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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Happy Bath----A Male Oriental Magpie Robin

The Oriental Magpie Robin is a common resident in Hong Kong.  A couple of days ago, I saw a male bird enjoying a bath in a small pond.  I thought he looked very cute.

The sun was very hot that day. The Oriental Magpie Robin came to a small pond to cool himself down.

He “jumped” in the water within seconds,

and had a big splash around!

When he was satisfied with the wash, he found a sunny spot to enjoy a sunbath.

I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw this picture as I had caught the occurrence of the Nictitating membrane on camera!

The Nictitating membrane is a translucent inner eyelid in birds which moves across the eye to protect it when underwater. I have read about it before but this is the first time I have actually seen it.  

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A Chinese Special----Red-billed (Silky) Starling

The Red-billed Starling (or Silky Starling) is a medium sized starling and a resident of Southeast China, although rare sightings have been recorded in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

As its name indicates, the Red-billed Starling has a red bill with dark tip, and a grey coloured body.

While the male bird has a distinctive whitish head, 

the head of the female is mainly brownish. 

But both sexes have orange coloured legs.  

Each year, the Red-billed Starlings travel from Southeast China to Hong Kong to spend the winter here.  A couple of days ago, I saw several birds feeding in mutflats during a very low tide. Unlike most of the shorebirds, the Red-billed Starlings search for food through cracks in the dry mud. 

Sometimes,  they even put the entire head down to look for insects trapped in the shallow water.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Regular winter visitors---Pied Avocets

Like many waterbirds, Pied Avocets love the warm winter in Hong Kong, and the Mudflats at Mai Po Nature Reserve is their favourite feeding place. 

Their upcurved bill is unique among water birds.

When feeding, the bill sweeps from side to side to catch small insects in water. 

Sometimes, they also dive in the water to search for food. 

While the majority of migratory birds are still on their way to Hong Kong, these early birds are enjoying a quiet moment at Mai Po Nature Reserve.