Peak Cisticola

This morning I did a pre-breakfast cardio work out and walked up to Victoria Peak Garden. I took with me a new Fuji X-H1 and the 100-400mm lens I use for birds. There were a few birds around but all high up. Not a good test for the new combo.

As I walked up to the top garden I spotted a bird perched on a low fence. The soft sunlight was shining on it.

Zitting Cisticola

The usual procedure is I edge closer and the bird flies away. That was what I expected. Instead it just hopped on to a nearby bush and I started my approach until:

Cisticola juncidis

Cisticola juncidis

Cisticola juncidis

I moved slightly to vary the background – the purple and the green are just different foliage behind the bird. Then I decided to try to walk around and photograph with the light behind me rather than across the bird. And then it flew. I never refound it.

This is a Zitting Cisticola and it really should not have been on Victoria Peak. But migrants can turn up anywhere and it will doubtless move on, possibly to Mai Po or Long Valley. I was very happy indeed with this new bird for my patch.

Most birds don’t allow close approach and this ‘bonus’ shot is more typical. Small in the frame this needed a decent crop just to get to this size.

Ficedula albicilla

This is a Taiga Flycatcher. Very similar to Red-breasted Flycatcher they can be separated on call and this one called. I confused them in my mind but after checking on Aves Vox this is definitely a Taiga, burning bright.

16 thoughts on “Peak Cisticola

  1. LOL! I can’t believe this, Andrew – I was about to answer your comment when I thought to have a look at some of your other pictures >>> and here is a Cisticola!!! I spent years in Kenya, wrote the species accounts for A Bird Atlas of Kenya >>> and at one time specialised in Cisticola identification!!! Adrian 🙂

    • Wow Adrian – an expert on Cisticolas! I first came across them in Kenya almost 30 years ago on a Limosa holiday. They drive me mad. It was my first holiday in Africa and we had 500 species in 17 days. I was overwhelmed. I wasn’t doing bird photography then. I spent a lot of time in Kenya subsequently as I visited regularly for Standard Chartered Bank. Made lots of friends there. Happily we only get 2 cisticolas here so not so hard to ID them. I am in awe of anybody who can do them although I think if you can learn the calls it’s better. I guess the equivalent here would be leaf warblers. Phylloscs drive people mad. Happy birding and photography for 2020.

  2. You must have incredible patience to get shots like that. I can sit and watch birds for hours and enjoy studying the movement with great pleasure. To do the same with a camera (and I’d guess a pretty formidable lens) and be able to press the button at the exact moment to capture shots like this is impressive. All good wishes. Simon (of Clowne!)

    • To be honest Simon I just wander around listening for the birds. Then I do wait for the bird to show. I don’t chase them as they all have a circle of fear. My current lens is not especially formidable. I sold the heavy kit and the lighter stuff comes with compromises. Not good for birds in flight. I shoot short bursts of 3-5 frames to capture any movement and then pick my favourite. But I can walk and wander and see nothing and still go home happy. Life can be simple if you allow it.

  3. That is the usual procedure for me as well, and I’d have been thrilled to get the first shot. The next ones are terrific, clearly the result of your superior sneaking up skills as well as your photographer’s skills 🙂
    And then I joyfully went down the rabbit hole, as your post on fickle people led me to your penguins and from there to caguins. It was all very enlivening to my rainy morning.

    • Well I just followed you down the same rabbit hole and was surprised that I had written the posts. Such a long time ago. But I remember each and every photo, where it was taken and whom I was with and sometimes the excitement even comes back (Antarctica). It is a good reminder of the value of both words and pictures.

    • We are off to see your taiga, taiga burning… in January – there is a major Blake painting exhibition at Tate Britain.

      Do keep the jokes (and the birds and insect life) coming!

      • I always liked Blake. Especially in On the Buses. Enjoy the exhibition. A busy week ahead as we have our granddaughter staying with us. Rugby this afternoon. 🙄

    • People don’t realise how small a bird is in the frame with a 400mm or even a 600mm lens. A typical sparrow or blackbird is tiny and you need to be close to frame a decent portrait or you go for what I call a habitat shot.

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