Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hong Kong Birding, Day 1 - Kowloon at Last

Cynthia and I were so glad that Kowloon Park is just within walking distance from our hotel. Friends had been telling us that despite being in the middle of an urban area, this park still hosts a lot of bird species. Some of which would be lifers for us, they said. They were right, of course. Although we didn't know it at that time, the first bird we saw was actually a lifer. Let me explain: when I saw the bird, I assumed it was a Great Tit, which we had already seen in South Korea. As I was processing our photos about a month later, I discovered that the species found in Hong Kong is actually the Cinereous Tit! Which became a welcome addition to our lifelist.

Had I known this would be a lifer then, I would have taken better shots.
Despite the abundant presence of humanity in the park - a great majority of whom were doing their morning exercises - there was still a profusion of wild birds. One of the more common ones was the Black-collared Starling.

black-collared starling, hongkong birds

Not far from it was the Masked Laughingthrush.

masked laughingthrush

Both birds were so used to people that we had to move back to get the whole bird in the frame!

Behind one of the structures, a pair of Alexandrine Parakeets were busy building a nest.

alexandrine parakeet

The highlight of the day was the gorgeous Red-billed Blue Magpie. 

red-billed blue magpie, hongkong birds

My wife and I did a short walk towards the pier. What got our attention was the presence of a raptor soaring by the tall buildings. We were wondering what kind of prey these birds hunt in the middle of a busy city. Black Kites, we learned later, feed on garbage dumps. Despite such bad reputation, we still think it is a magnificent bird of prey.

Eventually, jet lag crept in. We had a quick lunch, returned to our hotel, and retired for the rest of the day.

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