Three rarities in a row

Birding seemed to be a ceased habit in 2016. It was not that there was a paucity of rare birds. Instead, 2016 produced many interesting birds. But I have not see them except a few. However, I know that birding is such a healthy activity that keeps me in good shape and in good spirits. Winter is still here. There must be some exciting birds around. 

On 20th January, I took a stroll in Lung Fu Shan. Because of the little time available, I chose a short route. Nonetheless, something interesting appeared. Among a group of tits jumping around a Camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora), there was an outstanding individual whose mantle was green. It hinted Japanese tit (Parus minor). It showed that country parks provided food and shelter to rare wintering birds. Typically, we see Cinereous tit (Parus cinereus) in Hong Kong. During breeding season, juvenile birds with pale green mantle can be seen. But this individual tended to be a Japanese tit. The possibility of juvenile birds is slim as it is now winter. The green mantle of juvenile Cinereous tits is mixed with grey. However, the green on this one was a little bit duller than grass green. The mantle is uniformly green instead of mixed with grey. Waiting for the decision by the Records Committee, I, as many Hongkongers do, think that tits from Japan are more attractive than tits from Hong Kong.

Two days later, photos of a Baikal bush warbler (Locustella davidi) were circulated on the HKBWS forum. The warbler was found in Kowloon Bay. Why do birds always pop up in densely populated housing estates? It was a 10 minute walk from my home to the bush where the warbler was seen. I went there the next day. What's amazing was the presence of another bird, the Pallas's Grasshopper warbler (Locustella certhiola). Both warblers are migratory species. The Baikal bush warbler was extremely rare for Hong Kong. The Pallas's Grasshopper warbler was regularly recorded but hard to see.

The Baikal bush warbler was more secretive.

The Pallas's grasshopper warbler was characterized by the unique stripes.

Some common birds such as the Spotted dove and Red-whiskered bulbul were photographed with nice background.

This cute rodent was always there.

As long as one spends efforts searching for birds, there are always surprises, near or far. The warblers in Kowloon Bay and the tit in Lung Fu Shan are clear evidence. I just want to be the twitcher that I was.


  1. Wonderful shots! And congratulations on the Japanese Tit, wonderful record!

  2. Which lens are you using for your photos ? You for sure have good potentials in making amazing shots. cheers Dieter