BAD 10

Well as I anticipated there were no wild birds in the boardroom. So this has been a bird free day for me. I suppose if I had chosen the chicken at lunch I could have counted that but I had salmon fillet.

Instead I reach back to January 7th and my old friend Stejneger’s Stonechat. Hong Kong has been full of rare birds this week – the Barred Cuckoo Dove, Chiffchaff, a Long-billed Plover and a putative Blyth’s Pipit.  I have seen three of the four before though not necessarily in HK. I saw Long-billed Plover in Nepal during a glorious half hour that included both Ibisbill and Wallcreeper. Looking at birds in drainage channels does little for me. So I have been happy to stay close to home and regain a little energy.

Readers who pay attention will recall that I decided this year to photograph Stejneger’s Stonechat whenever I could simply because it is interesting from a taxonomic point of view. It happens also to be easy to find and to be quite a pretty bird. It suffers from hanging out a lot at Long Valley. People don’t go to Long Valley to see stonechats. They go there to look for rare birds. So the poor old stonechat gets little attention unless it hurls itself in front of the camera and flaunts its full frontal finery. Or until the photographers are so fed up with finding nothing glamorous that they resort to photographing the stonechat because there is nothing else and they have itchy shutter-finger, or ISF as its known in the medical profession. Check it out in Grey’s Anatomy. I on the other hand actively seek out the victim of benign neglect. You may mock. And you probably will. But why is this species not lusted after the way the Chiffchaff has been? Numbers pure and simple. Number of chiffys recorded to date in HK. Seven, I believe. Have you never heard of the HK Sevens? Number of stonechats recorded in Long Valley during a morning – at least ten. So there you have it. Rarity sells.  Me? I buy the stonechat every time.

Stejneger's Stonechat

Stejneger’s Stonechat

16 thoughts on “BAD 10

  1. Goodness I’ve learnt a lot this morning. Itchy shutter finger, a new medical phenomenon (sounds painful, and er, itchy) and the lowly pecking order of the stonechat. May I call your photograph adorable?

  2. A cracking shot Andrew! Stonechat’s are one of my favourite subjects too. Mostly because they perch a few feet off the ground and hang about long enough for even pseudo-photographers like me to get a reasonable shot every once in while.


  3. Very engaging photograph. Why are they called stone chats. Do they chat when stoned. And why does this one belong to mr or ms Stejneger?
    I applaud you for sharing the more commonly available species. Too bad when the ‘art’ of economics intrudes into enjoying wild-life, supply and demand bah humbug.

    • They probably do chat when stoned Rod but actually, the call is like two stones being banged together. Probably Mick and Keef. Stejneger is probably some taxonomist who decided to split the old species, which was originally Siberian Stonechat, into 2 separate species.

  4. Gotta love that little rock chat- I mean stone chat. It looks to be a dainty bird. I’m so glad that you conserved your energy by sitting at a table rather than scrambling after a mere bird to photograph.

  5. Personally I think the commoners don’t get nearly the attention they deserve. Many are quite lovely and the upper crust can get…well, quite crusty. So your stoned chat is just fine by me and I look forward to many more stoner fill ins when times get lean. 🙂
    Your subject here seems a bit shy…or is it the nits?

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