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Subject: Lam Tsuen, Autumn 2013 [Print This Page]

Author: subbuteo    Time: 6/09/2013 19:04     Subject: Lam Tsuen, Autumn 2013

Nice change in the weather today, so out on my roof this evening and saw a total of nine snipe (flock of eight and a single bird).  They flew from the Hong Lok Yuen direction up towards Kadoorie Farm.  I only had them in silhoutette but hey called in flight and I think they were Pin-tailed Snipe (from listening to recordings on xeno-canto).

I have never seen a flock of snipe here before apart from flushing two or three of them down towards She Shan.

Also Brown Wood Owl and Asian Barred Owlet calling this evening.


[ Last edited by subbuteo at 6/09/2013 19:42 ]
Author: subbuteo    Time: 7/09/2013 19:06

I flushed an immature Striated Heron this morning and saw a Crested Serpent Eagle, the first in a while.

Author: subbuteo    Time: 8/09/2013 13:49

Lam Tsuen, HK-
08-Sep-2013 07:00 - 09:45
Protocol: Traveling
4.0 kilometer(s)
Comments:     24C, bright and sunny, dry.  Mostly up at Ng Tung Chai a few birds picked up on the way.
26 species

Crested Goshawk  2
Besra   1
Great Barbet 1
Mountain Tailorbird  8
Oriental Magpie-Robin  2
Hainan Blue-Flycatcher  1 immature male moulting into adult plumage

Author: subbuteo    Time: 8/09/2013 13:52

Ng Tung Chai, 8 September 2013

Crested Goshawk and a Besra(?), although from size, pale colour and the "straight" trailing edge of the wing, could it be a Japanese Sparrowhawk?  I only got the one good shot, I was photographing a butterfly and these just came into view briefly!


[ Last edited by subbuteo at 8/09/2013 14:04 ]

Image Attachment: DSCN1572.jpg (8/09/2013 13:52, 13.55 KB) / Download count 284

Author: kmike    Time: 8/09/2013 20:30

A cool shot!
Looks like Japanese to me Dylan

Author: subbuteo    Time: 8/09/2013 22:02

Thanks, Mike.  I didn't get long to look at them so glad to have the photo, lucky I got one in focus.

According to the 2011 bird report, this would be the earliest record by eight days.

Author: subbuteo    Time: 9/09/2013 06:34

6am, Pak Tin Kong, 9 September 2013

Eurasian Hobby
White-cheeked Laughing Thrush

Author: subbuteo    Time: 11/09/2013 07:57

6.10 am, 11 September 2013


Author: ddavid    Time: 15/09/2013 19:00

She Shan area September 15 4.20-5.30 p.m.

Green Sandpiper 1
Oriental Dollarbird 1
Golden-headed Cisticola 1
Zitting Cisticola 4
Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler 1
Scarlet Minivet 1
Grey Wagtail 2
Lesser Coucal 1
White-browed Laughingthrush 2
Blue Whistling Thrush 1

Author: subbuteo    Time: 16/09/2013 08:01

6.05 am.  16th September 2013

Nothing of real excitement today but out before the birds had left their roost behind Lung A Pai.  I counted 530 crested bulbuls in eight minutes as they passed through a tree they use as a gathering site before dispersing.  There were more to come but I had to go and get organised for work.

Author: wgeoff    Time: 16/09/2013 08:42

Hi Dylan

If you mean Red-whiskered Bulbul, it's a record count.

Author: ajohn    Time: 16/09/2013 09:35

A fairly birdy yesterday (15th) at Ng Tung Chai.

Siberian Blue Robin x1 (first winter male)
Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler x3
Arctic Warbler x2

Lesser Shortwing x2 (one seen)
Red-billed Leiothrix x8+

And regular flocks of the more common resident species - Silver-eared Mesia, Blue-winged Minla, Rufous-capped Babbler, etc.

Another highlight for me was watching Hong Kong Cascade Frogs hopping across the rocks at the waterfalls
Author: subbuteo    Time: 16/09/2013 10:09

Yes, Geoff, sorry,  Red-whiskered.  That's great to know, the count could go higher if I had spent longer, still a good few birds to move through.  I'll try and do an early morning count on a weekend.

A good day at Ng Tung chai, John!

Author: lrichard    Time: 16/09/2013 16:49

Nice one, Dylan It's also a highest count for China, I think.
Author: subbuteo    Time: 16/09/2013 17:48

It's great to get something significant from a common bird!  Better get a grand total this weekend.

Author: subbuteo    Time: 22/09/2013 09:54

Lam Tsuen, HK-
22-Sep-2013 06:30 - 09:00
Protocol: Traveling
5.0 kilometer(s)
Comments:     T3 up, 30C, overcast turning to drizzle. Light breeze developed.
37 species (+1 other taxa)

Dusky Warbler (Phylloscopus fuscatus)  2     in dry grass and scrub beside the river channel; two together; calling and moving about.
White-browed Laughingthrush (Ianthocincla sannio)  3 at Tin Liu Ha and seen again near She Shan
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)  3     in the new drainage channel.
Richard's Pipit (Anthus richardi)  0     kicked through the long grass at She Shan and didn't get any.
passerine sp. (Passeriformes sp.)  1     possible bunting flushed off burnt ground.

Also seen a warbler species at open end of drainage channel on below She Shan; calling chak-chak, dusky warbler like.  Pale colour, fine bill, long white eyebrow demarcated by dark above and below. Watched for about 30s; moving about in a small tussock surrounded by flowing water.  Initially thought it was Manchurian reed warbler from the illustration in Viney's book but after looking at images online, I'm now sceptical.  It wasn't a Dusky Warbler but I don't know what it was!

Author: subbuteo    Time: 23/09/2013 10:06

23 September 2013, post-Usagi!

Quality birds for my short dog-walk this morning!

Black-winged Cuckoo-Shrike
Asian Brown Flycatcher

Author: subbuteo    Time: 25/09/2013 06:42

6.15am, 25 September 2013

Dollarbird perched in a much-diminished bare tree- there is a serious lack of standing dead trees around my patch now.

Author: ajohn    Time: 25/09/2013 08:48

The lower part of Lam Tsuen valley seems to have been badly hit by the typhoon - much more tree damage than in the upper part of the valley (Ng Tung Chai) or the Kam Tin/Mai Po area.
Author: subbuteo    Time: 26/09/2013 06:57

The tree the bulbuls move through is about one third the size, I counted 367 red-whiskered bulbuls in ten minutes this morning (6.18 -6.28 am).  It may just be they were not all up yet but they may flying out differently following the damage- less room in the tree?  Certainly doesn't sound like there are less when they start calling when they rouse.  

It was simple to count them against light sky as they flew into the tree but seeing the flocks against the forest vegetation is much harder in the low light.

Author: sdavid    Time: 26/09/2013 08:53

It just makes that count of 530 look a bit more stringy Dylan, that's all! ;)
Author: subbuteo    Time: 26/09/2013 10:31

Indeed! They are there, honest! 530 and then some :-)

Author: subbuteo    Time: 26/09/2013 10:33

And I had a summer/autumn high count of Chinese bulbuls yesterday- 2!  There are just none about my village at the moment.
Author: ajohn    Time: 26/09/2013 14:06

There seemed to be good numbers of Red-whiskered Bulbuls coming out of the roost in Ng Tung chai this morning - maybe some of Dylan's birds have moved up the valley. Dylan, maybe we should try a co-ordinated count at both roost sites.
Author: subbuteo    Time: 28/09/2013 17:45

6.30am; 28.9.13

Barn Swallow 2 (first in a while)
Grey-chinned Minivet 36 in one flock

I regularly (almost daily) see a few Scarlet minivets, Grey-throated less often; this was a large flock and not combined with other species.  They were in the little valley behind Lung A Pai.


[edit]PS- happy to do a joint count John- let me know; want to do it this Tuesday?

[ Last edited by subbuteo at 28/09/2013 18:41 ]
Author: wgeoff    Time: 29/09/2013 06:10

Re the flock of Grey-chinned Minivets.

Largish flocks of Grey-chinned Minivets like this are regularly recorded in Hong Kong in early autumn through into January.
John Allcock and I recently had a discussion about these flocks, whether they were of Hong Kong origin or winter visitors from outside. We were trying to decide how to describe them in the HK Bird Report.

We eventually decided the current evidence suggests they are post-breeding flocks of local origin rather than from outside, although the possibility that some are true winter visitors cannot be excluded.

This behaviour is rather different to that of Scarlet Minivet which, as you note, tend to be seen in fairly even numbers throughout the year.
Author: subbuteo    Time: 29/09/2013 07:07

6.10am, September 29 2013

Thanks, Geoff, that's interesting.  I encountered the flock of Grey-throated Minivets again, 51 birds this time. I also had a go at choosing a different location to count the Red-whiskered Bulbuls.  It didn't really help the count but did confirm they are gathering away from the bare tree.  Got my first Ashy drongo of the year too.

Grey-throated Minivet 51
Ashy Drongo 1
Red-whiskered Bulbul 327
White-cheeked Laughing thrush 6 (three separate pairs)
Dusky Warbler 1

Author: subbuteo    Time: 30/09/2013 07:11

30 September 2013

Ashy Drongo 1

A mystery bird which was approximately Scarlet Minivet sized but heavier built, backlit but seemed grey wit light barring on chest and belly.  Bill long and fine, straight. Tail end a deep V; tips of V rounded.  I attached a dreadful photo- binoculars and iphone combo in bad light!

I though possibly plaintive cuckoo or a cuckoo-shrike?


Image Attachment: IMG_6967.jpg (30/09/2013 07:11, 41.31 KB) / Download count 263

Author: ajohn    Time: 30/09/2013 09:35

Sounds like a cuckooshrike (and looks a bit like one too, but hard to tell!). Tail shape is a bit odd but might be due to missing tail feathers or unusual position. Did you notice whether the tail had white tips like on a cuckooshrike?
Author: subbuteo    Time: 30/09/2013 10:08

I thought cuckoo-shrike too but could not get enough to be definitive. Terrible photo but pretty much all I could make out is in the photo!
Author: subbuteo    Time: 1/10/2013 13:35

1 October 2013

Pak Tin Kong

Dollarbird  1
Stejneger's Stonechat 1


Also Cattle Egret and Blue Magpie which are both unusual around my village.

[ Last edited by subbuteo at 1/10/2013 18:37 ]
Author: ajohn    Time: 1/10/2013 20:36

A good morning at Ng Tung Chai today:

Asian Paradise Flycatcher 1
Arctic Warbler 1
Yellow-browed Warbler 1 (possibly a second in village)
Grey Wagtail 6

Grey-chinned Minivet 65 (minimum count, including 62 in one flock - 40 seen at the village in the late morning may have been the same or different)
Scarlet Minivet 3
Lesser Shortwing 6 (one seen well)
Pygmy Wren Babbler 5
Mountain Tailorbird 10
Brown-flanked Bush Warbler 3
Red-billed Leiothrix 6
Hair-crested Drongo 4
Crested Goshawk 1
Crested Serpent Eagle 4

Also, for those interested in more than the birds:
Barking Deer 1 seen near the village in the afternoon, with another heard nearby

Hong Kong Cascade Frog 4 (middle fall and top fall)
Hong Kong Newt 1

Painted Lady 1
Indian Red Admiral 1
Metallic Cerulean 11+
Angled Red Forester 1
Plain-banded Awl 1
Author: subbuteo    Time: 2/10/2013 10:31

2 october 2013

I am yet to see a barking deer! And I must look out for the cascade frogs too.

This morning:

Ashy Drongo 1

Author: subbuteo    Time: 3/10/2013 10:30

3 October 2013

Ashy drongo 2
Dusky Warbler 1

One of the Ashy drongos was clearly a leucogenis as I could see its face.  The second had a different tail shape, the fork starting further down, and the tail tips curving out sharply at the end.  It was almost an inverted capital T.  It was in silhouette at a distance so it was hard to distinguish features (similar to the cuckoo-shrike earlier in the week).  Both drongos were calling loudly, the leucogenis doing a very good imitation of Crested Goshawk.

Author: subbuteo    Time: 4/10/2013 06:54

6.10 am, 4 October 2013
Pak Tin Kong, HK-
22C, misty and hazy, heavy dew on vegetation.
17 species

Grey-chinned Minivet 28
Scarlet Minivet   5
Ashy Drongo  2
Red-whiskered Bulbul  547     counted from 6.19 to 6.35; probably a few more to come but I am late for work!
Stejneger's Stonechat 2

The bulbuls stream in and gather in the bare tree and seem to reach a critical number them move off in a flock.  I am still missing birds that fly behind me or low so the count could be a bit higher yet.


PS picture of the tree for illustrative purposes...

[ Last edited by subbuteo at 4/10/2013 08:27 ]

Image Attachment: [The tree] IMG_6994.jpg (4/10/2013 07:59, 26.73 KB) / Download count 278

Author: ddavid    Time: 4/10/2013 18:23

She Shan Area - October 3 1530-17.30

Greater Paintedsnipe 1
Green Sandpiper 1
Red Turtle Dove 17
Common Emerald Dove 1
Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 1
Blyth's Pipit (probable) 1
Richard's Pipit 5
Grey Wagtail 1
Black Drongo 4
Dusky Warbler 11
Stejneger's Stonechat 2
Zitting Cisticola 2
Golden-headed Cisticola 1
Oriental Dollarbird 1

She Shan area October 4 15.00-17.00
Unfortunately, there was  no sign of the probable Blyth's Pipit today. However, there was:

Black-headed Bunting 1
Buttonquail sp. 1
Asian Brown Flycatcher 1

Author: subbuteo    Time: 5/10/2013 08:25

5 October 2013

Pak Tin Kong

Dollarbird 1
Ashy drongo 2
Hair-crested drongo 14
Stejneger's Stonechat 2
Dusky warbler 1

She Shan needs a visit- good birds!

Author: kmike    Time: 5/10/2013 18:08

Looks like you're on a roll Dave - congratulations on the pipit and the Black-headed Bunting. The latter is the third record for the valley and the second for She Shan. Both other records were in October. This is the earliest by 14 days.

Author: subbuteo    Time: 6/10/2013 15:54

06-Oct-2013 07:15 - 10:45
Traveling; 5.5 kilometer(s)
Comments:     21C, bright and sunny.  Walked a loop from Pak Tin Kong to bottom of Lam Tsuen via She Shan then returned along the Lam Tsuen river.

47 species

No luck with either the Blyth's Pipit, button quail or any buntings but a lot of birds and many migrants.

Great Egret 3
Little Egret  4
Green Sandpiper  2
Rock Dove  1
Long-tailed Shrike  6     one at She Shan imitating plaintive cuckoo, koel, blue magpie and hair-crested drongo.
Black Drongo 14     maximum 8 in one flock, migrating up the valley
Ashy Drongo   1
Dusky Warbler 26; all through the valley but mostly concentrated at the lower end of the valley in the scrub that borders the fenced area of the new drainage channel. I think I counted low!
Yellow-browed Warbler  2
Fan-tailed Warbler 8     conservative count as they kept popping up in the long grass in She Shan
Golden-headed Cisticola  1
Stejneger's Stonechat  7     3 together at She Shan, then singles along the walk.
Chinese Blackbird   1
Grey Wagtail  4
Richard's Pipit  8     8 in one flock then raised singles or pairs later.


View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

[ Last edited by subbuteo at 6/10/2013 15:56 ]
Author: ajohn    Time: 6/10/2013 16:41

Interesting - I walked down the valley from Ng Tung Chai to She Shan via Tai Om, covering pretty much the same time period (07:15 - 10:30) and was disappointed because it seemed not very birdy.

Migrants were:
Black-naped Oriole - a nice adult at She Shan
Black Drongo - 5
Stejneger's Stonechat - 6
Dusky Warbler - 5
Yellow-browed Warbler - 1
Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler - 2
Zitting Cisticola - 5
Bright-capped Cisticola - 1

Richard's Pipit - 0 It seems everyone sees these at She Shan except me. I'm not sure I've ever seen one there.
Author: subbuteo    Time: 6/10/2013 17:16

The Richard's Pipits were in the short grass/scrub that has been recently cut by the rough road down to the drainage channel (opposite the tree nursery).  They tend to stick to the shorter grass, I kicked all through the longs stuff and didn't see any.  I'm surprised at only five Dusky as the scrub along the drainage channel was bouncing with them.  I was in the grassy area from about 7.45 to 8.45 and then walked on to the river.  There were no dog walkers in She Shan when I was there which may make a difference.

Author: ajohn    Time: 7/10/2013 16:27

Just realised that I forgot to mention an Asian Stubtail at Ng Tung Chai yesterday morning.
Author: subbuteo    Time: 9/10/2013 10:02

9 October 2013

No much to report, things have quietened down.

Ashy Drongo 1 seemingly the same bird in the same tree.

There was a skulking warbler scolding in some Micania covered bushes but absolutely refusing to show, guessing a Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler but no way to be sure!

Author: subbuteo    Time: 10/10/2013 08:56

10 October 2013

Ashy Drongo 1

Looks like the drongo is set to stay through the winter.  I also saw a distant small falcon, from its silhouette I would guess a Kestrel (it seemed very long winged) but couldn't rule out Hobby or Amur.  It was flying up near the Lin Au pylons where Mike picked up Amur last year.

Author: subbuteo    Time: 11/10/2013 06:57

11 October 2013

31 species this morning, almost double yesterday's species total.

Ashy Drongo 1
Dark-sided Flycatcher 1
Dusky Warbler 1
Yellow-browed Warbler 1

Author: subbuteo    Time: 12/10/2013 16:13

12 October 2013

Through the day around Pak Tin Kong

Stonechat 2
Asian Brown Flycatcher 2
Dusky Warbler 6
Olive-backed Pipit 1 (first I have seen this year)

I had an odd looking stonechat early this morning- enormous white wing flashes, I thought it was a Daurian Redstart at first.  It popped up singing, sat momentarily then flew off showing pale rump and large wing flashes.  I only saw it for a couple of seconds. I have been back a couple of times for another look but no luck.  Is there much variability in the white visible in the wing?

Author: ajohn    Time: 12/10/2013 17:13

The white in the wing is related to age and sex - males show more than females, and adults show more than young birds. Maybe yours was an adult male?
Author: subbuteo    Time: 12/10/2013 17:27

Yes, could've been but I had the impression of immature / female  Didn't get a good look at it. I was worried I'd missed an immature pied bush chat!

[ Last edited by subbuteo at 12/10/2013 20:08 ]
Author: subbuteo    Time: 13/10/2013 07:48

6.30-7.30, 13 October 2013

Ashy Drongo 1
Black-winged Cuckoo Shrike 2 (perched together)
Dusky Warbler 2


[ Last edited by subbuteo at 13/10/2013 13:26 ]

Image Attachment: BWC shrike.jpg (13/10/2013 13:26, 84.03 KB) / Download count 303

Author: subbuteo    Time: 14/10/2013 07:14

6.25-7.00am, 14 Oct 2013

Red-whiskered Bulbul 641
Black-winged Cuckoo Shrike 1
Ashy Drongo 1
Dusky Warbler 1
Yellow-browed warbler 1
Stejneger's Stonechat 1

It is just a waiting game for the bulbuls.  This is the longest I have counted for.  The last hundred took at least five minutes to emerge.  My ankles couldn't take any more mosquito bites but I don't think there were too many more to come out at that point.

Author: subbuteo    Time: 14/10/2013 20:32

4.20-6.00pm She Shan, 14 Oct

Richard's Pipit 22 (maximum flock size 14, rest flushed from the long grass)
Zitting Cisticola 8
Dusky Warbler 9
White-browed Laughing Thrush 2

Koel have been more visible and noisy the last couple of days.

Author: subbuteo    Time: 15/10/2013 07:34

Pak Tin Kong, HK-

Oct 15, 2013 6:30 AM - 7:15 AM

Comments:     25C humid and overcast.
28 species

Grey-faced Buzzard / Oriental Honey Buzzard 3     Not a firm ID, but can't think what else the three birds together would have been.  First I thought, swift, then falcon then something else.  Long, broad wings, flapping flight with occasional glide.  I thought they looked relatively short-tailed.  Birds flying together.

Black-winged Cuckooshrike  1     called twice- never heard BWCS call before.  Drongo-like three note call (as here.
Ashy Drongo  1
Hair-crested Drongo  5
Pygmy Wren-babbler 1     heard
Mountain Tailorbird  1
Dusky Warbler   1
Lesser Shortwing (  1
Siberian Stonechat   1


[ Last edited by subbuteo at 15/10/2013 07:51 ]
Author: kmike    Time: 15/10/2013 08:24

Dylan - Why not Amur Falcons?

It's the right time and your first impressions suggest a more slender bird than either of the buzzards.

also - we know Lam Tsuen is good for them!

Author: subbuteo    Time: 15/10/2013 08:54

Certainly could have been- I have been diligently scanning the pylons!  These three are firmly in the unknown category unfortunately, I just happened to pick them up through the binos, they were high and moving so I didn't get much other than shape and flight.  I may spend a couple of hours on the roof today!

Author: ajohn    Time: 15/10/2013 09:46

For a change I didn't go into work early and had a relaxed breakfast on the rooftop at Ng Tung Chai. I couldn't see Dylan's raptors (he did let me know so that I could look) but it was still worthwhile:
Two-barred (Greenish) Warbler - 1
Blue and White Flycatcher - 1 female
Yellow-browed Warbler - 2
Lesser Shortwing - 1
Hair-crested Drongo - 4

Not a bad start to the day!
Author: subbuteo    Time: 19/10/2013 18:36

5.15pm 19.10.13

Amur Falcon 1
Stonechat 1
Dusky Warbler 1
Yellow-browed Warbler 2

The falcon was another bird from out of the blue, passed overhead and flew on to the Lin Au ridge and power lines.

Author: ajohn    Time: 20/10/2013 21:14

A walk today along the Ngau Kwu Leng Hiking Trail, and then up and over Tai To Yan.

Ngau Kwu Leng was fairly birdy, especially in the forested area near the top. Highlights were:
White's Thrush - 1
Two-barred (Greenish) Warbler - 4
Eastern Crowned Warbler - 1
Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler - 1
Yellow-browed Warbler - 10
Mountain Tailorbird - 10
White-bellied Erpornis - 1
Yellow-cheeked Tit - 2
Velvet-fronted Nuthatch - 4
Lesser Shortwing - 1

Tai To Yan was quieter:
Eurasian Sparrowhawk - 1
Eurasian Skylark - 1
Brown-flanked Bush Warbler - 4
Bright-capped Cisticola - 1

Also another Two-barred Warbler today at Ng Tung Chai
Author: subbuteo    Time: 21/10/2013 10:25

Something amiss in that list John, there are no good birds on that side of the road- fact.

This morning (21.10.13)

Verditer 1
Ashy Drongo 1
Pygmy Wren Babbler 3 - either calling more, descending from higher ground or have moved in for the winter.  

Also a skulking warbler for past few mornings, not a Dusky Warbler, possibly Pallas' Grasshopper Warbler.

Author: subbuteo    Time: 23/10/2013 07:59

22/23 October 2013

Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher 1

Has been heard the last two mornings.  

Author: ajohn    Time: 23/10/2013 08:18

A quick walk into the forest at Ng Tung Chai this morning:
Dark-sided Flycatcher - 1
Two-barred Warbler - 1
Lesser Shortwing - 3
Red-billed Leiothrix - 4 (these seem to be moving down the hill for the winter)

And at the village a Blue Rock Thrush
Author: subbuteo    Time: 24/10/2013 08:55

24 Oct 2013

Olive-backed Pipit 1
Ashy Drongo 1
Lanceolated Warbler 1 flushed from beside the path- same location a last year. Dark olive, streaked plumage, flew low just over vegetation a few metres and then dropped out of sight, no call.
Yellow-browed Warbler 1

Author: subbuteo    Time: 25/10/2013 08:34

25 October 2013

Yellow-browed Warbler 2
Siberian Rubythroat 1
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher 1
Ashy Drongo 1
Olive-backed Pipit 1

I am fairly sure I have heard Russet Bush Warbler the past two mornings but only single calls.  Also a flyover bunting which I think was Little Bunting and other buntings calling from the grass; either Masked or CHestnut.  It's feeling wintery!

Author: subbuteo    Time: 26/10/2013 08:37

26 October 2013

Ashy Drongo 1
Hair-crested Drongo 4
Black-winged Cuckoo Shrike 1
Pygmy Wren Babbler 4
Verditer 1
Daurian Redstart 1
Lesser Shortwing 3
Dusky Warbler 2
Yellow-browed Warbler 4
Olive-backed Pipit 2
Little Bunting 1

Spent an hour in my usual patch- 15C this morning which seemed to make a difference to behaviour.  The Red-whiskered Bulbuls emerged rapidly in flocks.  I didn't get a chance to count this morning


[ Last edited by subbuteo at 26/10/2013 08:40 ]
Author: ajohn    Time: 27/10/2013 14:33

At Ng Tung Chai today (27th Oct):

Ashy Drongo leucogenys 1
Black-winged Cuckooshrike 1
Black-naped Monarch 2
Chestnut-collared Yuhina 9+
Lesser Shortwing 8
Two-barred Warbler 1
Red-billed Leiotrhix 2
Asian Stubtail 2
Author: subbuteo    Time: 27/10/2013 15:58

27 October 2013

I had another extended session in my village area 7-15 - 9.00am.

Ashy Drongo 1
Hair-crested Drongo 4
Black-winged Cuckoo Shrike 1
Pygmy Wren Babbler 4
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher 1
Pygmy Wren Babbler 3
Daurian Redstart 1
Lesser Shortwing 1
Mountain Tailorbird 1
Dusky Warbler 2
Yellow-browed Warbler 4
Zitting Cisticola 2
White-browed Laughing Thrush 5
Daurian Redstart 1
Stejneger's Stonechat 4
Siberian Rubythroat 2
Grey Wagtail 2
Olive-backed Pipit 9 two groups of three and singles.

The Ashy Drongo (leuco.) and the Black-winged Cuckoo Shrike were very much a partnership staying close to each other and hunting around the same treetop seemingly in coordination.

Author: subbuteo    Time: 29/10/2013 07:05

28/29 October 6-15-7.00am

In the last two mornings.

Ashy Drongo
Hair-crested Drongo
Black-winged Cuckoo Shrike
Pygmy Wren Babbler
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher
Pygmy Wren Babbler
Daurian Redstart
Lesser Shortwing
Mountain Tailorbird
Dusky Warbler
Yellow-browed Warbler
White-browed Laughing Thrush
Daurian Redstart
Stejneger's Stonechat
Siberian Rubythroat
Olive-backed Pipit

It is hard to leave and get to work just now.

Author: subbuteo    Time: 30/10/2013 08:32

30th October 2013


Black-winged Cuckoo-Shrike
Pygmy Wren Babbler
Daurian Redstart
Lesser Shortwing
Dusky Warbler
Yellow-browed Warbler
Daurian Redstart
Stejneger's Stonechat
Siberian Rubythroat
Olive-backed Pipit

I am fairly sure I also had a Swinhoe's Minivet- never seen one before!  A small pale minivet, buffy belly, white face, dark line through the eye.  The back also appeared brownish, paler towards the rump.  I took a few photos with the iphone/bino combination.  Can anyone confirm the ID?

There was seemingly a second bird but it was obscured by a thick branch and I could only see the tail and head.


[ Last edited by subbuteo at 31/10/2013 07:05 ]

Image Attachment: IMG_7237.jpg (30/10/2013 08:32, 27.26 KB) / Download count 275

Author: subbuteo    Time: 30/10/2013 09:28

More images of the minivet here


[ Last edited by subbuteo at 30/10/2013 09:30 ]
Author: subbuteo    Time: 31/10/2013 07:07

31th October 2013


Swinhoe's Minivet 2 in the same location; I may have better photos this time.
Russet Bush Warbler calling properly so I'll call this my first of the year!
Ashy Drongo
Black-winged Cuckoo-Shrike
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher
Pygmy Wren Babbler
Daurian Redstart
Lesser Shortwing
Dusky Warbler
Yellow-browed Warbler
Daurian Redstart
Siberian Rubythroat
Olive-backed Pipit


[ Last edited by subbuteo at 31/10/2013 08:17 ]
Author: subbuteo    Time: 31/10/2013 07:10

Taken this morning; Lung A Pai, Lam Tsuen

Image Attachment: DSCN1617.jpg (31/10/2013 07:10, 26.71 KB) / Download count 259

Author: kmike    Time: 31/10/2013 07:46

The minivets are the  first in Lam Tsuen since 1988! (unless anyone knows otherwise)

Author: subbuteo    Time: 31/10/2013 08:28

Amazed that they were still there this morning, I hope they hang around for a while.  More [photos, not great but better than yesterday's.



[ Last edited by subbuteo at 31/10/2013 08:31 ]
Author: wgeoff    Time: 31/10/2013 16:41

They are also a latest autumn record by nine days (so far)
Author: subbuteo    Time: 1/11/2013 07:05

1 November 2013

I didn't see the Swinhoe's minivets this morning but the tree is under scrutiny by another birder right now.

Common buzzard
Ashy Drongo
Verditer 1
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher 1
Daurian Redstart 2
Siberian Rubythroat 3

Also a thrush sp in flight, bunting sp and bush warbler sp.  

Author: subbuteo    Time: 1/11/2013 08:19

Apparently, the Swinhoe's Minivets turned up again shortly after I left at 6.45am.  They are in the tall bare tree on the back of the small peach orchard at Lung A Pai.

Author: tgraham    Time: 1/11/2013 16:05


Yes two birds came in hung around for about 10 mins before flying off up the valley. Looks like its a bit of a routine.

There was also Scarlet and Grey-Chin Minivets in the same tree and two Velvet Fronted Nuthatches.
Some poor photos only light was very bad

Great find.

Thanks for sharing the information

Author: subbuteo    Time: 1/11/2013 17:20

Really glad you got them! I'll go again tomorrow morning and post immediately if they are there.

Author: subbuteo    Time: 2/11/2013 07:36

The pair of Swinhoe's Minivets were in the tree again this morning 6.35 - 7.15, and again mixing with other minivets, Scarlet and Grey-chinned.

They flew down the valley towards She Shan.

Author: subbuteo    Time: 2/11/2013 19:44

2 November 2013 7.30pm

Brown Wood Owl calling.

This is the first call I have heard since 6 September 2013; I have only heard it eight times this year.  I have not been out as much at the right time but was surprised to find so few records when I looked back.

Author: subbuteo    Time: 7/11/2013 09:25

7 November 2013

I have been away the past three mornings so was very surprised to find at least one of the Swinhoe's Minivet was still present today!  Again with a mixed flock of Scarlet and Grey-chinned Minivets in the bare tree.  They flew off down towards She Shan  again.  I will check again tomorrow.


Chinese Blackbird 1
Daurian Redstart 2
Siberian Rubythroat 2
Russet Bush-warbler 1
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher 1
Lesser Shortwing 1
Pygmy Wren Babbler 1


Author: subbuteo    Time: 8/11/2013 07:00

8 November

A mixed flock of 26 minivets this morning (8 Scarlet, 18 Grey-chinned) but no Swinhoe's. I left earlier than normal so still some chance they could turn up again.

Daurian Redstart 1
Siberian Rubythroat 2
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher 1

Author: ajohn    Time: 8/11/2013 09:18

Around Ng Tung Chai village this morning

Daurian Redstart
Japanese Thrush + at least two more (heard only) thrushes
Eurasian Blackbird
Brown-flanked Bush Warbler
Barn Swallow (seemed very unseasonal on the wires in the village)
Plus the usual Lesser Shortwing, Mountain Tailorbird, Yellow-browed Warblers, etc.

I also saw the back end of a Wild Boar disappear into vegetation next to the village access road on the way home last night.
Author: subbuteo    Time: 10/11/2013 07:45

10 November 2013

Daurian Redstart 1
Siberian Rubythroat 2
Russet Bush-warbler 2
Taiga Flycatcher 1
Red-whiskered Bulbul 426 (a long wait for them to emerge on a very dull morning!)

Author: subbuteo    Time: 14/11/2013 09:11

14 November 2013

Light levels are making life difficult at the minute; it is fairly dark so my birding time before work is limited.  Birds in recent mornings:

Chinese Bulbul is now around in low numbers (maximum count seven) compared to Red-whiskered
Taiga Flycatcher- one hanging around in a veggie patch near home
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher 1
Ashy Drongo one seen regularly
Chinese Blackbird (other thrushes heard, I think Japanese)
Daurian Redstart up to three in the morning
Stejneger's Stonechat one male seen occaaionally
Siberian Rubythroat maximum count 3
Russet Bush-warbler not very vocal just now but heard briefly
Asian Stubtail up to two
Asian Barred Owlet calling in the morning
Collared Scops Owl three calling around 7pm last night

Long-taled Shrike seems to have disappeared!

Author: subbuteo    Time: 18/11/2013 15:59

18 November 2013

Black-winged Cuckoo Shrike 3 together- a high count for me.
Grey-backed Thrush 2
Japanese Thrush 3
Eurasian Blackbird 2

Also A B Owlet calling this morning.

Author: subbuteo    Time: 21/11/2013 08:07

21 November 2013, Pak Tin Kong

Swinhoe's Minivet 1 in the same tree, loosely associated with Grey-chinned and Scarlet Minivets.  Hung around for at least ten minutes, 6.50- 7.00 am (when I left).  The latest previous record was 10th October- maybe this one will over winter?

Also the usual birds, Russet Bush Warbler is calling consistently now, up to three birds so far.  Ashy Drongo seen or heard almost every day. Also the following species regular:

Asian Stubtail
Pygmy Wren Babbler
Daurian Redstart
Lesser Shortwing
Dusky Warbler
Yellow-browed Warbler
Daurian Redstart
Stejneger's Stonechat
Siberian Rubythroat
Olive-backed Pipit

There are bush warblers in the grass/marsh area between Lung A Pai and Pak Tin Kong but I am not sure how to split Manchurian/Japanese!


[ Last edited by subbuteo at 25/10/2014 21:59 ]
Author: subbuteo    Time: 23/11/2013 08:04

23 November 2013

Lung A Pai

Swinhoe's Minivet 2
Black-naped Oriole 1


COuldn't get both in the same photo!

[ Last edited by subbuteo at 23/11/2013 08:13 ]
Author: subbuteo    Time: 24/11/2013 08:28

23 November 2013

Swinhoe's Minivet 1 very briefly at 6.50am, flushed away within a minute of arriving.  I didn't get a chance to locate the other.


Grey heron 2- fairly unusual in the valley, circling in flight
Common Mynah 4 a valley high count!
Black-winged Cuckoo Shrike 2
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher 1

Daurian Redstarts have disappeared this week and Fork-tailed Sunbirds are either more vocal or have moved in for winter.  Chinese Bulbuls are back in greater numbers, nine seen today.  One of the Chinese bulbuls was a dark-headed juvenile, lacking the white nape.

Also a flock of 22 starlings flew high over the Tai Om ridge heading toward Lin Au. Only seen in silhouette and  I would have said Common Starling based on shape, flight and general behaviour but that would be extraordinary.  I don't see starlings often so would white-cheeked be most likely?


[ Last edited by subbuteo at 24/11/2013 08:29 ]
Author: ajohn    Time: 24/11/2013 13:16

At Ng Tung Chai today:
Ashy Drongo - 2
Japanese Thrush - 3+
Rufous-tailed Robin - 2
Pallas's Leaf Warbler - 4

Dylan, I think you're probably right about White-cheeked Starlings. They can look very dark at times, and are fairly similar to Common Starling structurally.
Author: subbuteo    Time: 25/11/2013 08:57

25 November 2013

Swinhoe's Minivet 1  at 6.50am, hung around for at least ten minutes.  I couldn't locate the other.
Crested Goshawk
Besra 2
Ashy Drongop
Daurian Redstart 2 (back when it's cold!)
Stejneger's Stonechat 1
Russet Bush Warbler 3
Siberian Rubythroat 4

I forgot to mention hearing a ring-necked pheasant on Saturday morning calling from the direction of Tai Om Tsuen.  That would be a lovely addition to the local fauna but it's probably now in a soup.  Also, thanks John, I could see no markings on the starlings at all and thought common would be highly unlikely!

Author: subbuteo    Time: 27/11/2013 08:31

27 November 2013

No sign of the Swinhoe's minivet this morning- yesterday was very cold and birds seemed late out of roost and this morning much dull with only nine minivets (2 Grey-chinned and 7 Scarlet).  Only forty Red-whiskered Bulbuls went through by the time I left.  They really don't like dull mornings.

Seen/ heard the last two days:

Ashy Drongo
Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike
Manchurian Bush Warbler
White-cheeked Laughing Thrush - two flocks calling this morning which I haven't heard since 3rd November
Black-throated Laughing Thrush- one doing a best of spring rendition with imitations of Large Hawk Cuckoo, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo and Koel
Asian Stubtail
Pallas' Warbler
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher

There are buntings and thrushes about but I am having trouble seeing them!

Author: subbuteo    Time: 29/11/2013 11:25

29 November 2013

Red-flanked Bluetail 3

The cold weather seems to have brought them in.

Author: ajohn    Time: 29/11/2013 12:04

I also had two Bluetails yesterday at Ng Tung Chai, plus a couple of Rufous-tailed Robins foraging in the open on the path.

Also, two flocks of Chestnut-collared Yuhinas yesterday, totally about 20 birds.
Author: subbuteo    Time: 6/12/2013 11:30

No sign of the Swinhoe's minivet for a while now.  However, the later light means I am missing the majority of birds as I have to leave.  I only saw four or five Red-whskered Bulbuls this morning!

Seen/ heard the last few days:

Ashy Drongo
Oriental Turtle Dove
Manchurian Bush Warbler
Russet Bush Warbler
Asian Stubtail
Pallas' Warbler
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher
Lesser Shortwing
Siberian Rubythroat
Stejneger's Stonechat
Red-flanked Bluetail
Daurian Redstart
Common Mynah

There are buntings and thrushes about but I am still having trouble seeing them!

Author: Ronaldo    Time: 8/12/2013 17:33

8th December
Met Dylan and his lovely dog
Only birds seen in the below:

Lesser Shortwing x2 (very showy)
Chestnut Bunting x1f
Little Bunting x2
Scaly Thrush x1
White-browed Laughingthrush x1
Chinese Hwamei x1
Ashy Drongo x1
Black-winged Cuckooshrike x2
Pygmy Wren Babbler x1 (on a tree)
Hair-crested Drongo x1
Besra x2

A couple of photos of the birds

Image Attachment: shortwing.jpg (8/12/2013 17:33, 143.83 KB) / Download count 232

Image Attachment: pygmy wren babbler.jpg (8/12/2013 17:33, 137.48 KB) / Download count 231

Author: subbuteo    Time: 13/12/2013 08:56

13 December 13

My last routine walk in the valley.  

Russet Bush Warbler 3
Asian Stubtail 1
Siberian Rubythroat 3
Daurian Redstart 1
Red-flanked Bluetail 1

I have used ebird to record every species I have seen this year and it has amounted to more than 5000 records (is this a good or bad thing Geoff W?).  Ebird has some limitations, mainly due to species names but I have found it useful to record routine species and have actually built up a fairly good picture of what occurs when and patterns are starting to emerge.  I have always kept note books but not submitted records for all species, only the more unusual birds.  I also like the fact that you are encouraged to submit numbers as I had only previously recorded a species occurrence not abundance.  This has made me pay more attention - for example, I would never have bothered to count the red-whiskered bulbul flock and would have left it at "lots".  All records are downloadable as a Excel file.

Species seen: 142

Birds of the year:

Fork-tailed Drongo Cuckoo (a tick!)
Malayan Night Heron (a tick!)
Swinhoe's Minivet(a tick!)
Red-whiskered bulbul (a high count!)

I have been disappointed by how little I have heard the Brown Wood Owl this year, there has been a lot of building activity which may well have moved them on.  I have been out routinely listening at dawn, dusk and in the evening with only eight records this year.

I am hopeful that Yung Shue O will be productive, my neighbour has already told me Brown Fish Owl sits on a branch behind her house!


[ Last edited by subbuteo at 13/12/2013 09:35 ]
Author: wgeoff    Time: 13/12/2013 13:17

Hi Dylan

Fortunately computers these days can cope with 5000 records as easily as 50 (although if everyone supplied 5000 records I might get a bit bogged down)

But I agree entirely - if you want to understand bird movements in a specific area, you have to count all species. You will be surprised and excited what this can reveal even for the common species. That's my experience from Po Toi and also yours at Lam Tsuen.

Yung Shue O is not a well-recorded area so I'm sure you are going to find exciting new things from there (starting with Brown Fish Owl!)

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 13/12/2013 14:45 ]
Author: John Holmes    Time: 13/12/2013 19:37


Thanks for all the Lam Tsuen stuff you've posted. It's been great reading !

Enjoy Sai Kung.


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