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.

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.

Bird photographs from Long Valley

A short (?) interlude today from the ice and snow as I went out with Martin H to do some local birding. We planned to shoot at Nam Sang Wai but it was dull, grey and downright birdless. So we headed to Long Valley in search of Crested bunting for me and the rumoured Red-headed bunting for Martin.

LV seemed a better prospect and the good thing is that you can pick up everyday birds as you go like this Zitting cisticola. And yes that really is its name. Cisticola juncidis to the pros.



Hmmm, I think the first image has been over-warmed a tad in processing 😦

We started in fact with a rather obliging Plaintive cuckoo. Cacomantis merulinis.


Not so obligingly close was a Chestnut-eared bunting, Emberiza fucata.


We also saw a Bluethroat but it was into the light and the photo, sadly, is crapissimo. Yuk.


At lunchtime I retired to my car for a drink and a Mrs. Ha made sandwich whilst Martin went off to do some chores. Reconvene at 3pm was the plan. But 75 minutes later I had to phone him. “Get your **** over here….. the Red-headed bunting is showing.” I’m sure I put it more (or less) politely than that but this is a seriously good bird in Hong Kong.

So what was all the fuss about? This. Emberiza bruniceps.


I mean, never mind Rockhoppers and Chinstraps, how good is that? When I left it was still there and showing well. Doubtless the crowd controlling mutaween will be needed tomorrow. But the sharper amongst you will have realized that I didn’t see my Crested bunting. So its a replay tomorrow. Kick off 7.30am sharp. Feel free to join in the excitement.