31 May 2010

Blue-throated Bee-eater - a Sunday "Twitch"

Last Saturday evening I got a telephone tip-off to say that a Blue-throated Bee-eater was sitting on some wires less than two kilometres from where we live.

I "high-tailed" it up to Kwu Tung and met the finder, George Ho. I saw his photos and the wires the bird had been on, but the Bee-Eater was gone. Then the heavens opened, and it rained heavily until after it got dark.

George posted details of his sighting on the HKBWS website (link above), and both English and Chinese birdlines carried the news.

At dawn on Sunday it was still very damp, but HK's sixth Blue-throated Bee-eater was re-found. The bird hung around a damp area of huts, gardens and a maze of alleys until the weather cleared a bit shortly after nine o'clock. Then it flew high into the sky....

Blue-throated Bee-Eater

... circled a couple of times and disappeared, embodying, perhaps, the departure of spring.

24 May 2010

Last Call for spring migrants

Nice sunlight at the Mai Po boardwalk today. It was cool first thing this morning, but pretty soon felt like summer had arrived.

Gull-billed Tern (Breeding Plumage)
Gull-billed Tern - Non-breeding plumage

Osprey with fish

Caspian Terns

And a VERY LATE Long-billed Dowitcher

A few waders apart from the Dowitcher were still about, but they stayed on the tideline.

20 May 2010

International Moth Night - May 16th


Light traps.

Exotic unearthly creatures....

... and some insects as well...

Yes, it was Hong Kong's version of "International Moth Night" with civilized temperatures and the odd bottle of Shiraz.

Many Thanks to Roger Kendrick, Andrew Hardacre, R & K Barretto and everyone else for a most diverting evening.

17 May 2010

"WMBD" - 2010

No, NOT an American Radio Station, but "World Migratory Bird Day".

This year it was actually TWO days, the weekend of 8th and 9th of May. Birdlife International's WMBD is aimed at focussing attention on Globally Threatened Migratory Birds.

Here are some Globally Threatened Migratory Birds seen at Mai Po in the past few days...

Black-faced Spoonbill - Endangered

Nordmann's Greenshank - Endangered

Chinese Egret - Vulnerable

Asian Dowitcher - Near Threatened

But what I'm leading up to is that I haven't seen a Spoon-billed Sandpiper since February, despite searching through thousands of Red-necked Stints (with which they often associate on migration).

As I said before, there's a poignancy about seeing Spoon-billed Sandpiper, rather like meeting a friend with a terminal illness. You know they won't be around for much longer.

So, farewell then, Spoonbilled Sandpiper. I'm sorry, but I think you've "had it".

12 May 2010

Waders at the Mai Po boardwalk, 11th and 12th May

Some not-too-high tides at Mai Po these last few days, and we made an effort to catch some of the more tardy northbound waders on the Deep Bay tideline.

Red-necked Stint - one of about 2,000 on Tuesday

Terek Sandpiper

Broadbilled Sandpipers

Red Knot - with supporting cast

Greater Sandplover

A good "find" for us was this Little Stint. In non-breeding plumage they are very hard to separate from Red-necked Stints, but I'm pretty confident about THIS one !

Little Stint

Clearer weather is forecast and it looks like the Mai Po Wader Show is pretty much over for another spring.....

3 May 2010

Po Toi and HK southern waters, Sunday 2nd May

A birdwatching society boat trip, on a boat intermediate in size between these....

A couple of Arctic Skuas were seen... this one flew closest to the boat...

Arctic Skua

And a shearwater, doing exactly what it says in the species job description ...

Short-tailed Shearwater

We saw over one hundred phalarope on the open sea. Their presence in is usually a good sign that seabird migrants are around. Although, until yesterday, I'd seen more phalarope at Mai Po than at sea !
Red-necked Phalarope

Other visible migrants included a Peregrine, a couple of Barn Swallows and a few Little and Cattle Egrets, but my "bird-of-the-day" was THIS... a Hong Kong "tick" for yours truly, a beast that has been hiding from me for some time now..

Ancient Murrelet

Only one, only a fly-by, but in Sunday's light the view was clear enough.

A fine start to May !

1 May 2010

Yunnan 2009 09


Yunnan 2009 03


Gansu 2009 05

India North East 2007


Fujian 2008 06

Yunnan 2008 03

Japan 2006 Feb




West China 2005


Myanmar 2005 02