Flora n fauna on Cheung Chau

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.

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.