Summer/Autumn of Shing Mun & Lead Mine Pass

Summer/Autumn of Shing Mun & Lead Mine Pass

Once Again

It was once again I made a survey of the area, at a date earlier than previously, stimulated by P K Kwan's good finds at Tai Po Kau on the weekend.

Fairly quiet at six forty-five. It was when I tried to round up and counted the number of Blue magpies present that I thrushed out a bird that perched some distance from me. A size of a laughing thrush, it was found to be a small accipiter, a kind of birds not easy to acertain at species level.

Proud and calm it stayed on for a short moment and flew to a further distance from me and faced sideway.
Structurally it was a slim one, suggesting to be a male. Brown upperbody with rufous/lighter tone of brown fringes pointed towards it being a junvenile. White throat with very fine mesial and malar  stripes and clear and comparatively longish streaks on the upper breast contrasting with the almost non-defined ones on the breast's lower part tilted the bird on the side of being a Japanese sparrowhawk rather than a Besra -a judgement supported by Philip Round and James Ferguson-Lees. A good challenge to a birder with just a pair of seven/forty-two binoculars - the best one from Swarovski, I must add.

The Hainan blue flycatchers of the  summer were evidently not yet gone, one male of them being seen flying around.

At somerwhere near Pinic Site No.8 there was a loose flock of mixed birds. I suddenly had a strong feeling of finding a leaf warbler, probably an Eastern crowned, for wasn't it one seen at Tai Po Kau recently? My intuition was vindicated by finding one immediately - longish body and bill ,the latter with a fleshy lower mandible, upperbody green with no grey tinge and pale yellow on its undertail coverts.

It was all quiet on the top of the pass and I returned with a humble total of twenty-two species, two added on the return journey.

S L Tai

[ Last edited by tsheunglai at 26/08/2012 20:54 ]


27th August 2012 (Monday)

A Routine Check

Could a routine check become a productive, even wonder trip? The wind today was light but blowing from the north, albiet a cyclone-created one. Why shouldn't give it a try? I didn't wonder, I acted and went.

As routine speaking, I followed a scheduled route and started along the catchment area before the
road barrier. Soon a wagtail was seen -looking like a Grey -flying fast past me without uttering its usual call. As its date of arrival was interesting, I waited while doing some knee-stretching
exercise. Surely it came again, but back with two companions. The water level here being a bit high, the birds soon turned their way elsewhere.

On reaching the lawn lying on the left of the barrier, I found two wagtails again. I tried to give them a more detailed look, to find some salient features -such as age and plumage coloration -so that when I came back and found them again I might be able to confirm if they were the same birds. What I saw was a White wagtail trying to drive a Grey away. The White was a juvenile leucopsis still carrying pale yellow around face and neck, while the Grey was in typical winter plumage. I found the White bulkier and the Grey slimmer with a seemingly longer tail.

The wagtails were not the only birds worthy of my attention but one more which was a leaf warbler -a  bird that demanded all my attention and experience. Aboreal and mainly green with dull pinkish legs ruled it out as being a Pale-legged/Sakhalin. Single short greater covert wing-bar and absence of crown-stipe tipped it over to be an Arctic. But it was not an ordinary one, for its underbody had a suffusion of yellow, making it a possible candidate for the sub-species xanthrodryas according to books I had consulted afterwards.

Two Asian paradise and two Hainan blue flycatchers were seen the rest of the way as well as an Eastern crowned warbler. They were birds comparatively easy for identification. I welcomed the Asian paradise flycatchers to come south again in good numbers, thankful they had overcome all problems of changes in habitats and climate and braved their way to bring wonder again before my eyes.

S L Tai

NB A surprise awaited me when I consulted online sites just to have learned that the Arctic warbler complex  now is almost certain to be split into three separate species, and the sub-sp mentioned above might be a new species for HK as a Japnese Leaf Warbler! Cheers

[ Last edited by tsheunglai at 28/08/2012 19:33 ]


A routine well-settled down upon

It was again Monday that I started birding it the area around six-forty.

I took again some knee stretching exercise with the purpose of waiting for birds. Before I finished
a Grey wagtail appeared, not three as last time. The best guess was that the previous three had already gone south and the present one was a new arrival.
It was a female with white tail tips, or outer tail feathers longer than inner ones due to moulting? She had a dirty spot on its pale yellow breast, useful points for next week's study.

From the road barrier onwards the survey was uninteresting except I missed to identify a leaf warbler
(possibly an Arctic for its eyebrow) while enjoying myself a little bit of a flock of Rufous-capped babblers which I didn't find last week.

All spots that could hold a flycatcher was visited on the road that led to the top. Even a heard Hainan
blue flycatcher did not give me an obliging appearance. My list was indeed badly in want of some 'migrant enrichment'! At the top I sidestepped the road to walk down a shallow slope on the left, a kind of ritual I had not broken away from for years. Quiet, quiet, all quiet was my first impression of the location before I reached behind the public toilet. Then I heard the calls of some Velvet-fronted nuthatches. A birdwave at the top!

First there was an Eastern-crowned leaf warbler, a bird which had not lost its charming hold upon me.
It was appreciative enough of my admiration to display its unique vertical free fall from mid-storey down almost to the ground to perch before flying up again.

I was soon distracted by an Asian paradise flycatcher, my third one seen this autumn, a monotony I welcome to continue.

I gave chase to the birdwave which moved up the other slope opposite the road. I was further rewarded with yet another Eastern-crowned and a male Hainan blue flycatcher.

S L Tai

[ Last edited by tsheunglai at 3/09/2012 22:02 ]


10 Sep 2012 Monday

Following Saturday 10 Sep I again found no migrant in the area. What interested me was the Grey wagtailthat seemed to be the one that I saw for the third time. It was about its way of feeding on shallow water that barely covered up to the middle of its tarsus. As typical of its kind, the bird bobbed its body relfected mainly from the way its tail moved. For a brief moment it stopped before stepping forth to dive its bill and snatched up something - thought to be a worm from the sediment at the bottom - without help from its eyes at all, a feeding method quite similar to some waders found on Mai Po mudflats.

The coming Thursday is forcast with wind blowing from north-east. Hopefully my next attempt will bring me some new finds of the season.

S L Tai


17th September 2012 (Mon)

A Gem among Birds

The morning started cool and dry, putting the weather beyond doubt autumn was on us.

When I bent and flexed my knees, I got an Asian Brown Flycatcher - my first of the autumn - and an Arctic Warbler. It was a delight to see the former catch a dragonfly - an insect commonly seen around -in the air, a feat that gets it the proper English name.

It was interesting to witness three Hair-crested Drongos trying to cheat me into believing they were Orange-bellied Leafbirds. The calls were typically OBLs',but the shape and size of the darkish birds that had flown hidden in a thick-leaved tree top and fell silent were not that of OBLs'. Curiously, I stopped and waited until they showed me their real selves - a micmicking that warmed me of not relying on bird calls alone for sure identification.

It was when I reached the northern end of the reservoir that I met a birdwave and saw an Asian Paradise

It was uneventful when I reached the top, but found an Asian Brown Flycatcher which greeted me with a full sight briefly before flying away, a bird which must have arrived not long ago, alert and finding a safe place to take rest.

The descent was about ten minutes of walk from the junction that had the road branched off to the Arboretum when I heard minivets calling nearby below the slope on my left. I stopped just to see some of them to include the species as seen on my morning's list. Unexpectedly, it was the babllers that made the first appearance -a lot of Grey-cheeked Fulvettas and Rufous-capped Babblers - that kept flitting rapidly and noisily to vie for my attention, but just for a short moment. My second Asian Paradise Flycatcher of the morning soon diverted me, yet again when I got a glimpse of a very dark one. Bluish eyering and bill on blackish head, the latter not as bushy as an Asian's, deep purplish brown mantle and black breast that contrasted stikingly with white belly - all features in colour that
make it an eye-catching beauty - a gem among all the birds present.

S L Tai

[ Last edited by tsheunglai at 18/09/2012 20:39 ]


The Cycle of Autumn Well on its Way

Two Grey Wagtails were on the catchment together, very active and behaved as if chasing each other while feeding high and low.

My list increased steadily and half of the species were just heard - looking like I was to pass
another most ordinary morning regarding birdwatching. However, the scene changed abruptly when
Pinic Site No. 8 was in the vicinity.

It was again the Grey-throated Minivet lot which stopped me. But they were with good company. First
it was a pair of Black-winged Cuckoo-shrikes which needed my attention, being the first two of the autumn in the area. What struck me was that, like the pair of Grey Wagtails seen previously, were flying together and chasing each other. My focus shifted when I located an Asian Paradise Flycatcher whose extent of pale-grey breast patch was noted. Another was seen, differentiated from the former by being shorter in extent of its breast patch, a technique in counting APFs I warmly recommend to fellow birdwatchers. But the noisiest migrant among them was found in the form of a 'white-faced' Ashy Drongo, the last one of its kind being gone towards the end of April.

What surprised me was the loudest lot of tits - the Black-throated (Red-headed) Tits - in the big bird wave. They kept foraging high up among dense foliage, making them hard to find, though I managed to see one before I turned my attention elsewhere. The biggest laughing thrush of the forest -the Greater Necklaceds - were there, moving comparatively slowly in silence, a beautiful bird in its own way.
Nay, three Streak-breasted Scimitar Babblers calling softly also showed well.

At least seventeen species were in this size-in-the-hundreds bird wave -creating in me a delight which would last all my life, a delight that sustained and totally undampened by two hours of downpour of rain that kept me half-wetted and stranded under a broken Pavillion when I returned from the most quiet Lead-Mine-Pass top.

Mind you, I got my second Ashy Drongo of the morning on the return trip when the bird announced its presennce with its 'haaa...itit rising-tone' calls and just about-two-minute-long patience to see it.

S L Tai

N.B. My morning list is 35 species in total, a season high that will prove hard to beat by future attempts.

[ Last edited by tsheunglai at 24/09/2012 22:05 ]


6th October 2012 (Saturday)

Is a avi-wintering mode on its way?

It was all ordinary when my morning started from the water catchment on the left of Pineapple Dam.
Yet it was noticeable that at seven ten seven Black kites were soaring on the rising thermals. Were
they migrants, or just like a warm winter day I experienced in previous year?

I counted two Grey and one White wagtails up to about two hundred metres to the left of the road
barrier. The White had a face washed yellow, same feature I saw on the bird I found there on the fourth.
Was the wagtail settled on in the area as wintering quarters, I wondered.

Yet when I paid attention to the group of trees on the fringe of the lawn before the road barrier when the calls of minivets seemed nearby, I had something unexpected awaiting me. A pair of Scarlet minivets,
but when I shifted my attention to the left I found a Black-winged cuckooshrike, and seemed in no time
joined by a 'white-faced' Ashy drongo, the basic member species usually encountered there last winter.

I went on and found an Asian brown flycatcher on top of a mixed party of babblers including Blue-winged minlas and Rufous-capped babblers at the second Butterfly garden.

It was all monotony when I returned from  a location a little higher than the Arboretum road junction
and came back to Shing Mun resorvoir proper. Then I heard minivets calling noisily and descended to the rocky side of the wide stream that ran across the road bridge. The minivets were out of my reach but there were nuthatches and warblers for me to observe, among them I recorded two more Easter-crowned and the only one Arctic warbler of the morning.

S L Tai

NB: I went to the area birding on the thirtieth of September and fourth of October but as both were  mornings of no significance I omitted writing a report for both.


The Wintering Scene on Way of Formation

Monday Morning of 29th October 2012

A lapse of two weeks or more from visiting the site seems that the bird scene has been developing
according to its natural cycle, though the morning was passed nearly wholly in light rain.

Towards the lawn near the road barrier the calls of Ashy drongo and minivets were heard - confirmed
by their presence by sight as they rose up from the slope to settle on the larger trees on the lawn.
A dark bird of unfamilar shape accompanied them - first supposed to be a Black-winged cuckoo-shrike
but proved to be a single Hair-crested drongo. Like Po Toi and previous experience at the same location,
it was treated as a migrant, apart from a small population which was usually gregarious; last time at
least three were seen as reported here.

Ashy drongos were present in good numbers, totally four were seen without going to Picnic Site No.
7 (adjacent to the opposite side of the Fung Shui woods) which was good for finding their kind.

Yellow-browed warblers were heard thrice along the way. What's more, a Grey-headed flycatcher was
heard of its sweet four-note calls, hastening me to its presence so that I could witness it assuming the musical directorship of the winter ensemble of SM/LMP 2012.

S L Tai

[ Last edited by tsheunglai at 31/10/2012 19:32 ]


5th November 2012

Part One

The First Opera Performance of the Autumn Ensemble 2012

It was a little later than seven fifteen that I started to search from Pineapple Dam. A Dusky
warbler eluded me in spite of an effort albiet the calls were distinctive.

It was near the first road-over-an-stream that I heard a Mountain tailorbird that let out its
haunting yet melodious call followed closely by the 'vee-vee' sound of a minivet that signalled
an dancing opera performance was in session.

Were the dancers-cum-singers competitng for an audience's vote for the best player of the morning?
If not, why the Grey-cheeked fulvettas were so loud with their babbling, dwawfing that of nearby Rufous-
capped babblers, though the latter were not sparing the least of their foraging effort occupying quite
a share of my attention. No time to trace the dark bulky moving birds near the ground that seemed dancing quietly with slight jumps and small flights.

Surely the Grey-headed flycatcher - the director of the morning's performance - was at the helm which
reinforced the strength of the music part with its occasional burst of four-note calls, while near the
top it's the province of the Chestnut bulbuls and Grey-throated Minivets which 'troughed and crested'
in the air. The Yellow-cheeked tits were present in strength, dark underbodies that contrasted so nicely with yellow plume-like crests that waved slightly while pecking at bare branch stumps.

The back-bench musicians were giving their fair share of participation - the falling two-note high-pitched fee.., fuu... of a Pygmy-wren babbler, the comparatively long yet melodius song that ended softer than that of a Hainan blue flycatcher of a Lesser shortwing, were joined by the shrilling whistle of a Blue whistling thrush (who has become a musiciian-in-residence of the stream recently).

Alas, I was not the sole audience that appreciated the performance. Far above there was a Black kite cruising but observed proper etiquette of keeping distance, seeming well aware its own position of a raptor.

Before I departed I found the dark birds that have been lurching in the undergrowth all the time.
Black eye-mask covering down to its throat with white face part and tightly cloaked in grey round the body -the masked swordsmen of the forest - the Black-throated laughing thrushes.

S L Tai

[ Last edited by tsheunglai at 6/11/2012 19:38 ]


Morning of 5th November 2012 Part 2

In Search of Migrants

Informed by Mr Hui that he saw an Asian Paradise flycatcher lower down on Tuen Mun side, I
went on in search of migrants. Hold on, I told myself, for was it not the call of a Red-throated flycatcher that was just heard - exactly like the one that I heard at Tai Po Kau orchard some days earlier but failed to locate - a call similar to that of an Asian brown but less crisp and more note-by-note linked. I went down the steps that led to the side of the drying up reservoir guided by the notes that seemed to tell the bird was moving away. Just a glimpse of a sideway perch, pale white up to the throat of the underbody and dark upperbodied in the distance with the tail slightly cocked up, that's all. I followed it round a wide corner of the reservoir but it receded inside the upper wooded area. Nearby I got a good look of a male Daurian redstart, full side view and much nearer than the Red-throated fly.

It was near Picnic Site No. 8 that I met another sizable mixed party of birds. Local birds that I love to see, like Red-billed Leiothrix and a White-bellied Yuhina were there. Added to them was a facing-away positioned Japansese Paradise flycatcher, and a full underbody view of a Hartert's leaf warbler with a brief glympse of its dark and thick crown stripes, a completely fleshy lower mandible and yellow underbody just a shade paler towards centre- a lovely leaf warbler of the winter months.

I returned to the Shing Mun proper to meet yet another much less active birdwave  made up chiefly of
minivets, just in time to spot a most likeable male Verditer flycatcher, more likeable than those four I saw in a resort's garden surrounded by mainly Singaporean photograhers in Fraser's Hill, Western Malaysia, my present occasion more natural and less nosiy of human activities and none of camera shuttering.

Thirty-five species of birds, including four species of flycatcher and a good leaf warbler was quite
enough to make the morning a memorable one.

S L Tai

NB The latest change is about correcting Goodson's to Hartert's to be in line with the warbler's latest name.

[ Last edited by tsheunglai at 8/11/2012 20:27 ]


Epilogue to the morning of birding at SM/LMP on 5th Nov 2012

Following birdwatching on 5th November at SM/LMP I went to Tai Po Kau today (6th Nov) for something different. The morning was regarded just ordinary and I went down the access road at about ten. Curiously about what kind of garden birds were at the Orchard, which was open and deserted, I entered the premises and stayed for a moment on the nearest concrete terrace. Surely a male Daurian redstart was there, obliging while shaking its tail in its distinctive way. Suddenly, a bird on my left landed on the mud covered ground. To my delight it was the Red-throated flycatcher which I failed to find on previous occasion - greyish brown upperbody with clear buffy eyering, pale underbody duller around breast and a darkish tail showing a white sideway patch when flicking up its tail.

Same kind of habitat - open ground with scattering trees - same kind of visiting birds for same time of the year.

Experience reinforced by success - a pleasurable sequel of birding at similar forests of Hong Kong.

[ Last edited by tsheunglai at 6/11/2012 19:33 ]


12th November 2012 (Monday)

A Good Sample of Early Wintering Birds

It was with some disciplined effort that I was able to start from Apple Dam at six thirty-five.

There was no surprise along the catchment area. Minivets with their usual wintering companion Ashy drongo were all there by the time I reached the road barrier. Lots of Yellow-browed warblers letting out their call compared with one single call from a Pallas's warbler the whole trip. It was the twentieth species that was a Black-winged cuckoo shrike, the twenty-first was a Verditer flycatcher - a better viewed one was found further up Lead Mine Pass - and Grey-headed flycatchers were heard four times with one of them seen.

Curious about what could forest edge along the bank of the water-receding reservoir become as wintering
birds' morning activity ground, I went down again as last time from the Reservoir Walk to check.

Surprised enough, a juvenile (due to its spotted greater wing coverts) Blue rock thrush was seen, not
standing upright but lying with belly upon the muddy slope, with bent wings just loosely kept to bodyside. Preliminary doubt about identification as being guided by standing stance of a rock thrush was removed when I found it again moments later, obviously recovered enough to stand on its feet again on a rock, similar to some exhausted birds on Po Toi on first touching land after a hazardous flight .

Nearby, the Red-throated flycatcher was seen again, all crucial features noted, along with the
male Daurian redstart of last time. It was even better to see an Asian brown flycatcher, not common in this area except one winter of four-degree-Celcious days.

With such a good assortment of early wintering birds, it was easy to reach a morning list of one short of forty, even without Whiskered bulbuls and Blue-winged minlas heard or seen.

S L Tai

[ Last edited by tsheunglai at 12/11/2012 19:35 ]


Sounds like your commitment to Shing Mun is paying dividends Mr Tai!

I like the description of the forest orchestra.

Mike K
Mike KilburnVice Chairman, HKBWSChairman, Conservation Committee


19th November 2012 (Monday)

More Wintering Dancers Responding to Summons,2012

It is not easy to keep to one's birding station while other sites are claiming more and rarer birds
seen. Fortunately, being a member of the Four-hundred Club albeit a lowly junior one, I have room to spare and keep my attention more to the Shing Mun/Lead Mine Pass area.

The first bird seen was a Common buzzard - not a common bird at the site, I must say- thouhgh the first bird that caught my attention was the call of a loud Yellow-browed warbler. The third bird was all beyond my expectation. It was well aware of my approach. It let out an alarm call - two-noted and high pitched- and flew up to a slender tree that hung above that part of catchment channel just before it
joined the reservoir. An all dark bird, but just before I could manage to give it a name - it
flicked up its tail and down slightly before it fanned out its tail most extensively, all rich chestnut, leaving out no doubt it was the male dancer Plumbeous redstart. It gave me one more surprise. It pecked and swallowed a small red berry the tree produced. It must be desperately hungry to savour a berry kind of fruit.

I went down to the same location that I found a Red-throated flycatcher and an Asian brown flycatcher last Monday. Though I lingered on long enough to finsh my second half of sandwiches, both were not to be found.

When I reutrned from Picnic Site No. 8, the chance that the morning's count probably less than last time becamae to loom large, I made effort to search among a flock of Grey-throated minivets to locate a male Scarlet, followed the calls of a flowerpecker quick enough to see and identify it to be a male Fire-breasted/Buff-bellied flowerpecker, to claim a quiet Whiskered bulbul and a Blue-winged minla as seen - all just enough to reach thirty seven, two short of  last Monday's number.

As a last resort I turned left and reached the big lawn adjacent to Picnic site No. 7. It was just White wagtails and OBPs to be found, little known that the second surprise of the morning awaited me here. Suddenly, a bird on the side of the rocky narrow stream jumped up, gave its tail a slight up-and-down flick and a wide fanning-out, this time jack black with large white side patches - the graceful
lady dancer's curtsy to welcome me - a female Plumbeous redstart.

With a Pygmy wren babbler and a Hwamei throwing me a face-saving line with their distinctive call, I was able to level at thirty-nine again, not a bad finale to my morning's work.

S L Tai

N.B. Thankful to all who continue to read my weekly reports and especially Mike Kilburn's kind and favourable comment.

[ Last edited by tsheunglai at 20/11/2012 21:57 ]


Mr Tai, your reports are unique and a few years of regular reports from a single location are worth far more than the occasional report of a rarity.

Anyway, who can complain about two Plumbeous Redstarts on the same day? I've only had two on Po Toi over the whole of the past six years.


26th November 2012 (Monday)

The Changing Scene Following New Winter Arrivals

Would SM/LMP provide a new scene after the latest cold-front during weekend? My starting time was
the same but it had since weekend become warmer. The Ashy drongo was surely there but I managed to
see a single Striaited yuhina among some other calling babblers, possibly a lot were its kind - ten
were seen in a single flock when I made the return leg of the trip.

The rest of the trip was ordinary, but I recorded three Blue whistling thrushes, a Crested goshawk
heard for the second week in a row, and had a Stubtail well seen - an annnual must if only once a winter.

Red-flanked bluetails are more shy than Daurian redstarts but this time a female appeared clearly
when a flock of mixed species was nearby. I saw one of the wintering Verditer flycatchers again which
was a male. However, I failed to locate both the male and female Plumbeous redstarts in spite of a
careful search where I found them previously. Were they simply migrants. Later research with bird
books neither provided a satisfactory answer.

Two birds which both intrigued and frustrated me happened when I walked down and later up the long
slope. First there was a bird pale brown in plumage in the shape of a small owl. I took one step too
further before I raised my binoculars at a distance of some fifteen metres. The bird flapped up
and stayed somewhere unobservalble. When I returned later I caught sight of a flycatcher with breast
coloration I guaranteed to be to the same extent and hue of red as that shown by Brendan's Red-breasted flycatcher photoed at Mt Davis. It was just one briefest view before it was nowhere to be found again. I supposed it was at best to be a personal record but of non-reportable case for the Records committee.  

The only improvement was the morning list of birds seen or heard totalling forty-two.

S L Tai

N.B. I must acknowledge herewith Geoff Welch's (wrong spelling?) latest kind and encouraging words. It was not the first time that he sent me a timely message that boosted my birding spirit.


28th November 2012 (Wednesday)

Sequel to Monday's birding round at SM/LMP

Failure to locate the Plumbeous redstarts and fully identify the supposedly Red-breasted flycatcher
urged me to try again.

I couldn't fail to find that this winter's Pallas's leaf warblers were few and I managed to record just one heard for the trip.

I failed to find the flycatcher again. However, I saw the female Plumbeous redstart at exactly the same spot behind Picnic Site No. 12 and found a winter Common kingfisher there too, all on the rock-strewn stream.

S L Tai

[ Last edited by tsheunglai at 1/12/2012 17:12 ]


Mr Tai

A Red-breasted Flycatcher was photographed at Shing Mun Reservoir Picnic Area 12 on 25th November. Maybe your bird?

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 1/12/2012 20:04 ]



Thanks for telling me about a Red-brested fly. photoed.

By the way, where can I see the photo/s?

S L Tai



6th December 2012

Brief Sunlight Bringing More Birds?

A departure from routine Monday trips for sake of seeing more birds resulted in choosing a Thursday
which was forecasted as also the coldest morning of this cold front. The results were quite mixed.
Birds as regards total species recorded in number dropped from forty-two of last time to thirty-seven
although I did not strained myself to achieve more. And I started leaving home half an hour late at six-thirty.

The sixth species was a male Mugimaki flycatcher which foraged with mainly a big flocks of white-eyes.
It has been found that flycatchers do become partial fruitivores like the latter, giving the reason why they mixed together today. The number of Pallas's leaf warblers recorded significantly increased, possibly as the days apporached mid-December. The male Verditer flycatcher became a regular member of bird waves. Together with an Asian Brown heard and two Grey-headed encountered it became four in total, flycatcher species speaking, though no extra effort was suffered.

The mroning's raptors seemed active, even a Bonelli's eagle was seen and a Crested serpent eagle was heard.

The bush warblers, stubtails, and even the female Plumbeous redstart did not show at all, incicatiog
strongly their shyness and human disturbance were at play, for Shing Mun has long become a favourite
place for morning walkers who could talk at shouting levels and their radios turned full volume for
increasing deafness of the elderly visitors.

I think I will keep to the six a.m. starting time from home to keep the place more comfortable for birding, even on the coldest days.

One word more. I was happy to see a Collared crow, which was indeed a rare local bird at the site
and totally new for my records.

S L Tai

[ Last edited by tsheunglai at 7/12/2012 16:33 ]


10th December 2012 (Monday)

A Nice Morning of Flycatchers

Recent days of the SM/LMP area seem becoming better and better with winter visiting flycatchers.

No Mugimaki flycatcher around the catchment area of Pineapple Dam but in the vincinity of the First Butterfly Garden there was the male Verditer flycatcher again, juggling a butterfly with its bill to be swallowed the whole. At least three Grey-headed flycatchers were heard and near Picnic Site No. 8 a female Mugimaki was seen pecking at berries, a bit insatiably for the food's low calorie contents.

I returned and turned left towards Pinic Site No. 12. Near the dark Fung Shui woods the calls of flycatchers were heard, four to five noted and more rapid but clearer sounding than ABFs. Nay, there were two uttering the same kind of calls. Soon I located the one near the stream that ran across the road bridge - a male Fujian niltava, my first of the area.

I was well past Pinic Site No. 6 when I heard a Daurian redstart, probably two. I found a male one but
alas the next was a Red-throated flycatcher, making the total species of flycatchers of the morning found to be five.

S L Tai

[ Last edited by tsheunglai at 14/12/2012 12:41 ]


Persistence rewarded!
Mike KilburnVice Chairman, HKBWSChairman, Conservation Committee


14th December 2012 (Friday)

One Never Knows For Certain What They Would See

Breaking routine as fine weather dicates rules well for winter days - an advice in good agreement with
the proverb that says,'Make hay while the sun shines.' It was for this reason that I turned opportunist to go on a Friday.

However, it went just as usual. The fourteenth species were two Black-winged cuckoo shrikes, fifteenth an Ashy Drongo, sixteenth a Grey-headed flycatcher, but the twenty-second, though a Verditer flycatcher, was a female this time.

It was at Pinic Site No. 7 that I found a Red-throated flycatcher, a favourite wintering loaction for the species. Nearby I spotted a female Grey-backed thrush, my first in two winters.

The thirty-sixth was the female Plumbeous redstart on the stony stream beyond Picnic Site No. 12, seemingly doing well there; the surface of nearby rocks were smeared white by its defecations. It proved to be an aggressive bird, chasing away an OBP from its feeding ground - the stream. The Common kingfisher soon made its transversing round along the stream.

It was with a gladdened heart that I concluded my list with a female Red-flanked bluetail on a fruiting tree in an attempt to find a Mugimaki flycatcher which occurred last winter when the tree produced fruit.

I'm stilling waiting for the morning when I could fill my heart with good wintering warblers.

S L Tai

N.B. I thank all who read my reports, particularly Mike Kilburn who continues to show interest.

[ Last edited by tsheunglai at 14/12/2012 21:34 ]