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Exploring Lantau

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Old Sunday 12th November 2017, 03:17   #376
MKinHK
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After another foray to San Tin which was certainly quieter than the previous weekend, but did hold five Coot, five Eurasian Skylark,23 Red Turtle Doves and my first Imperial Eagle of the winter - a fine adult - I was home in time for a snooze on the sofa before walking the dogs at dusk. That turned out spectacularly well as a Brown Fish Owl was perched on the flamingoes in the lower pond! It was not all afraid and stares back at me for a good five minutes before flying up into a palm tree and pitying my pathetic efforts to grab a photo with my iPhone. The blob below is the best of these efforts, but I did come back later and did considerably better with the Sony RX10iii on a tripod.

The video clip is here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waibpjXYGkg

The day before the same park delivered a new record of 30 Black-crowned Night Herons. Doubtless both species are attracted to the plentiful tilapia.

Cheers
Mike
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Last edited by MKinHK : Monday 13th November 2017 at 01:27.
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Old Monday 13th November 2017, 06:37   #377
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Finally posting the original iPhone pic - which I actually love for so clearly setting the urban location for this terrific bird.

The other shot comes from playing with one of the failed shots. As usual I enjoy trying to turn them into interesting images. If you look closely you can just see the eyes.

Cheers
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Old Saturday 16th December 2017, 12:28   #378
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Finally back birding on Lantau after more tick tarting - this time a cracking first winter male Ultramarine Flycatcher found by John Alcock at Shek Kong Catchment a couple of weeks ago.

This time I was at Pui O, although a couple of weeks earlier the Brown Fish Owl did appear on one more evening dog walk and I was astonished to get the shot below shooting hand-held at just 1/20th of a second.

Pui O was significantly drier than my previous visit. The first birds to appear were a gang of five Eurasian Magpies in pristine plumage. Two of them had very large white scapulars and one posed superbly at short range allowing me to see the fine streaks on the throat feathers for the first time in more than thirty years of birding.

There were thirty or so Silky Starlings feeding on the marsh among the Crested Mynas, Black-collared Starlings and the Buffalo, but relatively fewer ardeids, most of which were Cattle Egrets, plus one or two each of Little Egret, Grey Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron and a Chinese Pond Heron. Four Fantail Snipe were the only waders.

There were a dozen leucopsis White Wagtails, three or four winter-plumaged taivana Eastern Yellow Wagtails, two Richard's Pipits, thee OBPs and a single Buff-bellied Pipit. This is the second winter I've had one here. I was surprised not to see a single Stejneger's Stonechat, but three Daurian Redstarts added some colour.

I had hoped for a feast of thrushes, but was disappointed - seeing just one Chinese Blackbird and a thrush sp. before a late Dusky Thrush behind the campsite, a juvenile Crested Goshawk and my first ever Scarlet Minivet on Lantau - a very vocal female added some much-need quality to the visit.

With a little more time left of the morning I also tried the forest trail down to Pui O from the Nam Shan campsite. Best birds were a fine male Grey-backed Thrush, a Mountain Tailorbird and an Asian Stubtail, which was typically scrambling around in the leaf litter.

Cheers
Mike
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Last edited by MKinHK : Saturday 16th December 2017 at 13:31.
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Old Saturday 16th December 2017, 23:09   #379
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Great pics, Mike. The E. Magpie is indeed the best detail shot that I have seen!
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Old Thursday 28th December 2017, 10:46   #380
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Many thanks Owen.

It seems from posts elsewhere that the 'beard' on this Magpie is not uncommon.

On Christmas Eve morning I followed a completely unfounded hunch that Sham Was - a little bit east from Tai O would be good for winter birds. This is a small area of farmland surrounded by very steep hills with a shallow tidal bay in front of it.

I never found the biggie I hoped for but did have great views of Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler, and heard both Russet Bush Warbler and Japanese Bush Warbler at very close range.

Best bird of the day was a cracking male Black-naped Monarch and other support came from a fine male Blue Rock Thrush, a couple of Chinese Blackbirds, a party of typically noisy Chestnut Bulbuls, five each of Little Buntings and Daurian Redstarts, and higher up the road a couple of Mountain Tailorbirds and three very approachable Pallas's Leaf Warblers.

also of interest was the tail of a small Copperhead Racer disappearing into a pile of leaves where i had caught it sunbathing.

Cheers
Mike
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 03:25   #381
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Nice to see the BFO - it would be a pleasant surprise anywhere !
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 16:10   #382
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Agreed. The fish-owl's a beauty!
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Old Thursday 11th January 2018, 15:49   #383
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Some good steady hands to get that owl shot at 1/20 Mike! That is a beast of an owl.
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Old Friday 16th March 2018, 11:31   #384
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An unexpected Lantau tick for me on Sunday as I bumped into a migrating flock of 20 or so Chestnut-collared Yuhinas milling about in a small plantation woodland on the ridge behind my block while walking the dogs.

Cheers
Mike
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Old Tuesday 27th March 2018, 13:16   #385
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On Saturday I made my first visit to Yi O for good long while in the hope of finding some late winterer or early spring migrants.

I started well with trio of male Chinese Grosbeaks flying over the mangroves at Tai O, but then had little else on the walk along the well vegetated pathway except for a trio of thrushes, one of which was almost certainly Grey-backed Thrush.

Shortly after passing the campsite where the path returns to the water's edge I heard three different Red-tailed Robins singing cheerfully away - their song highly reminiscent of the high-pitched trilling of Little Grebes - albeit from the deepest pathside cover.

As I entered the village three Crested Serpent Eagles floated over calling loudly at each other, and as I looked for a second time a migrating Grey-faced Buzzard had the good manners to flight past above them, moving steadily northwards.

The highlight of the day was a marvellously confiding Ferruginous Flycatcher that was too curious to stay away after I found a good spot near a favourite perch, returning several times as at flipped up and away after a fly before zipping back in to exactly the same, just as if it had never moved.

Other bits and pieces included a juvenile Crested Goshawk, a male Chinese Starling that was lurking amidst a flock of thirty-odd Crested Mynas back at the Tai O mangroves and this Archduke butterfly sunning itself at the campsite as I left Yi O.

Cheers
Mike
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Old Wednesday 28th March 2018, 09:03   #386
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That's a good day, Mike. I bet, the Archduke will be much more gorgeous in the shade.
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