Just after breakfast I heard a flutey whistle. Hmm. That sounded familiar. But  not now, surely? A minute or so later a Hwamei was perched on our garden wall. Now the Hwamei is an occasional visitor to the front communal garden but not at this time of year. Generally it is in Winter. In fact the last decent sightings I had were in February. In fact this is one of the February birds….

As usual, tucked under the hedge. So I was not expecting this visitor in September. Autumn, I thought, has arrived for sure. And I wandered out on to the small sun terrace to check what else was about.

There was something sitting on rock in the bay. And it wasn’t Otis Redding. Usually it is a Black kite but last time I checked they don’t have white heads. Aha! It is Autumn… the Osprey is back. Now this isn’t this morning’s bird but it is one I photographed.

I was beginning to feel good about the day. And rightly so because overhead the distinctive wing shivering of an accipiter told me that the Crested goshawks were over the wooded hillside. A pale rump patch was easily visible as the sun caught the turning body. These birds are common here and occasionally perch out.  Again this is not today’s bird but one of “mine”.

Next up was the always inspiring Peregrine falcon. Now I have only seen this species from the house once or twice before and never so close. This is today’s bird.  Not the best of pictures but all I had to hand was an old Canon 30D and an even older 400mm F5.6 lens from which the lens hood has gone AWOL.

 The head is not well marked but the underparts show this is a juvenile bird. The species turns up erratically all over the place but most regularly I think up in the Mai Po area. I had seen one perched on a hill in Clearwater Bay CP once so I knew they were in the vicinity. Then last year a pair appeared over the hill opposite us but they are not regular here. To think that we almost wiped this amazing bird out in England through the use of DDT in the 60s. Shades of vultures and diclofenac in the Sub-Continent today. I am sure such tragedies were never intended. They do however show how poorly we understand the eco system. For the many scientific advances I am sure there are also a fair number that are counterproductive without ever being identified as such.

Finally, and pictureless, an early evening White-bellied sea-eagle flapped vigorously up the valley, probably heading towards Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai. Too late this time as I was still distracted by the icing on the day’s cake, the victory by Wales over Namibia (Mighty Namibia, no less), 81-7. As they say in the bars of the valleys, “Laughed? I nearly bought a round”.

So there we are, an excellent day’s birding without leaving home. Counting the ubiquitous kites that makes five raptor species in a day from the armchair. Now you may regard this as cheating. I don’t. I see no reason why birds spotted with a coffee mug in hand should count any the less. And tomorrow, all being well it will be Hey Ho! Hey Ho! Its off to Mai Po we go. And if I see less than 5 raptor species I shall be Grumpy and if I see more I shall be Happy. Remember the joke voted best at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year was “I was told to change my password to one with eight characters so I chose Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”

So as I have to be up early in the morning I guess I should say I’m feeling sleepy but the other dwarves may misconstrue that. In a PC world where Noddy and Big Ears have been banned from schools I just can’t take the risk. Political correctness is a blight on our society as Enid said. Good night.


6 thoughts on “Whistlestop

  1. Wow Andrew! I am not usually big on birds but these are great images and I just love the image of the hawk with a fish in its talons and a feather falling from its beak – a wildlife “decisive moment” 🙂

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