HK Bird Market- Lets shut it down!

Its been a while since I last visited Yuen Po Street Bird Garden. My last visit as I recalled were just stores mainly selling parrots and “prayer birds” for release such as Japanese White-eyes, Munias and Finches, etc.

Yesterday, a visit to the bird garden exhibited more species for sale than I initially expected. An overwhelming 30 species of birds cramped in very small cages, many of which I couldn’t ID but some of which I could included:

Mongolian Lark

Hwamei

Chestnut-backed Thrush

Pied Bushchat

Orange-bellied Leafbird

Golden-fronted Leafbird

Siberian Rubythroat

Magpie Robin

Bluethroats

Chinese blue flycatcher

Hill Blue Flycatcher

Common Starling

Mugimaki Flycatcher

Black Crested Bulbul

Orange-headed Thrush

Hill Myna

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

 

Top- Mugimaki Flycatchers Bottom- Common Starlings

Top- Mugimaki Flycatchers
Bottom- Common Starlings

Left- Hainan Blue flycatcher for sale at HKD550, Right- 2 Mongolian larks in a small cage with poor feather condition.

Left- Hainan Blue flycatcher for sale at HKD550, Right- 2 Mongolian larks in a small cage with poor feather condition.

Chinese blue flycatcher looking miserable!

 

Birds big and small get the same small cage

Birds big and small get the same small cage

It’s a miserly sight and very heartbreaking to see and definitely questions why Hong Kong resounding status as a World Class City still allows bird trade to exist and that HK law on Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap. 170) does not prohibit the importation and sale of wild birds, and even more so, the HK Tourist Board promotes it as a HK highlight! :-/

Only a small percentage of birds survived the ordeal of trapping and logistics to get to where they are now and even so, many were clearly distressed and in poor condition. It does make one wonder how many died to get one bird on display in the small cage. While Birdlife , CITES and NGOs around the world work to combat the threats resulting from wild bird trade…HK, being a world class city should step up and mirror European Union Ban on wild bird trade/import.

While some old Chinese hobbies should be nurtured, this is clearly NOT one of them! Dear HK, please let’s just shut this bird market.

 

 

 

Mud Spa for Chinese Crested Tern

There’s only one reason and only one mission to visit Fuzhou, and that is to see the critically endangered Chinese Crested Tern. Joined by Bonnie Chan, Davis Kwan and Victor (Faizai), the “Famous Four” hired a guide in China- “China Wild Tours” who took us to see this rare tern on the summer of May, 2013!

The Minjiang Estuary in Fuzhou, Fujian Province is probably the most reliable site to see the Chinese Crested Tern, but getting to the mudflat area wasn’t easy at all! The walk to the mudflat took over 45 mins just one way! The trail was mostly mud and it was a struggle to walk with mud knee deep! Nonetheless, we managed to stride to our destination!

The beginning of a long long walk! -photo by Bonnie Chan

The beginning of a long long walk! This part was fairly easy! -photo by Bonnie Chan

Not easy to stride in mud

Not easy to stride in mud

It was worth the long muddy walk as Minjiang Estuary produced some quality waders which included the White-faced Plover, Ruddy Turnstones, Red-necked Stints, Grey-tailed Tattler, Kentish Plovers, Sanderlings, etc.

ruddy turnstone in breeding plumage in Fuzhou

ruddy turnstone in breeding plumage in Fuzhou

sanderling on mudland

sanderling on mudland

White-faced plover, quite a few in Minjiang

White-faced plover, quite a few in Minjiang

At the mudflat, we saw many Great Crested Terns, but it takes a queer-eye to find a Chinese Crested Tern! The easiest way to distinguish the Chinese Crested Tern will be by the bill- being yellow with a black tip!

greater crested terns in Minjiang estuary, Fuzhou

greater crested terns in Minjiang estuary, Fuzhou

We scanned high and low but there was no sign of the rare bird! :-/ As we were about to give up, a small flock flew in! Yes, Chinese Crested Terns! They landed pretty far from us! We had no choice but to wade slowly towards them for a better view!

mud spa- photo by Bonnie Chan

mud spa- photo by Bonnie Chan

Chinese crested tern

Chinese crested tern

chinese crested tern in fuzhou

Chinese crested tern in Fuzhou

The sun was about to set and so we had to leave the mudflat, which meant another 45 minutes of muddy walk out! We went back again the next morning, left for lunch, returned for noon session and walked out again! :-/  The mud was really good for my feet- came back with smoother skin! 🙂 🙂

Presumed to have extinct, The Chinese Crested Terns were later discovered at Mazu Islands in 2000. Birdlife and other NGOs involved have placed mega efforts in bid to bring the birds back from near extinction! Click here for more details about their work!