16 November 2019

Chinese Grey Shrike - a “HK first"

Chinese Grey Shrike - Lanius sphenocercus

This very handsome HK “First” was found at fishponds near Mai Po Nature Reserve on November 5th.

Chinese Grey Shrike - Lanius sphenocercus

A steady procession of admirers went to see it over the ensuing few days - but the bird seems to have been spending more time on Pond 8 at Mai Po recently. 

Chinese Grey Shrike - Lanius sphenocercus

And at the Mai Po boardwalk on November 9th..

Black-headed Gulls - Chroicocephalus ridibundus

Saunders Gull - Chroicocephalus saundersi

Dunlin - Calidris alpina

Dunlin - Calidris alpina

Common Redshank - Tringa totanus

It seemed inevitable that so many birds along the shoreline would attract a raptor of some sort. I had Eastern Marsh Harrier in mind, instead : -

Peregrine - Falco peregrinus

Peregrine - Falco peregrinus

..the Peregrine swept past once, not trying to catch anything, probably looking for weaker or sicker birds among the disturbed waders.

Great Egret - Ardea alba

Earlier, (Nov 1st) I went to Tai Lam Country Park in an effort to see the Brown Wood Owls in the area. I hadn’t been birding that way for years, so was fortunate to bump into people who actually knew where the birds were. 

Brown Wood Owl - Strix leptogrammica

Brown Wood Owl - Strix leptogrammica

Brown Wood Owl - Strix leptogrammica

Brown Wood Owl - Strix leptogrammica

It’s not WHAT you know,  it’s HOOO you know.

I’ll get my coat.

28 October 2019

October in the Deep Bay area

White-shouldered Starling

Cooler weather means much nicer conditions to be out and about, with the added incentive of some migrating birds. White-shouldered Starlings (above) may have bred in Hong Kong and are about to leave.

October can be a month of rarities - but not so much this year after Long Valley’s Red-backed Shrike.

Sand Martins, Blue-tailed Bee-Eater and Chinese Grosbeak - not rare but welcome.

Red-billed Blue Magpies are now breeding at Mai Po. 

I made a couple of visits to the boardwalk at Mai Po Nature Reserve.  

Out in Deep Bay, duck, such as Garganey and Pintail are growing in number.

Whimbrel like to roost on top of the boardwalk hides, so can be easily photographed. 

Other waders are around, too...PG Plover, Marsh Sandpiper and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper below -

Black-faced Spoonbills had increased to about thirty the day I took this - HK's "peak count" has been over 400 in November.

Nearby, Whiskered Terns were over the fishponds at Tai Sang Wai, they are not as fine-looking as in spring, but beauty is only feather deep ! 

A single White-winged Tern (centre)....

The terns will move on, but Grey Heron numbers increase in winter. 

Birding in HK is not a "wilderness experience" - foreground: abandoned pig farm, bananas and scrub-covered hillside. In the background, the high-rise on the centre and right is much-needed public housing.

Amur Falcons…. this adult male is unusual, but typically distant….

there…at least this AF is closer !

2 October 2019

Birds on the move

Red-backed Shrike - Lanius collurio
Hong Kong’s 7th or 8th Red-backed Shrike was found (Thanks, JAA) at Long Valley on Sept 28th.  So far (Oct 2nd) it’s the only “Rarity” seen in Hong Kong during this autumn migration season.

But October can be a busy month, so perhaps other things will turn up.

Red-backed Shrike - Lanius collurio

Meanwhile, some shots from the last few days, mostly migrants or arriving Winter Visitors. 

Warning ! One of these is not a migrant and not a bird either !

Common Redshank - Tringa totanus

Whimbrel - Numenius phaeopus

Small Asian Mongoose - Herpestes javanicus

Pied Harrier - Circus melanoleucos
 For me, this is a typical Pied Harrier view !

Common Snipe - Gallinago gallinago

"Swintail" Snipe - Gallinago megala/stenura

Long-toed Stint - Calidris subminuta

Pacific Golden Plover - Pluvialis fulva

Marsh Sandpiper - Tringa stagnatilis

Black-naped Oriole - Oriolus chinensis

Black-naped Oriole - Oriolus chinensis

Whiskered Tern - Chlidonias hybrida

Whiskered Tern - Chlidonias hybrida

Whiskered Tern - Chlidonias hybrida

Blue-tailed Bee-eater - Merops philippinus

but a small party on 30th September along Mai Po Access Road seemed a good birding harbinger for October.

Heaven knows, we'll need all the distraction we can get.