All creatures small and smaller

With a few other bits and bobs thrown in. This morning I went to see if my phalaropes were still around. Pardon me, Madam. Have you seen my phalaropes? Not surprisingly they were not but the Tattlers were. I then spent a happy three hours just sitting, wandering, photographing and generally watching the world go by. Here are the results, in no particular order. First up the Grey-tailed Tattler, Heteroscelus brevipes.

GT-Tattler And then a rather arty-farty Common Sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos, as the little tinker would not come close.Common-Sandpiper

The Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea, however played ball and showed beautifully. The yellow behind him is some sort of government warning sign. I am deeply indebted to the Government of the Hong Kong SAR for providing such a complementary backdrop.



Grey-Wagtail2 And then something of a surprise as a Brown Shrike, Lanius cristatus, appeared. Rather distant but a nice find.Brown-shrike1 Brown-shrike2


And then a couple of lounging lizards…… Calotes versicolor is the upper chappie.


Mabuya longicaudata

Mabuya longicaudata

And then a small rump of miscellany. All individually captioned.

Dysdercus decussatus

Dysdercus decussatus

Dysdercus decussatus

Dysdercus decussatus



Ipomoea cairica or Cairo Morning Glory

Ipomoea cairica or Cairo Morning Glory

Spider requiring ID

Spider requiring ID



25 thoughts on “All creatures small and smaller

  1. The Grey Wagtail with the yellow hue behind him is such a stunning shot! Who would have thought it was a Govt. signage! Actually, I’m just amazed to know that these were taken in Hong Kong. I had never quite figured wild life to be so abundant in this bustling city. Fantastic shots. What a treat. Sharon

    • Thank you Sharon. HK has lots of wildlife, often under threat and increasingly fragmented. I hope that one day a photo might help conserve a pocket of HK’s greenery. The signage looks good if you blur it. Very lucky.

  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE all of these though the Grey Wagtail does steal the show only because of the Government signage in the background. Perfect, Andrew you must be really pleased with these! I know that I would be 😀

    • Yes Lottie, I am thinking of writing to the government to thank it for its foresight. It may be the only decent thing done here since I arrived in 1997.

      I was pleasantly surprised with the output for the morning. For a 3 hour random wander about, accompanied only by a pair of binoculars, 4 lenses, 2 camera bodies, a tripod and a few gadgets (similar I imagine to the typical content of a woman’s handbag?) it was quite productive. Couldn’t have weighed more than 20-25 kilos. Of course I get NO exercise at all according to Mrs. Ha. Yomping with a military style pack counts for nought apparently.

      So bird of the day goes to Mr. G Wagtail although the Brown Shrike comes a decent second. I always think that they were named to rhyme with the German town of Braunschweig but I may be wrong.

  3. Thank you for showing us your Tattler as we missed out on your Phalaropes.

    Why is the wagtail called grey when he is so yellow? Most birds are grey or brown somewhere. Surely the colour should be part of the name?

    The shrike looks almost like he is wearing a mask. Or war-paint. The War Painted Shrike in fact. Or the Masquerade Shrike.

    Love the lizards, that first one is too cute. The little (or maybe not so little) feet are wonderful. And is the second one really called long-tailed or did you make that up?

    Morning glory looks like bindweed. In fact, having looked it up, it seems it is.

    That spider looks large. Or is that a photographic illusion?

    • The GW is called grey because another waggy got there first. Motacilla flava flava is the Yellow Wagtail and has more yellow than M. cinerea. The most handsome of all is the Citrine Wagtail, of which I posted a picture some weeks or months ago.

      The shrikes do have nice masks not unlike the Lone Ranger. There is a species called Masked Shrike, Lanius nubicus. It is a vagrant to Spain at this time of year so keep your eyes peeled. I recommend “Shrikes & Bush-shrikes” by Harris and Franklin as your refernce book of choice. Yes, the long-tailed is indeed called long-tailed. However vernacular names can vary considerably which is why Scientific names are important. They are constant and change only if taxonomy is updated or new information comes to light, based perhaps on DNA testing.

      The spider is quite small. Certainly not big enough to frighten you. Very tolerant of having my lens poked in its general direction. You definitely ought to invest in a bird or wildlife guide to the Iberian Peninsula including Gib. It would brighten your life immensely. I’m sure Prof. Clive would recommend something. I have his book on the Birds of the Strait of Gibraltar.

      • Ah, so I wasn’t thinking on the wrong lines then with the birdy names 🙂

        I tend to use ‘proper’ names for flowers (apart from bindweed/morning glory which of course should be convulvulus or however it is spelt – bindweed is easier). Same with snapdragons and antirrhinums. I grew up calling them antirrhinums. Had no idea what a snapdragon was 😀 Same applies to all the different names for the ‘winter’ jasmine, which incidentally is still flowering, as is the summer jasmine. Remarkable. Can’t remember when they have both flowered together in the same year.

        I like spiders. Mainly because I was brought up to think of them as money spiders. Not too keen on the huge funnel web that dashed under my hand on a bridge in Royal National Park (Sydney) I think it was Royal. Def one of the Sydney national parks.

        I don’t seem to have either the patience or be able to make the time to go flora and fauna watching. I nearly bought a guide when we first came to Spain but the price put me off 😀

        Prof Clive is doing a lecture next week over the road, so I must make the effort to go. He does good talks, and the lecture theatre is extremely comfortable if you feel the need for a snooze, or just to shut your eyes while he speaks.

      • You should try F&F watching – good for the soul. I can believe Prof. Clive is a good speaker – he is certainly a good photographer. If you snooze I suggest you do so quietly.

        Not much progress on the jasmine front here I’m afraid. It is alive, green but low on flowers.

      • I do F&F at the finca. Mainly looking for geckos or the protected chameleon that we once acquired. Beautiful. And the spider wandering across the ceiliing. But when we are out, I need to walk rather than stay still. I have no soul anyway.

        Prof C is very good. His talk on anthropology (I think) it was all based on the Gib neanderthal skulls and how humans had developed was excellent. I just need to write the dates on my calendar of his talks. I think the next one is the same date as my board meeting so that will be easy to remember and I will be hyper anyway 😀 Same venue too.

        I reckon it is the soil. Or too much water. Have you taken management in-house yet?

      • Management reverts at the end of June. Not long now. Water is difficult to ration when it pees down every day for 4 weeks.

        Walk with a purpose. A half hour walk takes me 2 hours sometimes. Not very good for the fitness but feeds the inner self. Of course you have a soul or you wouldn’t write the way you do and adopt rescue dogs. Protected chameleon??

  4. Just to be different to the other posters I love the Fungi shot.

    No need to carry all the heavy gear out to MP anymore, you have great shots at your doorstep.

    Congrats on all the shots


    • Thanks Bob. I like the Fungi too – quite a long exposure into the shade, using Live View. I have lived 10 minutes from here for 3 years or more without knowing you could access the shoreline so easily.

  5. These photos are beautiful as are their subjects… (with the possible exception of the spider. I find little jumping zebra spiders quite cute, but that’s about it).

    We get the occasional Grey Wagtail here, but mostly the common or garden Pied.

  6. All great pics here. I really enjoy the comments that your write with each photo. I like the fungi too but of course the birds especially get my vote.

    I say that you are getting quite a bit of exercise as you lug all of your equipment out and back to your vehicle. After all photography is a bit of work, is it not? 🙂

    • Photography can be hard work, Yvonne. Mostly when it is humid. Cool weather is fine for me. We are at the end of the ‘alright’ season now and will soon be in the uncomfortable period when I shall have to carry less kit and more water.

  7. This was a splendid day Andrew. So many lovely shots. And that wagtail is a glorious bird but I am intrigued by the Heterosexual brevipes. I am sure a source of much tattling.

  8. I can’t seem to pick a favorite. All are wonderful. I don’t even mind the spider. I love spider webs. I’m excited to find one now that I know how to manually focus so that things are really in focus. Such exciting work you do! 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Marsha. This really is leisure not work but the aim remains to do the best I can. Manual focus is very useful for close up work. Well worth using but I’m afraid there is no getting away from the tripod unless you have a decent shutter speed.

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