CornDancer collaboration 3. Red-flanked Bluetail

Today I am asking you to do me a favour and simply click through to a more ambitious piece. This is the third collaboration with Ebenezer Baldwin Bowles of

It a photo essay on the Red-flanked Bluetail, Tarsiger cyanurus. As with previous works I provide the photos and the skeleton of the narrative. Eb transmogrifies my raw material into the polished end result. Of course it means that any errors are down to me and me alone. Eb adds the icing on the cake. He finds wonderful historical references and illustrations. In the process of the research for this piece we have both enjoyed greatly reading the work of Henry E. Dresser. There is also a good lesson here, namely that we ignore to our own loss the old works, which were based on field observations and personal research rather than many of today’s pieces which are built substantially on photographic excellence.  They can happily co-exist and the old works please as much as the most modern field guide. So here is the link and I hope you will enjoy the result.

Thank you.

Red-flanked Bluetail

The first time I heard of this species was 1993. I had hardly started birdwatching and I learned of a twitch to see this bird at Winspit, Dorset. At the time I believe it was only Britain’s 13th record and therefore much sought after by listers. Needless to say I didn’t bother.

Fast forward less than four years and I am living in Hong Kong. Mention Red-flanked Bluetail here and people hardly bat an eyelid. Common as muck. Except that the bird is uncommonly beautiful. Well the male is. I wasn’t looking for RFB today but one threw itself in front of me. As it was a male I can hardly call it a brazen hussy but you know what I mean. It stayed in the same copse for about an hour. Still there I expect. Now it was not so shameless as to pose without giving me a bit of target practice. Steady, aim, click…. bum! Gone!

But I did manage a few snapshots and I leave you to decide whether you would twitch this bird. Me, I’ll just wait for another one to come along.

Tarsiger cyanurus Tarsiger cyanurus4 Tarsigercyanurus3 Tarsiger cyanurus2

Oh you fickle people…………!

So there it is. Proven beyond doubt. Antarctica sells. It must be the penguins. The first day I stop posting penguin pics and my readership plummets. Its never very high but the Southern Ocean clearly went down well. Hong Kong birds don’t do it for you. Well I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Its my blog and I’ll cry if I want to. And today’s cry is MORE HK birds.

Out at 7am and the light was kinder this morning but the birds alas were fewer. I ached from carrying the 800mm all day yesterday in 24C and I guessed it would be a morning only job. Still no Crested bunting but the red-headed was still about. Here it is again.


So too the Chestnut-eared bunting. I just could not get a head shot at the right angle but at least it was closer today.


There was also a brief encounter with a Citrine wagtail, Motacilla citreola, my favourite of the lot.


We  wandered off to look for White’s or Scaly  thrush, Zoothera dauma. The location was close by but very prone to disturbance by unwitting passers-by. We did not get decent close ups so this is a sort of rescue shot.


And in waiting for better shots I snapped an obliging Red-flanked bluetail, Tarsiger cyanurus. Sayonara cyanurus.


And finally, another repeat simply because I like the shot – Zitting cisticola 🙂


And that’s it for today. We wrapped up around 11am and I am due to put my feet up as soon as I have blogged for you. I hope you like the Long Valley birds as much as the penguins. They really are rather fine.