27 Feb 2013

Common/Eurasian Golden Plover at the Mai Po Boardwalk

You won't find any of that immediacy and relevance on this blog, oh no.

So first, news of a bird that turned up on the last fortnightly cycle of tides at the Mai Po boardwalk, on 12th February to be precise.  Very well found by John Allcock, a Golden Plover as big as the Grey Plovers…  Common Golden Plover will - if accepted - be a first for HK, and I don't think there are any mainland Chinese records either.

I had only just got on to it - directed by John - when the flock flew, but here are three shots which I hope show the disparity in size between what used to be called "Greater" and "Lesser" Golden Plovers. The suspect "Greater" Golden Plover is to the right and behind the curlew in this shot, with a Pacific Golden Plover at left and several Grey Plovers in shot, too.

(At rear - Common Golden Plover Pluvialis  aricaria)

We get wintering Pacific Golden Plovers in small numbers in Deep Bay.  They showed well on the 13th ... two examples below;

Pacific Golden Plover   Pluvialis fulva

"EA" - flagged at  Chongming Island, Shanghai

Saunders's Gull  Saundersilarus saundersi

And some of the other mudflat favourites..

Pied Avocet   Recurvirostra avosetta

Marsh Sandpiper  Tringa stagnatilis - Whoops ! should be "Common Greenshank"

Black-faced Spoonbill   Platalea minor

Little Ringed Plover   Charadrius dubius

All the above taken from the Mai Po boardwalk hides with the 800mm 5.6.   Here are some other wintering birds taken here and there with a 500mm f4 lens…

Azure-winged Magpie   Cyanopica cyanus

White-cheeked Starling  Sturnus cineraceus

"Eastern" Yellow Wagtail  Motacilla tschutschensis

Grey Heron   Ardea cinerea

And as I type I can hear Savanna Nightjars calling….. spring is definitely here !


  1. Love the way the BF Spoonbill gets pushed down the post by what to most UK birders is just a boring old Golden Plover (saw hundreds of 'em in the filelds near my parents house back in the day)!!!!!!

    1. Stu,

      I know, we birders are strange...quite a few big HK "listers" went to the boardwalk for this one...(although it was not re-found in subsequent days..) but I'm sure none of the Brits needed it for their "life lists".

      In the UK, people travel miles for birds we wouldn't give a second glance to in East Asia. Ho hum.

  2. I'll vote for it John. And the new lens!

    1. Thanks, Andrew !

      I'm off to the b/w again today..

  3. Beautiful images as usual, John. I better start paying more attention to the flocks of Pacific Golden Plovers here as well!

  4. Thanks, Mun ! This "Greater" Golden Plover was associating with Grey Plovers as well, so worth looking at those, too. I was just lucky to be there when John Allcock re-found the bird...(he had earlier seen it from another hide).

  5. Intriguing bird John (the plover). I suspect it will be the subject of much discussion! On another note - check your "Marsh Sand" pic - I think you may want to revise the id on that one!

  6. Whoops.... the fine-looking bill got me there, I should have paid more attention to the patterning of the scapulars, etc.

    Thanks, Dave !

  7. Nice variety of pics John. I believe Mai Po would be one of the best places to have a closer look @ the Black-faced spoonbill.

  8. Thanks, Dev !

    Mai Po is fine, but so are the fishponds nearby and at Nam Sang Wai, where the BFS are really used to the sight of people.

  9. There is a mainland record from Dapuhe, Changli, Hebei on 28th September 2006, reported in the China Bird Report as the first for China. I don't know if there have been any since. But even if it's not a first for China, I'm still pleased with the sighting!