17 Apr 2012

April waders at the boardwalk, Mai Po Nature Reserve

Rain overnight and more forecast.  

Ideal conditions to bring exotic hirundines and terns to the fishponds around MaiPo access road, I thought.

Actually, over the fishponds there were a few Barn Swallows and no terns, so I bashed out to the boardwalk instead. The threat of a soaking put a spring in my step, and I got out to the furthest hide in just under thirty minutes from the car park.   

A close Asian Dowitcher was a good omen, even though the light was poor.

Asian Dowitcher - Limnodromus semipalmatus

The water came a bit higher than the 1.8 metres predicted, and the smaller waders showed well on the mossy patch in front of the hide...

Terek Sandpiper - Xenus cinereus

Greater Sand Plover - Charadrius leschenaultii

Grey-tailed Tattler - Tringa brevipes

Ruddy Turnstone - Arenaria interpres

And some busy calidrids -

Curlew Sandpiper - Calidris ferruginea

Red-necked Stint - Calidris ruficollis

Little Stint - Calidris minuta

Sanderling - Calidris alba

The finale of the show was an "advance in review order" by about forty Black-faced Spoonbills 

Black-faced Spoonbill - Platalea minor

There were a few flagged and ringed migrants about, too, so I shall now leave this posting and dutifully report them ! 


  1. John, these close-up wader shots are stunning esp at this time of the year with them moulting into breeding plumage. What I really like about them is that the pics are nice and clear even through the rain and lower light conditions - well done! I especially enjoy the pose of the GSP and the RNS covered with beads of water.

  2. That photo of the Asian Dowitcher is just great, seriously! It's one of the few Asian waders that I'm still missing. Sometimes up to thousands of them show up in the Gulf of Thailand in late April. Too bad I still haven't got the chance to witness that.

    Great photos of other waders too. I can stay in the hide taking photos of these colourful waders all day.

  3. Like Ayuwat I could spend days and days photographing all these waders..............we do get waders in Hokkaido of course but only individuals or small groups nervously passing time on the tiny narrow beaches..........

  4. Great session, John. I should venture out again but today is the memsahib's birthday and, shock horror, I have had to work some of this week.

  5. Stunning collection. The Dowitcher was certainly a good omen!

  6. Thanks everyone for the comments. Time flies when there's a good "show" of waders outside the hides. Thanks to digital it's possible to take pics in the gloomiest of conditions.... but most shots were still binned due to movement blur.

  7. Magic lad, just magic. That dowitcher looks very well fed! Hmm - reminds me of the time when I was 'volling' at Minsmere when a Long-billed Dowitcher was about; a well-spoken middle-aged lady came into the hide and asked loudly - "So - where's the howitzer then?"