Martin's blog

Hobby and whiskered tern

Though autumn is well underway, there has been something of a dearth of migrants on Cheung Chau (and in Hong Kong generally) so far. Rather more interesting today, though - with a Northern Hobby giving superb views, as it caught dragonflies over Italian Beach in the afternoon; this falcon is like a smaller, more agile version of a Peregrine, specialises in catching aerial feeders such as swallows and dragonflies. Maybe my first Hobby on Cheung Chau.


Schrenk's Bittern above Kwun Yam Wan

Yesterday, had superb views of a male Schrenk's Bittern, in the concrete channel stream just above Kwun Yam Wan. This is a scarce passage migrant in Hong Kong - yesterday's was only my second on Cheung Chau; even so, over 20 were seen at Po Toi a couple of days before.

Posted on 10 May, but "lost" from site due to an unsuccessful webhost change:

Robin n cuckoo

To southwest Cheung Chau this aft, where heard a Large Hawk-Cuckoo (scarce on Cheung Chau, maybe only my fourth), an Emerald Dove and a Red-tailed Robin; also saw a Chinese Starling - latter in a flowering coral tree.

Chinese Starlings have returned

Saw a pair of Chinsese starlings today, in blossoming cotton tree at top of Peak Road (top of first slope after the ferry pier). My first of the spring; in place where I regularly see this species in spring - they like the cotton trees, feeding on nectar, and maybe nest close by. Also heard a Pallas's Leaf-Warbler singing nearby. Otherwise, walked along southern Cheung Chau, and no migrants in woods.

Greater necklaced Laughingthrush lingering at Fa Peng

Out this aft; few birds - no migrant warblers - but did see a Greater-necklaced Laughingthrush at the top of Fa Peng Valley. I've seen what was surely this bird a few times over the winter, in the valley, usually with Black-faced Laughingthrushes; today it was alone, called or weakly sang. May be an escapee from captivity - this is rather scarce bird of HK woodland, chiefly in New Territories; resident; also get captive birds on the lam.

Swallows arriving to breed

Swallows are arriving to nest in the village; saw my first on Sat 15 March, perched just above a shop, singing - so already claiming territory. Seen at least two more since, swooping over the narrow streets in search of insects. With the weather relatively warm, should be no trouble for them fiding food at present.

A couple of days ago, heard an Emerald Dove singing near the cemetery above Sai Wan; also a "Mandarin" Blackbird at Fa Peng Valley.

Japanese Thrushes n doves n buzzard

I walked sw Cheung Chau yesterday n today. Yesterday, heard two Emerald Doves singing near the cemetery; also saw a Common Buzzard, which perched in a tree just above Sai Wan. Today, saw four Japanese Thrushes above the Italian Beach; also a Daurian Redstart, and a Blue-tailed Skink among boulders above Po Yue Wan.
common buzzard

Peregrine over Kwun Yam Wan

Late to post: but last Sunday (24 Feb), I saw a Peregrine falcon fly low over Kwun Yam Wan, calling loudly. Not sure if only my second Peregine on Cheung Chau.

Out sw Cheung Chau today, and not too much about: three or four thrushes I coudn't identify; just one Pallas's Warbler, didn't noticed any Yellow-broweds (large prroportion having died during the cold spell?). 

Two buzzards and a thrush

Southeast Cheung Chau thsi morning: saw a fairly close male Japanese thrush (very smart bird), also a female Grey-backed Thrush.

Lunch on waterfront (King's Cafe): two Common Buzzards circled low overhead, calling, drifted north. I occasionally see Common Buzzard on Cheung Chau during winter, but mainly over the northern hills - these were my first over the main village. 

Two-barred Greenish Warbler n Japanese Thrushes n others

After what seems ages of grey, bleak weather with some drizzle n rain (tho nothing like the nighmare w snowstorms in much of s China), had a fine day - even feeling warm w some sun. Out to walk about, and found some decent birds, albeit still nothing like the influx of thrushes etc I'd have expected with harsh winter in China.

A few winter thrushes in at last

The cooler weather of late has evidently resulted in a few more winter visitors arriving on Cheung Chau - after it had been very quiet. (These birds likely moving south as places they had been staying in China became cold, maybe with snow, making it harder to find food.)

On 18 January, had relatively successful (bird-wise) walk around Fa Peng area, with handsome male Grey Thrush, Grey-headed Flycatcher and Black-naped Monarch.

Fukien Niltava again AWOL

I went back to the "niltava" place this aft - as had been told the bird had dark face/head, which fits niltava but not bluetail. Again, no niltava, but a female or young male bluetail. Email from one of the finders (aka Bjorn n Karin), sticking to their identification as niltava. So, I'll have to try again.

Saw quick flash of blue-tailed skink tail, as the animal vanished by footpath.