11 April 2012

"Shuffling the Pack" along the Deep Bay Tideline, Mai Po.

"Oh, to be in Mai Po, now that April's there.." as Robert Browning almost wrote.

Spring migration is well underway, with large numbers of waders feeding on the Deep Bay tideline as the waters rise towards the boardwalk hides of Mai Po Nature Reserve.

Late last week this Peregrine Falcon was giving the assembled birds some extra exercise.

Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus

On a day that 18 individuals were counted, here are a few shots of Nordmann's  Greenshank....

Nordmann's  Greenshank - Tringa guttifer

A few Black-faced Spoonbills are still around, this one starting to show its breeding colours..

Black-faced Spoonbill - Platalea minor

Little Stints are rare in Hong Kong, but there have been one or two around in the past few days, in their easier-to-identify breeding plumage.  Here's one at front left of shot (not sure about the other two here);-

Little Stint - Calidris minuta

Two views of the spectacle in Deep Bay

The view towards the outermost boardwalk hide.

Inside the Reserve itself, on Ponds 16/17 there was a fine congregation of Caspian Terns. On Saturday 7th April we counted 160, which would be a new high for HK.

Caspian Terns - Hydroprogne caspia

Some Red-necked Stints

Red-necked Stint - Calidris ruficollis

And on the man-made islands closest to Hide No.1, a mixture of waders..

Greater and Mongolian Sand Plovers, a crowd of Red-necked Stints and few Curlew Sandpipers, Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Broad-billed Sandpipers.  

Many of the usual April suspects, then.

Finally, Quiz Time.....  one of these two Greenshank ISN'T a Common Greenshank... ?

There....Nordmann's (left) and Common (right) Greenshank. 

Not as difficult as some field guides make it look, eh ?


  1. 18 Nordmann's Greenshank! That's a really good number, isn't it? I've only ever seen one many years ago. Your series of posts about Mai Po make me really think of visiting HK some day.

  2. Superb shots of the Peregrine John. I love the one with the Peregrine swooping in the the fleeing masses.

  3. Great pics, John. Love the Caspians.

  4. Another fantastic post John.........

  5. Ah John, those are the photos of Peregrine and flying NGs that I been wanting to take for years! Fabulous stuff! I have a question - third photo from bottom, third bird from the left, with its head down, really dark crown ... I suppose it's a Broad-billed is it?

  6. I really enjoyed this post. The Peregrine shots are awesome. I haven't seen the Nordman's for many seasons now. You are so lucky.

  7. Mouthwatering! Can't wait for some of these birds to make their way north... The flight images of Nordmann's Greenshank, in particular, are superb.

  8. Thanks to everyone for the comments...

    Dave, yes, having reviewed the original file - the bird you mention is a Broad-billed Sandpiper, just going into breeding plumage

  9. Superb! Must get there one day...

  10. Yet another batch of wonderful photos! Excellent!! As with the others, my favorites are of the peregrine - simply amazing. Do love the Nordmann's too and the three Caspian Terns in flight.