Monday 15 April 2024

A Few Spring Migrants in April

April's been such a busy month, I haven't really had much time doing birding on my own, so I am slightly behind on a few migrants, but things are definitely improving with a few more interesting birds here and there. The only few good spring migrants I have seen lately were two Swinhoe's Minivets, one at home and the other at Mai Po.

Swinhoe's Minivet

Other spring migrants I've encountered including a single Narcissus Flycatcher at Tai Po Kau, although it was too far away for any proper photos. Hainan Blue Flycatchers are back now, and quite a few heard at Tai Po Kau, although none really showed well. I visited Ho Man Tin briefly one morning, I didn't get to spend too much time there due to work, the only bird I got there was a single Asian Brown Flycatcher.

Narcissus Flycatcher - male

Hainan Blue Flycatcher - male

Asian Brown Flycatcher

Tai Po Kau is still a location I go most often due to birding tours, it is always a great location to start the day, and you often see a good range of local birds there on most days. It is the regular haunt for Crested Serpent Eagles, and of course you often see them perch on tall trees along the access road. Both Chinese Barbets and Great Barbets have been showing fairly well lately, both species can often be located through their calls.

Crested Serpent Eagle

Chinese Barbet

Great Barbet

Both Bay Woodpeckers and Speckled Piculets have been fairly active at Tai Po Kau, although the former did not give me any chance to get any photos, Speckled Piculets however are a bit more obliging. 

Speckled Piculet

Temperature's been getting higher, with temperature exceeding 30°C lately, many birds in the forest take baths to keep cool, such as these Blue-winged Minlas and Huet's Fulvettas. Yellow-cheeked Tits are now breeding, I observed a few pairs making nests, therefore less are following bird waves.

Blue-winged Minla

Huet's Fulvetta

Yellow-cheeked Tit - male

A lot of other birds are also actively breeding, I observed Silver-eared Mesias collecting nesting materials, as well as an actual nest of Grey-chinned Minivets, although the pair seems to have abandoned the nest after a little while.

Silver-eared Mesia

Grey-chinned Minivet - female on nest

Other fairly vocal species lately includes Black-throated Laughingthrush and Velvet-fronted Nuthatch. There are not much flowering trees now to see Fork-tailed Sunbirds feeding, but males are quite vocal at the moment and can often be seen perched in the open singing. Plain Flowerpeckers are also very vocal still.

Black-throated Laughingthrush

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch

Fork-tailed Sunbird - male

Plain Flowerpecker

Closer to home, I haven't found many interesting migrants at my local patch, but a male White-rumped Shama was in song, and several Streak-breasted Scimiter-Babblers showed well to me during my short walk.

White-rumped Shama - male

Streak-breasted Scimiter-Babbler

The over wintering Citrine Wagtail at Lok Ma Chau seems to have finally moved on, I saw it once more at the beginning of the month. Around the fish ponds, Whiskered Terns are now returning, with several seen feeding and resting on the fish ponds. The drained fish ponds attracts Oriental Pratincoles to roost there, and they are regularly seen flying around hawking for insects. Pied Kingfishers can still be found around the fish ponds with relative ease at this time of the year, but less White-throated Kingfishers are seen there now as most of them have started breeding on the hill sides.

Citrine Wagtail

Whiskered Tern

Oriental Pratincole

Pied Kingfisher

Several cuckoo species can now be regularly heard or seen around different birding sites, Large Hawk Cuckoos, Plaintive Cuckoos, Indian Cuckoos and Chestnut-winged Cuckoos to name a few. I spotted a distant Oriental Cuckoo during an outing at Mai Po, my first for spring.

Oriental Cuckoo

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