Hong Kong 17-27th March

10 Days in Hong Kong with work and my first bit of research was of course where to see gulls up close. The answer – No where. HK being maybe on of the only cities in the world without a single gull using the harbours to hang out or rubbish dumps to feed. This being said I still saw Pallas’, Saunders, a single 2cy Brown headed, an adult Slaty -backed, ‘ Taimyrensis’ Heuglins, what appeared, on primary moult to be a adult Vega and what the locals called Caspian which were Cachinnans Mongolicus.  Albeit abit too distant to get totally to gripswith the younger birds with exception to the Pallas’ of which I saw a two 2cys I wasn’t really able learn that much from the other non adult birds. But with all the other delights around in abundance the disappointment soon washed.

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Oriental Magpie Robin

The photos here are mainly common things or birds that came close enough to make an interesting subject really,  there was a lot to take in as most things were new birds and I made the most of them through bins.

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Spotted Dove

I did much birding in the city itself around parks and wooded areas such as ‘The Peak’, a lot of new asian birds to be seen including the Bulbuls, Starlings, laughing thrushes etc. I became a particular fan of the Oriental Magpie Robin and spotted dove which were common throughout the city and of course the constant calls of Yellow Browed Warblers just about stopped making me jump about a week in. This last species were literally everywhere even on a packed street in a single bare tree!

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Red Whiskered Bulbul

The highlight of the trip was visiting Mai Po Marshes in the Northern Territories on my final day.  Weeks before I had come across Local Birder John Holmes’ blog , I contacted him and we arranged to meet and I am truly grateful for his local knowledge, patience and generosity and thanks to him the day at Mai Po was probably one of my best days birding ever.

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Caspian Tern

Here’s a rough list of birds with a focus on a relevance to birding in the western pal but there were lots of other amazing birds omitted. I’m not really a fan of lists like this on trip report type write ups so I’l punctuate it with Photos to keep you awake!

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Pied Kingfisher

Black-faced spoonbill, Little, Intermediate and Great Egrets, purple, Grey and Chinese Pond Herons. The vagrant Siberian Crane (cool),  Both Sand Plovers, LRP, Grey headed, Kentish and pacific Golden plovers, Marsh, Wood, Common, Broadbilled, Curlew and Terek Sandpipers…

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Far Eastern Curlew

…Both Redshanks, greenshank and Nordmans Greenshank, Temmink’s and Red-necked Stints, Eurasian and far Eastern Curlews, Oriental Pratincoles…

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Intermediate Egret

…Gull billed and Caspian Terns,  Pied, Common and White-Throated Kingfishers, Black Kites, Osprey, Bonelli’s Eagle and Eastern Marsh Harriers. Red-Rumped and Barn Swallows, House Swifts…

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Chinese Pond Heron

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Black Faced Bunting (personata)

… Yellow Browed, Pallas’ and Dusky Warblers, Durian Redstarts, Asian Brown Flycather, Long Tailed Shrikes, Stejneger’s stonechat, Black Faced Bunting,  Eastern Yellow Wagtails, Richards and Olive-Backed Pipits…

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Eastern Marsh Harrier

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Female Durian Redstart

… and loads more, Basically a amazing day trip and the best day at work I’ve ever had!

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Marsh Sandpiper

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Richards Pipit

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Plain Prinia

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Red-billed leiothrix/Pekin Robin

Thats about it. Hope to go back same time next year, and many thanks again To John Holmes.

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Black Eared Kite

 

 

 

 

 

Tristis Chiff Chaff and Gulls from both patches

I found a Siberian ChiffChaff at Walthamstow Reses on the 27th of last month whilst out with the other local lads. It wasn’t until a few days later that I heard it call,( which it did so 5 or 6 times), each time a highpitched “eeeiiip!’ and strangely only during brief rain showers. Ive seen it again most mornings and noticed its also undergoing body moult, a real good signifier for Tristis at this time of year. More (and better) pics to follow hopefully. But the below pic shows the white underparts, buff (not yellow) super, rusty toned ear coverts. The yellow and green tones were exclusively in the wing and tail and a little around the alula. Other people have seen and heard it and Pete Lambert has actually heard the bird singing as Siberian Chiff, Something i’d describe as a fast jingling of chiff type notes mixed with many alternating higher and lower syllabels. this is the second Siberian Chiffchaff Ive found that has ended up staying around long enough to get some song in before leaving as the waterworks bird did the same in 2016. Paul and I also had a first winter Caspian Gull on the Coppermill filterbeds that day.

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With the arrival of March and early opening times at Walthamstow Ive been walking around the Lockwood before work hoping to see an early Wheatear or Sand martin but also there are good numbers of Gulls loafing on the NW bank. The below 2nd winter Caspian Gull bombed past me, looked good in brief fly by but it wasn’t till I got home and processed the images that I noticed the small mirror on p10 confirming the ID.

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Other birds of note this week have been a Rook calling and circling the Lockwood before drifting NW and a Skylark over N this morning too. There are Green Sandpipers around in the Channel, a few Goldeneyes displaying, 3/4 singing Cetti’s Warblers and a flock meadow c15 pipts loitering on the Lockwood banks. Long tailed tits seem to be concentrating on nest building but this one posed nicely for me

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Possibly my final weekend of Thames gulling as I’m away on the weekends now till April. Irish birder Niall Keogh was visiting London and keen for some Caspian and Yellow legged gulls so joined a mob of gullers; myself, Rich Bonser, Dante, Dave Johnson and Martin Hallam. Yellow Legs were the highlight of the day for me.

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This giant 1st winter Casp hung around the bread at the Thames barrier, Lovely legs and wings but feather wear let it down abit, but its march and to be expected.

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Birthday Casp

On the First of March I turned 31. I took the day off work and my girlfriend Amy and I spent the afternoon by the fishing boats and puddles at Dungeness. Romance.

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Despite the high numbers of gulls around the only Casp I saw was the above, Known as ‘the regular’ , also present was an adult Yellow Leg an enormous adult Argentatus and a Juv Iceland stayed distant on the sea by the boats.

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Frequent readers may have previously noticed that I have a ‘thing’ for 2nd winter Herring Gulls. Its abit difficult to articulate why, I think Its mainly about personal aesthetics but sometimes they just happen to look beautiful.

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Thanks to Amy for some gracious and noble bread throwing.