Sunbird flowers now blooming in Tai Po Kau

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    Fork-tailed Sunbird is one of our most brilliantly coloured birds. Belonging to a family that’s old word equivalent of hummingbirds (tho don’t hover: you see an apparent hummingbird hovering here, w v fast wings, it’s surely a moth!), it’s small, has decurved bill for feeding on nectar; male has iridescent green head, bright red throat, yellow underparts. The "fork" of the tail is little more than a couple of short, wire like feathers. Though widespread in areas w trees, it can be hard to see; fond of keeping high among foliage. But in Tai Po Kau Forest Reserve, in late winter/early spring, sunbirds are attracted to flowers of a few coral trees – which are at around head height. Just wait at these flowers, and should seen find sunbirds come in; can have scintillating views, plus chance for great photos. Used to seem a "secret" – but lately, can be several local bird photographers hanging out at the trees, ready to take shots as sunbirds arrive. I was at Tai Po Kau yesterday; there were already coral tree flowers – rather earlier than I’d recalled; attracting both sunbirds and, in turn, photographers. Should remain into March. To find the trees: walk up the access road to the forest, turn right at the small dam, to follow the road up to the country park management centre: the two main trees are right in front of this. Here’s a shot I took of a sunbird at coral tree flower some years ago. Not ideal; if you visit and do better, maybe post your shot(s) in this thread [or to an album you can start in the photo gallery].

    See also the lovely Fork-tailed Sunbird shot by Steen Heilesen, in gallery here.

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