This, it appears, is my 500th post. Who’d have thunk it? I suppose I ought to celebrate. And what do you have when you throw a party? Why, bunting of course. And here it is. Crested Bunting, Emberiza Lathami.
Crested Bunting is described in The Avifauna as once a common resident, now rare. The Avifauna speculates on the cause(s) of the decline in numbers and says that it appears to have been associated with rice fields. Rice cultivation disappeared in HK but is now back on a small scale at Long Valley. Perhaps not surprisingly then the Crested Bunting has started to put in an appearance again.
Last time it was around I was for some reason unable to go and photograph it. I was heartened therefore at the weekend when it was again reported from Long Valley. I did not set out this morning to try my luck with it but the light at Nam Sang Wai was murky so I changed venue and in the company of John Holmes I decamped to LV. There must be some deep cultural reason why LV means handbags to my wife and buntings to me. It did not take long to see the target bird and over the course of the next few hours I had three reasonable chances to take shots. The problem was the sheer number of people, who wanted to do the same. I was fortunate that it landed close to me whilst I was killing time photographing a Dusky Warbler. I rapidly switched my attention whilst the football crowd of avia-snapperazzi were surrounding a patch of rice stubble. Presumably they thought the bird was in there somewhere. I was tempted to shout out “it’s behind you!” but I resisted. No panto please, we’re birders.
The light still was not good and my pictures lack that special glow that lifts and separates the excellent from the average. The Playtex shot, I should call it. But here they are anyway, three bunting images. As far as I can tell, this is a female.
Now tomorrow, as a reward for 500 posts, I am going to pick up a new camera body. I shall hopefully be the owner of a rather swish Canon 1Dx. And a lot poorer. But if it gets me better images than these it will be money well spent. Thank you to those of you who have travelled so far with me. If you were there at the outset I am amazed and grateful beyond words. Until 501.