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Sunday, 30 January 2011

Winter birds in Hong Kong

    In addition to the Fork-tailed Sunbird, the Japanese White-eye is another beautiful bird commonly seen in urban parks. These small birds (about 11cm long) are often seen in large flocks and feed mainly on nectar and fruits at this time of the year. 

The Chinese Hwamei (Melodious Laughingthrush) is an unusual looking bird and a resident of East Asia. It is relatively big at about 25cm long and its unique eyering and white streak behind its eye earned it the Chinese name “painted eyebrow” (Hwamei). 

The Masked Laughing-thrush has a black mask and often makes very loud calls. They are about 30cm long and mainly found in Asia. Because they are noisy and often appear in small groups, they are named “Seven Sisters” in Chinese.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Hong Kong Delights---Fork-tailed Sunbirds

While the cold winter leads to freezing temperatures and heavy snow in many places around the world, it brings plenty of colourful birds to Hong Kong. 
The signature bird at this time of the year is the Fork-tailed Sunbird. They are tiny little birds about 9cm long that are extremely active. The male is very colourful, 

while the female is mainly greenish coloured.  

These birds largely feed on nectar and are often seen looking for food among flowers.  
Watching them feed on flower trees in the winter makes the cold weather much more bearable.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Joyful Munias

A few days ago, I saw a group of juvenile White-Rumped Munias feeding in a rice field.  

I guess the rice must be so delicious that these little birds couldn’t stop singing and “dancing” , and didn’t seem to have a care in the world. It was a joy to watch.

Some of them got carried away and came very close to my camera. This opportunity gave me a rare chance to observe them closely. 

When dinner time was over, it was time to have a well deserved rest.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Spectacular Migratory Birds

Between November and February, many waterbirds migrate from Siberia and Northern Asia to Hong Kong for the warm weather. The marshes and the mudflats in Mai Po Nature Reserve provide an ideal feeding place for those migrating birds.

One of the common visitors is the Pied Avocet.

Sometimes, thousands of Pied Avocets can be seen in the reserve and I was very fortunate to have witnessed a spectacular display by these beautiful birds.

The celebrity migratory bird in Mai Po is the Black-faced Spoonbill, an endangered species. In January 2008, just over 2000 Black-faced Spoonbills were recorded worldwide.  Hong Kong recorded more than 400 of them in Mai Po Nature Reserve during the winter season. 

The Black-faced Spoonbill usually rests during daytime,

and hunts for fish in small ponds in the afternoon till morning.  

Note:The Black-faced Spoonbill grow to about 80cm in height. Their spoon-like bills are about 17-19 cm long and their wings about 36 cm long. Grown-up birds weigh about 1.6-2.2 kg. They can only be seen in East Asia and there is little known about this bird. They breed mainly in the West sea of Korea and it is a protected species in North Korea.