Bird of the day

Another day spent surveying the garden in the hope of something interesting of the avian variety. The light was awful and I was struggling to identify anything that was more than 25m away. I was delighted to see a flock of 18 Chestnut bulbuls and a single Grey-backed thrush. Nothing remotely close though.

The commonest birds in the garden are the bulbuls and they like to sit up on a prominent twig or branch. Mid-morning I spotted another bulbul but somehow this didn’t look quite right. I grabbed my bins and sure enough……. gulp, a Grey Bushchat, Saxicola ferrea. I don’t see these too often and its status is scarce winter visitor and passage migrant.  To get one in the garden is a cause for a small celebration. The date and habitat are typical but any new tick for the garden is worth having. Not a particularly exciting bird to look at but at least I have a photo today.


Note the typical grey HK sky in the background. The image is a tad noisy as I underexposed it by about 2/3 of a stop.

Another nice bird is the positively abundant Red-whiskered bulbul, Pycnonotus jocusus. Here we are, red eating red:


And our neighbours will be seeing red. You see, the berry in the bird’s mouth is not off a bush but off the decorative spray that the folks next door had carelessly left lying on the outside table. Within an hour the birds had stripped it bare. And it was such a great photographic opportunity I didn’t have the heart to intervene. So for the Christmas cheer you brought to the birds and to me, thank you, whoever you are at number 3.

Another nice interlude was watching 3 Common buzzards, Buteo buteo japonicus. These were high and distant but it didn’t stop me having a go. Two seemed to be flying in synch and I managed a few frames with both together.


See what I mean about distant?

Rather closer was the Spotted dove, Steptopelia chinensis. Why a dove should be named after a rag and bone merchant beats me. These are quite beautiful. As they are common we humans follow our normal approach and pretty much ignore them. Trash birds…


And finally (I know you breath a sigh of relief when I get there in the end) just because it was around all day and refused to pose against anything other than the same old grotty background as the GBC, I offer you the Long-tailed shrike, Lanius schach.


Nothing too special but a nice resident. Note the hooked beak. They call shrikes ‘butcher birds’ in Britain.

So there we are. I trust Mrs. McW will not be despatching angry missives in my direction tonight. And for the record this is not a bird blog.  It is about my rapidly accelerating journey to the other side.   I’ll write about anything I jolly well please.  And if you don’t like it, I’ll send my bulbuls round to eat all your Christmas berries. You have been warned.

12 thoughts on “Bird of the day

  1. Please, please! I like it just fine. Spare my Christmas berries. 🙂

    A fine collection of images in my eye, Andrew. Sometimes the “trash birds” are the most interesting. The more common the subject, the better the opportunity to know them well.

  2. Some very nice captures here. My you were busy. I like the dove- always partial to doves even if they are common. We don’t call doves trash birds in Texas. I also like the shrike and bulbul. Sharp close-ups which shows details of feathering and color.

  3. The bulbul is the HK equivalent of the ubiquitous Christmas-card robin. Especially when it’s eating the Christmas decorations. Such lovely bird pictures. I thought those doves were turtledoves, obviously I’m wrong.

    • Not Turtle doves, Emilie but I do have images of Oriental turtle dove taken here in HK and some from Korea. Not an unreasonable confusion to be honest.

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