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China Birds (Nick Sismey) 2009 List (UK, China, Hong Kong & ?) (1 Viewer)


Nick Sismey
10 February 2009 (continued)

A little further around the park near to where a group of ladies were singing their heart out to traditional Chinese music a Long Tailed Shrike passed through the area making a quick exit; not sure if it was me or the singing!

164.Long Tailed Shrike------------------Zhongshan Park-----------------China

I also decided to retreat back to my quiet area just in time to pick up a Pallas Leaf Warbler (Photo1) enjoying the sunny, warm weather.

165.Pallas Leaf Warbler----------------Zhongshan Park------------------China

The peace was soon broken as another lady decided to have a very loud argument with someone over her mobile phone. I tried to ignore her the best I could, but then a smart Scaly Thrush (Photo 2) moved into the area, taking my attention away from arguments!

166.Scaly Thrush-----------------------Zhongshan Park------------------China

Just as I set off back to the hotel a Magpie Robin made the quickest of appearances, one minute it was on top of the barbed wire fence, the next gone!

167.Magpie Robin----------------------Zhongshan Park------------------China

Final picture is of early morning smoggy Shanghai from the 56th floor, with mainland China’s two tallest buildings an the centre-back of the photo, the Jing Mao to the left and the new tallest mainland China building, the Japanese World Trade Building.


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Larry Lade

My wife and I are tentatively planning a two-week trip over to the Beijing area in late April - early May, 2009. I hope to be able to see some of the birds which you are mentioning above!


Nick Sismey
Hope you do Larry, there are some great places to bird over there, let me know if you would like some more info, send me a PM



Nick Sismey
13 February 2009

A quick jaunt around the Liu Hua Lake Park (Photo1) near the China Hotel in Guangzhou, before going into the office, started with a flock of Japanese White Eye moving quickly through the treetops.

168.Japanese White Eye-----------Liu Hua Lake Park---------------------China

Battling my way through the incessant music and crowds of early morning Tai Ji followers a Common Tailorbird was watching proceedings from high up on a branch in a very mature tree.

169.Common Tailorbird-------------Liu Hua Lake Park--------------------China

I then found a large wall where I normally view an undisturbed island in the middle of the lake therefore my only viewing opportunity was from a small bridge between two further islands. As expected there were both Black Crowned Night Herons and Chinese Pond Herons flying around the island.

170.Black Crowned Night Heron----Liu Hua Lake Park-------------------China
171.Chinese Pond Heron------------Liu Hua Lake Park-------------------China

Having walked all the way round the outer perimeter fence of the east side of the park to try and get a better view of this island I realised when I got back in the park had I turned right rather than left when I first found the wall, I could have walked round the end of the wall to view the island!

Just having discovered the errors of my ways a couple of Red Whiskered Bulbuls (Photo 2) were feeding on a low bush, while out on the now famous island a White Throated Kingfisher (Photo 3) was joined by a couple of Red Billed Starlings (together with a Crested Myna and a Spotted Dove)

172.Red Whiskered Bulbul---------Liu Hua Lake Park--------------------China
173.White Throated Kingfisher----Liu Hua Lake Park--------------------China
174.Red Billed Starling------------Liu Hua Lake Park---------------------China

Hurrying back to the hotel through the madding crowd, three Moorhens were feeding in a Lilly pond when out of the corner of my eye a small bird flashed by into the bottom of a bush. I recognised that tell tale sign white rump, it was a White Rumped Munia (Photo 4). Such a tiny bird, which wasn’t at all shy when it started feeding on grass seeds in front of me, in fact I had to step back to be able to get the bird in focus! Almost at the same time a small bunting appeared next to the munia, a Black Faced Bunting (Photo 5).

175.White Rumped Munia----------Liu Hua Lake Park--------------------China
176.Black Faced Bunting-----------Liu Hua Lake Park--------------------China

I then had to up my pace to the hotel and leave for work.


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Nick Sismey
14 February 2009

Today started by meeting up with long time Guangzhou birding friend Lool and another of her birding friends Lei Jinyu, who I met a couple of years ago, in the lobby of the China Hotel at 0730 hours. We were soon joined by Andrew Wang from our office here in Guangzhou and set off for a new birding sight for me, the Guangzhou Maofeng Mountain Forest Park, which is only 25km from downtown Guangzhou.

Leaving Guangzhou on the G109 a Swallow flew across the expressway


Arriving at the park (Photo 1) we were met by very dull day with frequent rain showers but the scenery was excellent (Photo 2).

Our first bird in the park was a Grey Treepie feeding on top of a tree, too far away to get a good photo.

178.Grey Treepie-------------------------------Maofeng----------------------------China

A little further along the mountain road we picked up on a small flock of birds, which included a Two Barred Warbler, Yellow Browed Warbler, a couple of Black Throated Tits and male and female Fork Tailed Sunbird, the male’s iridescent plumage still showing up despite the overcast sky.

179.Two Barred Warbler-----------------------Maofeng---------------------------China
180.Yellow Browed Warbler-------------------Maofeng---------------------------China
181.Black Throated Tit-------------------------Maofeng--------------------------China
182.Fork Tailed Sunbird------------------------Maofeng--------------------------China

We then drove up to the Temple car park and found one of the many paths that covered the mountain. Just as we found some level ground several Olive Backed Pipits flew up into the trees.

183.Olive Backed Pipit--------------------------Maofeng----------------------------China

Having roamed some more as we were descending some long steps (Photo 3) a Rufous Capped Babbler started calling from deep in the forest. Our patience was doubly rewarded as not only did the babbler appear, but also a wonderful Streak Breasted Scimitar Babbler that fed close to the base of the tree. It was just too dark to get a reasonable shot of either bird.

184.Rufous Capped Babbler--------------------Maofeng----------------------China
185.Streak Breasted Scimitar Babbler---------Maofeng----------------------China

We then came to a small lake (Photo 4) when suddenly a large bird headed straight for us through the gap in the trees at the far end of the lake. Before I even had chance to grab my camera, a lifer flashed by, a gorgeous Silver Pheasant, which landed in thick undergrowth to our right and disappeared. There were a few high-fives before diving for cover as the next rain shower hit us.

186.Silver Pheasant-----------------------------Maofeng----------------------China

Normally on these bird trips Lool has a small compact digital camera for taking general shots as well her digital SLR to take photos of the birds. Invariably she ends up taking lots of candid shots of me and putting them on Chinese birding web sites! So this time I was determined to pay her back by bringing along my own compact digital. However I had not bargained on Lool’s latest plan. Working at the Guangzhou TV station as a Programme Editor she has all of the tools around her necessary to make her own videos so what has she gone and done, invested in a state of the art digital video camera (Photo 5). There was no sign of the compact camera but every time we looked around we had this pointed at us! She even got me to agree to an interview! I give up!

More to follow……


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Nick Sismey
14 February 2009 (continued)

Rounding another part of the mountain (Photo1) a Chestnut Bulbul was sharing a distant tree with several Chinese Bulbuls while a very noisy Grey Cheeked Fulvetta worked through the lower vegetation.

187.Chestnut Bulbul--------------------Maofeng---------------------------China
188.Grey Cheeked Fulvetta------------Maofeng---------------------------China

The final bird on the mountain, before we returned to the car, was a delightful Hwamei checking through the leaves on the forest floor. Much better seeing one free as so many are locked in cages and brought out into numerous city parks in China to sing while their gaolers chat about the issues of the day.


Off the mountain we finally pinned down what we had heard calling several times while up in the clouds, a Greater Coucal, sounding like a monkey (according to Andrew!), with one calling across the fields on top of a tree.

190.Greater Coucal---------------------Sha Tian--------------------------China

We were now on the edge of a small town called Sha Tian, so decided to have lunch, the restaurant was local but certainly not quaint, the food was good though.

As we left the restaurant Red Rumped Swallows were flying around the buildings.

191.Red Rumped Swallow--------------Sha Tian--------------------------China

We then walked around the farmland (Photo 2) and damn wall (Photo 3) close to Sha Tian where a Siberian Stonechat was calling from several different prominent positions. As we walked back into the village, along redirected concrete streams, a Plain Prinia was flitting through some tall grass.

192.Siberian Stonechat------------------Sha Tian-------------------------China
193.Plain Prinia--------------------------Sha Tian-------------------------China

Leaving the village by car we stopped a couple of miles down the road, Sha Tian still being the closest inhabited place, where the team grouped together for a photo (Photo 4 – Left to Right Andrew Wang, Lool and Lei Jinyu) Here we also picked up Sooty Headed Bulbul and the meowing Yellow Bellied Prinia.

194.Sooty Headed Bulbul---------------Sha Tian--------------------------China
195.Yellow Bellied Prinia---------------Sha Tian---------------------------China

Our final stop was at Guangzhou’s Baiyun Airport, where I was due to fly to Chengdu later that evening. At the end of the west runway (Photo 5) we could see several Richard’s Pipits despite the incessant noise from the solar powered bird cannons, miss nets and aircraft taking off, the birds must be deaf!

196.Richard’s Pipit----------------------Sha Tian---------------------------China

From here it was to the terminal and a big thank you to Lool, Andrew and Lei for a successful day. The full list of 35 birds seen today is shown below: -

Black Faced Bunting, Black Throated Tit, Blackbird, Chestnut Bulbul, Chinese Bulbul, Chinese Pond Heron, Fork Tailed Sunbird, Great Tit, Greater Coucal, Green Sandpiper, Grey Cheeked Fulvetta, Grey Treepie, Hwamei, Japanese White Eye, Kingfisher, Long Tailed Shrike, Magpie Robin, Olive Backed Pipit, Olive Backed Pipit, Plain Prinia, Red Rumped Swallow, Red Whiskered Bulbul, Richard's Pipit, Rufous Capped Babbler, Siberian Stonechat, Silver Pheasant, Sooty Headed Bulbul, Spotted Dove, Streak Breasted Scimitar Babbler, Swallow, Two Barred Warbler, White Rumped Munia, White Wagtail, Yellow Bellied Prinia, Yellow Browed Warbler


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Nick Sismey
15 February 2009

Arriving at Chengdu in the dark last night, I left the lobby of the relatively new Intercontinental Hotel at 0640 with Albert Jiang, one of our local reps based here. We then drove to near the Shangri-La Hotel where fellow Birdforum member Wei Qian was waiting for us. It was the first time I had seen Wei in a year so great to see him again.

We then set off on the 140km journey to the Tian Tao Mountain, southwest of Chengdu. The weather was a classic Chengdu day with an overcast sky.

Within about 40km of the mountain I asked Albert to stop the car, just after we crossed a bridge over a concrete channelled river (Photo 1), in a small town called Ping. I had spotted what I thought was my first Daurian Redstart of the year on a utility cable. On closer inspection however, with diesel belching lorries passing within inches of us, the drivers’ hands never off their horns, Wei Qian identified it as a Hodgson’s Redstart (Photo 2), which meant my first bird of the day was a lifer!

197.Hodgson’s Redstart------------Tian Tao Mountain------------China

Once on the twisty mountain road a pair of Grey Headed Bullfinch flew along the side of the road.

198.Grey Headed Bullfinch----------Tian Tao Mountain-----------------China

After about 30 minutes of driving we stopped next to a mountain stream (Photo 3) where a pair of Slaty Backed Forktails (Photo 4) were feeding, followed swiftly by my 200th bird of the year, a pair of Little Forktails (Photo 5), which was my 100th China bird of 2009.

199.Slaty Backed Forktail-----------Tian Tao Mountain-----------------China
200.Little Forktail--------------------Tian Tao Mountain-----------------China

More to follow.....


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Nick Sismey
Thanks very much to the third person to rank this thread

15 February 2009 (continued)

After a quick team photo (Photo1 – Left, Wei Qian and Albert Jiang) we drove a little further up the mountain where there was mini replica of the original Stone Forest in Yunnan Province, next to the river. High up in a tree over the river a Chestnut Thrush was feeding, while even higher in another tree was a Yellow Bellied Tit. Crossing the road near a refuse dump a Green Backed Tit was fairing a lot better than Wei Qian and I with the smell!

201.Chestnut Thrush-----------------Tian Tao Mountain-------------------China
202. Yellow Bellied Tit---------------Tian Tao Mountain-------------------China
203.Green Backed Tit----------------Tian Tao Mountain-------------------China

Reaching as far as we could go up the mountain Wei Qian and I wondered across the river to pick up a flock of Ashy Throated Parrotbills. I also saw my first Chinese Treecreeper, unfortunately it was a European one when we checked the photos.

204.Ashy Throated Parrotbill--------Tian Tao Mountain------------------China

After a very spicy Sichuan lunch we left Albert in the car to sleep as we made our way down the mountain. Stopping to look across at the steep sides of the mountain from another, empty, summer car park, complete with garish sign advertising the wonders of the firefly (Photo 2) we picked out some Mountain Bulbuls (Photo 3) together with Stripe Throated Yuhina.

205.Mountain Bulbuls----------------Tian Tao Mountain------------------China
206.Stripe Throated Yuhina---------Tian Tao Mountain------------------China

Continuing down the mountain road Wei Qian spotted a little brown bird skulking in the undergrowth, which turned out to be my second lifer of the day a Dusky Fulvetta

207.Dusky Fulvetta--------------Tian Tao Mountain-------------China

90 minutes after leaving Albert in the car we arrived back at the model Stone Forest where a gorgeous Red Billed Leiothrix was in with a mixed flock of birds.

208.Red Billed Leiothrix-------------Tian Tao Mountain-------------China

Having walked for another hour through some wonderful countryside Albert joined us again and we set off back to Chengdu. Stopping alongside a bolder strewn river full of egrets and all three types of redstarts I have seen since arriving in China, an unmistakable Blue Whistling Thrush (Photo 4) was jumping from bolder to bolder. Meanwhile on the far bank a Brown Breasted Bulbul was working the bushes overhanging the river.

209.Blue Whistling Thrush-----------Tian Tao Mountain--------------China
210.Brown Breasted Bulbul----------Tian Tao Mountain--------------China

Another stop, again next to the river rewarded us with a flock of Russet Sparrows (Photo 5) mingling with Grey Headed Greenfinch

211.Russet Sparrow------------------Tian Tao Mountain--------------China

Our final stop was where we had made our first of the day with several noisy White Browed Laughingthrush being the last birds of the day, before the long trek home.

212.White Browed Laughingthrush----Tian Tao Mountain------------China

Having dropped off Wei Qian and thanking him for a great day (a days birding with Wei Qian is always good!) Albert and I went off a Chinese Restaurant to meet Zaxxio, our long time friend who runs the Chengdu Bird Society. He was celebrating the birth of a son during the last week so we all wet the baby’s head “metaphorically speaking”. It was also good to meet up with Roland Zeidler, whom Wei Qian and I teamed up with on Zaxxio’s first Chengdu Bird Society bird races in April 2006! He now runs Western Sichuan Tours.

Our 47 birds seen in the day are listed below

Ashy Thoated Parrotbill, Black Throated Tit, Blackbird, Blue Whistling Thrush, Brown Breasted Bulbul, Brown Dipper, Chestnut Thrush, Chinese Bulbul, Collared Finchbill, Dusky Fulvetta, Green Backed Tit, Green Sandpiper, Grey Capped Greenfinch, Grey Cheeked Fulvetta, Grey Headed Bullfinch, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Hodgson's Redstart, Hwamei, Jay, Kingfisher, Little Egret, Little Forktail, Long Tailed Shrike, Magpie Robin, Mountain Bulbul, Olive Backed Pipit, Orange Flanked Bush Robin, Plumbeous Water Redstart, Red Billed Blue Magpie, Red Billed Leiothrix, Rufous Capped Babbler, Russet Sparrow, Slaty Backed Forktail, Sparrowhawk, Streak Breasted Scimitar Babbler, Stripe Throated Yuhina, Swallow, Teal, Tree Sparrow, Treecreeper, White Browed Laughingthrush, White Capped Water Redstart, White Rumped Munia, White Wagtail, Wren, Yellow Bellied Tit


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Nick Sismey
16 February 2009

During lunch at our usual Chinese restaurant (Photo1) near Chengdu airport, in what was a village and is now just a wasteland as the second runway is currently being built, my first ever House Sparrow in China was feeding with the more common Tree Sparrows.

As the weather was so good we ate in the garden of the restaurant where a female Daurian Redstart (Photo 2) kept us amused as it flew from bush to bush.

213.Daurian Redstart---------------------Chengdu-----------------------China

After work I walked across the road from the year old Intercontinental Hotel into an area of scrub, where there was a lake (Photo 3 - hotel on right) that clearly at one point had been part of a park, but the massive new development in this area will soon see this disappear. To my surprise there were several Ferruginous Pochards (Photo 4) on the lake, cleverly moving away as I approached, preventing a good photo in the poor light.

214.Ferruginous Pochard------------------Chengdu----------------------China


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Nick Sismey
19 February 2009

A quick early morning walk through the gardens of the Sheraton Hotel in Haikou and along the beach to a small river (Photo 1) was rewarded with a Little Ringed Plover scurrying along the tide line.

215.Little Ringed Plover---------------------Haikou-----------------------China

This evening I went back to the river and followed it up stream to find the pastureland that is normally full of birds. My first shock (shouldn’t really be shocked anymore) was to see how the river had been changed. Part of the original river (Photo 2) was hanging on to life but a large length of it had been desecrated (Photo 3) as Haikou’s expansion has finally caught up with this originally quiet area; how much more bird watching I will be able to do around here in the future, only time will tell.

A Common Sandpiper, together with two Green Sandpiper still managed to find a small area to feed despite the increasing numbers of domestic ducks.

216.Common Sandpiper--------------------Haikou------------------------China

Then I heard the tell tale call of a Pied Kingfisher (Photo 4), not one but a wonderful family of five birds that all took to the air at once as I approached, this certainly lifted my spirits, watching them squabbling for several minutes!

217.Pied Kingfisher------------------------Haikou-------------------------China

As I moved on, a flock of Common Myna (Photo 5) lifted up from what was originally the top of a fish pond, now just laid to waste awaiting the construction vehicles.

218.Common Myna------------------------Haikou-------------------------China

The final bird of the day was one I was hoping to see there, and normally guaranteed, a beautiful Hoopoe that was far too flighty (can you blame it?) to get a photo.



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Nick Sismey
20 February 2009

Following a final night of celebration (Photo1) for a Conference going on at the hotel today dawned overcast, warm but thankfully dry as I looked out of my hotel window (Photo 2). That was good as I was taking the day off to do some birding here in Haikou before travelling to Hong Kong this afternoon.

Down at the beach, near the river outflow, several Kentish Plover (Photo 3) were feeding along the waterline.

220.Kentish Plover-----------------------Haikou----------------------China

Walking upstream a couple of Dusky Warblers were making their familiar tschack-tschack call deep inside a bush, impossible to photograph despite plenty of attempts. This would be my 126 China bird of the year equalling what had taken a month to build up in the UK!

221.Dusky Warbler-----------------------Haikou---------------------China

Wondering further inland my spirits again dropped at the desolation before me, I had taken the east bank this time where there was at least a bit more vegetation. After I walked as far as I could and started back for the hotel, first a juvenile and then an adult Black Shouldered Kite flew overhead against the opaque sky.

222.Black Shouldered Kite----------------Haikou--------------------China

The final bird of the day, and my 128th and final China bird of this trip, was one I had thought I had seen earlier amongst a flock of Spotted Doves, this time there was no doubt as I was virtually able to walk right beneath a Red Collared Dove, the spotted variety having left the scene much earlier!

223.Red Collared Dove-------------------Haikou---------------------China

In the three hours I picked up the following 29 birds : -

Black Shouldered Kite, Chinese Bulbul, Chinese Pond Heron, Common Myna, Common Sandpiper, Crested Myna, Daurian Redstart, Dusky Warbler, Great Tit, Greater Coucal, Green Sandpiper, Grey Wagtail, Hoopoe, Japanese White Eye, Kentish Plover, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Little Egret, Little Ringed Plover, Long Tailed Shrike, Magpie Robin, Olive Backed Pipit, Pied Kingfisher, Plain Prinia, Red Collared Dove, Siberian Stonechat, Spotted Dove, Swallow, White Throated Kingfisher, White Wagtail


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Nick Sismey
20 February 2009 (continued)

Arriving at Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airport (Photo1 –taken before flight home) the first bird I saw wheeling over the sea was a Black Eared Kite (Photo 2), the bird that tells you, you have arrived in Hong Kong so plentiful are they, especially around the harbour and island.

224.Black Eared Kite--------------------Chek Lap Kok----------------Hong Kong

Jason Zhang, another of our reps (and good friend), met me at the airport and kindly agreed to take me to Hong Kong Park (Photo 3 & 4) on the island. There the Yellow Crested Cockatoos were noisily chasing each other between the treetops while very tame Masked Laughingthrush were feeding in the bushes. Finally three brilliantly green Rose Ringed Parakeet flew overhead.

225.Yellow Crested Cockatoo----------Hong Kong Park-------------Hong Kong
226.Masked Laughingthrush------------Hong Kong Park-------------Hong Kong
227.Rose Ringed Parakeet-------------Hong Kong Park-------------Hong Kong

Then it was off to see the 8pm lightshow (Photo 5) before dinner.


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Nick Sismey
21 February 2009

Saturday dawned overcast and windy, the wind having woken me during the night, up on the 15th floor. However when Jason and I left at 7am the wind weakened as we entered the New Territories and Ping Long (Photo1) where fellow Birdforum Member Mike Kilburn (MkinHK) lives. Mike had the morning free and so very generously agreed to show us some of his local haunts. As we arrived in the car park, my first year bird of the day was a Black Collared Starling (Photo 2) followed very closely by a Black Winged Cuckoo Shrike (Photo 3) in a tree near Mike’s apartment.

228.Black Collared Starling-------------------Ping Long--------------Hong Kong
229.Black Winged Cuckoo Shrike------------Ping Long--------------Hong Kong

From here Mike guided us to Kam Tin, a Koel calling in a tree being spotted as we arrived.

230.Koel--------------------------------------Kam Tin----------------Hong Kong

The main reason we were here was to see a specialist bird known to live in the village. Mike spotted said bird very quickly, setting up his scope (Photo 4 – Left to Right Jason Zhang and Mike Kilburn) on a wonderful Asian Barred Owlet (Photo 5 – badly digiscoped!)

231.Asian Barred Owlet---------------------Kam Tin---------------Hong Kong


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Nick Sismey
21 February 2009 (continued)

Before leaving Kam Tin we noticed several Yellow Wagtails (Photo 1) mixing it with White Wagtails around the fishponds.

232.Yellow Wagtail------------------------Kam Tin--------------------Hong Kong

Next stop was, as Mike put it, the wonderfully named “Kam Tin Main Drainage Channel” (Photo 2), which produced much more than its name would suggest! Three sandpiper species were feeding there, but it was the Wood Sandpiper (Photo 3) that added to my year ticks, in far more numbers than either Common and Green.

233.Wood Sandpiper----------------------Kam Tin-------------------Hong Kong

Eagle eyed Mike then spotted a lifer for me walking along the edge of the channel’s stone banks, a Red Throated Pipit (Photo 4), which seemed to have some growths on its legs, unless it was just dried mud!

234.Red Throated Pipit--------------------Kam Tin-------------------Hong Kong

Further along the channel there were a number of Black Winged Stilts (Photo 5) with up to 18 splendid Grey Headed Lapwings

235.Black Winged Stilt--------------------Kam Tin-------------------Hong Kong
236.Grey Headed Lapwing----------------Kam Tin-------------------Hong Kong

More to follow……


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Nick Sismey
21 February 2009 (continued)

Yet further along the channel mangrove swamps (Photo 1) started to appear with graceful Great White Egrets feeding in the shallows. An Osprey (Photo 2) then made a low level fly over.

237.Great White Egret-----------------Nam Sang Wai----------------Hong Kong
238.Osprey-----------------------------Nam Sang Wai----------------Hong Kong

Our final stop along the channel gave us wonderful views across a large mangrove swamp towards the metropolis of Hong Kong. I counted 22 Black Faced Spoonbills asleep and later a further one awake! (Photo 3)

239.Black Faced Spoonbill------------Nam Sang Wai----------------Hong Kong

Then a Collared Crow flew over the mangrove with Hong Kong acting as its backdrop

240.Collared Crow --------------------Nam Sang Wai---------------Hong Kong


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Nick Sismey
21 February 2009 (continued)

Mike identified a lone gull that flew into view as a Heuglin's Gull (Photo 1), the other photographers (Photo 2) making me feel somewhat inadequate with the cameras and lenses they were operating! House Swifts were also evident high in the sky behind the gull, while under the mangroves, along the waterline several White Breasted Waterhens were skulking.

241.Heuglin's Gull---------------------Nam Sang Wai----------------Hong Kong
242.House Swift-----------------------Nam Sang Wai----------------Hong Kong
243.White Breasted Waterhen--------Nam Sang Wai----------------Hong Kong

This area really had that feeling about it that there was so much more out there, you just needed to keep looking. Using Mike’s telescope I scanned the distant mangroves and trees and spotted something big and brown in the far distance that didn’t feel like it was one of the many cormorants in the area. Mike took a look and identified it as a Greater Spotted Eagle, which took the attention of the recently arrived birders, and was my second lifer of the day. A fellow Hong Kong Bird Club and friend of Mikes, Bob (who I met last year) then appeared. Noticing he had the same camera setup as mine we got onto the subject of shooting RAW, which he swore by, something I should really try!

244.Greater Spotted Eagle---------Nam Sang Wai----------------Hong Kong

Time for another move as Mike had to be back home for 12pm. Arriving at the fishponds at Lut Chau (Photo 3) several Cattle Egret were feeding in the fields. But our thoughts were soon diverted from egrets as a large bird of prey came into view overhead, another eagle! As it circled closer and closer Mike advised that this was an Imperial Eagle; two eagles in less than half an hour and both lifers!

245.Cattle Egret------------------------Nam Sang Wai---------------Hong Kong
246.Imperial Eagle------------------Nam Sang Wai---------------Hong Kong

As the bird passed into the haze, it had turned out into a sunny warm day by now, Whiskered Terns could be seen fishing above the tree line, while on a remote utility cable a Black Drongo was deciding where to fly to next.

247.Whiskered Tern-------------------Nam Sang Wai---------------Hong Kong
248.Black Drongo---------------------Nam Sang Wai----------------Hong Kong

We now had to make tracks to get Mike home by the stipulated time. As we drove swiftly along the road separating the fishponds Zitting Cisticola bounced up from the tall grass surrounding the ponds

249.Zitting Cisticola------------------Nam Sang Wai-----------------Hong Kong

Mike’s final present of the morning for us was yet another eagle, a Crested Serpent Eagle circling above a mountain at the side of the road as we neared his home.

250.Crested Serpent Eagle-----------Nam Sang Wai-----------------Hong Kong

I thanked Mike for an excellent morning that had netted 66 birds and three lifers, several of which without his expertise of both the area and his local birds we would not have seen. Next stop for Jason and I was a forested mountain area Ng Tung Chai Tsuen (Photo 4) recommended by Mike. Initially there were very few birds but, as often happens in forests, suddenly several birds started flying through the trees overhead. After a while we identified them as multi-coloured Silver Eared Mesia (Photo 5)

251.Silver Eared Mesia--------------Ng Tung Chai Tsuen------------Hong Kong

It would be just over an hour before we picked up another year tick, in the meantime we had walked up to a waterfall and were now making our way back down the mountain. Deep down in the valley a minivet called. After some time we found a yellow female on an old tree and then a little later a red male Grey Throated Minivet joined her.

252.Grey Throated Minivet----------Ng Tung Chai Tsuen------------Hong Kong

Buoyed by this we continued down to the mountain when, just before the dirt trail was replaced by a concrete path, several little birds were keeping themselves busy in a tree. Again there were more mesia but this time with Grey Cheeked Fulvetta and a single blue winged bird that would just keep hiding behind the branches and leaves. Eventually I got a good enough view to identify it as a Blue Winged Minla, yet another lifer for the day!

253.Blue Winged Minla--------------Ng Tung Chai Tsuen-------------Hong Kong


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Nick Sismey
21 February 2009 (continued)

Our final destination was Long Valley, which I visited with Mike in what I only thought was last year but my records show it was September 2007, now that is worrying! Long Valley consists of both arable farmland (Photo1), fishponds (Photo 2) and marshland areas, and is a truly special place for birders.

A flock of Scaly Breasted Munia (Photo 3) were scuttling through the bases of dead reeds as we arrived. There were in fact birds everywhere but we had had such a good day many were not new for the year, some new to Hong Kong though. My final bird of this trip would be both a surprise and a lifer, a Hill Myna (Photo 4) sitting on a distant utility cable just long enough for me to grab a quick shot in the fading light!

254.Scaly Breasted Munia----------Ng Tung Chai Tsuen------------Hong Kong
255.Hill Myna----------------------Ng Tung Chai Tsuen-----------Hong Kong

Having spent a good couple of hours wandering the built up mud walkways between the fields, fishponds and marshes, being deafened by three Hong Kong teenagers riding their cycles along another drainage channel with enormous music speakers blearing out contemporary music and being chased by a dog we called it a day at 1700 hours.

It had been a fabulous day and I will forever be indebted to Jason for providing the transport, Shou Ke the accommodation and Mike for his expertise. We saw a superb variety of birds and areas of Hong Kong we had never been to before. The full list of 78 birds is shown below: -

Asian Barred Owlet, Avocet, Black Collared Starling, Black Drongo, Black Eared Kite, Black Faced Spoonbill, Black Headed Gull, Black Winged Cuckoo Shrike, Black Winged Stilt, Blackbird, Blue Winged Minla, Buzzard, Cattle Egret, Chestnut Bulbul, Chinese Bulbul, Chinese Pond Heron, Collared Crow, Collared Dove, Common Sandpiper, Common Tailorbird, Cormorant, Crested Myna, Crested Serpent Eagle, Curlew, Dusky Warbler, Great Tit, Great White Egret, Greater Spotted Eagle, Green Sandpiper, Grey Cheeked Fulvetta, Grey Headed Lapwing, Grey Heron, Grey Throated Minivet, Heuglin's Gull, Hill Myna, House Swift, Imperial Eagle, Japanese White Eye, Koel, Large Billed Crow, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Little Ringed Plover, Long Tailed Shrike, Magpie, Magpie Robin, Marsh Harrier, Masked Laughingthrush, Moorhen, Olive Backed Pipit, Osprey, Peregrine, Plain Prinia, Red Billed Starling, Red Rumped Swallow, Red Throated Pipit, Red Whiskered Bulbul, Richard's Pipit, Rufous Capped Babbler, Scaly Breasted Munia, Shoveler, Siberian Stonechat, Silver Eared Mesia, Snipe, Sooty Headed Bulbul, Swallow, Teal, Tree Sparrow, Whiskered Tern, White Breasted Waterhen, White Cheeked Starling, White Throated Kingfisher, White Wagtail, Wigeon, Wood Sandpiper, Yellow Bellied Prinia, Yellow Wagtail, Zitting Cisticola.

This two and a half week trip added 130 birds to my 2009 year list, including 10 lifers, putting me 32 birds ahead of this time last year! Work filled my weekdays and evenings while birding filled the weekends thanks to some great birding friends and work colleagues/friends who spared me their valuable time. There was certainly no time to be bored and a great way to make the time away from the family fly by, again where did the time go?

Final photo is of a Dusky Warbler (Photo 5) taken on a driveway in Kam Tin. I had spent a good deal of time trying to photo these delightful birds in Haikou without luck, as they keep well hidden in the vegetation, whereas here they seemed far less afraid!


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Nick Sismey
22 February 2009

Coming into Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam several Black Headed Gulls flew under our flight path while a kestrel was sitting on a post as we taxied to our gate, taking my Dutch year list to a grand total of "4".


Nick Sismey
1 March 2009

Following my two-hour dip yesterday at Allestree Park (Photo1), on the outskirts of Derby, Steve Whiteley joined me today at the same place in search of the elusive Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Photo 2). Just as we arrived two birders said they had had very quick views of both the male and female birds. However it took two hours before we lucked in, the female calling and giving herself away high in a tree, followed by the male a little later drumming for several minutes half way up a tree.

256.Lesser Spotted Woodpecker--------------Allestree Park-------------England


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Nick Sismey
7 March 2009

After two failed attempts at Foremark Reservoir an early trip on Sunday morning looked like I was going for a hat-trick after the first hour and a half as I tried to morph every Great Crested Grebe in sight into the long staying Red Necked Grebe.

By the time I had joined up with several other birders (Photo1), who had also been looking for a good while, we were all starting to believe the bird had decided today of all days was the day to move on. Then, as is so typical with birding, we all had one final scan, and the bird was spotted asleep close to the bank of the reservoir.

257.Red Necked Grebe----------------Foremark Reservoir-------------England

All were naturally relieved and moved along the edge of the reservoir to get a closer look, but it was never seen again. More birders arrived but we couldn’t spot the bird for them, and with black clouds rolling in I was away in my car as the rain began.


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