extremely confiding Asian Emerald Doves, an adult leading the way and a juvenile following closely behind. The pair allowed close viewings and was not at all bothered by my presence, lovely to see this usually shy species at close proximity.

Mugimaki Flycatcher - female

Asian Emerald Dove - adult

Asian Emerald Dove - juvenile

Tai Po Kau's been a bit more quiet in general, there were very few interesting winter visitors, most of the time it was down to the local residents to keep us entertained, such as close views of Grey-chinned Minivets and the odd Speckled Piculets. There were still a few wintering birds around, such as Black-winged Cuckooshrikes and Verditer Flycatchers.

Grey-chinned Minivet - male

Speckled Piculet

Black-winged Cuckooshrike

Verditer Flycatcher - male

Some slight improvements at Shek Kong Airfield Road, other than the numerous wintering Yellow-browed Warblers, I had a small flock of Yellow-billed Grosbeaks, but otherwise still relatively quiet compare to previous years.

Yellow-browed Warbler

Yellow-billed Grosbeak - male

I caught up with the Oriental Greenfinch at Long Valley again, but to my surprise I found some more at Ping Yeung the very same day! To my delight, I even found a few Common Rosefinch nearby! The tall grass was of course, home to a few Golden-headed Cisticolas, one of which showed exceptionally well.

Oriental Greenfinch

Common Rosefinch - male

Golden-headed Cisticola

At Nam Chung, the long staying Black-capped Kingfisher stays on, although not showing particularly well, its still a nice species to see any day! A Pacific Reef Egret's been frequenting the same area, allowing close views and often very photogenic.

Black-capped Kingfisher

Pacific Reef Egret

Earlier in the month, hundreds of House Swifts came down low onto the fish ponds, giving close views as they zoomed past your head in high speed. Amongst all the other swallows I had a few Asian House Martins.

House Swift

Asian House Martin

After a long absent of Little Buntings everywhere, we saw an influx of these in the beginning of the month in many fish pond areas. Black-winged Kite at Tai Sang Wai still patrols the area sometimes, although not as frequently as before. An adult male Bluethroat was spotted at Ma Tso Lung, although it was not particularly photogenic.

Little Bunting

Black-winged Kite

Bluethroat - adult male

There are far fewer Daurian Redstarts than usual, Mai Po seems to be one of the stronghold for this species this winter, with several birds seen, including this fine looking adult male. The 14 Oriental Storks have stayed on around Mai Po area, I had them sitting on the edge of pond 24 one day. Imperial and Greater Spotted Eagles are still regularly seen during this time of the year, quite often you will find one drifting past above you. With temperature rising again, Burmese Pythons are becoming even more active, here's one sunbathing near the footpath at Mai Po.

Daurian Redstart - male

Oriental Stork

Imperial Eagle

Burmese Python

Not too bad, but still generally very quiet. I am already looking forward to spring migrants arriving...