BAD landing

I was looking for a particular shot last night and found instead another old favourite. It must have been a good morning – in fact it was the day before I retired! There were plenty of water birds on the ponds in front of the Tower Hide at Mai Po. Two images made me smile as I flicked through the day’s shots. Both are landings. The first one has to be the scruffiest looking cormorant I have seen. I don’t think this bird is going to win any beauty pageants soon.

Landing cormorant


The second looks like air traffic control got it all wrong.



The undercarriage is down, the pilot does a last minute visual check and suddenly sees flight GH444 is parked right on the runway below him, waiting it seems to take off. I don’t recall what happened next.

Thanks for all the comments about the ticker and AF. I bought myself today a gadget for checking your own BP and heart rate. It also warns if the heart rate is erratic. Designed by the Japanese but made in China. I hope it is accurate. Mrs. Ha wants to try it on Lulu. I suspect the cuff would go round Lulu’s torso, not her front leg. I don’t think this is a runner. Work tomorrow although nothing too onerous. Then some more serious use of the brain is required on Tuesday and Wednesday. Not much else this week. Suddenly the sun is out, the temperature is in the 30s (Celsius) and the RH is up to 95%. The heat is on.

Grey Heron

Two of my favourite Grey Heron shots were taken on the same day. The conditions were unusually calm and I was trying for mirror shots – perfect reflections. I think I came close with one. The other was a near miss.

Grey Heron reflection The itchAnd here is a flight shot of the same species.

Grey HeronOnce again I find it intriguing how the light can make the plumage look warm, neutral or cold. It is always hard to decide whether to clean up the twigs and reeds in the water or leave them be. I know some photographers spend ages removing every trace that ‘interferes’ with the cleanliness and purity of the image. In the top one I removed a few sticks that were very close to the heron. In the middle one I did nothing. I think it is a matter of taste. I was surprised how few heron images I have. I think many of us tend to ignore them because we see them so often. We focus on small active or pretty birds and large grey flappy things get little attention. A Gallic shrug and a “Pah – just another heron” – the bird is gone. It takes golden light or mirror-calm water to merit paying attention to one of these chaps. And with a big lens they often don’t fit in the frame. I already have my stonechat project running. Maybe 2014 should be the year of the heron rather than the horse.

Bubble and Squeak

Bubble and squeak, for those of you who may not know, is a delicious and doubtless unhealthy British dish. It is basically fried up leftovers from yesterday’s (usually roast) meal. My father loved it. Which is probably why he dropped dead of a heart attack at 65. I am hoping to go the same way though not necessarily at the same age. The point is that all you get today is leftovers from yesterday’s trip to Mai Po. And as you evidently found it less boring than I did I hope it will pass muster. Thank you all for your generous comments.

The spoonies of course are the stars. Black-faced spoonbill is an endangered species and if you are interested you can read more here.  It also happens to be a very charismatic bird. We love having them in HK each year.

Wow! Says Spoony. I wish I could do that.Clever The other two feign indifference to the neck twisting tricks of the Eurasian interloper.Head-twist Mr. Heron on the other hand is hoping to make a big splash.Heron-landing Whichever angle he lands from…..Landing

He doesn’t really mind if someone is below him. The Avocets don their tin hats when Mr. heron is on a flightpath to their bit of the runway mudflats.Lookoutbelow This shot is just a ‘record’ shot but Roughly asked why the Grey wagtail wasn’t called  Yellow as it has a fair amount of yellow in its plumage. Alas and alack, someone got there first, namely the Yellow wagtail itself, Motacilla flava flava. So here is a rather distant shot of a Yellow Waggy. The YW comes in a Kellogg’s Variety pack of races. They are extremely beautiful. This is the race Tschutschensis. For those of you with a keener interest I recommend Per Alström and Krister Mild’s magnum opus, Pipits and Wagtails of Europe, Asia And North AmericaYellow-wagtailAnd to illustrate that nature likes monochrome too, here is a White Wagtail, Motacilla alba.  This is of the race leucopsis. (Taken at Ma On Shan the previous day).White-wagtailAnd finally, to complete my wagtail set for now a reprise of the Citrine Wagtail at Long Valley earlier this year.



This has to be one of my favourite families. I hope you enjoy bubble and peeps.