查看完整版本: Shing Mun/ Lead Mine Pass Autumn 2010

tsheunglai 26/09/2010 19:17

Shing Mun/ Lead Mine Pass Autumn 2010


Dear all

Shing Mun and its western extension Lead Mine Pass (leading to Tai Mo Shan, Grass Hill, Tai Po &
Tai Po Kau, etc) has become for me a regular birding area. Mr Graham Talbot's recent comment to me
which I concur that Shing Mun and LMP in particular is underbirded. To arouse more interest in this
area and attract more birdwatchers coming there is my purpose of creating this topic today.

This autumn, I have so far seen six species of flycatchers there which are Black-naped Monarch,
Chinese, Ferruginous, Asian Paradise(six birds in one morning), Japanese Paradise and Asian brown flycatchers.

Today Sep 2010 migrants seen:

1) Black-naped Monarch x1
2) Asian brown flycatcher x1
3) Artic warbler several
4) Eastern-crown warbler x1
5) Radde's warbler (very early) x1

I'll keep my readers posted with the latest information.

S L Tai

kmike 26/09/2010 21:46

Delighted to see another area receiving regular coverage!

Looking forward to hearing of some great discoveries, but a bit worried about how far it is to twitch a really good bird!

Perhaps you could give a brief introduction about how you get to the site?

Many thanks


thinfor 27/09/2010 09:23

Thanks for your report.  BTW, I think you meant Shing Mun and its Northern part leading to Lead Mine Pass instead of western?  Western part of Shing Mun is the water collecting area of Tai Shing Stream which is a very popular stream trekking route in HK.  The terrain is much more rugged for birdwatching if one doesn't follow the contoured foot path. 3551sweat445

tsheunglai 27/09/2010 22:13

Shing Mun/ Lead Mine Pass Area , a reply to enquiries

First of all, thank you for you enquiries.

Again thank you for pointing out my sense of direction being in want. Now with a map book let
me give a brief description of how I go there to bird.

The most convenient way is to take a taxi at the taxi stop on the ground floor of the carpark building
on Sai Lau Kok Road on the Luk Yeung Sun Chuen end of Tsuen Wan MTR Station. Every time I take the minibus no.82 in Shiu Wo Street. I get off below Pine Apple Dam (proper English name to be checked),
walk up the steps on its left side and go along the track along the reservoir until a long case of stairs takes me to the main road. There are good direction signs and landmarks such as picnic sites with numbers are particularly helpful. Go until you reach a public toilet and cross a bridge and about two hundred metres more you come to a road junction (good direction post here).Don't turn right but go straight on. Then you have reached the northern end of Shing Mun Reservoir and at the beginning of the Lead Mine Pass section. It takes about half an hour to 40 minutes of leisure walking to reach here. From now on it is all up until you reach a hill pass, again a public toilet there. I usually walk around to see if there are good birds which have landed the night before. I'm usually disappointed but I found my second yellow-rumped flycatcher there and last year I was rewarded with a forest wagtail. It is again half to 40 minutes of pure walking.

Today I began at 6:40 and reached the top in about one and a half hours for there's little birding.
It is on my return that I met a good bird wave and found some good birds.

To be honest, I always rely on common sense and for a lot of times I use my right-side of my brain
(for I was born lef-handed) to think intuitively. You can see my direction of way here is simple sequencing except for turns. This way of thinking does me well but not when others need my direction in their own and proper way. I must emphazie that the Lead Mine Pass road zigzags to the north and not to the west.

S L Tai

tsheunglai 27/09/2010 23:16

Shing Mun/ Lead Mine Pass area

Today Sep 27 I walked up the Lead Mine Pass again, betting Geoff Welch's weather related bird
migration prediction was correct. I am on the whole not disappointed.

The beginning part is admittedly not good at all. It took forty-five minutes to have recorded
eleven species of birds heard or seen. And they were all local oens. I was casting doubts about
starting at the sixth hour of the day from home instead of half-past six.

When I reached the top of the pass it was nineteen species, all counted. A brief search around
yielded only further disappointment. I didn't stop for a rest for it was not yet half-past nine
and ther's still half of a morning before me. It turned out that it was still a good day for both
kinds of paradise flycatchers found in Hong Kong.

It was after some ten minutes of descending that I heard bird calls, mainly Chestnut bulbuls and
minivets. Soon I was totally engaged in sorting out good ones from common stuff.

Though hearing its call in the past week once or twice, I had my first [b][u][color=DarkGreen][size=3]White-bellied yuhina [/size][/color][/u][/b]of the
autumn in good view with its distinctive call, followed by both kinds of paradise flycatchers. I gave my best to check their back, tail and I thought most important of all their breast patch. Two Asian and one
Japanese, that're all. There was one Eastern-crowned warbler with a yellowish vent that gave
me false hope of seeing a Blyth's, but the crown colour distribution told me otherwise. There was
no clear yellow at all. Some fifteen minutes later the birds receded too far off for enjoyment and identification. I walked on.

Some fifteen minutes later I encountered a second bird wave, this time just some more warblers and
a second Japanese paradise flycatcher. So it seemed that the [b][u][size=3][size=2][color=[color=YellowGreen][color=Green]Yellow[/color][/color]]Japanese paradise flycatchers [/color][/size][/size][/u][/b]had reached
its peak of passing Hong Kong to level with the [b][u][size=2][color=SeaGreen]Asian paradise[/color][/size][/u][/b] by [b][u][size=2]two to two [/size][/u][/b]today.

On the whole, a satisfactory morning for me if my readers know my birding skills personally.

S L Tai

[[i] Last edited by tsheunglai at 27/09/2010 23:20 [/i]]

tsheunglai 30/09/2010 21:28

SM/LMP on Sep 30 morning

The minibus 82 that carried me to Shing Mun was two minutes early, catching me quite unprepared
though I mangaged to hail it stop for me (before 6:30 am it circulates around its set route and one
needs to station himself at the right place at the right time).

  The earlier set-out resulted in ten minutes earlier in arrival at Pineapple Dam (name confirmed to be correct). Within a minute I was ready to go. It was half-past six.

  The first two birds were heard, and the third one was a Black-eared kite seen. Rain during the night
must have had the birds got wet to be active yet, for it was some twenty minutes before I saw my fourth one. The scene was a leafless tree set against a grayish sky. The bird was perched away from me, size quite the same as a spotted dove. To rely upon my aging naked eyes being a precarious business, I applied my lenses to zeal an identification. Stout-but-sharp billed, unusually darkish with dull red barely seen towards bill-base, large flat blackish head with dull bluish wing coverts, bulky-bodied and dark-short tailed. The unavoidable conclusion was that it was[b][u][size=3][color=MediumTurquoise]a Dollar bird[/color][/size][/u][/b]. It looked tired and not yet ready to start feeding. Decidedly that I would return home not empty handed, I moved on.

  At Shing Mun Picnic Site No. 6 with a public toilet nearby I encountered my first 'birdwave' of the
morning. Gray-throated minivets, more yellow ones than red ones as expected for the presence of a lot
juveniles and a black-underbodied male Yellow-cheeked tit. I kept counting, and in the first several minutes it kept on being two species, the simplest kind of flock of mixed birds possible. Then a bird whose flight manner told me it was a flycatcher, an [b][u][size=3][color=MediumTurquoise]Asian brown[/color][/size][/u][/b], quite unmarked breast with a wide yellowish lower mandible base. No need to follow its flight. But the question why the same bird a moment later, with its back facing me looked brown with hardly any grayish cast, with two wing bars, the greater covers one being dotted, warned me the juvenile flycatcher in hand definitely worthy of further checking. It flew and perched, small dark marks all over the upper breast forming a clear demarcation with its clean off-white throat - decidedly a [b][u][size=3][color=MediumTurquoise]Sooty flycatcher[/color][/size][/u][/b]. Three kinds of migrants so far and not in total yet.

  It was until I was at the top of the pass when I recorded my fourth. The two warblers were smaller
than the Artic and Eastern-crowned ones on previous mornings. First there were the two wide whitish yellow wing-bars and eyebrow, absence of median crown stripe and yellow rump excluded it to be Pallas's.
The inescapable deduction was that they were [b][u][size=3][color=MediumTurquoise]Yellow-browed warblers[/color][/size][/u][/b] in fresh plumage. I decided to give them further examination when opportunities arise later on, at least for the first dozen, well knowing that I would record them by their distinctive call alone when winter set in.

  Some agressive yelping in quick loud notes while the bird was sallying around above tree canopy was suddenly heard. As I expected the bird making the call to be my first of the autumn, I made it double sure it was not an OBL playing its mimicking tricks upon me(for not long moment ago I found one female displaying the same talent only selling herself away for simulating more than one kind of call). For some moments it was no more to be seen or heard. But experience told me it was still nearby, for the minivets usually in company with it still flying quick and thick before me. Patience was rewarded when its light gray body rested upon a high-up branch of a tree - an [b][u][size=3][color=MediumTurquoise]Ashy drongo [/color][/size][/u][/b]belonging to the race leucogenis. This bird I would miss, but other birds of its kind would help enlivening the Hong Kong forests with their presence in the winter days to come, be it bright and sunny, cold and gloomy.

S L Tai

tsheunglai 4/10/2010 20:31

Oct 4 morning

   I started birding from Pineapple Dam at about half-past six again for the driver of the minbus
was punctual to pick me up.

   The first migrant of the morning was again the [b][u][size=3][color=Plum]Dollar bird [/color][/size][/u][/b]I saw last Thursday on the same tree. On the way I picked up the call of [b][u][size=3][color=Plum]Yellow-browed warblers [/color][/size][/u][/b]again but didn't make any effort to find them for the height was not favourable.

   It was from a large birdwave that I recorded my first [b][u][size=3][color=Plum]Black-winged cuckoo shrike [/color][/size][/u][/b]of the autumn with a brief view of its rump-tail-folded wing parts.  Someone saw one as recently as yesterday at Sai Kung. I supposed it wouldn't stay but passed on towards south and I didn't see the Ashy drongo again which I saw last Thursday. There was a Muscicapa flycatcher which I got just a glimpse of its back and therefore failed to identify.

   From a second and minor birdwave with some perseverance I got a clear sight an [b][u][size=3][color=DarkOrchid]Asian paradise flycatcher[/color][/size][/u][/b] among Chestnut bulbuls which was my ninth from the place this season.

   Two [b][u][size=3][color=Plum]Eastern-crowned warblers [/color][/size][/u][/b]completed my morning's list of migrants which totaled five.

   It was good to be able to pick up some [b][u][b][b][u][size=3][color=DarkOrchid]Mountain bulls [/color][/size][/u][/b][/b][/u][/b]from the scores of Chestnuts by virtue of their distinctive call. The absence of fine streaks on the breast of one of them afforded me the supposition that it was a juvenile.

   One advantage of birding at SM/LMP, TPK or NTC (Ng Tung Chai) is that I hear more bird calls
than on Po Toi. Anyway I have the personal preference of SM/LMP over Po Toi for its scenic views.

    The first bird heard was Great tit and the last bird seen was a Chinese bulbul.
    It was a happy thing to meet an old acquaintance again on the trail. He was Mr Hiu who was the
co-author of the butterfly book published by AFCD. He was posted back to Shing Mun Country Park.

    S L Tai

tsheunglai 14/10/2010 21:47

SM/LMP on 12 Oct 2010

This morning I got a birding companion. He was K Sir whose target bird today was Japanese
Paradise Flycatcher. He wasn't disappointed.

   We started at 7:43, time a whole hour later than I usually did, but the number of species
seen was good.

   The first six species were first heard and seen later except Pale-legged-/Sakhalin leaf warbler
whcih remained heard. Unexpectedly I found the dark-billed [b][u][size=4][color=DeepSkyBlue]Dollar
bird [/color][/size][/u][/b]again and K Sir got some shots of it. Perhaps it was moutling that kept it from starting its flight towards south again. My record booklet says it's its twelth day at Shing Mun.

    The first birdwave that greeted us had a good assortment of species, including a [b][u][size=4][color=DeepSkyBlue]Japanses paradise flycatcher[/color][/size][/u][/b] (my 5th from SM/LMP), K Sir's first.
   Some twenty minutes later we had our second birdwave which was even better. There was a
[b][u][size=4][color=RoyalBlue]White-bellied yuhina[/color][/size][/u][/b], a good indicator that
there were a lot of birds of other kind. First it was heard and its pale green back with its mostly
pure white underbody(except the yellowish undertail coverts) always had me delighted with its presence.
A sideview of a [b][u][size=4][color=DeepSkyBlue]Ashy drongo[/color][/size][/u][/b], and then there
was a [b][u][size=4][color=DeepSkyBlue]Asian paradise flycatcher[/color][/size][/u][/b]. I missed
the [b][u][size=4][color=DeepSkyBlue]Black-winged cuckoo shrike [/color][/size][/u][/b]K Sir saw. We heard a Crested serpent eagle calling (first of this autumn) and then a bird uttering a four-note chuckle. It was a great surprise and I told my companion there was a [b][u][size=4][color=DeepSkyBlue]
Bay Woodpecker [/color][/size][/u][/b]near us but not close enough to warrant a dash to the source
of the call. Soon a second chuckle made me being double sure. Then a Plaintive cuckoo-like eight(?)
note call got K Sir cast away any doubt that remained. As excepted, the bird was never near enough
for us to see.

   We met a third birdwave near the top of the pass that awarded us an [b][u][size=4][color=DeepSkyBlue]Eastern-crowned warbler[/color][/size][/u][/b].

   At the top I showed K Sir where I usually  walked around the public toilet.

   On our downhill lap of the morning trip surprisingly we met the second birdwave again. I saw
the Black-winged cuckoo shrike that I missed earlier on and picked up a juvenile [b][u][size=4][color=DeepSkyBlue]Dark-sided flycatcher.[/color][/size][/u][/b]

   A total number of [b][u][size=4][color=DarkOrchid]thirty-three species [/color][/size][/u][/b]
seen was more than I could have hoped to bargain for, and the record of the first Bay woodpecker
heard ever from Lead Mine Pass was surely an event worth to be noted in any bird record book.

   S L Tai

tsheunglai 14/10/2010 21:59

Record shot of the dark-billed Dollar bird

[b][u][size=5][color=DeepSkyBlue]Dark-billed Dollar Bird[/color][/size][/u][/b]


james10 15/10/2010 12:04

Being a hiker who pass by Lead Mine Pass regularly, I am actually unaware that the area is such a good environment for birds to stay.

sdavid 15/10/2010 14:11

What did you see around the public toilet?

tsheunglai 15/10/2010 22:32

Whereabout is the public toilet

Dear Dave

There are three stone/concrete-made public toilets all the way.

The first one is near the Pineapple Dam at the starting point where minbus 82 has its final stop.
The 2nd one is near Shing Mun Picnic Site No.6 before the first bridge/the only road bridge that runs across a stream.The 3rd/the last one is at the top of LMP Shing Mun Section from where you can go up and across to Tai Po Kau, Grass Hill and Needle Hill or down to Wun Yiu, Tai Po, or go up to Tai Mo
Shan along MacLehose trail no. seven (?)

If my guess is correct you mean the second one at PS No. 6. No, I didn't see anything special
there on the latest morning I birded at SM/LMP.

By the way, the Black-throated tit seen by Beetle at TPK was seen by me twice this season.


S L Tai

tsheunglai 15/10/2010 22:44

Whereabout of the tip toilet

Dear Dave

Correction here. I see you really mean the top one. I saw several Yellow-browed warblers who behaved
like a family, grouping together and one chasing another, something one sees in spring at Sek Kong
Airport Road. Otherwise, it was quite quiet. But last year it was here I found a Forest wagtail and a flock of Striated yuhinas on different occasions, and a Brambling near the top.


S L Tai

tsheunglai 18/10/2010 23:01

SM/LMP on Mon morning Oct 18 2010

We, meaning me and K Sir, arrived at the barrier gate and started birding at 7:53. There were calls from
local birds everywhere as the day started bright and warm. As unsual, we encountered no birdwave until
we were walking past Shing Mun proper and onto the first bridge that ran across the  main stream. It was
here we picked up the call of the [b][u][size=4][color=SandyBrown]Pygmy wren babbler[/color][/size][/u][/b], the first time I heard the species calling so near Shing Mun reservoir proper.

The first birdwave soon appeared, bulbuls being active on treetops and Black-throated laughing thrushes
on the ground storey. Convinced it was a good bird-mix, I moved back a bit and searched the midstorey,
and I was not disappointed. An [b][u][size=4][color=Purple]Asian paradise flycatcher [/color][/size][/u][/b]was soon spotted. Being dark on upper tail and back the possibility of seeing a Japanese one was a chance not to be ignored. However, the upper breast patch was still mainly gray and too regular with its lower border to qualify to be K Sir's "Wish come true" - a clear sighting of a Japanese. But K Sir got the credit of marking out the call of some [b][u][size=4][color=DarkOrange]Black-throated tits [/color][/size][/u][/b]on treetops of some high eucalypti (introduced from Australia if I'm not mistaken). He saw three. Soon we sensed that there were a party of them. I identified two before I counted them while they flew from one tree to another, totally [b][u][size=4][color=DarkOrange]eleven[/color][/size][/u][/b] of them on the safe side of the count. So, [b][u][size=4][color=DarkOrange]local birders' attention, please[/color][/size][/u][/b]. The species has not declined in number at all, at least not far behind 17 recorded here on 11 December 1994, according to Avifauna of HK.

K Sir also got a scarce autumn migrant (according again to our Green-covered bible) in the form of
a male [b][u][size=4][color=RoyalBlue]Blue and White flycatcher [/color][/size][/u][/b](my first of the autumn). A [b][u][size=4][color=RoyalBlue]Black-winged cuckoo-shrike [/color][/size][/u][/b]and [b][u][size=4][color=RoyalBlue]Ashy
drongo[/color][/size][/u][/b] soon made their appearance too, preceded by an [b][u][size=4]Asian brown flycatcher [/size][/u][/b]and some [b][u][size=4]Yellow-browed warblers[/size][/u][/b].

A second birdmix (forgive if I coin another bird term again, for I have let loose my right-sided
brain to work for me now, writing becoming an effortless and smooth flow of words when I trigger it on).
gave us good view of another Ashy drongo when we retraced our steps towards Shing Mun. It definitely
was another bird, for it was singularly pale bordering on the whitish grade, and a second Black-winged
cuckoo-shrike was seen flying.

Total of birds seen or heard was exactly [b][u][size=4]thirty[/size][/u][/b]. My bird call repertoire was extended to the inclusion of the call of the Black-throated tits which sounds kind of soft ringing of uniform medium pitch. K Sir got a new HK bird in the form of the same bird.

Fresh day, fresh experience - one of my mottos to be kept in mind.

S L Tai

tsheunglai 29/10/2010 22:09

A morning's walk on Oct 27, 2010

Would a significant weather change, like a good (for it brings comfort for outdoor sports like birdwatching) drop of temperature, bring a change in the number of birds seen, residents as well as birds on migration? My morning's walk seems to have offered an answer. But I must be reminded that any observation on wildlife and birds in particular, is a long-term business. Five to ten years is an average for any reliable conclusion (a good educated guess, I believe).

I went through the barrier gate at 7:40, late for LMP if going through Shing Mun part was not straight
business. I was still thinking about the bird which uttered a monosyllabic nasal call like bleating (to quote Clive Viney) at the grassy slope of Pineapple Dam was that of a [b][u][size=4][color=DeepSkyBlue]Bright-capped Cisticola[/color][/size][/u][/b] when I saw an [b][u][size=4][color=DeepSkyBlue]Ashy drongo[/color][/size][/u][/b]. Well, it was a daily thing as winter was settling in (see, the temperature was just 15 degree Celsius and I was wearing long-sleeved shirt and a pair of cotton pants!) but the bird wasn't among a birdwave, not calling and active. It perched, offering me a clear sight for a short moment.The only conclusion I could draw was that the bird had just arrived, early in the morning or during the night, non-avoidable if one was familiar with the birds found on Po Toi. I must also mention a [b][u][size=4][color=DeepSkyBlue]Gray-wagtail[/color][/size][/u][/b] which had settled itself on the aqueduct that ran behind the offices of the Waterworks Dep't and AFCD, without 'compatriots' or White wagtails as winter companions yet.

It was about an hour from start that I was at Picnite Site No.6. I heard or seemed to hear some Black-
throated tits calling high above nearby. I started turned up my head and searched. I missed a small
bird that stopped on top of the single cotten tree and was gone. But on the same level of it I found
a bigger bird. It was a flycatcher - brown headed, dull rufous with unclear streaks on the breast and
blue lower back and rump - no doubt a junvenile/first winter [b][u][size=4][color=DeepSkyBlue]Blue and white flycatcher[/color][/size][/u][/b]. Time afforded me just enough for identification and gone among thick leaves of some tree nearby. Another flycatcher soon came to view. The light was good and as I was quite sensitive to colour, its greater wing covert wing bar was found narrow and the feathers here fringed dull rufous. But more noteworthy was that its back was solid darkish brown. I tried hard to ascertain its identiy when it gave me some sideview. Yes, some streaks but inconclusive until a full view of its clear thick streaks across the breast. No doubt, my first [b][u][size=4][color=DeepSkyBlue]Gray-streaked flycatcher [/color][/size][/u][/b]of Shing Mun and naturally my first of this autumn.

So far and up to the top of the pass I met no birdwave and no windfall of any kind around the public
toilet. I walked down right away though I heard the sedentary [b][u][size=4][color=DeepSkyBlue]Lesser shortwing[/color][/size][/u][/b]called up the slope on the right, for time was running short at about
ten. The same kind was heard some distance downslope at its old place again. Still no birdwave
encountered all the way that made me a bit disappointed until I found a pair of [b][u][size=4][color=DeepSkyBlue]Sooty flycatchers[/color][/size][/u][/b].

It was no exaggeration that I found the first one [b][size=4]desperately feeding [/size][/b]above that part of a stream that ran down at right angle with the road on my right. Silently it perched, swinging its head left and right, took flight suddenly and immediately returned, perching on the same horizontal hanging climbing plant, throat swelled and shrank just detectably in gulping down its insect victim. For some minutes I kept on watching its bursts of short flight and hovering I found graceful and most enjoyable, at a distance short enough needing no aid of my binoculars. Reality was that the bird was refueling itself with pieces of nurishment tiny enough to be invisible to me, in its life-and-death struggle to be able to reach its wintering gounds in the south. I relaxed and gave it silent adieu when I saw it defecate, a good indication that it was doing well. I managed to just 'pick out' a[b][u][size=4][color=DeepSkyBlue]Black-winged cuckoo-shirke[/color][/size][/u][/b], again not with any birdwave before I finished my walk.

Total number of birds seen or heard (Bright-capped cisticola and Black-throated tit no counted) was 22,
eight and mroe than 25% behind last time, no bird wave and no warblers.

S L Tai

tsheunglai 1/11/2010 21:21

A morning birding on 1 Nov 10

I crossed the road barrier at 6:35 am, hopeful that it was a good day. Before the barrier along
the catchment (previously termed as aqueduct) behing the WW/AFCD Offices I met a miniature birdwave
of four to five kinds of birds. I found an uncalling [b][u][size=4][color=RoyalBlue]Asian brown flycatcher [/color][/size][/u][/b]among them. Two female [b][u][size=4][color=RoyalBlue]Daurian redstarts[/color][/size][/u][/b] (my Shing Mun first two of autumn) showed their appearance. I found a [b][u][size=4][color=RoyalBlue]Gray-streaked flycatcher[/color][/size][/u][/b]near Picnic Site No.6 which I thought was the one I saw last time, alone and prominent.

On the way to the top I met two birdwaves which seemed to be half-resting rather than at the height of
their morning round of food foraging. Totally I saw a [b][u][size=4][color=RoyalBlue]Black-winged cuckoo shrike [/color][/size][/u][/b]and an [b][u][size=4][color=RoyalBlue]Ashy drongo[/color][/size][/u][/b].

I complete my ritual of making my turn-around at the top empty-handed and walk straight down. When I
reached the Dark-sided flycatcher place (I found it again when I was up the path here earlier on finding it extending its short flights farther in) it was gone. I leaned on the low stone wall, searching for it. All of a sudden, a small heron, mainly gray in upperbody and long protruding yellow legs behind tail in bright sunlight, took flight below the road bridge, taking refuge in the leaf-covered upper part of the stream. No doubt a [b][u][size=4][color=RoyalBlue]Striated heron[/color][/size][/u][/b], my first of SM/ LMP area. Our Green bible (Avifauna of HK) states that the subspecies [b][u][size=4]B.s.amurensis[/size][/u][/b], which summers in norther-eastern provinces of China, migrates and winters in Hong Kong, usually near hilly streams.

The more you wonder, the more you enquire and better a birdwatcher you become. This is my lesson today.

S L Tai

tsheunglai 8/11/2010 23:23

Five Species of Flycatchers on the morning of Nov 8, 2010

While my bus was speeding on Ching Ma Bridge at 6:07 the day broke, with the lower eastern sky
smeared pinkish blue, promising me a good, cool and comfortable morning of long walk. It turned
out to be a good morning of birding too.

The nineteenth bird was a [b][u][size=4][color=Purple]Dark-sided flycatcher[/color][/size][/u][/b], with an [b][u][color=Purple][size=4]Asian brown [/size][/color][/u][/b]higher up, occupying their own
sparsely leaved trees for aerial sorties and panorama observation. Very soon a [b][u][size=4][color=Purple]Gray-streaked [/color][/size][/u][/b]was added to my morning's list.

It was at the beginning part of the LMP section that I found my fourth flycatcher, a near-to-stunning
male [b][u][size=4][color=Purple]Mugimaki[/color][/size][/u][/b]. 'Could it be a fifth?'I wondered. Very soon I was preoccupied with a calling flowerpecker. It was easy enough to spot the chirping bird, but
in spite of supposedly a Scarlet-backed, it was a male [b][u][size=4][color=Purple]Fire-breasted [/color][/size][/u][/b], buffed bellied, pale-red breast patch with a blackish stipe below, a fine example of
its sex. The pitch, though lower than Scarlet-backed's, nevertheless was high-pitched. Concentration
hard on enabled me to say that it had a ringing and more pleasant tone, while that of the Scarlet-backed's
was more metallic, reminding me of sound created by a file working on hard metal. My point of view was quickly verified by the presence of a calling male [b][u][size=4]Scarlet-backed[/size][/u][/b]nearby.

It was on my way back near Picnic Area No. 8 that the morning's birding was brought to a pitch.
First a distinctive call of a [b][u][size=4]Pallas's leaf warbler[/size][/u][/b], then a warbler which perched on a tree trunk (even up-side-down), typical behaviour of a [b][u][size=4]Blyth's leaf[/size][/u][/b], and then there was the two-note calls of a [b][u][size=4]Greenish warbler[/size][/u][/b]. While still quite at a loss which to begin with the warblers for observation, a bird suddenly came within sight, affording me a sideview of its upper half part of body, a flycatcher with very pale gray-like underbody and a blue-like folded wing. Just a perching position and it was gone, not seen again in spite of a twenty minutes of patient search. It was at home with the help of Robson's colour plates of blue flycatchers that I came to the conclusion that it was a very pale non-breeding female [b][u][size=4][color=Purple]Verditer[/color][/size][/u][/b].

Thus, with a basketful of [b][u][size=4][color=DarkOrchid][b][u][size=4][color=RoyalBlue]10 flycatchers in five types [/color][/size][/u][/b][/color][/size][/u][/b]and [b][u][size=4][color=Blue]thirty-eight species of forest birds [/color][/size][/u][/b](Greenish and Blyth's leaf warblers not counted) in total that I came home with the fact that I had borken my autumn's record three flycathers a morning on average.

[[i] Last edited by tsheunglai at 8/11/2010 23:26 [/i]]

tsheunglai 16/11/2010 20:08

Morning of Nov 16


In the manner of business as usual I visited my favourite site again, starting from 6:37.

The migration of flycatchers seemed to be dwindling fast, for I just managed catching a glimse
of a [b][u][size=4][color=Purple]Verditer[/color][/size][/u][/b] amid a birdwave poor in variey. So far no Gray-headed flycatchers though I got two more than ten days ago from Tai Po Kau. Higher up I heard and got a clear sight of a female [b][u][size=4][color=Purple]Gray-backed thrush [/color][/size][/u][/b]flying high up among trees. Last Friday on LMP I thrushed up a [b][u][size=4][color=Purple]White's[/color][/size][/u][/b] which had been feeding on the side of the road. I suppose it is the general trend that flycatchers are giving way to thrushes and chats and bush warblers. I heard [b][u][size=4][color=DeepSkyBlue]Red-flanked bluetail's [/color][/size][/u][/b]call and the 'seeping' calls of thrushes all the way, signifying the onset of winter.

I reached just Picnic site No. 9 (twenty minutes' walk from the top) and returned.

The total of species heard or seen was 29, a sharp drop from last Monday's 38.

S L Tai
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