8 April 2016

First week of April at Mai Po

Asian Dowitcher, Great Knot and Grey Plover
It’s April and the spring migration of many wader species is well underway.  There's a fine variety of waders to be seen, if you can get the timing of tides right.

After a big thunderstorm on April 2nd, conditions have been fairly clear for the past few days, so there is a turnover of birds, but they still need to stop and feed.  Here’s a view of part of Deep Bay from the northernmost floating hide.

"Look Mum ! - No High Rise.."

Curlew Sandpipers are the commonest bird in front of the hides in Deep Bay this week.

On 6th April, there were eight Nordmann’s Greenshanks on the tideline, returning the following day we didn’t see any.  Perhaps some had moved on, or perhaps they were in a part of Mai Po ature Reserve we just weren’t looking at.  Anyway, it was nice to see a few of these Endangered waders.  Four Nordmann’s and three Common Greenshanks in the photo below.

To help you work out which are which, here's a Nordmann’s flying past a Common Greenshank.

And here’s a Nordmann’s on its’ own...(a big photo crop, as usual)

On the outgoing tide, as is their way, some gulls dropped in. I'm reasonably confident that the one on the right is a first or second year Slaty-backed Gull.

The gulls will all be gone soon. There are not enough Lesser Sand Plover photos on this blog, so here’s two.  (I’m aware that the taxonomy and English names are in flux for Asian Sand Plovers, but I’m sticking with the names used by the HK Records Committee, who broadly follow the IOC.)

Lesser Sand Plover with Curlew Sandpipers - Western Australian flag on the CS on the right has been reported

Gull-billed Terns are moving through south China right now, too. A single Caspian Tern near the front in the top photo.

Bar-tailed Godwit (r) - most of ours are of race menzbieri.

And finally, a spanking Asian Dowitcher.

Not many passerine migrants about at Mai Po just now, but the waders more than make up for that !


  1. Amazing, as always. What a place.............

    1. Thanks Stu! I usually make sure I'm close to Mai Po in April!

  2. What a stunning variety of shorebirds. And most of them stop for so short a time. Must be a marvelous place to visit at this time of the year.

    1. Every tide is different, but April and early May usually have the best things to see.

  3. Great pics, I had almost forgotten what a flock of sandpipers looks like in flight especially close up like they are here. Also stunning dowitcher photos - very nicely captured! I always thought that dowitchers were larger birds somehow - compared to the grey plovers they look about the same size.