13 Jan 2021

Mid-winter ground frost

We’re at sea level here, but several kilometres from the nearest warming ocean at Mai Po.

Frosty plants are a novelty to photograph, but cold weather can be an extra hazard for wildlife.

Wood Sandpiper

Still cold in the shadows, but Blue Magpies were active.

Green Sandpiper

Masked Laughingthrush

Ground frost can damage winter crops like lettuce.  Frost is relatively rare (we’re in the tropics, after all) so not many field areas in the New Territories are protected against it.

We’d had a clear, cold night, but a warm sun was coming up !

4 Jan 2021

New Territories, New Year

Clear and cool, and we enjoyed the view of Ma Tso Lung, here with Shenzhen in the background,

House Swift, one of the first birds of the New Year....

At Mai Po in the evening, Pied Avocets in a frisky mood.

Some of the thousands of Great Cormorants now wintering at Mai Po.

Eurasian Wigeon on Pond 11, Mai Po.

And January 3rd we “Twitched” the Greater Scaup in the river at Shatin.

 Happy New Year !

5 Dec 2020

Raptor Rapture in early Winter

Blogger has put these in reverse order and I’m demonstrating my maturity by not being fagged to try to reverse them back...

Anyhow, a close-ish Black-winged Kite fly-by gave a short thrill.

And a late-autumn Pied Harrier....

And “not a raptor at all..” Stejneger’s Stonechat

1 Nov 2020

The “Awesome Foursome” at Telford Gardens, Kowloon Bay

The flowerbeds and planters of Telford Gardens have been host to an exotic variety of migrant birds through October 2020. Consider: -

Middendorff’s Grasshopper Warbler

Lanceolated Warbler

Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler

Pale-footed Bush Warbler

All these birds have been very viewable due to the limited size of the flower beds they are stopping-over in.  

Rare birds have been found and Telford Gardens before Braving the Concrete Jungle (in early 2017).

This Middendorff’s Grasshopper Warbler was only the third HK bird to be detected other than by the bird ringers in their Mai Po reedbed nets.

So it drew a sizeable (socially distanced ?) crowd of admirers, including yours truly.

Captain Wong (Wong Lun-cheung), who found many of these rarities, has lived at this estate in east Kowloon for a decade and back in the summer (of 2020) wrote up an account of this phenomenon for the HKBWS’s quarterly bulletin number 256. 

The birds get so used to people they can be photographed with mobile phones, which certainly democratises the recording process; -

Telford Gardens Estate Management has been both informative with the signboards, and responsive to control the human movement around the flowerbeds.

So it’s a “win” for the birds, and a “win” for the humans, too.

Elsewhere, a view of Collared Scops Owl, seen on our nightbird survey on 22nd October. 

And, on 26th October, a sunny morning at Mai Po’s boardwalk hide, with a falling tide.  Wigeon are among the first duck to arrive for the winter.  

"Also seens" were Pacific Golden Plover, atrifrons Lesser Sand Plover, and Osprey.  

Dunlin are also winter visitors…

Cool weather now, but strangely, there’s a big Typhoon in the Philippines, heading for the South China Sea.