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Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas

        Wishing everyone Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Greedy Cormorants

The best place to watch shorebirds is the Mai Po Nature Reserve.  The Reserve is a wetland of 1500 acres situated in the Northwest of Hong Kong. Every year thousands of waterbirds from North China come to Mai Po to spend the warm winter here. 

Starting from late November, the Reserve becomes a bird paradise.  

The most spectacular scenery at this time of the year is the Cormorants. These birds come in their thousands to Mai Po Nature Reserve every winter and feed on the fish in the small ponds here.

To reduce the predation by the Cormorants in the surrounding commercial fishponds, the Reserve regularly purchases trash fish from local fishermen to provide food for the Cormorants. This programme not only compensates the local fishermen for their loss to the winter birds, but also presents a good opportunity for birdwatching.
The Cormorants are very intelligent and they can sense that fish are on the way once a group of visitors are present.   

They get so excited as soon as the fish are loaded to the pond. 

It is like watching an action film! 

The fish seem too big for the birds to swallow but it does not stop them in the slightest from enjoying it!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Night Heron Hair Styling: Can you see the join?

Night Herons are normally nocturnal and rest in trees or bushes during the day. But in winter, we often see them during the day in Hong Kong. Since they prefer to hunt in shallow water, it is possible that they may have to fish in the river whenever the tide is low, day or night.
    The Night Herons usually stand still at the edge of the river waiting to ambush prey. Their patience is extraordinary and sometimes the wait can last for up to an hour.

While hunting, the Night Herons are very focused. 

A few days ago,  I was able to get close to a hunting Night Heron who was too concentrated to notice my presence.  This encounter gave me the first ever opportunity to admire the interesting hair style of this beautiful bird.  

Its hair was so neatly "styled" that not even one hair was out of place!  It seemed too perfect to be real! 

I wish it could tell me what brand of hair gel it used.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Unfortunate Frog, Delicious Feast

The winter season is the most pleasant time of the year. The warm temperature combined with low humidity as well as abundant sunshine makes it an ideal season for outdoor activities.
Last week, I went out hiking to a nearby village and I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw a Grey Heron feeding on a huge frog!
There were several Egrets and Herons fishing in a river. These birds are very clever and they don’t usually try to actively catch fish but often patiently stand in the river when the tide is low waiting for their prey to come by.

Then I noticed some activity from a Grey Heron on the river bank.
Suddenly, it turned around with a huge frog in its mouth! 
The Grey Egret then turned the frog around for me to have a clear look (or perhaps it was to make the frog easier to swallow).

Within seconds, the frog was down its throat!

Then the Grey Heron took a rest for a second, 

flew away to another location, 

and continued waiting for the next victim.