Flycatcher in the rye?

Not quite. On the rocks in fact. I remember this bird extremely well. I photographed it in December 2005 in an area I used to check regularly. It is called Ho Chung. There is a small stream that flows alongside a path and sometimes I would find birds drinking or bathing there. On this particular day a flash of blue alerted me to this Verditer flycatcher, Eumyias thalassina. It is not a rare bird but neither is it one to be found on every bush. Its official status is scarce winter visitor. We have had a couple in the garden but it always cheers me up when I find one.  They are not particularly approachable in my experience. This one however was different.

I was using a 500mm lens on my Canon 1D2 and I set the tripod up with a view to approaching gradually and with hope for better frame fillers as I did so. The VF had a very different plan of campaign. It charged me. I exaggerate (again). But indeed it went on the attack, hopping ever closer. From rock to rock. Pausing perhaps to take an invisible insect somewhere, but advancing nonetheless. Until I suddenly realised it was too close for me to focus on. I had to retreat. I don’t recall how long this lasted but certainly a good twenty minutes until the VF became bored and flitted off.

And here is the bird in all its glory.

What a dreamy bird. Nice soft evening light, a catchlight in the eye and still as a HK traffic jam. And that was going to be it. But as I typed the last sentence a Laughingthrush popped up in the hedge opposite my study, where I sit to bang out these blogposts.

The trusty SX50 HS was whipped out and here we are, handheld at 1200mm, not quite the same quality I fear, but a passable record shot. I must ask Bob Thompson how he gets such sharp images with his.

Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, Garrulax pectoralis. Widespread but scarce resident population of captive origin.

That’s all folks.

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14 thoughts on “Flycatcher in the rye?

  1. Very nice photo of the first bird. Sharp and beautiful .Second photo is still a nice one even though it is not to your liking. You have the bird on record and that is good You and Mrs Ha must have a very lovely garden, The colors of the vegatation in the second photo are so pretty.

    • Thanks Yvonne. We are lucky to have a small private garden and share a large communal one on our small development. Both attract birds but the greater variety comes in the large communal garden. In HK a garden is a privilege to be treasured.

      • And, I am so glad that you have the privilege of fine gardens that are so bird friendly. Your viewers are lucky as well as you and we reap the benefits of some very nice photos.

  2. Nice one Andrew, we get Verditers here in the spring (April usually) – and always a joy. This one is a very different colour from the more blue ones I have seen. I envy your garden too – although I just had a Hoopoe and a Hodgson’s Redstart in ours 🙂

  3. The Verditer Flycatcher is indeed a dreamy bird as is the image. Everything one could want in a bird photograph and perfectly processed…

    Your writing station sounds to be a lovely spot with your garden just outside the window to entertain and inspire and the visit by the Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush puts an exclamation point on that.

  4. “thalassina” is something in Greek for the colour of the sea….. wouldn’tcha know it ? I don’t know any classical languages, but I recommend James Jobling’s “Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names”

    Fine opportunism re: GN Laugher shot

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