21 Jul 2021

More Ferry Good Birding

Hong Kong’s first Brown Noddy was photographed off Po Toi Island by Geoff Welch umpteen years ago. The second bird was seen near Po Toi last year during a typhoon. BUT in July 2021 we now appear to have two different Brown Noddys at the same time in HK. Firstly, a bird that has been around for 3-4 weeks in the waters to HK’s northeast - presently delighting photographers east of Tap Mun Island. http://matthewkwanbirding.blogspot.com/2021/07/brown-noddy-mid-summer-twitch.html AND FOURTH, found by people last week tern-watching on the Cheung Chau to Central Ferry, this bird I photographed today, 21st July, also from the back of the public ferry.
Five photos of this very worn and abraded individual, and a couple of shots of one of the ferries (just like ours) - someone going the other way seems to be looking out for the Noddy, too !

26 Jun 2021

Hong Kong’s Breeding Terns

Hong Kong has three species of breeding tern, - Bridled, Black-naped and Roseate - and the rocks near Tap Mun Chau (Grassy Island) in the northeast New Territories are a stronghold for them. There are ferries to Tap Mun from Ma Liu Shui (near Chinese University) and from Wong Shek Pier, Sai Kung.
Late June sees a peak of activity, as the birds roam the waters of Tolo Harbour, to catch fish for their newly-hatched young. These are some shots from the back of the public ferry, taken yesterday, 25th June 2021.

19 May 2021

Here comes Summer...

"school is out, oh happy day..." Mai Po's wader passage peaked in April, but the later passage birds are usually in fine breeding plumage.
Spring 2021's only Spoon-billed Sandpiper, a non-breeder flagged "LM" was seen on Ponds 16/17 at Mai Po on the weekend of 8th/9th May
The Red Knot were showing well, too.
Greater Painted-Snipe are establishing themselves in the grass in front of Hide 3.

2 May 2021

Oriental Cuckoo (Cuculus optatus) and birds of passage, mostly

A year ago in May we had a Twitch for Common Cuckoo, but the attraction this morning was an Oriental Cuckoo, catching caterpillars in the banyans at the entrance to Mai Po. A "scarce passage migrant"...they don't call much so may be overlooked.
An Asian Barred Owlet appeared briefly, mobbed by a a Cinereous/Japanese Tit. Both have young at the moment, and the Tit doesn't want to give up its young to make dinner for the Owl.
At the boardwalk hides, waders waders waders
Did I mention waders ?
And this unusually-flagged Broad-billed Sandpiper, (duly reported and found to be ringed in Point Calimere, Tamil Nadu about 18 months ago).
I'd never have guessed "India" but "Bombay" (from Bombay Natural History Society) was readable on the ring, once I had the image on the computer. (Added 31 May 2021 - from the BHNS website)

25 Apr 2021

Hong Kong Southern Waters 25th April 2021 - a seabird trip

A suitably-distanced masked, precautionary boat trip led us to a regular stream of Terns, eight species heading northeastwards included Little, Aleutian,Bridled,Black-naped,Common,Gull-billed, Greater Crested Tern and Caspian Tern. Aleutian Tern
Common Tern
Greater Crested Tern
Little Tern
Arctic Skuas (Parasitic Jaegers) were present, too...
Short-tailed Shearwaters are passing through HK waters now. This was the closest..
"Also-seens" included Red-necked Phalarope..
Several example of "Visible Migration" included this group of Cattle Egret, possibly arrived from the Philippines