13 July 2012

Oriental Stork at Mai Po

Hong Kong seems at its most tropical in July, a month of blazing heat interrupted by thundery showers.  A month when idle birders like me really need a reason to get up and out into the field bright and early.

Yesterday John Allcock texted to tell me that such a reason - in the form of an Oriental (White) Stork - had dropped into Mai Po Nature Reserve. 

So, first thing this morning I bashed out to Mai Po and joined a small crowd of admirers next to Pond 21.

"What is black and white and got pink legs ?"

" Don't ask me ! "

Hong Kong's last Oriental Stork was around for a few weeks in Jan/Feb 2004, and this individual could provide a "HK tick" - even a "Life tick" - for more than a few current Hong Kong birders.

Oriental Stork breeds in East Russia and adjacent Heilongjiang in far northeast China.   A population winters on the Yangtse and - apart from a big influx of over 100 birds in November 1990 - only odd ones have wintered here over the years.

This is HK's first summer record - a very unexpected bonus. 

It was circling very high in the sky as I left.  I hope it doesn't leave, or there will be a lot of disappointed birders at the weekend !


Updated: 17 July 2012 - the Oriental Stork stayed around over the weekend, to the delight of many. Thomas Chan's photos on the HKBWS website here:-


Plenty of other great shots of this in several earlier postings on the HKBWS website, too.


  1. What a beauty! You managed to get some brilliant shots too. Usually an unepxected bonus with such rare enounters. I hope she/he knows where to go.

  2. I agree with Russell. This is a species that I was not aware of. Is there a place on the web that has a checklist of HK birds?

  3. Hi Russell and John,

    There are now 513 species on the HK List, which is pretty good for such a small place!

    You can download the latest list of HK Birds from the H K Bird Watching Society Website, see below:

    List of HK Birds 香港鳥類名錄 - 2012-07-03 by HKBWS

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Mun, Sorry, I accidentally deleted your comment when I thought I was replying to it - I don't know how to undo that... apologies

  5. Would really love to see this one! Also a very rare bird in Japan.
    Those shots with the Black-winged Stilts are cute!

    1. Ayuwat,

      It's BIG, too.... the Great Egrets are a bit intimidated, I think !

  6. Stunning bird,superb captures.