21 Oct 2016

Something in the Air - mostly at Mai Po

This post has nothing to do with the late, lamented "Thunderclap" Newman.

No, the title is about trying to establish a common theme for this post's photos...

Black Kite - trying to look like a "real" raptor

Black Kite

Common Greenshank

Mongolian Gull - one of several loafing youngsters through the Mai Po summer

Grey Heron

Purple Heron

Pale Martin - ours are race "fohkinensis"

Pied Kingfisher - male

Eastern Marsh Harrier

Eastern Marsh Harrier

Collared Crows

Black Drongo

There !    Mai Po has always got some variety.

And this post has less "waffle" from me than usual.

13 Oct 2016

Greater White-fronted Geese

Here in HK we are generally too far south for geese.  There can be thousands of them 800 km north of here, along the Yangtse River at sites like Dongting and Poyang Lake.

So it’s always a thrill to see a goose.   On hearing that there was a Greater White-front on ponds 16/17 at Mai Po I went straight there.  Having arrived at the MP car park, I got a message that three geese were also showing in the ponds at San Tin.

Three seemed more alluring than one, so I decided to go to San Tin.

Fishponds at San Tin   -  Shenzhen highrise in the distance

A pin on an electronic map via WhatsApp should have been enough, but I overshot the spot and needed verbal directions back.  There they were, casually nibbling the grass on the bank of a drained fishpond.

Greater White-fronted Geese - Anser albifrons (frontalis)

Anyway, two adult Greater White-fronted Geese and a juvenile showed well for just over an hour. We wondered whether they had arrived with the fourth White-front which was simultaneously a couple of kilometres away in Mai Po.

Two adult "Whitefronts" - and a Greater Painted-Snipe

Eventually, our distinguished visitors got alarmed at something on the other side of their drained fishpond and took off, and to my knowledge, have not been seen since.

Greater White-fronted Geese - Anser albifrons (frontalis)

It was fun while it lasted.

Postscript :  Actually, the geese were seen again and again on the very same pond for at least ten days !

3 Oct 2016

A Little Curlew at Mai Po

There are usually only one or two records per year of this species - today was one of those days, obviously !

Little Curlew - Numenius minutus

Little Curlew is a vagrant that is often found on open patches of grassland, - strangely, not a common habitat in Hong Kong. 

This one should be on its' way to spend the northern winter in New Guinea or Northern Australia.

Little Curlew - Numenius minutus

And here's a Whimbrel for comparison...

Whimbrel -Numenius phaeopus

Whimbrel -Numenius phaeopus

There were quite a lot of distant Garganey (passage migrants) between the hides as the tide rose.

The "new" floating hide from one of the "old" ones, Mai Po

Avocets will mostly be returning winter visitors - but a very few oversummer, anyway

Avocets - Recurvirostra avosetta
A small and distant group of terns gave pause for thought - late on autumn passage, but Common Terns..
Common Tern - Sterna hirundo
Just a couple of hours at the boardwalk today, and plenty of variety.