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Showing posts from 2017

A break on the Ayrshire coast

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It's been a while but we're back in Girvan helping with the gardening and enjoying the mixed weather! The first nights were warm and so I put the moth trap out in our very coastal location...
I was delighted to get two new species for me - Shark and Tawny Shears in a catch of 30+. It seems that no-one has really recorded moths in this area so all records will be useful. the following morning I got a Marbled Coronet. We'll see what tomorrow brings!

Today we did a little walk along the beach at Maidens and up towards Culzean Castle. A reasonably sized flock of waders contained 50 or so Dunlin and 30 Ringed Plovers. I'd had a couple of juvenile Ringed Plovers on the beach at Girvan - clearly local breeders - but were this flock still moving through to higher latitudes?

The fields next to the beach had several Yellowhammers singing, a song I rarely hear back in Lancashire. A few Gannets fished offshore but there were few seabirds on view. We had planned to go out to Ailsa …

Pallid Harrier? Give me a singing Wood Warbler any day!

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Well it is a little tongue in cheek. Last weekend's unexpected delight was a fantastic male Pallid Harrier which had taken up residence on the Bowland Fells where there should really have been a few Hen Harriers. Sadly none of the latter but the Pallid gave us some superb views and aerial displays together with several Ring Ouzels. It's really got to be one of the most exquisite visual spectacles I've seen in the avian world.

A run of very strong easterly winds for over a week now has halted a lot of migration though the onset did bring in a few Black Terns. Only now are we starting to see a few Swifts and House Martins in the village. There have been several good birds on the coast and so I paid Marshside a visit yesterday and jammed in on a very obliging Wood Sandpiper as well as a Ruddy Shelduck and a very orange-breasted Swallow.

These birds together with my first singing Reed Warblers of the year together with a singing Lesser Whitethroat and passage of a few Swifts k…

Good Friday farewell to Hong Kong with some excellent birds

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Having enjoyed a few days sightseeing and birding around Hong Kong, it was to 'work' for me and the preparation for the Hong Kong 7's tournament followed by a trip to a factory in Dongguan, China. I've got to say that our preparation for the event must have been good as everything went as planned and Bernie and I got some splendid views of Red-billed Blue Magpies from the back of the Stadium as well as a fleeting glimpse of a Blue Whistling Thrush as it dived for cover. We also managed to watch quite a bit of Rugby 7's too! :)
Bernie had headed back to England whilst I was in China but upon my return to HK, I had a day before my flight so arranged with Matt for another day's birding. I hadn't done any forest birding at all before - just had headed for Mai Po - so the promise of Tai Po Kau's established forest was an instant draw.
Matthew kindly collected me from my hotel in Kowloon - the roads were quiet on a holiday morning as we made good time to the …

Po Toi Island

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On our continued desire to explore off the tourist beaten track, we took an early morning ferry from Aberdeen to Po Toi, a migration hot-spot for Hong Kong in the company of Matthew again and his girlfriend Hoi Ling.


The ferry across was generally uneventful apart from a fly-past Red-necked Phalarope. The ferry was very busy as it was a public holiday ("Tomb-sweeping") and the day was fine - not ideal for migrants.
Indeed much as we tried, there weren't many birds to be seen but we did see a few goodies - Crested Goshawk, Besra, Grey-headed Buzzard, Daurian Redstart, Pacific Swift and the main rarity, a Brambling!

Return to Mai Po

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Following on from last July's trip to China, I had a follow-up trip planned for April combining it with the Hong Kong Rigby 7's tournament for which my company, Kukri, do all the merchandising. Of course, such a trip gives me the opportunity to do some birding in unfamiliar surroundings with unfamiliar (and some more recognisable) birds. So I decided to go a little earlier with my wife, Bernie, to explore the area.

The first couple of days were spent acclimatising and doing some of the touristy bits, enjoying the Star Ferry and some of the parks amongst the stunning skyline. Bernie was surprised about how hilly and verdant the territory was. Common birds in the parks were the ever present Chinese and Red-whiskered Bulbuls alongside Oriental Magpie Robin, Crested Mynas, Black-collared Starlings and Masked Laughing Thrushes. We got some decent view eventually of Red-billed Blue Magpies at the HK Stadium but the bird that we came across all over the place was Yellow-browed Warble…