5 December 2016

Siberian Cranes at Mai Po

Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus


Found by David Diskin at Mai Po’s boardwalk hides on the morning of Dec 2nd. 

An adult and a juvenile Siberian Crane were among the birds on the tideline in Deep Bay.  HK’s only previous record was of a juvenile in December 2002.

The cranes then flew into the reserve onto Pond 8 near the Tower Hide. Thanks to WhatsApp and other forms of mobile phone messaging a crowd of crane twitchers -including us- soon gathered.

Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus

Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus

Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus

Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus


After an hour or so near the Tower Hide, the cranes moved to the south end of the Reserve, where I took these record shots in the late afternoon.


Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus


Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus

Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus

Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus


Both birds stayed overnight, and more people saw them on Saturday, Dec. 3rd.  

Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus

Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus

Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus

Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus

Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus

Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus


Around midday the cranes flew off into Deep Bay, and in late afternoon only the adult came back to Mai Po.

It then overnighted and more birders got to see it on the Sunday (Dec. 4th).

More from Matt KWAN here : http://matthewkwanbirding.blogspot.hk

Will the adult stay ? Where is the young one ? What happened to the other parent ? Why have they turned up here and now ?

Plenty of room for discussion.

UPDATE:  As of Wednesday, Dec 7th the adult Siberian Crane is still around.   The Crane's usual wintering grounds are Poyang, but I dare say the habitat has worsened since my 1989 visit...possibly the reason the two birds came to Hong Kong






26 November 2016

A three-bird post

Amur Falcon - Falco amurensis

Despite what I said in an earlier post, I DID come across Amur Falcons again once or twice in the autumn.  Here are a few shots of one of these.
Amur Falcon - Falco amurensis


Amur Falcon - Falco amurensis
 It's a co-incidence the White Wagtail is in the frame, the AF paid it no heed whatsoever.

Amur Falcon - Falco amurensis

Amur Falcon - Falco amurensis

Amur Falcon - Falco amurensis

(Asian) Red-rumped Swallows - not an everyday bird, so worth an effort to photograph if conditions suit.  Every individual seems to be differently streaked.
Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropsis daurica


Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropsis daurica

Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropsis daurica

Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropsis daurica

Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropsis daurica


Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropsis daurica

Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropsis daurica

Finally, Peregrine Falcon - this one has been around Mai Po for at least a couple of weeks
Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus

Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus

Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus

Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus

It's a cool 12 degrees outside today, I went birding but gave up due to the rain.

Must be a sign of my  - Ahem - "Maturity" !

15 November 2016

John and Roger’s Most Excellent Tidal Adventure

mostly Eurasian Wigeon


Yesterday, November 14th, the rising tide did exactly what it was predicted to do, and stopped at the “old” boardwalk hides at the appointed hour - about 10:00hrs.

Eastern Buzzard - Buteo japonicus

Wood Sandpiper - Tringa glareola


But I’m getting ahead of myself - Roger Muscroft and I got out to the farthest hide and enjoyed a couple of hours as the tide rose in front of us and the sun shone from behind.

Black-faced Spoonbill - Platalea minor

Common Greenshank - Tringa nebularia

Caspian Tern - Hydroprogne caspia

(left) Pallas's Gull - Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus



A number of winter’s “Usual Suspects” were on show, with a couple of more unusual birds as well.

Then, after the rising waters had swirled around the outermost hide. we retreated to the oldest boardwalk hides for the final act. There we found a diminishing tongue of wet mud, with the tide still rising.

Chinese Pond Heron - Ardeola bacchus


Pied Avocet - Recurvirostra avosetta


At the tide's peak, a variety of shorebirds -  including these Pacific Golden Plover -  had advanced reasonably close to the hides.

Pacific Golden Plover - Pluvialis fulva


Pacific Golden Plover - Pluvialis fulva

As the tide fell again, the birds seemed unsure what to do, until they were cleared off the tideline by this Peregrine.

A natural climax to a fine morning's birding.  it was time to leave.

Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus

Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus


“Most Excellent*, Dude !"


* The internet; - home of hyperbole !