14 Mar 2015

Pallas's Gulls at the boardwalk, Mai Po

Pallas's Gull (summer plumage)
The weather is flat and grey at this season, but March is probably the best month of the year for gull-viewing in Hong Kong. And there are a few other winter visitors about, too.

Such as this Black-tailed Godwit.
Black-tailed Godwit

Avocets, Eastern Marsh Harrier

Eastern Marsh Harrier

The "new" boardwalk hide, Mai Po
The early spring tides bring the Deep Bay wintering birds reasonably close to the boardwalk hides at Mai Po Nature Reserve, and some birds, including gulls, are coming into breeding plumage, which makes identification easier.

Pallas's Gull - winter

Saunders's Gull

Saunders's Gull

Slaty-backed Gull (first year ?)

Black-headed Gull (l) and Relict Gull (r)

Kentish Plover - with crab

Black-faced Spoonbill

Pallas's Gull (summer plumage)

Vega-ish Gull 
I'm the studious owner of several books on gulls - but I still struggle with the ID of large white-headed gulls....


  1. 3 great gull species there John (Relict, Saunders and Pallas with the latter being a bit of a dream bird for me).

    It may be grey but some great birds there...................

  2. Oh and 'Vega-ish' Gull is pretty funny..............

  3. That Pallas's Gull is pretty spectacular. If ever I make it back to southeast Asia I really have to spend a couple of days (at least) in Hong Kong.

    1. The only one of those gulls that I have seen is a Slaty-backed. Great photos. Have you ever experimented with bird observations outside a hide as opposed to inside? My experiences have showed me that slow movements in the open are just about as effective as being inside a hide, and you can move around a little to get better views..

    2. David, Yes you should stop over....!

      John, the birds are very skittish, and the Deep Bay mud is far too soft to move around on (or "in" !)

  4. Wonderful pictures. I like the harrier and avocets pic. Very dramatic!