19 Mar 2011

Grey day at the Boardwalk, Mai Po

Wet and a bit hazy out at the boardwalk this morning, but you know

"A bad day birding beats a good day in the office..." etc.

Black-tailed Gull (L.crassirostris)

"Caspian" Gull (L.c.mongolicus)

This ID of "Caspian" - formerly "Yellow-legged" or "Mongolian" Gull - is based mainly on colour of mantle and legs.  BUT all the neck-streaking should be indicative of VEGA Gull, so I could hedge my bets and say it is a hybrid of some sort.  Need I add that I'm vaguer about Vega s.

"Heuglin's" Gull (L.f.heuglini)

Saunders's Gull (C. saundersi)

Dunlin (C.alpina)

L - Nordmann's,  R - Common Greenshank

Nordmann's Greenshank  (T.guttifer)

Grey Plover (P.squatarola)

Black-tailed Godwits (L.l.melanuroides)

Broad-billed Sandpiper (L.falcinellus sibirica)

Redshank (T.totanus)

Curlew Sandpiper (C.ferruginea)

So, a selection of late winter/early spring Mai Po birds.

Most of the leg-flagged waders were flagged in Hong Kong, the engraved flags came into use last August (2010).   

The bottom bird  - the Curlew Sandpiper, - will have been flagged in Kyushu, Japan.  I don't think I've seen this particular flag combination in Hong Kong before.

(Edited on Sunday 20th March)

I stand corrected.  Thanks to YU Yat-tung and John Allcock - and Heather Minton of the Australian Wader Studies Group.

The exotically-flagged Curlew Sandpiper above was flagged in Bohai Bay (up near the Yellow Sea in NE China).

"Thank you for recording the details of the flagged wader that was
recently sighted. We appreciate your action in reporting this
information, which will contribute to our understanding of the migration
of birds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

Please check the information given below and advise me if any details
appear incorrect.

A Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea was sighted by John Holmes at:
Mai Po, Hong Kong (China) 22deg 29min 0sec N, 119deg 14min 0sec E  on
19/03/2011 with flag(s) as follows:

     LEFT leg: nothing/unknown on tibia (upper leg) above
nothing/unknown on tarsus
     RIGHT leg: blue flag on tibia (upper leg) above yellow flag on

This bird was flagged in Cangzhou, China, approximate co-ordinates 38deg
9min N, 117deg 30min E, which uses the flag combination
Blue/Yellow(cut), since 2009.

The resighting was a distance of approximately 1750 km, with a bearing
of 174 degrees, from the marking location."

I have promised Tung and John I'll try harder to interpret the leg flags properly myself next time.

Meanwhile I have slapped myself on the wrist.


  1. Fantastic stuff John. Nice to see you getting on with the local Gulls......and a Nordmanns Greenshank to boot.......

  2. The Saunders's Gull looks so cute in breeding plumage! I've only seen them in white-headed plumage. I'd also love to see the Nordmann's!

  3. Hi John

    Ah so many leg-flags! I made exactly the same mistake as you with a Bohai-flagged Curlew Sand in Sarawak - read about it here: http://digdeep1962.blogspot.com/2011/01/24-january-2011-sarawak-waterbird.html!

    I'll be posting some NG shots from the lasy few days as soon as I catch up on my backlog of photos!

  4. Dave, Ayuwat, Stu,
    I'm glad I'm in good company with the leg flag mis-reading- when they fade or get dirty it's always going to be a potential problem with so many combinations out there !
    Always nice to see the odd Nordmann's and the gulls will be leaving soon, so I've tried to grab a few shots in poorish light.