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MKinHK
Saturday 20th October 2012, 03:13
In September I moved to a new job at Hong Kong International Airport and this week, as a change from spending lunchtime in the terminal building, I went looking for somewhere to sit outside.

Tuesday:(no bins)

It would be an over-statement to say that I scored big-time, but I did almost immediately come across a couple of Asian Brown Flycatchers hunting from the wires supporting some young trees on a small patch of grass on the edge of a roundabout. The roundabout itself is about forty to fifty metres in diameter, and holds a plantation of alien trees - Brisbane Box and acacias, a few low bushes, a tight thicket of some sort of palm, including a thick patch of bougainvillea and some short arid grass. Closer inspection revealed various scattered bits of toilet paper and it quickly became clear that it was an alternative toilet for the taxi drivers, who can queue for over an hour before getting a fare back to town.

Undeterred, and being an optimist, I also noted that it was close to the runway and was undoubtedly the best patch of cover for migrants attracted by the lights. I didn't find much more that day except a confused-looking White-throated Kingfisher, but resolved to come back the next couple of days to check it out more thoroughly.


Wednesday: (no bins)

A Brown Shrike flew off from the same area that the Asian Brown Flycatchers were again occupying and a Black Kite drifted over.


Thursday:

Nnow equipped with a pair of 8x25 Pentax mini bins, the line of heavily pruned bushes inside the roundabout held two Dusky Warblers and the Asian Brown Flycatchers were again present. There was also a mystery warbler skulking in the palms, I never got enough to do anything with it


Friday:

By rushing though my lunch I had a bit more time, and a stronger NE wind and a bit of low cloud had brought a couple of Stejneger's Stonechats to the staked-out trees, where one of the Asian Brown Flycatchers was still present for its fourth day. There were two more Dusky Warblers in the pruned bushes and as I poked along the trail between the palms I came across a small dark-plumaged rather slender, long-billed warbler walking on the ground. The path went the right way and I followed it in. It had hopped up into a low bush no more than five feet away, and gave pretty good front and side views for about ten minutes.

I was immediately struck by the complete lack of rufous in the plumage and the uniformly cold plumage tones. It had a long slender bill with a patchily paler lower mandible, and the curious hint of a hook on the upper mandible, a supercilium that curved over the eye and extended just a short distance past it, flaring and fading away, and with no hint of a dark shadow above. It was too dark to do anything with iris colour, and perhaps as a result of the darkness the flanks and breast were noticeably darker than the white throat. The side views did not give a clear sense of the primary projection.

Surprised by seeing it walk, which it did also when it got down from the perch and wandered off, I checked the undertail coverts to make sure it wasn't a Bradypterus or Locustella, but they appeared to be short and unmarked in any way.

I followed it back along the path as it hopped off into the palms, but lost it, and a scuttling on the other side turned out to be a fine male Siberian Rubythroat instead, which would have made my day on its own!

My gut feeling from the first view was that it was a Blyth's Reed Warbler. I eliminated Black-browed Reed, Manchurian Reed and Paddyfield on the lack of any dark shadow or lateral crown stripe above the supercilium, and Blunt-winged Warbler (in my view the only real contender as an alternative) on the uniformly cold tone to the plumage and the absence of any hint of a stubby-winged long-tailed jizz. I also toyed with the idea of Styan's or Middendorff's Warbler, but it was much too small for the latter and too coldly-plumaged (and without white tail tips) for the former.
I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has seen Accros walking rather than hopping, or with experience of a hook-tipped bill.

Whatever it was it was a rocking good bird for a a lunchtime poke about a highly dubious bit of habitat. There will definitely be more to come!

Cheers
Mike

Frogfish
Saturday 20th October 2012, 03:41
Good to hear that all is not lost with your move to the new job and that maybe a different set of birds may brighten your day. Congrats on your discoveries (apt).

No sign of a Florence, a Zeebedee or a Dougal then ?

MKinHK
Saturday 20th October 2012, 10:00
Sadly not. Ermintrude told me they didn't like the smell.

Gretchen
Monday 22nd October 2012, 00:09
??

Well, sounds like you've done well to find a new interesting local spot. It doesn't quite sound like kingfisher habitat - guess that's why it looked confused! (though I assume you're relatively close to water - I don't have any clear picture as I still haven't been to the "new" airport :-O )

Hope the week brings interesting new birds there.

MKinHK
Monday 22nd October 2012, 09:23
Gretchen
The Magic Roundabout was an animated TV series from the sixties and seventies. The character Dylan is based on Bob Dylan and the whole series is full of drug references and has cult status in the UK. Well with Googling.

I'll post some pix of the actual roundabout in due course. Prepare to be underwhelmed.

Cheers
Mike

John Cantelo
Monday 22nd October 2012, 12:54
Congratulations on the new job - but I fear you might now be less available for we birders who pass through HK,

MKinHK
Monday 22nd October 2012, 13:24
Many thanks John

Much less time to call my own these days, and correspondingly less time for birding and guiding. But I've had a pretty good run, and can recommend a couple of good friends who I know will do a great job.

And anyone with a spare half hour in transit is more than welcome to a tour of the magic roundabout!

Cheers
Mike

Bob Philpott
Monday 22nd October 2012, 13:43
We have a large complex roundabout in Swindon which was officially renamed The Magic Roundabout many years ago. No trees or bushes on it but perhaps I should stand there for a while.

Gretchen
Monday 22nd October 2012, 14:19
Gretchen
The Magic Roundabout was an animated TV series from the sixties and seventies....

Ah, thanks - I thought I was missing something, but not sure what...

MKinHK
Wednesday 31st October 2012, 14:51
Two new species on my first visit for more than a week - a fine male Daurian Redstart and a Chinese Blackbird, plus a Dusky Warbler were the migrants.

Three leucopsis White Wagtails, half a dozen Crested Mynas, a Long-tailed Shrike, two Magpie Robins and a couple of heard Chinese Bulbuls were less exciting, but all in all not bad given the heavy pruning done by the landscape gardening crew during the morning.

I also had Osprey and Amur Falcon from the bus on the way to work this week.

Cheers
Mike

Shi Jin
Thursday 1st November 2012, 09:35
"Amur", said Dylan.

"Aim at what?" said Zeberdee, excitedly.

"Stop that!! This is NOT Hunan province!! If it were, rabbit ears over there would be in the stew," said Florence, angrily.

"That's right!" said Dougal, supportively.

"Time for bed!" said Zeberdee, ashamedly.

"Amur... just gonna sing a song," said Dylan, confusedly.

"Sorry, Mike," said Shi Jin, sheepishly.

On a serious note.

Am enjoying reading this thread. Birds found on the local patch (and on the way to, of course) always seem to get the blood pumping more than rarer birds found elsewhere.

That Osprey must have been a sight to behold.

Cheers Mike,


Shi Jin

Frogfish
Thursday 1st November 2012, 09:56
Ha ha - enjoyed that Tom.

Kevin (from Zhangjiajie, Hunan .. no rabbits and no ears in the stew either, but lots of chilli) !

MKinHK
Thursday 1st November 2012, 21:55
It's hard to type straight when you're laughing!

Yesterday I had a few more birds:

First up was a Brown Shrike that was eventually chased off by the resident Long-tailed Shrike.

Asian Brown Flycatcher - buzzing away in the tree above my head as I had lunch, three Dusky Warblers grotting about below knee height in the pruned bushes. I also heard a Yellow-browed Warbler, and a female Daurian Redstart was newly in.

Crested Bulbul was an addition to the list of residents.

Cheers
Mike

Tri-Counties Birder
Monday 5th November 2012, 14:44
Hi Mike,

Made my first ever visit to HK yesterday. Well, I was at the airport for two hours in transit from New Zealand!

I was determined to find some birds (never been to Asia before), and I was delighted to see the open design to the terminal building with windows all round.

I didn't have any field guide, and the only birds I identified beyond doubt were a Black Kite and a couple of Crested Myna.

First, I saw a distant small BOP hovering. Would this just be Common Kestrel? I assume a small pigeon with a very whipy flight that flew through, was a Spotted Dove. I saw a large white heron flying along the airport shore. Would this be Great White Egret? A small group of finch-like birds flew overhead. Tree Sparrow perhaps? And finally, one or two Pipits or Larks flew off one of the grassy runway aprons (I thought Larks more likely). Whats the most likely species here? Thanks.

I think I noticed your roundabout as we took off! Didn't realise its significance till now!

MKinHK
Tuesday 6th November 2012, 04:03
Hi Sean

Thanks for the kind words about our terminal design. Your ID sounds spot on, although Richard's Pipit is the commonest short grass bird at the airport Northern Skylark is in for the winter and is also possible.

I really enjoy the roundabout. I get the chance to check it about twice a week at present and the list is building nicely.

Cheers
Mike

Tri-Counties Birder
Tuesday 6th November 2012, 08:40
Thanks Mike. I think I'll leave the larks/pipits unidentified in that case.

MKinHK
Wednesday 7th November 2012, 11:46
A quieter day today - with just an Olive-backed Pipit to add to the species list and a couple of calling Yellow-browed Warblers.

So to make this more interesting I'll add that I went to Long Valley to look for a Red-backed Shrike (HK's 4th record) that didn't show.

I had good compensation in the form of a Rustic Bunting I'd missed on Saturday (less than 15 HK records), 3 Chestnut-eared Buntings, 5 Yellow-breasted Buntings including a fine male that still had a nice dark band on the breast. I also found a very pale-faced Citrine Wagtail and as I got back to the road to catch a taxi an Amur Falcon drifted by on the other side of the road - allowing a nice comparison of its jizz against a much longer-tailed female Common Kestrel that had been hunting over Long Valley.

It also give me an excuse to post a couple of pix from Saturday.

Cheers
Mike

All in all a pretty good start to the day!

MKinHK
Monday 12th November 2012, 10:27
A new addition today - a Blue Rock Thrush was lurking underneath the flyover next to the taxi rank. That apart single Dusky Warbler, YBW and Asian Brown Flycatcher were also recorded.

Cheers
Mike

Gretchen
Monday 12th November 2012, 10:57
Wow, that makes the roundabout sound more magic to me. (Blue Rock Thrush just seems like a "good" bird as far as I'm concerned). Nice to see new things appearing.

MKinHK
Tuesday 13th November 2012, 07:06
Even better today Gretchen . . .

A Stejneger's Stonechat eyeballed from the bus this morning was still there at lunchtime, along with my first Richard's Pipit for the roundabout itself and an Asian Brown Flycatcher.

I also had three more roundabout first records - a fine immature male Black-naped Oriole , a juvenile and very scruffy Oriental Turtle Dove and a briefly seenmale Grey-backed Thrush.

A second Wryneck, a Brown Shrike, five Dusky Warblers, a YBW, and two OBPs added to the party to make this my best ever session for migrant diversity - I also suspect that a flock of 15 Chinese Bulbuls were migrants too.

The best of it was these were all found in 40 lunchtime minutes!

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Thursday 15th November 2012, 04:05
My first attempt at the roundabout before work produced a couple more new ones today - three Silky Starlings swirled around before landing briefly in the top of a Brisbane Box, where they were joined by a female Chinese Blackbird, and an incredibly tame Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler came in to within a foot of me ticking very softly.

Other birds included a Dusky Warbler, two YBWs, a male Daurian Redstart, a Richard's Pipit and a female Stejneger's Stonechat.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Friday 16th November 2012, 00:46
More rewards for an early start this morning in the shape of two Red Turtle Doves which flew up and sat nicely in a meelia tree.

Other birds were similar - the rather dark-bellied Richard's Pipit, two OBPs, two YBWs and the male Daurian Redstart

One more bird from my commute yesterday (stop press: -and again today on my way to a meeting in town) - an Osprey was again on the timber piles at Yam O as I went past. Shi Jin is right - they are wonderful!

Cheers
Mike

DavidJStanton
Friday 16th November 2012, 01:58
How's the White Wagtail roost going at Carpark 1. Must be starting to increase in numbers now - I reckon there's potential for HK maximum count if its watched regularly

MKinHK
Friday 16th November 2012, 06:13
Many thanks for letting me know about this Dave - I'll start looking out for it.

What's the current high count from this site?

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Tuesday 20th November 2012, 00:21
30 minutes brefore work this morning produced one new species, a Pale Thrush that flew up from the grass and had the good manners to perch nicely in an most unthrush-like way. Having said that a male Grey-backed Thrush also dropped into a Brisbane Box and gave very good views from underneath.

Other birds included a new high counts of Olive-backed Pipits (3) and Silky Starlings (15), a single Brown Shrike, four Dusky Warblers, and two Yellow-browed Warblers.

Cheers
Mike

Frogfish
Tuesday 20th November 2012, 09:07
Sounds like it's getting very crowded in there Mike ;)

MKinHK
Thursday 22nd November 2012, 05:06
Turnover is certainly pretty good Frogfish

I'm making about two visits a week (today was my 13th since the first on 16 October) for not more than 45 minutes and have so far racked up 32 species. Bird density is pretty low, as the habitat is distinctly sub-optimal, and very few birds stay around for long. Regular short visits is definitely the way to go.

Today's new bird was a sadly long-dead female/juv Watercock on the grass verge, while I have never remembered to write down the resident Tree Sparrow and Common Tailorbird previously.

Other migrants today included some of the usual suspects - single Stejneger's Stonechat and Daurian Redstart and two YBWs.

Cheers
Mike

DavidJStanton
Friday 23rd November 2012, 04:41
149 (all leucopsis). They gather of the flat roofs near the arrivals lounge and pile into the line of Ficus in Carpark 1 just before dusk. Easy enough to watch from the escalators/stairs outside. The only limitation I've found is when VS201 arrives early and you miss them going into roost as you have to go into the lounge to meet your visitors!

The peak count could/should easily be greater than this given the numbers of white wags at the airport.

If you have time/inclination you could get to the Golf Course to boost your list - Little Grebe and Richard's Pipits are guaranteed!

MKinHK
Friday 23rd November 2012, 05:17
. . . and here's the big question Dave.

I'm pretty sure I can add more birds by extendign the patch, but part of the attraction of the current patch is its tiny size and proximity to the office.

Should an Oriental Plover, Little Curlew or similar turn up the temptation to expand would increase rapidly, but right now the fact that even this very degraded area is producing such good birds is good enoyuugh reason to stay small.

Also, I 've already got Richard's Pipit on my list!

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Sunday 25th November 2012, 12:11
Long overdue, here's a pic of the patch from the building I work in. A good job my office doesn't have this view or I wouldn't get much done!

This actually makes the area I bird in look bigger and better habitat than it really is. The actual roundabout with the palm trees is pretty useless, and the area that the great majority of the birds appear is the patch behind the bus with the yellow roof and the grass verge just in front of that, which can not really be seen on this view.

The other thing worth noting is that this is an exceptionally clear day! The hill in the distance is Castle Peak, which marks the southwestern corner of the New Territories, with the town of Tuen Mun just to the right.

The other pic is of course of the unfortunate Watercock.

Cheers
Mike

Jos Stratford
Sunday 25th November 2012, 12:52
Good one Mike, I like this kind of thread. Keep it going :t:

Hong Kong still climbing on my list of destinations, didn't have a roundabout/part-time toilet in mind, but hey been to worse :-O

Gretchen
Sunday 25th November 2012, 13:55
Thanks for the pic - it is nice to visualize this patch. It reminds me of my least favorite aspect of the semi-urban birding I do - traffic noise. I guess you have lots of it here too. I shouldn't be so grumbly about it. Twas a great day for a photo!

johnjemi
Monday 26th November 2012, 07:29
Mike, with all this HK rain, you'll be getting Little Grebe on "The Magic Roundabout" very soon !

MKinHK
Monday 3rd December 2012, 12:46
Gutted not to have got to the roundabout on a single day last week in what I expect were very good falls conditions with all the rain and cloud.

Anyway half an hour at lunch today delivered two Stejneger's Stonechats, including a smart male, at least five each of YBW and Dusky Warbler, a definite five Silky Starlings foraging with the Crested Mynas and a Cettia that was I think a Japanese Bush Warbler, but looked rather small.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Tuesday 4th December 2012, 05:13
A good session on the roundabout this lunchtime - more migrants moved in by the cold front and generally dingy weather. as I arrived the same two Stejneger's Stonechats and a couple of Yellow-browed Warblers were on the grassy verge and five Oriental Turtle Doves flew over.

The same rather small Japanese Bush Warbler as yesterday popped up as I was trying to turn three more YBWs and a couple of Dusky Warblers into something more interesting, but better still a female Japanese Thrush flew into a tree, showing its finely spotted belly and a Brown Shrike almost directly above me in another tree showed little more than a flash of a neatly barred flank.

Just a few further inside the wood the Oriental Turtle Doves came up off the ground and peered at me suspiciously from the cover of the higher foliage, and a second, very dark male Japanese Thrush was rooting on the deck with a second feale and a male Chinese Blackbird.

As I stepped out from under the canopy a Chinese Pond Heron flew over- my first one at this site. Even better was to come - as I headed back towards the office two Red-rumped Swallows flew low overhead, over the grassy verge and away to the East giving me a fine hatrick of new patch birds!

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Thursday 13th December 2012, 12:28
It had to happen . . .

Yesterday as I headed for the roundabout a sixty-ish year-old taxi driver wandered in ahead of me while I stopped to check out a female Daurian Redstart and a Stejneger's Stonechat on the grassy verge.

When I did get there he'd hung his shirt on the pole barrier across the road and was doing various stretches and exercises. I did my best to carry on birding, but it was just too wierd, and I beat a hasty retreat - thankful that it wasn't a really birdy day.

Today was my first day for a long time without a Stonechat. Best bird was a juvenile Oriental Turtle Dove, and the slim support came from two YBWs, a female Daurian Redstart, what was likely the same thrush from yesterday - possibly a female Grey-backed on very brief flight views - and a female Chinese Blackbird as I headed back to the office.

Cheers
Mike

Frogfish
Thursday 13th December 2012, 12:59
It had to happen . . .

Yesterday as I headed for the roundabout a sixty-ish year-old taxi driver wandered in ahead of me ......

Whew. When I read this I feared the worst *holds nose* !!

thirudevaram
Friday 14th December 2012, 05:59
. . . and here's the big question Dave.

I'm pretty sure I can add more birds by extendign the patch, but part of the attraction of the current patch is its tiny size and proximity to the office.

Should an Oriental Plover, Little Curlew or similar turn up the temptation to expand would increase rapidly, but right now the fact that even this very degraded area is producing such good birds is good enoyuugh reason to stay small.

Also, I 've already got Richard's Pipit on my list!

Cheers
Mike

You wish! ;)

MKinHK
Friday 14th December 2012, 07:26
Dev

My birding motto is "always be greedy", so yes, I do!


Kevin

It could have been so much worse!

Mike

MKinHK
Thursday 20th December 2012, 10:33
The highlight today was a very distinctively-plumaged and very handsome male White Wagtail which, after consultation with John Allcock appears, to be a leucopsis x alboides cross.

Unfortunately I don't have any pix but you can see what the front end looks like from these pix:

here (http://orientalbirdimages.org/search.php?Bird_ID=2086&Bird_Image_ID=44460&Bird_Family_ID=&p=48) and here (http://orientalbirdimages.org/search.php?p=58&Bird_ID=2086&Bird_Family_ID=&pagesize=1).

What these pix don't show is the strikingly black upperparts (from crown to tail tip) with just the broad white coverts and an outer tertial for contrast. My bird also showed a larger breast patch than these two.

The English name for Alboides is Himalayan Wagtail, but it is known in China from as far east as southern Shaanxi and as close to Hong Kong as Guizhou. Leucopsis x alboides has been proposed for a couple of other birds in HK (see here (http://www.hkbws.org.hk/BBS/viewthread.php?action=printable&tid=12036)), but none have shown anything like the striking plumage of my bird.

Randomly, I was also delighted to learn that the Italian for wagtail is "ballerina"

Not too much else except for a couple of female Daurian Redstarts and a female Stejneger's Stonechat, plus two thrush sp. one of which might just have been Japanese.

Cheers
Mike

thirudevaram
Friday 21st December 2012, 00:47
Pretty distinct! Fortunately, it's not even complicated as hybrids of gull species. Good for me. Should be an interesting species for a work day.

MKinHK
Friday 21st December 2012, 12:46
Distinctive indeed Dev. There was no sign of it today, but I did add another bird to the Roundabout list - a Common Buzzard - my 39th species since I started here in October. With three working days left the obvious target is 40 spp. in Q42012

Other birds included a well-seen female Japanese Thrush (giving a bit more substance to my guess on the zeep-away from the day before) and a male Grey-backed Thrush, both in the northern border, plus three Olive-backed Pipits and a female Daurian Redstart on the lawn.

Ten Japanese White-eye were too high and flighty to check for Chestnut-flanked, and a Common Tailorbird was my first for a week or two.

Other regulars included three leucopsis White Wagtails, a couple of YBWs and the rock-steady female Stegneger's Stonechat.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Monday 24th December 2012, 05:09
One more speciers for the list today, but not a new one - I'm pretty sure I've seen Black-necked Starling previously, but a pair flushed by a maintenance team provided sifficient confirmation to safely claim my 40th species.

Therre usual suspects were still about (Stejneger's Stonechat, Daurian Redstart, White Wagtail and YBW), but a male Chinese Blackbird seen from the bus on the way in was a good start to the day, four Olive-backed Pipits was a new high count, a Dusky Warbler was my first for a while, and bird of the day was a Wryneck, which may have been brought in by yesterday's cold front.

This will be be my last post before the holiday, so Merry Christmas and many thanks for following this rather random thread which (gardens apart) must be the smallest patch on BirdForum.

Cheers
Mike

Gretchen
Monday 24th December 2012, 05:56
Merry Christmas Mike (and your readers)! Hope you have a happy celebration.

Thanks too for sharing what must be one of the most unusual patches on the forum!

MKinHK
Thursday 27th December 2012, 12:15
It's been a real pleasure to find this site Gretchen . . . and even more to be finding birds of the quality that I have been seeing . . . and again saw today!

It started predictably enough with a Chinese Blackbird from the bus this morning, and the two female chats - Stejneger's Stonechat and Daurian Redstart and four Olive-backed Pipits on the grassy patch, plus my first view of the Long-tailed Shrike - nicely fluffed up against the cold - for several weeks.

As I walked up to the crash barrier I saw a rather slender and upright thrush on the grass some forty metres away. Thinking it would be Eye-browed I got the bins on it and was somewhat nonplussed by the slightly washed-out rufous orange breast and head. Then the penny dropped - a stonking adult male NAUMANN'S THRUSH!. This is an absolutely massive bird for me - a self-found Hong Kong tick, on the Magic Roundabout, just the second since 1990 and the thirteenth ever, and even better, a claw-back from one I dipped at Lok Ma Chau two years ago!

Absolutely delighted, I watched it feeding on the grass for a few minutes in full view - another big bonus as most thrushes grot about nervously in the leaf litter in deep cover and flush out, giving the dodgiest of arse-end views.

My delight deepened as I realised it was just too classic a bird to have any hint of the hybrid about it.

The head and breast were beautifully washed orange-rufous which extended from the lower breast up the neck and throat and onto the sides of the neck, where it merged smoothly into the slightly colder brown of the upperparts. From the side the long supercilium looked the same colour, but a paler straw yellow from head-on. It had a brown eyestripe through the eye and connecting with the nape and down onto the ear coverts.

The crown nape and back was a less orangy brown, while the rump and tail was distinctively rufous - looking all rufous in flight, but with a couple of darker brown central rectrices and the same diffuse darker tones across the tip when on the deck. The dark tertials showed distinctive narrow rufous fringes, while the folded primaries looked all-dark, contrasting with the brighter orange-rufous of the rump and uppertail.

Most importantly the spotting on the flanks was a consistent rufous orange against a pale belly, becoming denser on the rear flanks and merging nicely into the orange-rufous rump.

It was wonderful to watch it feeding to within 25 metres of me, first on the grass, and then rooting vigorously through the leaf litter in front of the recently-pruned bushes. It twice flew in the twenty minutes I watched it, but each time returned within a couple of minutes, obviously deciding that however poor, this was still the best available habitat.

A real red-letter day, but with two more working days to go I'm reluctant to call time just yet on a glorious end to the year on my truly Magic Roundabout!

Cheers
Mike

McMadd
Thursday 27th December 2012, 12:19
Congratulations Mike!

Excellent record, excellent bird! We had one last weekend up here and I have to say I was well taken with the subtlety of the bird...pics on my thread once I've got my act together to write things up...

Here's to a bird-filled 2013...let's take this as an omen of the riches to follow!!

ATB
Mark

JWN Andrewes
Thursday 27th December 2012, 12:41
Nice one Mike. Been enjoying this thread. Good luck for 2013 (and indeed the balance of 2012).

James

Gretchen
Thursday 27th December 2012, 12:55
A wonderful thrush - and great to see it so well. Congrats and indeed hopefully a tiding of things to come in the new year.

Dong Bei
Friday 28th December 2012, 06:06
I wise man once said, "there is nothing like a self-found lifer on your patch!" Great stuff Mike.

MKinHK
Friday 28th December 2012, 09:59
Many thanks everyone!

The Naumann's Thrush a.k.a. King of the Magic Roundabout as I've called him showed superbly again today, although preferring to forage in the leaf litter under the canopy rather than the open lawn.

It didn't matter. It came to within 10 metres of the bunch of photographers who turned up to pay homage, and received much more grief from a pair of Magpie Robins, a Brown Shrike and an unidentified thrush that occasionally chased it off for a few minutes.

I got some shots and a short film of it foraging, but then left my camera in the office, so the pix will have to wait until next week. However the pix from my friends Peter and Michelle (http://www.hkbws.org.hk/BBS/viewthread.php?tid=17907&page=1#pid54284) are pretty spectacular.

Other birds seen today included two Daurian Redstarts, a Pale Thrush, a Brown Flycatcher, and the usual 4 OBPs and female Stejneger's Stonechat.

Cheers
Mike

PS Tom, I wonder who that wise man was?;)

Jeff hopkins
Friday 28th December 2012, 16:08
God Save the King!

Great find, Mike.

MKinHK
Friday 28th December 2012, 22:02
Many thanks Jeff

It seems there are quite a few closet monarchists in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the Motherland these days!

Cheers
Mike

rockfowl
Friday 28th December 2012, 22:29
A proper belter Mike, congrats!

thirudevaram
Saturday 29th December 2012, 14:34
A well deserved bird for holidays. Don't forget your worktime Mike!!! o:D
Wish you many more additions to your newly found and interesting patch in the new year.

MKinHK
Monday 31st December 2012, 05:32
Many thanks Dev and Mark

Some sad news - on Sunday the Naumann's Thrush was found dead with a Long-tailed Shrike standing over it. It seems extraordinary for a Long-tailed Shrike to take such a large bird that appeared to be in good health the day before, so any insight would be most welcome.

On a happier note my last session of the year at lunchtime today was also productive, if not to the same dramatic scale. (Dev: the Roundabout is such a small patch that lunchtime is more than plenty -but don't go putting ideas into my head!)

The pick of the bunch was a fine Black Bulbul - with a nice white head that was after the fruit in one of the meelia trees, closely followed by a welcome return from the leucopis x alboides White Wagtail.

I also had singles of Grey-backed, Japanese and Pale Thrushes, plus the regular Daurian Redstart (2), Stejneger's Stonechat and Asian Brown Flycatcher on the grass verge. I also heard a Yellow-browed Warbler.

So the final score for the first quarter is 42 species.

Best wishes to everyone for the New Year!

Cheers
Mike

thirudevaram
Monday 31st December 2012, 06:14
That's a sad end to the famous Naumann's which attracted lot of attention, yesterday i saw a failed attempt of long-tailed shrike trying to snatch a pale thrush. I guess the shrike at your place had a run of luck, all part of the food chain.

Happy new year Mike!

MKinHK
Wednesday 2nd January 2013, 10:16
It definitely went out in a blaze of glory Dev!

First day of a new quarter - and a pretty good start with an impressive 19 species, including two new birds - Eurasian Kestrel and four Scaly-breasted Munias.

Regular attendees included the first winter male Grey-backed Thrush, female Japanese Thrush and a rather dull Chinese Blackbird. Chinese and Red-whiskered Bulbuls, leucopsis White Wagtail, four OBPs, Pallas's and Dusky Warblers, ten Crested Mynas, and the usual two Daurian Redstarts, Stejneger's Stonechat , and Asian Brown Flycatcher were on the grassy verge.

A Common Buzzard made a brief flyover.

There was less excitement in finding single figure flocks of Tree Sparrow and Japanese White-eye , and a Magpie Robin. If we count remains both Watercock and Naumann's Thrush would again be on the list. On balance I think not.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Friday 4th January 2013, 12:42
Yesterday was another species-rich day - with some 20 species being the new record day count. The additions to yesterday's list were a Black Kite characteristically twisting its forked tail as it drifted over, a couple of Yellow-browed Warblersperched high, a Pale Thrush that zipped across the clearing and aCommon Tailorbird rootling along the line of trees edging the roundabout just above ground level.

My personal highlight was the female Japanese Thrush emerging from among the palms onto the lawn where 9 Chinese Bulbuls were foraging happily.

I didn't get out today but a glimpse of a flock of ardeids out of the office window turned out to be 42 Black-crowned Night Herons that circled around before dropping down onto the Magic Roundabout, adding another bird to the patch list. I'm guessing they'd been disturbed from roosting somewhere else nearby.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Friday 4th January 2013, 13:11
It won't be part of the official record of the patch, but as its connected to my airport work I'll post here on my visit to our off-site air quality monitoring control station on Sha Chau.

This is a couple of small islands a couple of kilometres to the north of the airport and right on the border with Guangdong.

The highlights were a fine count of a dozen Pacific Reef Egrets on the rocks and jetty and 15 Great Cormorants, which I searched carefully for the slightest hint of a Pelagic. I had no such luck, but I'll keep looking on future winter visits.

I also watched a juvenile Peregrine swoop unsuccessfully on a newly arriving Oriental Turtle Dove, before drifting off across the summit of the island, where it was hassled by a couple of Large-billed Crows, who had in turn been chased off by five Collared Crows.

A brief pish revealed Chinese and Crested Bulbuls, Common Tailorbird and a female Daurian Redstart. A Common Sandpiper flitted along the wave washed rocks, and both Blue Rock Thrush and Long-tailed Shrike put in brief appearances. A distant large gull was most likely Heuglin's, but goes down as a sp.

And finally . . . the briefest roll of pink in the sea about 400m north of the station was a tantalisingly short view of a Chinese White Dolphin .

Cheers
Mike

Gretchen
Friday 4th January 2013, 13:30
Wow - 20 species in one day and 42 herons - I"ll have to look at that picture you posted again, sounds like that roundabout is bigger than I thought!

Excellent opportunity for some more looking around and nice to at least glimpse the dolphin! Lots going on there...

Frogfish
Friday 4th January 2013, 17:53
Excellent Mike ! The elusive and extremely rare White Dolphin !

thirudevaram
Saturday 5th January 2013, 02:33
Wow, the isle looks great. Do you get any white-morph pacific reef egrets there Mike? Mainland din't have any Dolphin watch otherwise Yangtze river dolphin would have lasted for a while. Good luck for the pelagic cormorant ;-)

MKinHK
Tuesday 8th January 2013, 12:31
I didn't get properly onto the patch on Monday , but did get Chinese Blackbird, Stejneger's Stonechat and an adult Black-crowned Night Heron from the bus on the way into work in the morning.

Today I did get there, but had one of those days when the thrushes chose not to behave. I had at least four different birds, but only the most fleeting glimpses of two of them, neither which I could even stringily put a name to.

Additions to the list for the quarter included a Great Tit, the skulky Brown Shrike and a couple of Large-billed Crows.A new high count of a round dozen Scaly-breasted Munias was probably the highlight of the session.

I did get the three sisters (I've got bored of typing them out each time and will use this collective name for the Daurian Redstart, Stejneger's Stonechat, and Asian Brown Flycatcher were on various perches the grassy verge along with the regulation four Olive-backed Pipits and the usual two leucopsis White Wagtails.

I did also hear a Dusky Warbler, searched half-heartedly through the Japanese White-eyes for a Chestnut-flanked, and had the usual flyover Crested Myna a male Magpie Robin and the rather drab Chinese Blackbird lurking troll-like under the flyover.

And finally (well, penultimately) the munia flock had pulled in . . . wait for it . . . a couple of Tree Sparrows!

And really finally some more pix of the patch plus, long overdue, my record shots of the King

Cheers
Mike

rockfowl
Tuesday 8th January 2013, 12:34
LOL, amazing that one took so long!

McMadd
Tuesday 8th January 2013, 12:44
Pictures or it didn't happen!

When you thinking of BEP Mike...maybe we could sync?

Cheers
Mark (M not that 'fowl 'un ;D)

Jeff hopkins
Tuesday 8th January 2013, 17:17
And really finally some more pix of the patch plus, long overdue, my record shots of the King

Funny, it doesn't look like Elvis :smoke:

...Or one of his records.

MKinHK
Tuesday 15th January 2013, 12:41
More birds than ever today, largely due to a flock of 130 Tree Sparrows feeding on the grassy verge, along with 20 Japanese White-eyes, three Scaly-breasted Munias, eight Chinese Bulbuls and Crested Mynas, two leucopsis White Wagtails and a Dusky Warbler. The three sisters were also all present and correct.

It is not unusual to find birds feeding on the ground in cold weather, but it is not common to see such a mix of sizes and species, so I'm guessing some tiny chironomid fly was hatching, but really don't know what they were feeding on.

Other birds included a Yellow-browed Warbler, a noisy and flighty male Grey-backed Thrush and a Chinese Blackbird that came into the tree above my head just as the Long-tailed Shrike lurked ominously on a branch in deep cover.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Thursday 17th January 2013, 15:25
Wednesday was a quieter day, with highlights being the return of the distinctive leucopsis x alboides Whites Wagtail and brief views of the champion lurker - the overwintering Brown Shrike.

The Japanese White-eyes were again feeding down on the lawn, but the munias and Tree Sparrows were not, and the female Stejneger's Stonechat was absent for the first time in a long time.

A female Daurian Redstart with almost no white wingspot had me going for a while, but never really had enough to convince me it was anything except Daurian (how I'd love to be wrong about that!)

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Thursday 24th January 2013, 13:00
A swift twenty minutes both today and yesterday were not very productive - we've had settled weather for too long and its all gone a bit quiet.

New for the year list were a House Swift yesterday and a couple of Crested Bulbuls today, while I'm a bit worried that there no sign of either the Daurian Redstart or the Stejneger's Stonechat.

Bird of the day today was a Large-billed Crow that sat in the tallest Brisbane box calling way to its mate, that called back from out of sight, while the small flock four of Olive-backed Pipits were again on the grassy verge yesterday.

Today I twice had the back end of what was probably a male Japanese Thrush, a Grey-backed Thrush and a Chinese Blackbird the day before, while on both days the Long-tailed Shrike was lurking menacingly in the canopy and a single Yellow-browed Warbler was knocking about.

Yesterday a fly-by out the window of the officeBlack Kite added some interest to a meeting and some 30-odd Tree Sparrows and a dozen Japanese White-eyes were again feeding on the grass by the flyover with a half-dozen Crested Mynas and the usual couple of White Wagtails in casual attendance.

Cheers
Mike

thirudevaram
Friday 25th January 2013, 05:40
Was expecting some mammals in your update :C

Black Kites are plenty back in India, the most common raptor everywhere. Miss those raptors n corvids.

The leucopsis x alboides Whites Wagtail should be interesting anytime, i got a young lugens couple of weeks before.

MKinHK
Friday 25th January 2013, 11:41
One mammal for you Dev - Brown Rat!

But there were also a few birds about today, with a fine adult Oriental Turtle Dove being the first of the year and thrushes scoring well with adult and first winter male Grey-backed, an adult male Japanese, a Chinese Blackbird and A.N. Other.

The leucopis x alboides White Wagtail was again present, but beginning to lose some of the black rear eyestripe that made it look so exciting. I'm thinking of bring my scope to work and doing some digiscoping - and this will be the first target.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Wednesday 30th January 2013, 01:17
A Dusky Thrush with a fine necklace of black spots was on one of the lawns on the approaches to the airport yesterday, and I think - it was back-on - again this morning.

Unfortunately it was not on the Roundabout, but its definitely worth a mention.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Tuesday 5th February 2013, 12:56
On Thursday I again saw the Dusky Thrush from the bus, but also took an extended walk around the northernmost edge of the roundabout, which delivered my first, overdue, Red-flanked Bluetail, and on a very good day for thrushes and chats, an extension of the walk also revealed a fine male philippensis Blue Rock Thrush on the golf course.

The big debate is whether I should count this as part of the Magic Roundabout. In strict geographical terms its not, but in the spirit of the UK Patchwork concept its an extension of a circular walk from my office of an area of 250 x 300 metres. At one point it goes over a footbridge with a view of the golf course - hence the opportunity to add a larger area of short grass and the edge of a pond to the habitats on the route.

Monday 4th Feb

Fewer birds were seen on a walk restricted to the regular inner route. these did include the first "inner route Richard's Pipit on the Eastern Verge along with the leucopsis x alboides White Wagtail and a regular leucopsis White Wagtail.

I also pinned down the female Japanese Thrush, flushed a male Grey-backed Thrush, and had brief views of both Pallas' Leaf Warbler and Yellow-browed Warbler inside the core area. As I headed back to the office four Olive-backed Pipits and the Long-tailed Shrike were on the Grassy verge, and a Black Kite circled over the terminal building.

Tuesday 5th Feb

No visit to the Roundabout today, but the Dusky Thrush was again seen from the bus on the lawn by the end of the South Runway.


Cheers
Mike

thirudevaram
Wednesday 6th February 2013, 02:49
Those crisscross roads and the artificial parks to fill up the space are everywhere n i hate them Mike.But speaking about the results, you are pulling the best out of your small patch.

johnjemi
Wednesday 6th February 2013, 06:03
Dusky Thrush... fine "Bus Tick" !

JWN Andrewes
Wednesday 6th February 2013, 06:32
The big debate is whether I should count this as part of the Magic Roundabout. In strict geographical terms its not, but in the spirit of the UK Patchwork concept its an extension of a circular walk from my office of an area of 250 x 300 metres. At one point it goes over a footbridge with a view of the golf course - hence the opportunity to add a larger area of short grass and the edge of a pond to the habitats on the route.

Cheers
Mike

Looks like an entirely justifiable, compact patch, going by the map.

Best of luck with it, I shall continue to follow your fortunes with interest.

Cheers

James

MKinHK
Wednesday 6th February 2013, 12:48
So far one vote in favour of the expanded patch . . . Thanks James!

You must have an amazing garden to have that many species in just over a month - especially having waxwings in it!

Dev you're dead right - I bird here the for the views, not the view!

Dusky is my eighth "airport" thrush since October John:

Chinese Blackbird
Grey-backed Thrush
Japanese Thrush
Pale Thrush
Eye-browed Thrush
Blue Rock Thrush
Naumann's Thrush
(Dusky Thrush) off-patch but on-Chek Lap Kok.

It was there again today, and as I have a free lunchtime tomorrow I'm thinking about dragging the scope over to try to get some pix.

Cheers
Mike

Gretchen
Wednesday 6th February 2013, 13:53
The big debate is whether I should count this as part of the Magic Roundabout. In strict geographical terms its not, but in the spirit of the UK Patchwork concept its an extension of a circular walk from my office of an area of 250 x 300 metres. At one point it goes over a footbridge with a view of the golf course - hence the opportunity to add a larger area of short grass and the edge of a pond to the habitats on the route.


Nice picture of the situation. I say go for it - your patch is not too big yet :)

Jos Stratford
Wednesday 6th February 2013, 14:07
So far one vote in favour of the expanded patch . . . Thanks James!



Another vote in favour from here, a logical stroll. And changes nothing in terms of the uniqueness of the patch - i.e. a breath of life in the midst of one of the busiest airports in the world

Allen S. Moore
Wednesday 6th February 2013, 14:28
I enjoy reading your thread. If the suggested larger patch helps with logistics, add my "Yes" vote.

Tarsiger
Wednesday 6th February 2013, 15:27
To my way of thinking a local patch is defined as a contiguous area that can be visited regularly, potentially daily, and covered before, after or during work and can be walked around in less than half an hour(ish). Anything larger or further starts to become a day's birding or a nature reserve visit. Oh , and preferably a site with no other birders!!
Russ

johnjemi
Thursday 7th February 2013, 05:05
Expanded patch : "Yes, please !"

JWN Andrewes
Thursday 7th February 2013, 09:59
So far one vote in favour of the expanded patch . . . Thanks James!

You must have an amazing garden to have that many species in just over a month - especially having waxwings in it!

Mike

Ah, not updated the garden list stuff for 2013, so what you see there is last year's final total. So far this year I'm up to 45, with a couple of fly-by Lapwings the highlight. The Waxwings were a fly-by last year.

Cheers

James

MKinHK
Friday 8th February 2013, 09:29
They all count James!

I did the long loop today and added Pale Thrush on the northern bend and a male Daurian Redstart and a Richard's Pipit on the golf course to the usual Grey-backed Thrush and White Wagtails and a lone Eastern Great Tit.

Cheers
Mike

Jeff hopkins
Friday 8th February 2013, 12:46
They all count James!

I did the long loop today and added Pale Thrush on he northern bend and a male DUrian Redstart and a Richard's Pipit on the golf course to the usual Grey-backed Thrush and White Wagtails and a lone Eastern Great Tit.

Cheers
Mike

A durian redstart? Did he smell really bad? 8-P

MKinHK
Friday 8th February 2013, 13:34
Maybe, but too far away to tell - but he was yellow and spiky. OK OK I've fixed the typo now.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Thursday 14th February 2013, 23:16
Things were starting to look a little parched, and to be honest, monotonous on the patch as the number of species has declined over the last three or four weeks, so it was a great relief to see the first sign of spring migration as three Barn Swallows zipped over the golf course heading determinedly into the ENE wind.

Other than that the main attractions were the leucopsis x alboides White Wagtail, looking very smart in its freshly moulted plumage, three Grey-backed Thrushes including a first winter male, an adult male and a female, plus a Pale Thrush that showed well again on the northern bend.

A pair of Black-necked Starlings serenading each other with all the raucous charm of drunken football supporters were a nice surprise as I'd not seen them for a while, but that was it apart from a dozen Japanese White Eyes, a male Magpie Robin and a couple of Richard's Pipits on the golf course.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Friday 15th February 2013, 10:47
Today was a good reminder of why I'm a birder first and photographer a very distant second.

This morning started well with the Dusky Thrush standing at attention (spotted chest full puffed up) as the bus drove past this morning and as I had my scope with me I thought about going for it at lunchtime.

But one of those little niggles pushed me to check out the roundabout for the leucopsis x alboides White Wagtail. It was absent from the Eastern Verge on the first pass, but on the way out a "peep" from the railing above the grassy verge revealed it sitting there laughing at me for a few seconds before it zipped off over the coach park.

Hoping that it would come back I set up and waited. Ten minutes later it dropped in with a male leucopsis White Wagtail and walked steadily towards me and then steadily away, barely stopping for a second. The following pix are the "optimised" results of my handheld digiscoping attempts. They're not great, but they do give a decent impression of what a handsome devil its is!

After a while it flew off over the carpark again, and only returned as I headed back to the terminal to grab a late and hasty lunch. Other birds included the Asian Brown Flycatcher and a couple of Grey-backed Thrushes.

The Dusky Thrush will have to wait for another day.

Cheers
Mike

thirudevaram
Tuesday 19th February 2013, 02:53
Indeed that's one great looking hybrid and one of my favourite hybrid which i never knew before you posted here. Good one Mike.

MKinHK
Tuesday 19th February 2013, 13:37
Thanks Dev. I'm hoping to do a bit more justice to him when I have more time.

Another trog round the patch at lunchtime today promised a bit more after a fog that blanked out everything further than fifty metres stared back when I opened the curtain this morning.

First up were a couple of male leucopsis White Wagtails on the Grassy Verge, along with the first of three Olive-backed Pipits, and as I came under the flyover and into the core area a female Pale Thrush that was curious enough to stop and check me out before flipping up and away across the road.

Other birds here included a couple of Yellow-browed Warblers, one of which showed pretty well, a male Magpie Robin and the Long-tailed Shrike, for once perching high on a treetop rather than lurking with malice aforethought.

There were a couple more OBPs and a flash of what I think was a different Pale Thrush on the Northern Bend, where i also found a raised spot with a view over the sea - offering the chance for a flyby gull or Reef Egret for the patch list.

The golf course delivered a second Blue Rock Thrush - this one a female - and at least five Richard's Pipits , one of which was far enough away that I was able to indulge myself with a good forty seconds delusion that it might be a Northern Skylark.

It wasn't. Never mind, there's always next time.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Thursday 21st February 2013, 11:42
No Dusky Thrush from the bus this week, and I have to presume its moved on, but a movement on the lawn closest to the terminal caught my eye, and I back-tracked to find a group of three White-cheeked and two Silky Starlings which helpfully flew up to show the banded tail of the former and white wingspots of the latter.

Off patch, but not by much . . .

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Friday 1st March 2013, 14:08
A lunchtime walk today started with six Olive-backed Pipits and two leucopsis White Wagtails on the Grassy Verge, the leucopsis x alboides White Wagtail on the Eastern Verge and most surprisingly given the warm weather, two each of Grey-backed Thrush and Pale Thrush in the core area. The only other birds were a three or four Crested Mynas, single Black-necked Starling and Magpie Robin, and a Yellow-browed Warbler, which called a couple of times.

Earlier in the week I'd also had two more sightings of Silky Starlings from the bus, plus single Reef Egret and Little Egret on the way home one day. All off these wee, alas, off patch.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Monday 4th March 2013, 12:24
What looked like another day of late winter clear-out took a turn for the better after a quiet start when I doubled my Blue Rock Thrush high count (to two!) and added my first new bird for almost a month when a Little Ringed Plover puttered distantly but unmistakably into view on the golf course, which also had four each of Olive-backed Pipit, Richard's Pipit and White Wagtail, and a single female Silky Starling.

The Core Area held just a single Grey-backed Thrush, two Black-necked Starlings, a dozen Japanese White-eyes plus a couple of Large-billed Crows, while a Grey-backed Thrush on the Northern Edge might have been the same as the first or another. There was no doubting the identity of the leucopsis x alboides White Wagtail which was feeding on the narrowest of lawns just across the highway from its regular Eastern Verge.

I also had a fine flock of 20-odd Silky Starlings from the bus on the way home.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Thursday 7th March 2013, 22:59
. . . and the flood-gates have opened - another patch tick today in the form of a Heuglin's Gull flying west above the shipping lane I can glimpse from the top of the slope on the North Bend.

That apart it was much the same as it has been - the leucopsis x alboides White Wagtail and another leucopsis White Wagtail were on the Eastern Verge and a couple of Gray-backed Thrushes, a female Pale Thrushand an Olive-backed Pipit on the core area.

The golf course held the regulation four Richard's Pipits and just the male Blue Rock Thrush which was trying to hide among the blossoms of a flowering flame tree.

Cheers
Mike

johnjemi
Friday 8th March 2013, 04:22
Looking forward to seeing what spring migration has in store for The (Greater) Magic Roundabout, Mike !

MKinHK
Tuesday 12th March 2013, 00:38
Me too John, but it cartianly isn't happening yet.

Thankfully a Pale and two Grey-backed Thrushes were still about yesterday, but with the exception of a YBW , two BN Starlings and the Richard's Pipits on the golf course that was about it.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Tuesday 19th March 2013, 11:06
Four Barn Swallows were the only migrants on a day when spring really kicked in with heavy cloud and rainfall in the afternoon.

Other than that a solitary Pale Thrush, a YBW and the leucopsis x alboides White Wagtail, plus three Richard's Pipits and an OBP on the golf course continued to linger.

I also saw the Long-tailed Shrike and the pair of Large-billed Crows, plus an egret out at sea that was probably Great, but just too far away to add to the patch list.

Late last week I again (and still off-patch) had the same mixed flock of Silky and White-cheeked Starlings from the bus.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Wednesday 20th March 2013, 12:07
I had such high hopes of spring migrants following yesterday's rainstorm that I went to work 40 minutes early to give the roundabout a proper early morning going-over.

Sadly my diligence was not rewarded - a calling YBW, three OBP and the usual Pale Thrush, plus a circling Black Kite were the highlights of the roundabout proper, while the golf course had the usual three OBPs and four Richard's Pipits.

However, just when I thought it was going to be exactly the same as the previous day two Grey Herons flying over the sea past the Marriott Hotel were my 50th addition to the patch list!

Cheers
Mike

thirudevaram
Friday 22nd March 2013, 07:40
Congrats on hitting half century Mark. I wish you could be a cricket fan;) but your earlier posts suggests you are a soccer fan.

The flight taking off behind the golf course is a nice scenic shot. I see some lack of winter residents(Lemon-rumped warbler, Red-flanked Bluetail n Daurian Redstart) in my apartment compound. Definitely, something is coming from the south. Waiting for the spring break news from your teeny-tiny magic patch.

MKinHK
Friday 22nd March 2013, 10:34
I'm a cricket fan too Dev and the half century was most welcome. I do also follow rugby, and I've played hockey (field hockey for the New Worlders) every season for the last 35 years.

I didn't get out today, but two Chinese Starlings flying over the bus on the way in this morning were a promising sign of migration starting to get going.

I'm even starting to wonder whether I should include my bus trip (or at least the part on the airport island) as a part of my patch.

Cheers
Mike

Jos Stratford
Friday 22nd March 2013, 10:44
Very optimistic point for seawatching in that photo Mike, fly-bys of buses?

Congratulations on 50, considerably more than my snowbound patch is managing so far this season :)

MKinHK
Friday 22nd March 2013, 12:42
Its taken almost six months to score 50, Jos!

The seawatch point does look pretty grim I admit (mostly because it is!) Next time I'm there I'll take a picture from it point, rather than of it, bu tin the meantime I've updated the aerial photo to show there is actiually some sea nearby!

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Monday 25th March 2013, 10:28
Lots of disturbance from the landscape gardening team on a day with a blustery ENE wind. A scumbraceous Dusky Warbler moulting its face and a pristine male Daurian Redstart - both on the northern bend - provided encouraging evidence of passage, even if it did seem to be of wintering birds.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Tuesday 2nd April 2013, 14:50
A wet dank dreary lunchtime started off pretty grimly when I realised that most of the tangled cover had been cleared out by the landscape gardeneing team. The only birds were a single male alba White Wagtail, ten Crested Mynas two or three Tree Sparrows and a couple of flyover Chinese Bulbuls Not a good start to a new quarter!

There was nothing whatsoever of interest in the core area but the north bend started better as two Olive-backed Pipits called from the ground and then flipped up into a tree. Something else coming up off the ground turned out to be a Wryneck, which perched placidly on a branch giving me a fine view of its evenly-spotted flanks and upper belly.

Much better by far was a wonderful Orange-headed Thrush - a completely unexpected ninth thrush for the airport and the eighth for the roundabout. Equally unexpected was that it twice perched on high branches, giving me very good views of a prominent white wingbar and two vertical dark stripes on the head that identified it as the southern Chinese race melli quite definitely checking me out before panicking and flying off.

I also heard a Yellow-browed Warbler singing and four Japanese White Eyes on the bend, and hurried onto the footbridge to see if the golf course had anything to offer. It did. Three Common Sandpipers - another patch tick - were chasing each other about on the grass before flying off. Not the Oriental Plover I was hoping for, but still my second wader (after the LRP a few weeks earlier). There were of course a couple of Richard's Pipits, but I was more surprised to discovered that the red-bellied philippensis Blue Rock Thrush was still in residence - and still using the short trees as a hunting post.

And as a parting gift a rater bedraggled-looking Chinese Starling - my third patch tick of the day - was huddled on the top of a lamp-post.

All told, a pretty good start to my third quarter at the airport.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Wednesday 3rd April 2013, 11:28
Now its arrived spring is shaping up pretty well.

I had a wonderful male Narcissus Flycatcher (54) and an infuriating female from the narcissus-elisae-owstoni complex on the northern bend at lunchtime today.

This bird had an olive-green back, a rufous tail, most strongly marked on the uppertail coverts, a pale yellow wash from the chin to the lower belly (but not the undertail coverts, which were white) and greyish scalloping on the sides of the neck and (more faintly) upper breast.

There was a hint of rufous in front of the eye and a slim pale eye-ring which was stronger below the eye than above.

There was no obvious wingbar and the wingtip did not look pointed.

This group is really difficult, but any thoughts on this admittedly patchy and brief description would be most welcome.

Other birds included distant views of the Blue Rock Thrush, two Richard's Pipits and the alboides x leucopsis White Wagtail on the golf course.

I also had a few Chinese Bulbuls, a bald Crested Myna, and a rather drab, but calling, YBW.

Cheers
Mike

Jos Stratford
Wednesday 3rd April 2013, 11:51
Now its arrived spring is shaping up pretty well.


boo hoo, still snow and minus here :(

johnallcock
Wednesday 3rd April 2013, 15:13
Wow, a great couple of days there Mike - Orange-headed Thrush and then an interesting flycatcher. It seems that migration is really going well at the Magic Roundabout!

I'm surprised your hybrid wagtail is still around though. We already have juveniles at Mai Po!

MKinHK
Friday 5th April 2013, 11:31
Dodging a hammering from a very dark and low thunderstorm before work this morning added Little Egret to the patch list as well as two Chinese Pond Herons and a Black-crowned Night Heron for this quarter - and all without getting up on my seawatch point!

Unsurprisingly passerines were keeping a low profile, although I did see three Crested Bulbuls, two Barn Swallows, a few Tree Sparrows, two Spotted Doves and a couple of Crested Mynas. I also heard a Yellow-browed Warbler.

Not exactly the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher I was hoping for . . . but still well worth the walk!

Cheers
Mike

rockfowl
Friday 5th April 2013, 11:55
and an infuriating female from the narcissus-elisae-owstoni complex on the northern bend at lunchtime today.

This bird had an olive-green back, a rufous tail, most strongly marked on the uppertail coverts, a pale yellow wash from the chin to the lower belly (but not the undertail coverts, which were white) and greyish scalloping on the sides of the neck and (more faintly) upper breast.

There was a hint of rufous in front of the eye and a slim pale eye-ring which was stronger below the eye than above.

There was no obvious wingbar and the wingtip did not look pointed.

This group is really difficult, but any thoughts on this admittedly patchy and brief description would be most welcome.
Cheers
Mike

They are a nightmare Mike, but I guess it looked something like this? - http://orientalbirdimages.org/birdimages.php?p=34&action=birdspecies&Bird_ID=2679&Bird_Family_ID=216&pagesize=1

MKinHK
Friday 5th April 2013, 23:17
That's a pretty good fit Mark - thanks for digging it out.

Right now the HKBWS records committee does not accept any non adult male elisae or owstoni (and who can blame them!) then if I am to score - I need a man!

Cheers
Mike

rockfowl
Friday 5th April 2013, 23:22
LOL, there isn't one Mike :smoke:

MKinHK
Saturday 6th April 2013, 15:04
After a morning at Tai O that promised more than it delivered I did the unthinkable and went back to work - well to the Roundabout - in pursuit of migrants grounded by the fresh northerly winds.

And what a good move! There were single White-cheeked and Chinese Starlings on the core area plus a high count of seven Chinese Pond Herons. As I was after flycatchers I gave the impenetrable tangle area a whirl and was immediately rewarded with a fine male Narcissus Flycatcher.

Once inside (and not in a suit as I had been on my previous visit a couple of months ago) it turned out to be not too bad to push through, and i was able to pick up first a female and then an elegant male Blue-and-white Flycatcher. Delighted with my haul I continued round to the northern edge, where one of two calling Yellow-browed Warblers, a female Daurian Redstart, and another or the same male B&W Flycatcher showed well, while the fast-disappearing back-end of a possible Oriental Reed Warbler left too much hidden to be tickable.

Cheers
Mike

rockfowl
Saturday 6th April 2013, 21:44
I had to look up Chinese Starling! :smoke:

MKinHK
Saturday 6th April 2013, 23:50
boo hoo, still snow and minus here :(
For us, Jos, the joys of spring are best served by a roaring cold front (temperatures down to a chilly 17-20 centigrade, and buckets of rain. So far so good - it's rained while I haven't been birding, but the birds have certainly co-operated - seven patch ticks plus the female flycatcher in less than four hours over five days has livened things up tremendously after a rather quiet March.

Sorry about Chinese Starling Mark - an old Hong Kong name which is not much better than White-shouldered Starling, but a hard habit to break.

Now that birds are appearing in the previously-named "Impenetrable tangle" I've updated the map to split the area in two. These areas are now known as the "Eastern tangle" and the "Western tangle".

Cheers
Mike

Frogfish
Monday 8th April 2013, 10:50
Seems to me that the golf course should be an integral sector of your 'patch' !

MKinHK
Monday 8th April 2013, 11:56
It is Kevin - I just can't walk around it and have to view it from the elevated walkway.

This evening a flying visit delivered no migrants, but a couple of yellow-faced juvenile leucopsis White Wagtails - my first breeding record on the patch, plus an adult Black-crowned Night Heron flying towards the golf course.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Wednesday 10th April 2013, 15:00
More passage today on a very cool grey day following overnight rain. Nothing so classy as the three Oriental Plovers and Spooners at Mai Po, but a Wood Sandpiper which I suspect had been lurking out of sight on the golf course, called a couple of times and gave brief flight views as it flew off north.

That was my patch (and Lantau Island) tick for the day, but I also had half a dozen White-shouldered Starlings feeding - I think on nectar - in a tree sp. with bright yellow flowers, three YBWs and a couple of Common Tailorbirds in the Western Tangle, an OBP and a Dusky Warbler on the Northern Edge.

The golf course also produced a Barn Swallow, a couple of Common Sandpipers and a Richard's Pipit, plus the impressively site-loyal philippensis Blue Rock Thrush, and the waterlogged Core Area had three Chinese Pond Herons poking hopefully about for a meal.

The star bird of the day however,was the male alboides x leucopsis White Wagtail, which was running about catching flies on the lawn in front of the Northern Edge. Looking closer I realised that it wasn't eating the flies, but collecting them, and after a minute it flew of with several in its bill, strongly suggesting the randy bugger has had his wicked way one of the local pale-faces - and that the juveniles I saw running about on Monday were his!

Full marks to John who suggested that there might be a good reason he hadn't disappeared back off to Central China!

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Friday 12th April 2013, 15:48
A superb day on the patch kicked off when I spotted a wader from the morning bus on the grass at the end of the runway. As I was early I walked back to check it out and was amazed to discover a terrific collection of waders and other migrants that had obviously been knocked down by the overnight rain.

These included four Wood Sandpipers, two each of Pacific Golden Plover, Common Sandpiper and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, plus a solitary Long-toed Stint, all feeding around the wet puddles on the waterlogged grass. In amongst them were a couple of Red-throated Pipits and three fine blue-headed simillima Yellow Wagtails. A trio of Barn Swallows added further migrants to s splendid start to the day.

Technically these were all off-patch, but since the whole area is on airport island, I pass it five days a week can walk there and back from my office the temptation to include in the patch boundary is growing rapidly!

I also walked round the Magic Roundabout itself at lunch, adding an Oriental Pratincole and two more Common Sandpipers to the philippensis Blue Rock Thrush and Richard's Pipits on the golf course. Before that I had half a dozen more White-shouldered Starlings in the yellow-flowering trees and most surprisingly a Sooty-headed Bulbul which flew across the carpark and landed on the wing mirror of a van - very much as to the manner born.

The alboides x leucopsis White Wagtailwas on the lawn by the S1 bus-stop and a regular male leucopsis White Wagtail was feeding a very brown-backed juvenile on the golf course.

The Northern Bend again held a Dusky Warbler and two YBW, and an Asian Brown Flycatcher and a female Blue-and-white Flycatcher were high in the trees of the Core Area, which was still wet enough to hold the three Chinese Pond Herons seen earlier in the week.

The final birds of the day were a flyover Black-crowned Night Heron and a Long-tailed Shrike. Add in the usual suspects - Chinese and Crested Bulbuls, Japanese White-eye, Magpie Robin, Crested Myna and Large-billed Crow made for a record day of 31 taxa on the airport and 25 on the Magic Roundabout itself.

and just for Dev . . . there was a Brown Rat on the Northern Edge.

Cheers
Mike

johnallcock
Saturday 13th April 2013, 06:15
Congratulations on the waders, Mike. That's a pretty good haul for a site like the airport!

JWN Andrewes
Saturday 13th April 2013, 06:28
Technically these were all off-patch, but since the whole area is on airport island, I pass it five days a week can walk there and back from my office the temptation to include in the patch boundary is growing rapidly!



Cheers
Mike

The list should be servant of the birding, not the other way around; let the patch expand!

James

MKinHK
Sunday 14th April 2013, 03:17
Very well put James.

Here's a map outlining the additional area of the patch. I'll limited the expanded area to where the road joins Chek Lap Kok island so that the airport theme is maintained.

The other good news is that it also allows me to formally include Dusky Thrush onto the patch list.

thirudevaram
Monday 15th April 2013, 05:28
Thanks a lot for the mammal update Mike. After October i will definitely update you with any one or all of these, Panthera pardus fusca, Panthera tigris tigris, Cuon alpinus.

The adequate presence of grass around the roundabout kept telling me you would get a Pacific Golden Plover anytime. My guess was right about the habitat. The fact about Long-toed Stints, i have seldom seen them in flocks, always solitary or away from flock.

MKinHK
Monday 15th April 2013, 11:49
No chance of any of those on the Magic Roundabout Dev! Its sounds like you have a great trip coming up!

No real chance to get out today, so I had to content myself with an airborne Oriental Pratincole and an unidentified larger wader (possibly Whimbrel) from the bus on the way in, and a couple of Common Sandpipers and four Richard's Pipits on the golf course.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Tuesday 16th April 2013, 23:57
A dark morph Long-tailed Shrike was on the near corner of the golf course at lunchtime and two Yellow-browed Warblers, and the apparently long-staying Asian Brown Flycatcher and female Blue-and-white Flycatcher were on the core area and the western tangle respectively.

Cheers
Mike

McMadd
Wednesday 17th April 2013, 12:49
A dark morph Long-tailed Shrike was on the near corner of the golf course at lunchtime

They're ace :t:

M

Jeff hopkins
Thursday 18th April 2013, 12:27
Agree with McMadd. A very neat looking bird.

MKinHK
Thursday 18th April 2013, 13:42
Overnight rain and a fog this morning had me hopeful of finding some fresh migrants, but there were none on the grass extension on the way in, or on the golf course at lunch.

There was however a pair of Sooty-headed Bulbuls loitering around the carpark looking for all the world like they knew exactly what they were about. This is surprising as they are very much a farmland bird elsewhere in HK and I've never previously seen them in such a developed environment.

Birds of the day were two slender-winged Pacific Swifts that had obviously stopped off for a quick feed, and adding themselves to the patch list, before zooming off on the next leg of their migration.

A lurking male Grey-backed Thrush was just too curious to evade identification on the Northern Edge and the female Blue-and-white Flycatcher remained faithful the Western Tangle, where she caught and ate a good-sized butterfly.

the final birds of the day were a flock of eight or ten White-shouldered Starlings in the same tree with yellow flowers on the Grassy Verge.

Cheers
Mike

thirudevaram
Friday 19th April 2013, 02:59
Seems like thrushes are still hanging around in HK. The list of roundabout grows everyday. Had my first Sooty-headed Bulbuls in Yunnan two weeks back ;-)

MKinHK
Friday 19th April 2013, 15:49
There are a few thrushes about Dev - another Grey-backed Thrush - this time a female flew right at me from the Northern Edge today - and a female Japanese Sparrowhawk - today's tick - flipping from perch to perch, explained why.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Sunday 21st April 2013, 01:11
In Phuket for work, so I figured I'd post n the birds here rather than start a new thread on the trip report page.

My conference is in the Hilton Arcadia, which is set in very nice grounds built around a set of lakes and canals.

It all started well as within one minute of stepping onto the balcony of my room a flying lizard entered horizontally stage right and stuck itself onto the turnk of a coconut palm!

Since then I've been racking up quite a list with highlights including Indian Roller being chased by what I thnk are Black Drongos, while the visible water has already played host to Pygmy Cormorant, Openbill Stork, Striated Heron and a family of White-breasted Waterhen.

Other birds I haven't seen for a while include Zebra Dove, Little Green Pigeon, Vinous-breatsed Starling, Coppersmith Barbet (heard only so far), and an unidentified oriole, while the never silent Common Myna, Koel and Greater Cocual provide the mood music.

Migrants have included a couple of Yellow Wagtails and a couple of unidentified locustaccros which popped up when I had no bins and promptly disappeared again.

Cheers
Mike

johnallcock
Monday 22nd April 2013, 01:28
Mike, don't do that to me.
I just opened this thread and scanned the last post to see what migrants had turned up at the airport. A moment of real panic when the first words I saw were 'Pygmy Cormorant, Openbill Stork,...' What?!? At the airport?!? That roundabout really is magic!!!
This was followed by 'Striated Heron and a family of White-breasted Waterhen' just to make the setting sound like Hong Kong (although I was surprised that you were so calm that you put the cormorant and stork on the same billing as the heron and waterhen).

Fortunately I have now read the whole post properly and my heart rate has returned to normal.

thirudevaram
Tuesday 23rd April 2013, 03:05
The roundabout extends to Phuket ;-)

Jeff hopkins
Tuesday 23rd April 2013, 11:39
The roundabout extends to Phuket ;-)


Better not miss your turn. It'll take 15 hours to go around again!

MKinHK
Tuesday 23rd April 2013, 16:30
Four days and counting Jeff . . .

Apologies for the heart stress John, but none of these will count for the official patch list Dev.

Anyway there have been a few more birds in between my four presentations and receiving Asia Pacific's highest level carbon accreditation for the airport.

Late migrant quality has come in the form of Black-browed Reed and Oriental Reed Warblers, while a pair of Yellow Bitterns and an adult Striated Heron were not altogether a surprise. Little and Intermediate Egrets are also around evry day, along with Pacific Swallow and some swiftlet or other.

The pond herons are coming out of winter plumage, with fastest moulter being a Chinese Pond Heron, while There were a coupleof candidates for Javan Pond heron still emerging from winter plumage.

Other additions include a family group of Asian Glossy Starlings several Brown-throated Sunbird, an adult Brahminy Kite flying over the pool and better views of Black-naped Oriole.

One sad addition is the highly frustrated Indian Peafowl which struts about the gardens displaying away. Sadly the female ignores him , so looking for love in all the wrong places he harrasses the White-breasted Waterhen and even, on occasion the Common Mynas.

Large-billed Crows, A brood of Magpie Robins and the odd Common Tailoribird also remind me how close we are to Hong Kong.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Saturday 27th April 2013, 07:19
A few more birds to add to the list from Phuket . . .

The best were confirming Javan Pond Heron, finding a pair of Red-wattled Lapwings on the football pitch and, with much better views, realising that it is Pink-necked Green Pigeon rather than Little that I've been seeing.

Less exciting were a Moorhen, a couple of calling Yellow-browed Warblers and several Grey-eyed Bulbuls, all of which were hanging around a pond next to the football pitch.

I also managed to see Coppersmith Barbets on a couple of mornings and enjoyed watching an Indian Roller belly flop into the pond outside my room before perching on a low palm leaf to preen and dry off.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Tuesday 30th April 2013, 13:51
A Dollarbird (76) perched on a bare branch close to the cable car turning station on Friday morning was a nice welcome back to the airport.

Back on the Roundabout proper at lunch this afternoon . . . but before getting there two Chinese Pond Herons were on another roundabout on the other side of Terminal 2 on my way in, a Barn Swallow zipped off east and a male White Wagtail puttered along the 7th floor balcony outside the boardroom while I was waiting to present a paper to the bosses.

After a quick bite a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron flew overhead as I was walking along the elevated walkway towards the golf course viewpoint, a juvenile White Wagtail was on the lawn by the AsiaWorld Expo bus stop and a couple of Crested Mynas were disgracing themselves by rooting about in the grotty back of a rubbish truck.

The only bird on the Northern Edge was a male Magpie Robin, but a calling wagtail that dropped onto the Core Area out to be my old friend the leucopsis x alboides White Wagtail.

Saving the best for last a Grey-streaked Flycatcher (77) and a fine lucionensis Brown Shrike were in the rather bare-looking tall trees.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Wednesday 8th May 2013, 12:15
My first opportunity for a week to get onto the roundabout was well rewarded as I was able to add three new species. First up was an Oriental Reed Warbler (78) that chose the perfect moment to fly into one of the trees on the edge of the golf course. This was followed by a major surprise as I flushed a Crested Serpent Eagle (79) from the Western Tangle, that helpfully circled once before disappearing and a male Chinese Goshawk(80) (judging by the dark eye) that was zipping between the trees in the core area.

Other birds included a round half dozen Brown Shrikes, a couple of Black-necked Starlings, two leucopsis White Wagtails, the usual Crested Mynas and Trees Sparrows and a couple of Crested Bulbuls.

The day before I saw three Brown Shrikes along the approach road and another lurking on the short spik plants on the actual roundabout.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Tuesday 14th May 2013, 11:52
Monday was a hot, clear day and with migration drawing to a close I had limited expectations of my lunchtime loop of the roundabout.

I did better than expected, starting with a Pacific Swift that had stopped for a quick feed, and also picking up a couple of Brown Shrikes, a Chinese Pond Heron and a couple of Black-crowned Night Herons. I also saw a brown belly on the northern edge that I think belonged to an Oriental Reed Warbler, but I was not able to confirm.

I did however both see and hear a very late Dusky Warbler in the core area, and among the residents I saw Crested Myna, Black-necked Starling, Japanese White Eye, leucopsis White Wagtail, Chinese and Crested Bulbuls, 20-odd Tree Sparrows, and Eastern Great Tit.

A Reef Egret on the bus this morning was another good addition to the list for Q2 2013.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Saturday 18th May 2013, 08:06
A Great Egret seen from the train perching on the floats of one of the silt curtains in the bay as I headed into town for a meeting on Wednesday afternoon was species no 81.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Monday 20th May 2013, 05:27
and another egret for species #82 - four Cattle Egrets were on the grass close to the eastern end of the south Runway as I came past on the bus this morning.

I'm surprised its taken so long for this to turn up. Now it has, my total for ardeids is up to seven species and the list for Q2 is up to 56.

thirudevaram
Tuesday 21st May 2013, 02:30
Roundabout is having a very promising quarterly results. Congrats on the back to back Egrets, Mike.

MKinHK
Saturday 25th May 2013, 02:21
Thanks Dev

In a hugely busy week I got my first opportunity for a walk round the Roundabout yesterday lunchtime. It was pretty quiet with just a the usual resident birds until I flushed a larger bird I couldn't quite convince myself was a Large-billed Crow from the Western Tangle. It didn't circle like the Crested Serpent Eagle had done a couple of weeks earlier, but thinking it might have slipped across to the Northern Edge I pushed on through under the flyover and stopped for a brief look from my seawatching point.

And there it was, hunched on the metal walkway in the sea that supports the landing lights - an Osprey! This is the first bird I've seen on these railings - and I well chuffed to add another unexpected raptor to the list - no. 83.

Back in the office a couple of swifts zipped by the window a couple of times, but with corner of the eye views I could not confirm whether they were Pacific or House Swift. I need the latter for this quarter's list.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Sunday 16th June 2013, 03:07
It's been a baking hot three weeks since I last posted, so on Thursday I walked round the patch to prove to myself I hadn't been missing anything. . . and . . . mission accomplished. I saw juvenile White Wagtails and Black-collared Starlings, plus a couple each of Chinese and Crested Bulbuls, and that was about it.

I did however add a new species which tracked left out the window behind the CEO's head as he was delivering his weekly remarks to the management team. Thankfully it was only a Feral Pigeon (84), so I wasn't distracted for too long and my wandering attention was not noticed.

I also confirmed House Swift for the Q2 list a few days earlier.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Sunday 28th July 2013, 15:37
A post on the Roundabout is long overdue. I've been aestivating - well avoiding the summer heat anyway (technically aestivating happens in hot dry places, but for me it happens in hot humid birdless places).

Since there is an outside chance of picking up a rain-downed wader or even a rogue tern over the sea or golf course ponds in August I will need to get back out there to kick off the final quarter of my first year on the Magic Roundabout. For the patch the birding year begins in October as I did not start birding here until then, and it allows me to split the year into three quarters, all of which have at least some worthwhile birding months.

The third quarter (April - June 2013) finished with the patch total for the first nine months at 84 species, of which 53 were recorded in Q3 - making it the most productive month by 11 species, which is 25% more productive than either of the other two quarters. This total included 27 new species, following 42 in the first quarter (Oct- Dec) and 15 in the second (Jan- Mar).

The obvious target for Q4 is to reach 100 species for the year, which I think will be a tall order.

I've also posted the report of my trip to Japan on the Vacational Trip Reports thread.
Cheers
Mike

Jos Stratford
Sunday 28th July 2013, 16:06
Good luck on Q4, surely some good stuff possible on return migration

thirudevaram
Monday 29th July 2013, 02:17
A post on the Roundabout is long overdue. I've been aestivating - well avoiding the summer heat anyway (technically aestivating happens in hot dry places, but for me it happens in hot humid birdless places).

Since there is an outside chance of picking up a rain-downed wader or even a rogue tern over the sea or golf course ponds in August I will need to get back out there to kick off the final quarter of my first year on the Magic Roundabout. For the patch the birding year begins in October as I did not start birding here until then, and it allows me to split the year into three quarters, all of which have at least some worthwhile birding months.

The third quarter (April - June 2013) finished with the patch total for the first nine months at 84 species, of which 53 were recorded in Q3 - making it the most productive month by 11 species, which is 25% more productive than either of the other two quarters. This total included 27 new species, following 42 in the first quarter (Oct- Dec) and 15 in the second (Jan- Mar).

The obvious target for Q4 is to reach 100 species for the year, which I think will be a tall order.

I've also posted the report of my trip to Japan on the Vacational Trip Reports thread.
Cheers
Mike

Trap pool photographing, mist net birding wil tally your target Mike! ;)

Good luck for Q4. Roundabout was an underdog among the patches. Eager to hear what you can pull off this season.

MKinHK
Monday 29th July 2013, 05:56
Thanks for the encouragement gents.

Feeling I should visit at least once in July a swift half hour did produce some birds, including juveniles (and thus proven breeding) for Tree Sparrow, Chinese Bulbul and best of all Sooty-headed Bulbul.

I was pleased to find the alboides x leucopsis White Wagtail lurking between two refuse trucks and a Barn Swallow hawking nearby, while Magpie Robin, Black-necked Starling and Crested Mynas were not unexpected and brought the toal for the new quarter to a modest eight.

I'll have to work on getting ardeids from the bus, as they perch on the silt nets set out in the bay by the contractors recaiming the sea to build the boundary crossing for the Hogn Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

Cheers
Mike

subbuteo71
Friday 2nd August 2013, 09:10
Sooty-headed bulbul is a bit of a surprise bird, it's not one I would associate with that habitat (they definitely seem to prefer scrubby grassland) or close to the sea. Have you seen Chestnut Bulbul there yet?

I will be passing your patch in a few days on my way home, I'll keep an eye out for a monster tick!

MKinHK
Saturday 3rd August 2013, 01:02
I was surprised too Dylan. No Chestnut Bulbul yet (and not even sure I've had them elsewhere on Lantau), but I did get a couple of Black Bulbuls back in December.

A couple more for the quarter from the bus this week - Great Egret, Little Egret and a single Reef Egret out in the bay around the reclamation works plus a Large-billed Crow on a lamp post and a Spotted Dove and a brings the total up to 13 species.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Friday 9th August 2013, 01:32
A single Grey Heron was on the the end of the jetty that holds the landing lights yesterday morning and evening.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Wednesday 21st August 2013, 06:23
And the first autumn migrant, and patch tick no 85, arrives - a female/juv Yellow-rumped Flycatcher in the Western Tangle that responded very briefly to a hopeful pish.

Other birds included Long-tailed Shrike, the leucopsis x alboides White Wagtail lurking under a garbage truck and Black-necked Starlings feeding two brown-washed juveniles. There were also a pair of Common Tailorbirds, single Chinese and Sooty-headed Bulbuls, several Crested Bulbuls and a Great Tit.

Cheers
Mike

thirudevaram
Wednesday 21st August 2013, 12:37
Brilliant! How the hell it flew through the hot zone?

MKinHK
Thursday 22nd August 2013, 06:21
Thanks Dev.

Another big score today as an Asian Paradise Flycatcher (86) followed a bunch of newly fledged Chinese Bulbuls into a fruiting fig on the Northen Edge. This is my sixth flycatcher on the patch.

I also discovered the grassland that the Naumann's Thrush first appeared on is wet enough to have a few small pools hidden in the long grass. This is ideal habitat for a lost "Swintail" Snipe or Pallas' Grasshopper Warbler, which should be coming through over the next month or so.

The only other bird of interest was a Dusky Shrike on the golf course.

Cheers
Mike

Gretchen
Thursday 22nd August 2013, 12:48
Wow - summer's over it seems. Just amazing what you see there.

Do the bulbuls have 3-4 young usually? I've never seen a family group.

McMadd
Thursday 22nd August 2013, 22:41
Dusky Shrike Mike?

Jeff hopkins
Friday 23rd August 2013, 01:23
Dark morph of long-tailed shrike.

subbuteo71
Friday 23rd August 2013, 04:54
The Lam Tsuen Asian Paradise Flycatcher is also hanging around in a fruiting fig tree- must bring in a lot of insects. I'll have to back and see if anything else turns up!

McMadd
Friday 23rd August 2013, 10:39
Dark morph of long-tailed shrike.

Assumed same ;)

MKinHK
Friday 23rd August 2013, 12:23
The Asian Para was again on the Northern Edge this evening after a rainy day.

I also flushed a couple of Chinese Pond Herons from the waterlogged lawn.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Wednesday 28th August 2013, 06:20
A clear day and wind blowing from the northwest produced a single Yellow Wagtail (probably taivana, but distant) on the golf course at lunchtime today.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Friday 30th August 2013, 06:36
This morning's thunderstorms brought in my first Arctic Warbler (87) for the roundabout. Had I had more time I have a strong suspicion I might have found some more migrants.

Good candidates for this time of year include Eastern Crowned Warbler, Siberian Blue Robin and Forest Wagtail, plus the real quality of Drongo Cuckoo, Tiger Shrike, Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher and Fairy Pitta!

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Monday 9th September 2013, 14:04
Another good day for migrants on the roundabout today. I nearly stayed in the office to work, but decided that 6 hours of meetings through the day entitled me to a break . . .

First up in the core area was a real treat - my first Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler which gave its distinctive 'pink' call and then helpfully pished in very close, showing all the classic features - pale legs, pale-tipped dark bill, long thin super and tail pumping.

It was swiftly followed by an Asian Brown Flycatcher that tried hard to con me in thinking it was a Sooty Flycatcher, but in good light it was clear that it just wasn't dark or small-headed enough and that the bill was way too broad and pale. It did chase off another small passerine, but I never got onto it.

While waiting for the mystery bird to come back a juvenile Asian Paradise Flycatcher with a very extensive dark breast and belly flipped across between two high branches and then posed magnificently, giving excellent views of its freshly moulted chestnut-upperparts.

A couple of minutes later an Arctic Warbler materialised in the tree directly above me, showing the classic clumsy jizz, dark-tipped pale bill and mealy cheeks that made it easy to separate from the Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler.

All these were on the main roundabout with a thin supporting cast of Long-tailed Shrike, Crested Myna, Magpie Robin and a couple of leucopsis White Wagtails. As I was leaving the core area a flicker low down popped up and from the upper reaches of a meelia tree showed just about enough to convince me it was a female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, although I did speculate for a while about one of the awkward sods (owstoni or elisae), as I only had views from below.

The icing on the cake was finding two new Asian Paradise Flycatchers lurking almost side by side on the Western Tangle. Three paradise flycatchers perfectly explain the paradoxical magic of the roundabout!

Cheers
Mike

Jos Stratford
Monday 9th September 2013, 15:21
Wish my local roundabout had a fraction of the birds on yours - if I'm lucky, I get to see a car bash the back of another :)

MKinHK
Tuesday 10th September 2013, 11:52
Thanks Jos - the concrete jungle has its compensations!

Today provided terrific confirmation that migration had really kicked off as two White-shouldered Starlings, a Brown Shrike and best of all an early and patch-first Black-winged Cuckooshrike (89) all popped up in the core area - in addition to the Asian Brown Flycatcher and a briefly seen Arctic Warbler.

Two of the three juvenile Asian Paradise Flycatchers and probably the same Arctic Warbler were again in the Western Tangle and a Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler and a much more cooperative Yellow-rumped Flycatcher eventually showed themselves on the Northern Bend. Two Barn Swallows completed a fine set of migrants for the day.

Also, for the first time since the Naumann's Thrush twitch, a couple of photographers were on-site.

Cheers
Mike

thirudevaram
Wednesday 11th September 2013, 00:56
Glad that no's reaching close to 100. My best wishes that you wil reach it this season. You have turned your little patch into a birding hotspot. Congrats Mike.

johnjemi
Thursday 12th September 2013, 01:13
Patch work ! Can't beat it !

I trust the photographers were suitably deferential....:-)

MKinHK
Saturday 14th September 2013, 12:10
The photographers didn't know me from Adam, but were happy to chat at least.

More significant this week was experiencing that painful rite of passage for a new patch watcher - being gripped for the first time. The perpetrator was Graham Talbot, who found a Hwamei, and a kingfisher sp. that was not White-breasted on Wednesday morning.

This raises all sorts of dilemmas: -

Do I chase his birds?
Do I start an official Magic Roundabout list to which others can contribute?
Do I start doing early mornings as well?
What was the kingfisher?
Was the Hwamei an escape?


The same morning I picked out a snipe sp. crouched on the lawn at the end of the south runway as my bus went past, and at lunchtime I found a feather that can only belong to a juvenile Koel on the roundabout. Other birds included single Asian Paradise, Yellow-rumped Flycatcher and Asian Brown Flycatchers, plus an Arctic Warbler and the Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler. There was also a Dusky Shrike on the golf course.

Thursday lunchtime was much the same, but with two each of Asian Paradise and Asian Brown Flycatcher, and the Yellow-rumped Flycatcher plus an Arctic Warbler all hunting in a small stand of trees on the core area. I also had brief views of a Brown Shrike. There was a little variety, in the shape of an unidentified large accro, which perched exactly not long enough for me to get onto it - but with Thick-billed Warbler also seen at Mai Po this week I could not simply assume it was an Oriental Reed Warbler. Shortly after that the Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler had the temerity to buzz me - zipping past my face and calling sharply on the Western Tangle!

Another highlight this week as finding the eggs and tadpoles of Romer's Tree Frog on the Scenic Hill at the southeast corner of the airport island. This tiny tree frog (its just 1.5-2cm long!) was originally endemic to just four islands off Hong Kong, including Chek Lap Kok.

When Chek Lap Kok was flattened to make the current airport only the Scenic Hill remained, and the frogs with them. However as part of the compensation frogs were translocated to eight sites around Hong Kong, and became established at six of them. I visited the site with Dr Michael Lau, the herpetologist who conducted the original translocation project. He confirmed that the eggs and tiny tadpoles were indeed Romer's Tree Frog. It's amazing that they have survived and it was a real privilege to see them!

More information about the frog can be found here (http://www.afcd.gov.hk/english/conservation/con_fau/con_fau_rom/con_fau_rom_gen/con_fau_rom_gen_eco.html)

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Monday 16th September 2013, 06:10
Today teh Flycatchers were all gone and the only migrants I was able to dig out were a single Arctic Warbler and a Brown Shrike, on the Western and Eastern Tangles respectively.

I also had a Spotted Dove, Eastern Great Tit, and Long-tailed Shrike and a mixed party of juvenile Chinese and Crested Bulbuls which have been loitering about the Western Tangle for the last week.

My other highlight from last week was a fine female Blue Rock Thrush which showed bereautifully on the rail of the 7th floor balcony as I waited for a presentation on Friday morning.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Thursday 19th September 2013, 05:56
What a contrast from last week!

Tuesday and Thursday produced no migrants at all, while Wednesday's return was two Asian Brown Flycatchers, one of them calling persistently and the Brown Shrike.

It seems that migrants tend to keep going on easterly winds and only stop when the wind is against or there's rain to keep them on the deck.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Monday 23rd September 2013, 13:13
There was a fair quantity of stripped foliage on the ground in the aftermath of the typhoon and I had high hopes of a good migrant or two.

It started well with a female Red Turtle Dove that flew up from the ground on the Grassy Patch and perched nicely while I waited for my bins to un-steam.

The core area held two accipiter sp. - a male a and a female, but of which species, with the briefest of obstructed views, I remained frustratingly ignorant. Both tangles were empty and the Northern Edge held single Arctic Warbler and Asian Brown Flycatcher.

It was the golf course where I really scored well. Half a dozen Richard's Pipits strutted across the green and fairways, seven splendid Black Drongos, a taivana Yellow Wagtail and at least one and possibly two White-throated Kingfishers were all new for the quarter, and best of all a rather distant Pacific Swift hunting over the most distant of the lakes.

Cheers
Mike

Jos Stratford
Monday 23rd September 2013, 13:16
There was a fair quantity of stripped foliage on the ground in the aftermath of the typhoon and I had high hopes of a good migrant or two.


Size of that monster, as suggested by international media, surprised there are any trees left, let alone foliage! Think the migrants are bill-down in mud somewhere half way to Australia :-O

MKinHK
Tuesday 24th September 2013, 01:18
After the massive build-up the typhoon turned out be a bit of a damp squib by HK standards. The eye passed about 50km away and as most of the winds we got were northerly rather than from the sea most places we're less exposed.

Having said that it did kill three people in China. . .

The best typhoon birds were three Long-tailed Skuas over Mai Po, which
makes me think I should have give it a few minutes from my sea watch point!

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Saturday 28th September 2013, 14:32
Tuesday started well with a couple of Cattle Egrets and a Little Egret on the lawn by the south runway from the bus, and a rush round at lunchtime delivered a calling, but unseen Yellow-browed Warbler and in a new area of trees to the left of the roundabout a Wryneck was in with the Crested Bulbuls.

Cheers
Mike

Frogfish
Sunday 29th September 2013, 08:20
After the massive build-up the typhoon turned out be a bit of a damp squib by HK standards. The eye passed about 50km away and as most of the winds we got were northerly rather than from the sea most places we're less exposed.

Having said that it did kill three people in China. . .

The best typhoon birds were three Long-tailed Skuas over Mai Po, which
makes me think I should have give it a few minutes from my sea watch point!

Cheers
Mike

Thirty Three Mike ! Sustained wind speeds of 109 mph on the mainland (Guangdong). Surprised you didn't get more fall-out.

I'm going to be in HK from 5th to 8th Nov. Let me know by PM if you will be around and have time for a day's outing !

Cheers
Kevin

MKinHK
Wednesday 2nd October 2013, 11:29
Today was my first outing of a new quarter and a new year on the Magic Roundabout. I'll do a brief review separately, but as today was a good one I want to get it down while its still fresh in my mind.

First up were two juvenile Black-crowned Night Herons seen from the bus on a roundabout with several large banyan trees. These were swiftly followed by a leucopsis White Wagtail, a Magpie Robin and a couple of Crested Mynas.

My lunchtime walk started well when an Oriental Reed Warbler flew up into a roadside tree a perched in good view for a minute or so, and the first of at least three Asian Brown Flycatchers called repeatedly from one of the meelia trees on the grassy verge. As I crossed over to the Core Area six Chinese Pond Herons flew up out of the grass and disappeared northwards, a Spotted Dove zipped through, Japanese White-eyes showed briefly and a Black Drongo gave the most fleeting of views as it briefly circled above the treetops.

I then spent far too long trying to get views of an extreme skulker that hopped and scuttled just out of sight with great skill. When it did eventually pop up it showed distinct pale tips to the outer tail feathers, allowing me to confirm it as a Pallas' Grasshopper Warbler (90), and a new bird for the patch.

The Eastern Tangle had another skulker, which looked the size of an Oriental Reed Warbler, but altogether colder-toned. It dipped its tail twice then hopped onto the ground and walked in and out of view, briefly showing me a clear supercilium and typical large accro/locustella flat head shape. It did not seem right for Oriental Reed Warbler, and based on its size and behaviour I'm wondering (optimistically) about Gray's . . .

The Western Tangle had the usual bathing Crested Bulbuls and the long-staying Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, plus a couple of Common Tailorbirds.

Five Richard's Pipits were on the golf course and general scan picked up a dozen Chinese Starlings flying across the far side. Sooty-headed and Chinese Bulbuls also made sure to been seen on the first day of the new birding year, and a late even strolled delivered a Large-billed Crow and a couple of Tree Sparrows for a respectable tally of 20 species.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Wednesday 2nd October 2013, 12:00
The fourth quarter (July-September 2013) finished with the patch total for the Roundabout's first birding year at 89 species, of which 42 were recorded in Q4 - which is the same as Q1 and Q2. This total included 5 new species, following 42 in the first quarter (Oct- Dec), 15 in the second (Jan- Mar) and 27 in the third.

It should be noted that the quarters fall so that there is at least one month of passage in each - and particularly it means that there is no quarter that is completely hopeless. I was away for about a week in last weeks of both April and September (my report from Abu Dhabi (http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=267724) has been consigned to the trip reports section to avoid John Allcock having another heart attack!), which doubtless kept numbers lower that they might have been. A three week break in July was almost certainly neither here nor there.

The obvious highlight was the wonderful Naumann's Thrush that showed for three days from 27-29 December, before being killed and eaten by a Long-tailed Shrike. This was the best of a fine array of thrushes that also included Dusky and and Orange Headed Thrushes and six other species.

Other highlights included the handsome leucopsis x alboides White Wagtail that stayed long enough to breed with a leucopsis White Wagtail, a probable but ultimately unconfirmed Blyth's Reed Warbler, and a fine passage of flycatchers in both spring (Narcissus and Blue-and-white) and autumn (Yellow-rumped and Asian Paradise).

There was also an exceptional day of passage on 12 April, when a rainstorm downed a fine range of waders on the lawns at the end of the South Runway and these combined with a nice range on the main area of the Roundabout to deliver 31 species - more than a third of all the species seen in the year.

In closing many thanks to everyone who has followed and commented on my posts from this small, grotty, but ultimately hugely rewarding patch.

Cheers
Mike

PS Please note the first report (its a good one!) from the new quarter and birding year can be found in the post above on page 7.

Frogfish
Thursday 3rd October 2013, 01:21
Amazing such a tiny patch can produce so many species. Good luck with your new patch year Mike !

subbuteo71
Thursday 3rd October 2013, 12:04
Full credit to your optimism, Mike. Who knew a roundabout could be quite so magic?

Dylan

MKinHK
Wednesday 9th October 2013, 11:36
With passage now in full flow the last couple of days have been very interesting.

Thursday 3rd Oct

Intrigued by the large warbler at the Western Tangle I made an early start yesterday in the hope of getting more on it . . . and struck gold! Walking along the edge of tangle I realised that I could see under some bushes because the tangle was elevated about 5 ft above the road.

I immediately noticed a movement, once again of a warbler walking about in the leaf litter. Even in the dark shadows this looked like a long-legged slim, and significantly larger unstreaked locustella warbler. The impression was heightened when another, stockier bird: shorter-billed, shorter legged and shorter tailed, and distinctly streakier, walked past it - a typical Pallas' Grasshopper Warbler.

In the course of the next hour I got progressively better views of both birds down to four for five metres as they emerged at the nearer and better lit edge of the bushes.

The big question was the identity of the larger bird. There are three contenders: Middendorff's Grasshopper Warbler, Styan's Grasshopper Warbler, and Gray's Grasshopper Warbler. Styan's winters regularly in small numbers at and around Mai Po, there are about 5 HK records of Middendorff's, and no records of Gray's from HK - or anywhere else in southern China for that matter!

After referring to Kennerley & Pearson's Reed and Bush Warblers it was clear that it was too big to be Middendorff's, which is very similar in size and shape to Pallas's, leaving me to decide between Styan's and Gray's. Gray's is the larger and typically has a strong heavy bill, while Styan's should be slimmer and should show pale tips to the outer tail feathers (like Pallas's).

Watch this space for more on this potentially monster bird!

I was so focused on this bird that the only other birds to register were two singing Asian Brown Flycatchers - and a flyover Greater Coucal - and species no 91 for the Roundabout! On the way back tothe office I picked up a couple of newly-arrived Dusky Warblers and an Oriental Reed Warbler on the Core Area, and a female Stejneger's Stonechat on the Grassy Verge.


Friday 4th Oct
Today was also productive. Another early start failed to deliver more on the mystery wabler, but did provide more close-up eye level views of the Pallas' Grasshopper Warbler on the Western Tangle.

A lunchtime circuit of the patch was substantialy more productive as a Richard's Pipit was on the Grassy Verge, and two Eastern Crowned Wablers (92)and a Greenish Warbler (93) were hunting in the core area along with a couple of Arctic Warblers, two Asian Brown Flycatchers and a splendid Wryneck.

Another Dusky Warbler and a Brown Shrike (which pounced on and devoured a large fluffy brown moth I inadvertently flushed) were on the Northern Edge, and I had at least two Arctic warblers and an Eastern Crowned Warbler that may have crossed the road in the Eastern Tangle.

Other additions for the new quarter included a Black-necked Starling on the Roundabout itself.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Wednesday 9th October 2013, 11:54
Monday and Tuesday this week were lower-octane than the back end of last week, but a slow but steady arrival of both passage birds and those arriving for the winter, plus filling the gas at the beginning of a new quarter has kept me ticking along . . .

An early start on Monday morning was rewarded with the sight of three Pale Martins (94) flying low over the roundabout proper. Other birds included an Arctic Warbler high in the trees a Stejneger's Stonechat, three Asian Brown Flycatchers and a superb male Red Turtle Dove feeding on the ground on the Northern Edge. There was also a single Chinese Pond Heron that took off from the trees on the Core Area.

Yesterday was also quiet, with the highlight a Pale-legged Leaf Warbler - I think the bird that has been around for a few weeks now - on the Eastern Tangle. The Stejneger's Stonechat, three Asian Brown Flycatchers and two Dusky Warblers are likely around for the duration, as are the Richard's Pipits on the golf course. A Little Egret from the seawatch point was my 38th bird for the quarter, putting me comfortably ahead of last year's Q4 which netted 42 species between October and December.

The big news however was a report of three Amur Falcons reported hunting along the edge of the south Runway on Monday . . . just outside the patch boundary, but not far away at all! I would love to have seen them!

Cheers
Mike

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Wednesday 16th October 2013, 11:26
Gutted to have missed a whole week owing to a bird-free work trip to Kansai airport in Japan, a public holiday and a meeting in town yesterday. Anyway . . . today started with a Chinese Pond Heronand Richard's Pipit near the end of the south Runway before two briefly-seen falcons drifting over the Core Area had me twitchy for Amur Falcon before once of them circled and showed itself to be a male Eurasian Kestrel. I didn't get any more on the other bird which, presumably was also a Kestrel.

The only others birds on the roundabout proper were three Richard's Pipits, a Spotted Dove, and an Asian Brown Flycatcher, but the golf course came up trumps with half a dozen more Richard's Pipits, a Stejneger's Stonechat, standing upright on the grass (and for one-heart-stopping moment conning me into thinking "Wheatear!"), four or five Scaly-breasted Munias and best of all, in the company of some leucopsis White Wagtails, a fine male Black-backed Wagtail (95) (aka lugens White Wagtail) swooped in on black-edged white wings, and dropped onto the grass to show its black back, eyestripe and the gap between the black side of the bib and the neck patch. Another very good bird for the Magic Roundabout!

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Monday 21st October 2013, 22:26
A very quiet day today with just a Dusky Warbler and an Asian Brown Flycatcher plus the usual Richard's Pipits on the golf course.

I did get a couple of pix - and will start a new list of those I photograph. A Canon SX 50 HS is my new toy.

The ABF is an unusually poorly-marked bird especially on the head. This species usually shows distinctively pale lords which emphasises the dark eye. I even tried to turn it into Sooty when it first irked up a few weeks ago.

Cheers
Mike

Frogfish
Tuesday 22nd October 2013, 10:19
A very quiet day today with just a Dusky Warbler and an Asian Brown Flycatcher plus the usual Richard's Pipits on the golf course.

I did get a couple of pix - and will start a new list of those I photograph. A Canon SX 50 HS is my new toy.

The ABF is an unusually poorly-marked bird especially on the head. This species usually shows distinctively pale lords which emphasises the dark eye. I even tried to turn it into Sooty when it first irked up a few weeks ago.

Cheers
Mike

Nice shots Mike. I was looking at the Canon SX 50 HS (excellent value for money for birding) as a back-up to my heavyweights on my longer 5-10 day trips (just in case something goes down) .... I find it hard to get past the 'Canon' bit though o:D

MKinHK
Tuesday 22nd October 2013, 11:06
Thanks Kevin

I have no such worries, but I was upgrading from a handheld Coolpix, and the 45 page thread discussion how to get the best out if it (including recommendations for settings) persuaded me.

Cheers
Mike

Frogfish
Wednesday 23rd October 2013, 00:17
Thanks Kevin

I have no such worries, but I was upgrading from a handheld Coolpix, and the 45 page thread discussion how to get the best out if it (including recommendations for settings) persuaded me.

Cheers
Mike

Yep. Excellent thread, that's the one that almost convinced me. I look forward to seeing yours perform on my trip, maybe that will tip me over the edge ! Do you use it on a monopod ? That's a very long FL when zoomed out.

MKinHK
Thursday 24th October 2013, 00:58
A monopod has crossed my mind Kevin, but as I bought the camera to cut down on weight I'm not sure I'm ready to go there just yet.

I guess I'm a birder first and the pix are a bonus.

After the quiet of Monday the Roundabout was right back on form today. The headline birds were a Grey-headed Flycatcher (96), a fine male Daurian Redstart that posed nicely, a female Blue-and-white Flycatcher , and a fine showing by the long-staying leucopsis x alboides White Wagtail, which was loitering around the garbage trucks with a leucopsis White Wagtail, a bunch of Tree Sparrows, a Crested Myna and one of the four Dusky Warblers on show today.

I also had a rather flighty Stejneger's Stonechat, an Asian Brown Flycatcher, six Richard's Pipits and, on the golf course a fine male Red Turtle Dove and three House Swifts.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Friday 25th October 2013, 06:11
A pre-work hour on the Roundabout started well with a Peregrine (97) and a couple of Eurasian Kestrels soaring together, with the former being mobbed by a couple of Black Drongos.

Other birds included an Arctic Warbler, two Yellow-browed Warblers, three Dusky Warblers and a female Daurian Redstart.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Monday 28th October 2013, 22:41
Another good day at the roundabout was all about the grassland in the Core Area that has remained uncut since I first hoped it might pull in something good back in August.

First up was a White Wagtail on the road, and then a Zitting Cisticola (98) popped up and dropped back into cover. As it did a stubby-looking Richard's Pipit popped up, and without calling flew up and landed in a bauhinia tree. At the same time an Oriental Reed Warbler popped up zipped over to the hedge and as it landed it flushed a short-tailed bird that immediately dropped into the grass.

The Cisticola flipped up and into a bush, flashing a typically long winter tail, but the other bird, which I thought would be a Japanese Quail, came up almost from under my shoe with a much stronger, longer-winged flight action, leaving me completely mystified.

Three Olive-backed Pipits were rootling about under the trees and an Asian Brown Flycatcher posed briefly overhead before a Chinese Pond Heron came out from another section of the grass and then a small dark-streaked olive-coloured warbler flushed out and dropped into cover without showing tail spots or a rufous rump. I barely got bins on it, but I was reluctant to tick it on such poor views. Fortunately I didn't have to as a definite Lanceolated Warbler (99) spent 20 minutes scrabbling round my feet in the Western Tangle, and hiding under the most meagre of cover.

The last bird of a fine morning was a male Daurian Redstart posed beautifully on the Northern Edge, first on the lawn and then down to a few feet under the canopy.

Cheers
Mike

Gretchen
Tuesday 29th October 2013, 01:49
This sounds sort of like a cross between bird watching and a (old fashioned) pinball game! Fun to hear all the action.

That Lancy looks like it had meager cover - good for your camera, but hopefully there's no sparrowhawk type around to take advantage....

MKinHK
Tuesday 29th October 2013, 09:42
That's very much how it felt Gretchen!

Today I had a second bite at the cherry as a Japanese Quail (100) erupted out of the grass from almost the same spot as yesterday's mystery bird. I'm now assuming that I just messed up the poor views I had yesterday. Even so it was great to get that 100th species for the patch!

Other birds seen today included a Wryneck, a Brown Shrike, two Asian Brown Flycatchers, an Arctic Warbler, a late Eastern Crowned Warbler, Yellow Browed Warbler, Oriental Reed Warbler and a couple of "takking" Dusky Warblers.

Other birds seen today, but not by me, include a Little Curlew on the airfield, and both Plain Prinia and Black-browed Reed Warbler on the golf course - all of which would new for the patch . . .

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Wednesday 30th October 2013, 12:39
A quieter day today with the Lanceolated Warbler and Wryneck lurking in the Western Tangle and a Crested Goshawk that cruised slowly across the carpark the best birds. I did also have a male Blue Rock Thrush on the sea wall near my search point and the same. IRS or another zipping about on the balcony during an afternoon meeting.

Other birds included a flock of five Richard's Pipits flying over a d another six or seven on the golf course, a couple of Dusky Warblers, an unwell-looking Chinese Pond Heron that has been mooching about for a few days, two Sooty-headed Bulbuls on the golf course fence, and the trio of Olive-backed Pipits were again on the grass in the Core Area.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Friday 1st November 2013, 22:35
Friday was a great day for the quarterly results as a splendid five species were added to the list within one minute on my bus ride into work. Grey Heron, Great Egret and Pacific Reef Egret were all perched on the silt curtain in the bay, and two Chinese Blackbirds were fighting under the big banyans into which a Silky Starling had just flown. You've got to be happy with that!

A swift stroll around the Roundabout itself delivered my first Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler since September, four Dusky Warblers, a YBW, an Arctic Warbler, an Oriental Reed Warbler on the golf course and possibly the Lancy again on the Western Tangle.

The other good bird was a female Blue-and-white Flycatcher that may well have bee the same bird I saw last week, which the three Olive-backed Pipits seem to have made themselves comfortable.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Tuesday 5th November 2013, 23:21
Species no. 101 duly arrived today in the unexpected form of a Hair-crested Drongo that perched helpfully in the Western Tangle, which also held a grizzling Manchurian Bush Warbler with a nicely obvious reddish cap that was curious enough to come out for a look at me.

Other birds included an Arctic, two Dusky and threeYellow-browed Warblers, plus the usual Asian Brown Flycatcher. A Long-tailed Shrike was also lurking with its usual air of elegant menace.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Wednesday 6th November 2013, 13:34
A few more additions to the list for the quarter today, making 62 so far. These were an overflying Oriental Turtle Dove and two Common Sandpipers and a juvenile Yellow Wagtail on the golf course.

Other birds seen included the Japanese Quail again flushed from the (still-uncut) lawn and a warbler in the grass that I never even saw as it scuttled away like a mouse (meaning it was most likely a bradypterus), Eastern Great Tit, Japanese White Eye, Chinese and Crested Bulbuls, a Common Tailorbird, two Dusky Warblers and two Yellow-browed Warblers and a on the golf course a Black-necked Starling, several Richard's Pipits and a male Daurian Redstart, both leucopsis and the leucopsis x alboides White Wagtail.

Bird of the day was a Crested Goshawk that was carrying what looked like a large brown prey item almost as big as itself. I was frustrated not to get a proper look at it's prey as I suspect it may have been a roundabout tick, but since it was already dead it might have been even more frustrating to identify something I could only add as a dead species (like the Watercock from last autumn).

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Friday 8th November 2013, 09:44
Today was quieter and dominated by warblers, with two YBWs, three Duskies, an Arctic Warbler and another Lanceolated Warbler all showing pretty well. I watched it scuttling through the grass like a mouse and its likely that this was the suspected bradypterus from Wednesday.

Other birds included a very vocal female Daurian Redstart and the long-staying and ever-chatty Asian Brown Flycatcher.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Tuesday 12th November 2013, 19:59
A very blustery day was headlined by a pair of Silky Starlings on the Grassy Verge and four White-shouldered Starlings flying over the golf course and landing in a roadside tree. A pair of Black-necked Starlings were also present, as were the usual Crested Mynas.

Also of interest was what I think was one of the offspring of the leucopsis x alboides White Wagtail - I'll post pix shortly - as well as the original article.

Other than that I heard a Yellow-browed Warbler, briefly saw the Asian Brown Flycatcher, and watched a Black Kite battling the wind.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Friday 15th November 2013, 05:25
Yesterday started very quiet at the core area, with nowt but singles of YBW, Asian Brown Flycatcher and Dusky Warbler, but sprung to life in the Western Tangle, where I picked up another five YBW, another each of Asian Brown Flycatcher and Dusky Warbler before being practicaly blinded by a superb male Mugimaki Flycatcher (102) that showed well for 30 seconds before disappearing as I reached for the camera, and a fine male Daurian Redstart.

Yet another Wryneck, in what has been a very good autumn for this species - with five recorded so far - was feeding just too far back in cover for even the Canon SX50 to lock on to it.

The Northern Edge provided further reward in the shape of my first Rufous-tailed Robin (103) here, a couple more YBWs, and a female Daurian Redstart. The only other bird of significance was a Black Kite that glided over and then went to sit on the runway appraoch lighting just offshore from the seawatching point.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Tuesday 19th November 2013, 10:18
The Roundabout was birdy again today albeit with a slightly grim start as my first bird was the heavily decomposed and barely identifiable remains of a Lanceolated Warbler on the Grassy Verge. Having seen one scuttlign away through the grass last week I wondered if it might have fallen prey to the grass cutters.

Also on the Grassy Verge was my first ocularis White Wagtail (104) - a female bird that had lost its tail but seemed quite happy pootling around looking for moths in the grass.

Over in the Core Area a brownish bird rooting in the leaf litter popped up and to my great surprise revealed itself to be a fine female Grey Bushchat (105). Today was, of course, the day I left my camera at home, but at least this was an easily identifiable bird so although there are no pix there is at least none of the stress caused by the large locustella I found in early October.

And there was more - my first Pallas's Leaf Warbler foraged through the mid-story and two Oriental Turtle Doves and a couple of Olive-backed Pipits were on the lawn, while the regulars included a male and female Daurian Redstart, a calling YBW and an Asian Brown Flycatcher.

The Western Tangle seemed to be full of birds - at least 3 Dusky Warblers, a couple more YBWs a thrush that was probably Chinese Blackbird and once again the Wryneck. A Grey-backed Thrush was on the Northern Edge along with two more Daurian Redstarts and another Dusky Warbler and flyover birds included two Black Kites, a Little Egret and eight Chinese Starlings over the golf course.

Cheers
Mike

Jeff hopkins
Tuesday 19th November 2013, 11:45
Also on the Grassy Verge was my first ocularis White Wagtail (104) - a female bird that had lost its tail but seemed quite happy pootling around looking for moths in the grass.


Does that make it a wag-nothing? 8-P

MKinHK
Wednesday 20th November 2013, 12:21
Sounds fair enough to me Jeff.

Today's highlight was not on the Roundabout at all. I was invited to lunch today on the terrace at the Deep Water Bay Golf Club on Hong Kong Island. A few Tree Sparrows were pootling on and around the hedge surrounding the putting green when one jumped up on top of a rubbish bin just the other side of the hedge about seven or eight yards away. First I noticed that its jizz was rather upright, then that it had a short dark erect crest, complete with a pale central crown stripe and even better that it had a purple-red breast band and streaking on the flanks that contrasted strongly with its very white throat and underparts - it could only be an adult female Rustic Bunting of which there have been less than 15 records in Hong Kong.

I had no bins but did manage the crappiest of pix with my phone before it realised it was being far too co-operative, and headed of across the course, but it absolutely made my lunchtime!

Cheers
Mike

Gretchen
Wednesday 20th November 2013, 13:21
Sounds like things have been going well on patch! Nice to have an easily viewed/identified unusual bird in the Rustic.

I always enjoy reading your well written reports, and expand my vocabulary through them (this week: pootling).

Cheers!

thirudevaram
Thursday 21st November 2013, 00:50
Lol, you managed a photo with your phone? Also, from what i have observed, Rustic's are bit tame than the other wintering buntings in Shanghai. Or jus say the lady loved your company;)

Good to see the ocularis white wagtail in your patch, you would have been certainly bored by the leucopsis x alboides. Grey Bushchat is a gorgeous little bird. Roundabout is growing.

MKinHK
Thursday 21st November 2013, 23:14
Awesome though my wit, charm, captivating prose (thanks Gretchen!) vast personal wealth and dashing good looks are, I have to, humbly, agree that it must have been the sheer force of my animal magnetism that has delivered the goods on this occasion Dev!

I showed the photo some some of my mates last night, including the Secretary of the Records Committee, who told me it was so bad it would probably prejudice rather than help my submission!

Anyway . . .

More good news from the Roundabout yesterday in the shape of a Mountain Tailorbird (104) that flashed its brilliant yellow belly at me a few times on the Eastern Tangle without ever giving me a reasonable chance at a photograph.

Other highlights were a curious female (yes, yes I know!) Siberian Rubythroat, the Wryneck, a couple of Grey-backed Thrushes and a distantly heard Chinese Blackbird, four flyover Oriental Turtle Doves three Dusky Warblers a couple of YBWs and a Pallas's Leaf Warbler, three female Daurian Redstarts and a Long-tailed Shrike.

MKinHK
Monday 25th November 2013, 05:03
Maintaining the autumn's excellent run a Bull-headed Shrike (107) - messed up the counting with the Tailorbird - was on the Eastern Tangle at lunchtime today. Also here were a warbler that sounded like Manchurian Bush Warbler and looked like Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler, but will haveto go down as one that got away for now.

Other bits and pieces includes Pallas's Leaf, Yellow-browed and Dusky Warblers, Grey-backed Thrush, two Daurian Redstarts and a drift-over Black Kite.

Great, Little and Reef Egrets were on the silt curtain again as I came in on the bus this morning.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Wednesday 11th December 2013, 14:07
It seemed like an aeon had passed since my last trip to the roundabout way back in November! Today I had barely 40 minutes between meetings, but the effort was well rewarded.

Starting at the golf course there was little on show except for a couple of Richard's Pipits, but the Northern Edge had at least one fine male Grey-backed Thrush another thrush sp. and an Olive-backed Pipit.

The Western Tangle had been pruned since I was away, but still delivered two new species - a very friendly Taiga Flycatcher (108) and a Chestnut Bulbul (109) making my fifth bulbul and ninth flycatcher. I also got onto a female Grey-backed Thrush, but another couple of thrushes slipped away unseen.

Other birds included a Long-tailed Shrike, Dusky and Yellow-browed Warblers, a Black-necked Starling, two Black Kites, an unidentified thrush and a large mystery warbler.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Thursday 12th December 2013, 14:40
For the first day in ages I had no new patch ticks, but a fine male Japanese Thrush in the leaf litter on the Eastern Tangle amongst no less than seven Grey-backed Thrushes brought the total for the quarter to 75. Two Chinese Blackbirds made it ten individual thrushes.

Other highlights included a Wryneck, the Taiga Flycatcherfor a second day, a female Daurian Redstart two Pallas's Leaf Warblers, three Dusky Warblers and a pair of Black-necked Starlings .

MKinHK
Monday 16th December 2013, 10:41
A truly horrible day - cold, wet, and rainy - and not many birds to make up for it.

The pick of the bunch were the now expected Wryneck, and an Eastern Buzzard that was hounded off by the local pair of Large-billed Crows.

The supporting cast included my first Asian Brown Flycatcher for a few weeks hunting close to the ground, two female Daurian Redstarts, a fine male Grey-backed Thrush on the northern edge, a Chinese Blackbird, four Richard's Pipits a Dusky Warbler and a YBW.

Hoping this cold front will bring some more birds to replace all those that have just cleared out.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Tuesday 17th December 2013, 12:05
Another horrible wet day, but my diligence was more than well rewarded with my first White's Thrush (110) (the Chinese name translates as Tiger-striped Ground Thrush) lurking on the Western Tangle. It was pretty shy and I only had relatively distant views, but it was more than worthy of being my tenth thrush species on the Magic Roundabout.

An unusually deep blue male pandoo Blue Rock Thrush showed exceptionally well - hunting from the top of a bright orange traffic cone on the Grassy Patch, and unlike the White's Thrush was gracious enough to allow me to get some reasonable record shots.

Other birds seen despite the murky weather included a Brown-flanked Bush Warbler, my first Great Tit and Common Tailorbird for a while, a Chinese Blackbird foraging on the waterlogged lawn of the core area, plus a couple of female Daurian Redstarts, a YBW, a Black-necked Starling, two Olive-backed Pipits and I once again knocked the Eastern Buzzard out of the Western Tangle.

I also had brief views of a flycatcher that with the naked eye just didn't look right for Asian Brown Flycatcher - too brown - too much tail-cocking and what looked like it might have been a pale brown wing-bar. Stupidly I blew it by going for the camera instead of the bins. Very much hope it's there tomorrow, by which time the rain should have moved on.

Cheers
Mike

thrush
Wednesday 18th December 2013, 12:52
Another horrible wet day, but my diligence was more than well rewarded with my first White's Thrush (110) (the Chinese name translates as Tiger-striped Ground Thrush) ...

Hi Mike, I always appreciate your reports from The Magic Roundabout.

According to the IOC (http://www.worldbirdnames.org/ioc-lists/family-index/), White's and scaly thrush are two species, the former taking the Latin name Zoothera aurea, the latter taking Z. dauma. In Chinese, Z. dauma retains the old "tiger-striped ground thrush" (虎斑地鸫, hǔbān ddōng), while Z. aurea is called "White's tiger thrush" (怀氏虎鸫, huish hǔdōng).

MKinHK
Wednesday 18th December 2013, 13:51
Christmas arrived a early - at 10:36 today to be precise, when (all together and to to the tune of "the Twelve Days of Christmas") . . .

The week before Christmas Geoff Carey Whatsapped me:
"A Little Curlew by the first tee".

This was agonising as I can see the golf course from my office, but had meetings all the way up until lunchtime and no prospect of getting away. The best I could do was to drag my birding kit to my pre-lunch meeting to enable a swift escape the minute it ended. Meeting concluded I zipped off to the golf course and found the bird straight away, and pretty much where Geoff had left it, wandering around close to the clubhouse between the fairway of the first hole and the ninth green.

It performed superbly, coming in to within 20 metres as it probed its way across the short turf, studiously ignoring golfers, lawn-mowing machines and the constant background of aircraft noise. This was unusual, as normally they are pretty flighty and rarely allow close approach.

For it even be here at all was a miracle in itself. Little Curlew is a passage bird in spring (regular in very small numbers) and autumn (rare), with no previous records between the end of October and mid April. The airport is a good site for this species, and Geoff had gripped me with another on the airfield on 29th October that I couldn't get to.

I was able to get a few shots, but thankfully two of the quality photographers, John and Martin, showed up with the heavy artillery and I look forward to seeing some top class shots. The problem was that I would have been forced to increase the boundary of the patch in order to count it - something I was reluctant to do. My solution was to go back to the terminal and scour the golf course from the walkway on the far side from where the bird was showing. Thankfully this worked out well, as after a short while the Little Curlew (111) emerged and showed well enough for me to nail a couple of shots at extreme zoom. Whether the bird is identifiable in these pix is highly debatable, but there is no question that it was indeed the same bird and anyway . . . my patch, my rules!

Other birds seen today included a tight flock of 100-odd Silky Starlings (a high count) feeding on the turf near Terminal One, a male philippensis Blue Rock Thrush on the golf course, plus the same rather large male Japanese Thrush and three or four Grey-backed Thrushes on the Eastern Tangle, along with a Dusky Warbler and the Eastern Buzzard, now into the third day of its stay, flew right over my head.

If all that were not enough the wind and rain of the last two days had washed away all the pollution so the whole of Hong Kong was bathed in glorious, if rather chilly, sunshine.

Geoff also had a lugens White Wagtail and a Plain Prinia. The latter is one I still need for the patch list, but after nailing such a monster bird I figured, in contravention of my birding motto* . . . meh.

Cheers
Mike

* = Always be greedy

thirudevaram
Thursday 19th December 2013, 00:33
:king: lovely little bird for the roundabout. Looks like Santa dropped a big gift early :t:

MKinHK
Thursday 19th December 2013, 05:31
Thnaks for the clarification and for your kind words Craig.

Yes indeed dev - a great early present. The bird was still present today at lunchtime, and this time at the right end of the course to at least be visible from the walkway.

John Holmes has posted a much better pic (http://www.hkbws.org.hk/BBS/viewthread.php?tid=17437&page=1#pid61479) on the HKBWS website.

Other birds present included three Common Sandpipers, a Eurasian Kestrel, the Dusky Shrike and eight Richard's Pipits.

Elsewhere, the Roundabout was quieter, with four Grey-backed Thrushes, a female Daurian Redstart, three OBPs, two Pallas's Leaf Warblers, Yellow-browed and Dusky Warblers plus Great Tit, Common Tailorbird and a Spotted Dove.

Cheers,
Mike

johnjemi
Thursday 19th December 2013, 07:02
Thanks for directions, Mike: - here are a couple more pics ...

Jeff hopkins
Thursday 19th December 2013, 12:48
Wow, if that guy sticks around I might just have to delay my connection through Hong Kong next month.

Frogfish
Friday 20th December 2013, 05:21
Nice catch Mike !

I may be a long way away for the next month but I am keeping myself up to date on China with these threads. First trip to La Albufera today - saw thousands upon thousands of ducks !

MKinHK
Saturday 21st December 2013, 09:46
Many thanks for posting these fine shots John.

Slightly gutted it wasn't my find, but no question I'd rather have seen it than not! The bird was present again yesterday. I didn't see it, but others did, and since it looks pretty settled I'm hoping it may stay a while.

There were a few other birds about. The highlight was an Osprey eating a fish on the runway approach lights. I was delighted to pick it up from my sea watching point (see pic) as it was my 80th species on the Roundabout for the quarter! I still have another 5 days in the office before the end of the year.

Once again there was a Blue Rock Thrush on the golf course, four or five Grey-backed Thrushes - one of which appeared to show a dark eyestripe, but this is just a trick of the light, and the big male Japanese Thrush. I also got my first shots of one of three Pallas's Leaf Warbler, picked up a couple of Dusky Warblers and a calling YBW and had a flyover Black Kite.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Monday 23rd December 2013, 13:44
The Little Curlew was again at the far end of the golf course on a rather quiet day on which the Eastern Buzzard again flew up from the Western Tangle and the Eurasian Kestrel was again over the golf course and the Crested Bulbuls and Chinese Bulbuls were feeding on the heads of the nectar-rich bottle brushes.

Other than that a quartet of Olive-backed Pipits were very confiding on the Northern Edge, four Grey-backed Thrushes were spread around the site, a Daurian Redstart was on the Core Area with a Great Tit , Dusky Warblers were on the Western Edge and in a hedge next to the coach park and single Yellow-browed and Pallas's Leaf Warblers were also about.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Wednesday 25th December 2013, 12:51
A few more birds yesterday as I tried an early start to see what else I might pick up.

The Little Curlew was halfway down the course and the thrushes were on good form on the Roundabout, as White's, Japanese, Grey-backed and Blue Rock Thrushes all showed reasonably well.

Other bits and pieces included the usual three phylloscs, four OBPs, Common Sandpiper and the female Eurasian Kestrel on the golf course again and the leucopsis x alboides White Wagtail dropping down onto a grass verge on the edge of the highway close to the golf course.

Also, from yesterday, a couple of pic of one of the Crested Bulbuls feeding on the bottle brush bushes, and a shot of a Grey-backed Thrush that was frustratingly obscured by foliage.

Merry Christmas!
Mike

MKinHK
Friday 27th December 2013, 13:46
Lunchtime at the roundabout was as quiet as it has been this quarter - there was nothing on the Core Area except for a Richard's Pipit, a Yellow-browed Warbler and a couple of leucopsis White Wagtails and only a female Daurian Redstart and a Grey-backed Thrush on the Western Tangle, with one more of the latter on the Northern Edge.

But as I emerged from behind the substation after a second attempt at photographing the OBPs (five today) a small-medium raptor whipped over showing a pale rump and landed briefly on a lamp post. It was almost immediately chased off by a couple of Large-billed Crows who continued to hassle it when it landed a bit further away and the magic of the SX50 superzoom allowed me to steal a couple of pix to to clearly see the pale head, strong supercilium and even . . . a grey cheek patch.

Grey-faced Buzzard (112) is actually rarer in December than Naumann's Thrush, having never previously been recorded in Hong Kong in this month before. Dozens do of course pass through in a good spring, but never mind that - it's still a top Christmas present to end the year.

I spent 10 minutes looking for the Little Curlew on the golf course but instead came up with the alboides x leucopsis White Wagtail three Little Ringed Plovers a couple of male Blue Rock Thrushes, and the Dusky Shrike finally came in range for a pic.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Monday 30th December 2013, 12:02
The highlights of the penultimate day's birding of 2013 on the Roundabout were close views of a one-barred Greenish Warbler hunting close to the ground on the Eastern Tangle, which was one of four phyllosc species (along with Yellow-browed, Pallas's Leaf and Dusky Warblers and the White's Thrush along with four Grey-backed Thrushes, two Japanese Thrushes and a Chinese Blackbird.

Other bits and pieces included the Wryneck, which finally allowed me the chance for a (pretty ropey) photo, a female Daurian Redstart, the leucopsis x alboides White Wagtail, the Kestrel and a Common Sandpiper, but no Little Curlew, alas, on the golf course.

Cheers
Mike

thirudevaram
Tuesday 31st December 2013, 06:52
I'm just amazed how busy your patch has been with the sheer variety of raptors showed up. Carry on the magic Mike! Wishes from the Eastern PRC.

MKinHK
Tuesday 31st December 2013, 14:00
Many thanks Dev. Actually I was a bit bummed to miss a raptor today - found a decapitated and partially plucked adult male Grey-backed Thrush in a ditch on the Northern Edge - looked like the work of an accipiter sp., but never had a sniff of it, despite twice going round the site today.

Today's birds were much the same as yesterday (sans Greenish Warbler), with the securing of a reasonable shot of the White's Thrush being the major highlight. I also managed a five thrush day - adding Chinese Blackbird to the White's Japanese and Grey-backed Thrushes on the Roundabout and a distant Blue Rock Thrush on the golf course.

Summary of Q4 2013

What a quarter its been on the Magic Roundabout! The total of 83 taxa seen in Q4 is:

more than a third more than the record for any previous quarter (54 in April-June 2013)
one species shy of double the number of species in each of the other three quarters (42 in each) and
most amazingly, just six species shy of the 89 birds seen in the whole of my first reporting year!


An superb 25 additional taxa have been added to the list, including a potential first record for Hong Kong Grays Grasshopper Warbler provided of course it is accepted. These additions have come in a constant stream and include such goodies as Geoff Carey's Little Curlew on the golf course, the unseasonal Grey-faced Buzzard being mugged by the Large-billed Crows, plus Grey Bushchat, Bull-headed Shrike and Black-backed Wagtail.

This was the first year when a documented movement of Mountain Tailorbird occurred throughout Hong Kong and the bird on the roundabout helped to confirm the movement. Looking at families Ive now seen eleven thrushes, nine flycatchers, seventeen warblers since I started recording here but still not a single bunting!

So why was this quarter so good? One reason is the greater recording effort. My 35 walks round the patch were a dozen more than in the next-best-covered period. The five species of ardeids perched on the silt curtain in the bay (visible from the train and bus) has certainly helped with the numbers, as did the number of birds in the Eastern Tangle, which I only began covering in earnest in October.

As for distribution of birds across the site the Grassy Verge has been less productive than the previous autumn as the few trees have grown up and reduced the openness of the lawn, while the long grass on the Core Area was certainly instrumental in pulling in and holding the Japanese Quail, and one of the Lanceolated Warblers. Conversely, the clearance of fallen trees has left the wooded part of the core area lacking in hiding places and rather bare (I'm hatching a plan to reverse this), and most of the thrushes have been elsewhere - particularly on the tangles and the Northern Edge.

Many thanks to everyone who has read and/or contributed to this rather odd thread - one of the few patches anywhere where a key element of the habitat management is to limit its attractiveness to birds (to reduce the risk of aircraft collisions).

Best wishes , and especially good birding, for 2014

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Thursday 2nd January 2014, 21:39
A relatively quiet start to the new year with 21 species recorded. Many of these were the resident species and once again the thrushes were the highlights, with the male Japanese Thrush and three or four Grey-backed Thrushes playing hide and seek in the Tangles and the Northern Edge. I also noted that the body of the GB Thrush found on the Northern Edge on Tuesday had disappeared, so presumably I'd disturbed the unseen hunter, who came back to finish of its meal.

The trio of regular phylloscopi (Pallas's Leaf, Yellow-browed and Dusky Warblers) were once again present in ones and twos, as was a female Daurian Redstart, three Olive-backed Pipits and one Richard's Pipit and I picked up both Great and Little Egret on the silt curtain on the way in.

The regular residents included both Chinese and Crested Bulbuls, Crested Myna and Black-collared Starling, a couple of leucopsis White Wagtails, eight or so Japanese White Eyes, a couple of Magpie Robins, a flyover Tree Sparrow, and the calling Large-billed Crows. Less regular but presumably resident species included a Long-tailed Shrike eating a flying insect on the sea wall and a Cinereous Tit (the proper name for our Great Tits) on the Eastern Tangle.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Friday 3rd January 2014, 10:10
A bit more quality today as only the second Red-flanked Bluetail I've had here - the last one was back in February 2013 was foraging along the edge of the drainage ditch on the grassy verge. An Osprey was again perched photogenically on the North Runway approach lights against a backdrop of passing ferries and fishing boats, and in between A White's Thrush skittered across the road from the Eastern Tangle to the Core Area.

The rest was not too different from yesterday, with three or four Grey-backed Thrush, including two queuing up to drink from the ditch on the Eastern Tangle and singles each of Pallas's Leaf, Dusky and Yellow-browed Warblers, and I had another go at capturing a decent shot of one of the four OBPs.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Tuesday 7th January 2014, 14:01
The highlight of a quiet round Monday lunchtime was seeing the Osprey - this time in flight - from the seawatching point. I once again saw four Grey-backed Thrushes but had no other thrushes and only Pallas's and Yellow-browed Warblers.

Little Ringed Plover was a good one for the new quarter on the golf course, as were four or five Scaly-breasted Munia in the Western Tangle, while a flock of five OBPs was a new high count for a single flock, although two birds in the core area might have been additional there's no way to be sure.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Friday 10th January 2014, 00:36
Yesterday was again pretty quiet although I did add the Wryneck, Japanese Thrush, Great Egret (flying by the sea watching point) and Common Sandpiper to the list for this quarter, bring the total to 30.

Other bits and pieces included five OBPs, 100-odd Tree Sparrows, the usual four or five Grey-backed Thrushes, a Chinese Blackbird and two Black Kites on the landing lights jetty where the Osprey has been hanging out.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Wednesday 15th January 2014, 05:01
Another couple of outings that represent the hard yards of patch listing yesterday and Monday lunchtime.

Despite looking hard there were no Grey Herons, Night Herons or Reef Egrets on the silt curtains from the bus, while the Roundabout itself seems to have queitened down - perhaps a reflectio of the decline in avaliable water during the dryest part of the year.

I have had a new high count for a single flock of OBPs - six were on the Grassy Verge and I did connect with a Blue Rock Thrush on Monday and the male Japanese Thrush yesterday, but other than that I'm looking forward to a change in the weather.


Further afield . . .

Beyond the patch the story has been rather different. Quitting Lantau for the second time in a week I returned to Kadoorie Farm (KFBG) - which made up part of my old patch in the Lam Tsuen Valley - in pursuit of the first twitchable Barred Cuckoo Dove in Hong Kong for more than 20 years and just the fifth or sixth record ever.

I was delighted to connect with this wonderful bird, which has been gorging itself on an ilex towards the top of the farm every day this year. Sunday was no different, and it put on a fine show for the 30-odd assembled birders and photographers at the very civilized hour of 11 am.

KFBG was in the form of its life, also hosting a first winter male White-throated Rock Thrush, which I dipped (but having had one in Ng Tung Chai a few years earlier this was not the end of the world) and no less than three Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrushes. I saw the lone female at the helipad, where it showed well enough for a reasonable pic, and a bit lower down picked up a Blue Rock Thrush that posed superbly for pix - I'll put up some shots this evening.

More to come

Reconvening the Lam Tsuen Records Committee Dylan and I drove down to Kam Sheung Road Railway station where John Allcock, who writes the Mai Po thread, had found a Long-billed Plover in a particularly scumbreacous drainage channel. Just about as rare as the Cuckoo Dove this was a superb discovery that bears witness too always saying alert for the possibility of a good bird. Even more astounding a potential Blyth's Pipit (also less than 20 HK records) was also found in the same ditch!

The plover, which I hadn't seen since 1994(ish) showed superbly exactly where we got out of the car and peered over the parapet. It was foraging in loose company with a few Little Ringed Plovers allowing for a good comparison of the slightly larger size, longer and slightly drooped bill and the black edged brown collar.

The ditch turned out to be pretty productive - with Richard's and Red-throated Pipits as well as an ocularis and several leucopsis White Wagtails, four or five Yellow Wagtails the two sinister-looking Shovelers in the pic below and the odd Common and Green Sandpipers knocking about. Dusky Warbler and a female Daurian Redstart simply added more icing to the already very rich cake.

With the Chiffchaff still at Long Valley there were three birds with seven or less records each within a 10 km radius. HK hasn't had a week like this for a very long time!

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Sunday 19th January 2014, 10:54
Friday was birder on the Roundabout with the Japanese Thrush, the White's Thrush and the Wryneck all on show and the latter even posing for a couple of shots. That apart the usual three or four Grey-backed Thrushes and the female Daurian Redstart showed briefly and a Great Egret flew by the sea watching point.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Wednesday 22nd January 2014, 13:47
New for the quarter yesterday was a fine adult Black-crowned Night Heron that was hunkered down on the Eastern Tangle and politely dropped down onto a branch that gave at least a partial view. The White's Thrush was here again too.

A Common Sandpiper on the sea wall - totally unfazed by the trains, planes etc - was also a first record for that part of the patch.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Friday 24th January 2014, 05:34
The bird highlight today was an underwhelming Spotted Dove to add to the list for the quarter, but the monster - and long awaited - mammal addition was two Chinese White Dolphins from my seawatching point!

I'm delighted by this because I saw dolphins in this approximate area two summers ago from a boat and have heard from researchers working on the dolphins that they are regularly recorded here. It's also encouraging because there are substantial reclamation works going on very close to this area for the brdige that is being built to Macau, and this work is expected to drive the dolphins away from these waters.

The sighting today was of two dolphins - a fine pink adult and a much smaller and greyer youngster, which was not more than 1/3 the length of what was presumably its mother.

Other birds included 8 OBPs, two Yellow-browed Warblers and two Grey-backed Thrushes.

You've waited a long time for a second mammal on this thread Dev - I hope the qality makes up for the delay!

Cheers
Mike

Frogfish
Friday 24th January 2014, 06:49
Congrats on the CW Dolphin Mike ! Now where are the pics !

thirudevaram
Monday 27th January 2014, 00:40
Haha, indeed Mike, a quality mammal. Chinese(pink) White Dolphins are gorgeous, glad that you added it your magic list.

MKinHK
Tuesday 28th January 2014, 11:42
Pix are likely to take a little longer Kevin, but hopefully not another year.

Thanks Dev - unfortunately they did not show up again today but I had another highlight for the patch - no less than 80 Heuglin's Gulls floating out in the sea lane off the end of the North Runway. They were a huge distance away and it was only by maxing out the zoom and then expanding the 50X image was I able to see enough to confirm that they weren't Black-headed or (slim chance) Black-tailed Gulls, and were my 32nd species for the quarter. I left the camera at the office, butI'll put the pix up soon.

Other good birds were a female Blue Rock Thrush perched on a streetlight next to the seawall, fly-away views of the White's Thrush, a couple of Grey-backed Thrushes, single YBW and Pallas's Leaf Warbler, moderate views of the Wryneck, and on the golf course a couple of distant White-cheeked Starlings (also confirmed with the superzoom were the second new species for the quarter.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Wednesday 29th January 2014, 10:46
Three more new birds for this quarter today - four Grey Herons were on the approach lights to the South Runway and a Common Tailorbird was in a mixed flock with a couple of Cinereous Tits, four Japanese White-eyes and a Yellow-browed Warbler.

I also had the male Japanese Thrush and a couple of flush-away Grey-backed Thrushes on the Eastern Tangle and a couple of Heuglin's Gulls remained from yesterday's flock of 80 on the sea to the north of the airport.

The alboides x leucopsis White Wagtail also showed for the first time this year on the Northern Edge.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Tuesday 11th February 2014, 14:13
A tour of the roundabout under leaden skies in 9 centigrade temperatures kicked off with 8 Scaly-breasted Munias in a tree on the grassy verge, a record 30 Japanese Whiteyes, 25 of which were feeding on the nectar in the Calliandra haematocephala in the Core Areaand another high count - this time nine OBPs - which came up off the lawn. The first of four Grey-backed Thrushes zipped into cover behind the calliandra hedge but little else disturbed the roar of traffic until I crossed to the Eastern Tangle and disturbed another couple of Grey-backed Thrushes and the Japanese Thrush.

The Northern Edge held a couple of Pallas's Leaf Warblers and my first Dusky Warbler for a while but here was nowt to ben seen from the sea watch point, and I had to be content with a single Common Sandpiper and two Richard's Pipits on the golf course.

Off patch, but still on the airport, a tour yesterday of the new concourse that is currently under construction delivered two Long-tailed Shrikes, a Blue Rock Thrush on the frame of the building and a Plain Prinia in the weeds next to the security checkpoint.

Cheers
Mike

danysloan
Sunday 16th February 2014, 01:38
Maybe I missed this is a previous reply (I scanned most of the comments, but alas, I did not see anything)...is the roundabout and/or the golf course accessible without leaving the confines of the airport/security?

I have a 2-hour layover on both ends of a holiday to Vietnam next month, so some birding would be a great way to pass the time.

Cheers

MKinHK
Monday 24th February 2014, 09:58
Hi Danysloan

The whole of the Magic Roundabout area is outside the security zone, so access would be a problem for you as a transit passenger.

I was back on-site for the first time in over a week and . . . it was really end-of-winter quiet. The highlights were four Heuglin's Gulls and a Little Egret from my sea watch point and a bunch of Silky Starlings feeding on the waterlogged patch of lawn near the filling station (seen from the bus) and single Grey-backed and Japanese Thrushes plus a Pallas's Leaf Warbler flushed up from the Eastern Tangle.

Other than that it was pretty quiet except for a few Crested and Chinese Bulbuls and Japanese White-eyes washing in a ditch, two Richard's Pipits on the golf course and a calling Yellow-browed Warbler.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Tuesday 4th March 2014, 11:56
My worst day on the Roundabout for thrushes this winter - with none seen and only two heard was made better by a Heuglin's Gull over the golf course, nd three tantalisingly unidentified hirundines that were almost certainly Barn Swallows seen heading NW out to sea from the sea watch point.

I also had two more gulls here. One looked like an adult Heuglin's as it landed on the water next to a smaller dark gull on a piece of flotsam. This was barely identifiable as bird sp before it took off and flew off on rather slender-tipped wings - still looking all-dark. I strongly suspect this was a first winter Black-tailed Gull, but the distance was just too great and the light too poor to confirm. Dip. Bummer.

Other birds that did show included two Spotted Doves and the Long-tailed Shrike plus two Olive-backed Pipits on the Grassy Verge, 20-odd Japanese White-eyes shrilling in the tree-tops and another 4 OBPs on the Northern Edge, where the [B]leucopsis x alboides White Wagtail popped up on the sea wall with a couple of leucopsis White Wagtails.

The golf course also held a Richard's Pipit and a Common Sandpiper, but not the Oriental Pratincole I'd hoped for (Geoff had one on the airfield last week).

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Monday 10th March 2014, 10:16
This cold weather has meant that the winter has hung on this year at the airport. I had at least four Grey-backed Thrushes, including a pair that appeared to be getting frisky on the Eastern Tangle, a female Blue Rock Thrush on the sea wall and the usual gaggle of 25 plus Japanese White-eyes. I also had a calling Eastern Great Tit and decent views of one of the resident Common Tailorbirds.

The highlights of the day were a Barn Swallow that flew past me and away over the carpark as I stood on my elevated watchpoint that overlooks the golf course (Richard's Pipit and Common Sandpiper) and adding not one but two gulls to the patch list, as I picked out a single Black-headed Gull (113) and a couple of Black-tailed Gulls (114) among the dozen or so Heuglin's that were loafing offshore.

Today was also wash-day for the Crested Bulbuls, and several of them allowed close views and a few pix as they waited for me to pass to get back in the water.

Smartest bird of the day was the leucopsis x alboides White Wagtail, who was posing in full formal rig on a bright green patch of grass near the Asiaworld Expo bus stop.

I'll post some pix tomorrow if I get a moment.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Wednesday 12th March 2014, 14:32
There were no more gulls from the sea watch point today, but Barn Swallow passage continued with two passing over the roundabout, which was visible from my colleague's office during a mid- morning meeting.

New for the quarter was a Cattle Egret on the golf course that stayed around exactly long enough for me to see the hint of orange-buff breeding plumage starting to emerge on the back and crown before it took off and disappeared.

Yes I caught the leucopsis x alboides White Wagtail in flagrante delicto with a leucopsis White Wagtail on the northern edge. His name is now officially changed to Wicked Willie. It could have been worse - its offspring from last year's breeding season - readily identifiable by the rogue cheek patch, was on the core area.

Other bits and pieces included seven OBPs together on the grassy verge yesterday and six today, at least three Grey-backed Thrushes on the tangles, a dozen Silky Starlings on a waterlogged patch of grass on the way out yesterday evening and half that number this morning, while Large-billed Crow, Black-necked Starling and Spotted Doves all put in an appearance to keep the numbers up.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Saturday 15th March 2014, 04:08
Waiting for spring to kick in here . . . but doubling my record Large-billed Crow count from two to four was hardly it!

Two Grey-backed Thrushes were still about along with singles each of Pallas's Leaf Warbler and Yellow-browed Warbler and finally, there were six OBPs on the Grassy Verge.

Here are a couple of pix from the past couple of weeks


Off patch I had a late Eastern Buzzard from the train going past the Sunny Bay stop

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Tuesday 18th March 2014, 12:20
This morning started superbly today when I picked up a Grey-headed Lapwing on the waterlogged grassy patch just to the south of the terminal buildings from my morning bus ride.

Hoping to get a photo I headed back at lunchtime to find that this area was hopping with birds - a second Grey-headed Lapwing had joined the first, a Swintail Snipe flushed out of the same patch where the grass was marginally longer, a female Stejneger's Stonechat was hunting from a low perch and an unidentified wader was flushed by runners and disappeared before I could get onto it. This was very frustrating as it was right in size for Oriental Plover - and there has already been one at Mai Po this month . . .

Other useful bits and pieces included a male Chinese Blackbird, thirty-odd Silky Starlings, a pair of Black-necked Starlings, a couple of Barn Swallows, a rather scruffy Yellow-browed Warbler and four each of Richard's Pipit and Olive-backed Pipit.

Cheers
Mike

PS pix tomorrow

MKinHK
Wednesday 19th March 2014, 13:03
. . .and even more birds for the patch today - it really seems like the midwinter blues have been sent on their way by the arrival of spring!

Having said that today's patch tick was a Black-billed Magpie (116), which is very much a resident species here, flying over the waste water treatment plant. I saw it from the bus on my way in an hour earlier than usual as I wanted to check out the Lapwing pool again. And lo . . . one of the Grey-headed Lapwings was again present, along with the Swintail Snipe, which sat still long enough for me to fire off a couple of shots. Undying gratitude to anyone who can conclusively nail this as either Swinhoe's or Pintail Snipe.

Unfortunately the Lapwing displayed exquisitely bad timing by flying off a second before I pulled the trigger. You can't win 'em all. Other birds in the area included a Common Sandpiper, a few Silky Starlings and Crested Mynas, a Richard's Pipit and a couple of White Wagtails.

At lunchtime a stroll round the roundabout delivered again with two Yellow-browed Warblers, a Grey-backed Thrush on the Eastern Tangle, seven OBPs, a Great Egret on the landing light jetty, a flyover Black Kite and at least three and possibly four splendid Chestnut Bulbuls, which simply could not decide where to sit and flipped from tree top to treetop merrily singing out their distinctive "kiss me quick" call.

Cheers
Mike

MKinHK
Monday 24th March 2014, 11:14
This afternoon's lunchtime session on the roundabout was a funny old mix - staring with a new high count of three Spotted Doves in a flowering meelia tree on the Grassy Verge, two calling Yellow-Browed Warblers and a surprise Chestnut Bulbul lingering in the Core Area, a juvenile Black-tailed Gull out over the sea near the landing lights, and a newly arrived Dusky Warbler lurking at the easternmost corner of the Northern Edge.

With time to spare I wandered over to the lapwing pool, adding another YBW and a Dusky Shrike on the golf course and a dozen or so Silky Starlings, a couple of Richard's Pipits and some OBPs lurking in the stunted palm-like trees before finding a Common Sandpiper, an LRP and a splendid brick-pink Red-throated Pipit plus several Silky Starlings bathing in one of the remaining standing pools.

Cheers
Mike

Peewit
Monday 24th March 2014, 11:27
Hi Mike

Wow a job with a birding view - and it is sounding good :t:

I hope if/when I work again, birding will be a great to while away a lunch time. with a walk in the fresh air and an keen eye on nature bodes well anyday :-O

Afraid I am another Magic Roundabout fan from the olden days (from earler posts in this thread) - age is catching up here LOL 3:-)

Regards
Kathy
x

MKinHK
Friday 28th March 2014, 13:37
Not much fresh air on this Magic Roundabout I'm afraid Kathy - although I do appreciate it being so close to work.

We're still very much in transition this week. An early start on Tuesday proved a quiet disappointment with only a second view of the Magpie from the bus and a flushed female Grey-backed Thrush and three or four Red-billed Starlings on the golf course to lighten the gloom.

Today was better as I added four White-shouldered Starlings amongst the 30-odd Silky Starlings, including one with a ochre-washed belly to leave me one short of 50 for the quarter and only Monday remaining to fill the gap.

There were also two pristine Red-throated Pipits on the lawn by the lapwing pool, with a couple each of OBP and Richard's Pipit. . . but still no flycatchers. A Dusky Shrike sat long enough for an upgraded portrait for this species at the airport.

Cheers
Mike

McMadd
Friday 28th March 2014, 15:23
Not much fresh air on this Magic Roundabout I'm afraid Kathy - although I do appreciate it being so close to work.

We're still very much in transition this week. An early start on Tuesday proved a quiet disappointment with only a second view of the Magpie from the bus and a flushed female Grey-backed Thrush and three or four Red-billed Starlings on the golf course to lighten the gloom.

Today was better as I added four White-shouldered Starlings amongst the 30-odd Silky Starlings, including one with a ochre-washed belly to leave me one short of 50 for the quarter and only Monday remaining to fill the gap.

There were also two pristine Red-throated Pipits on the lawn by the lapwing pool, with a couple each of OBP and Richard's Pipit. . . but still no flycatchers. A Dusky Shrike sat long enough for an upgraded portrait for this species at the airport.

Cheers
Mike

Wow! The Dusky Shrike is quite...pale...hadn't realised they were quite so variable Mike...good stuff as always

cheers
McM

MKinHK
Tuesday 1st April 2014, 11:47
Dusky Thrushes are indeed pretty variable - at least in HK Mark.

On Saturday it started raining. On Sunday night it rained very hard indeed. On Monday I did both roundabouts looking for storm-tossed migrants and came up three Black-crowned Night Herons (which actually were probably local birds) , a solitary Yellow Wagtail and a philippensis Blue Rock Thrush were on the golf course and a a couple of Swintail Snipe and two Red-throated Pipits on the lawn near the Lapwing pool. There were also five White-shouldered Starlings in the banyans and 30-odd Silky Starlings feeding near another temporary pool.

The best of these was the wagtail, which was my 50th bird of the quarter. I also had the Common Magpie for the second time on one of the roundabouts near the Cathay Pacific building.

So the second quarter of my birding year and sixth since I began birding at the airport closed with five new additions - two gulls, two waders and the long overdue Black-billed Magpie. It took 22 visits to pick up the 50 species I recorded, which was 8 species (or 16%) more than I managed in the same quarter last year. My personal highlights were the good numbers of gulls from the seawatch point and the photographing the Grey-headed Lapwings and Swintail Snipe on the Lapwing Pool.

1st April
Today it had rained overnight, but cleared by the time I caught my bus. I'm starting to have doubts about the Magpie - as I found it in pretty much the same spot as on Monday. If it's still there tomorrow I'll have to start worrying about it being a hoax that has been put there to get my blood racing and serve as the subject for another pointless thread in the Rarities Bird News section.

Anyway .. . the migration season finally started for real when I picked up male Narcissus Flycatcher and Blue-and-white Flycatcher on the Eastern Tangle. Both showed pretty well, but only the B&W sat still long enough for pix.
A Yellow-browed Warbler and a the same Dusky Warbler were also present, as were the Black-crowned Night Herons.

Three small swifts went over just too high for me to be certain there was no white rump, so while they may have been Himalayan Swiftlets they will sadly have to go down as ones that got away.

Still, after the flycatchers I wasn't too bothered!

Cheers
Mike

thrush
Tuesday 1st April 2014, 13:18
Your Hong Kong flycatchers are harbingers of good things to come up here in Shanghai. Thanks for the heads-up! I'll be on the lookout.

thirudevaram
Wednesday 2nd April 2014, 06:58
Could there be someone so 无聊 to crash the roundabout sightings Mike? Corvids are good vantage point specialists and they stick to their perches if it's a good vantage point. Great news on the flycatchers.