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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Some Hong Kong birding (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
1 Jan

One well-known place for birding is the Kadoorie Farm and Botanical Garden. It is a tourist attraction with an entrance fee. Near the entrance there are displays of agricultural and horticultural practices. Further uphill there are forests and a bit of grassland, with themed gardens here and there. It is common to take a shuttle bus up to the top of the hill and then to walk back down to the entrance.

Earlier, I had twitched a Bull-headed Shrike near the Butterfly Garden. The bird was quite vocal and showed brilliantly.

This New Year's Day, I was out looking for a male Fujian Niltava, reported to be near the water tank above Orchid Haven.

I got off the shuttle bus at Orchid Haven. For a moment I was confused about where to go. I took what turned out to be the correct road. Upon reaching the water tank, I was disappointed to see no sign of any Fujian Niltava. I thought that the water would attract insects, which in turn would attract a flycatcher on a winter day.

It was only when I went a bit further that I heard a call that sounded promising. Then, a flash of blue! I was a bit frustrated and worried that it might not show any better the rest of the afternoon.

Luckily, it showed much better in due course. I took quite a few photographs and got a good enough view to check that the vent was of a much paler shade than the orange on the breast, which distinguishes the male Fujian Niltava from the male Orange-bellied Niltava.

Looking around, I also found a Pale Thrush, which perched long enough for me to take a confirmatory photo. This was the second Pale Thrush that I had knowingly seen. The first was in a small urban park in the north of Hong Kong (an area called Sheung Shui).

Happy as a sandboy, I walked down to the entrance, spotting most notably along the way an Ashy Drongo with a white face. It was nice seeing one perched out in the open.
11 Jan

There was a Japanese Cormorant this January. The Japanese Cormorant is a rare winter visitor to Hong Kong. For several days, it was seen on the coast of the large Lantau Island. One would reach that spot by renting a boat from the smaller island of Cheung Chau. Incidentally, one particularly party who hired a boat for this purpose failed to find the Japanese Cormorant but were instead graced with marvellously close views of a Eurasian Eagle Owl that happened to be sitting on a rock by the sea!

On one particular day in that period, I went to Cheung Chau expecting to find other birders or photographers, but there was no such person and apparently nobody from whom to hire a boat to the location. I thought I had missed my chance.

As it happened, later the Japanese Cormorant frequented a different location: a rock visible from the promenade near Disneyland, where Great Cormorants like to roost. I was grateful that it was at a more convenient location than Cheung Chau. The promenade is outside the paid area of Disneyland, so one didn't have to pay the entrance fee.

I marched from the MTR (i.e. subway or metro) station right down to the Disneyland pier, then made a right turn and walked along the promenade. An acquaintance greeted me and informed me that the Japanese Cormorant showed for some time and then went out of sight! It was dejecting to receive the news. I hoped that the bird in question had simply moved to a point on the rock that was not visible from certain angles.

I was right! It turns out that it moved to a place almost completely hidden from where I first stood looking at it. The Japanese Cormorant would occasionally raise its head, so that I could see the whiteness of its throat.

Why I didn't think sooner of moving further along the promenade to check the rock from a different angle, I can't say for sure. But I eventually figured out that that was what I had to do. Indeed I got views that were much better there though not entirely splendid, since the rock was quite some distance from the shore and even with my scope I had to crank up the zoom to the maximum to appreciate its features. Its startlingly white underparts separated it from all the other cormorants present. With some effort, I checked that the lower mandible was of the same shade of yellow as the gular pouch, and that the back of the gular pouch was angled much more sharply than on a Great Cormorant.

An osprey happened to be there as well. Behind me was a hotel overlooking a garden that was visited by starlings and bulbuls. I saw the cormorants fly off, and I myself left the place at around sunset.
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