2 Apr 2019

Last week of March 2019 - unsettled weather and some migrants at last

Grey-capped Greenfinch - Chloris sinica
More unsettled weather around 23rd/24th March brought a few interesting birds into view.

These usually seem to be high and distant, maybe often overlooked by birders looking closer to hand, including me.

Grey-faced Buzzard - Bustatur indicus

A spring passage regular…

Eastern Yellow Wagtail - Motacilla tschutschensis (taivana)

At Long Valley there were two different Water Rails about, I missed one but got the second !
Eastern Water Rail - Rallus indicus

When seagoing passage migrants such as phalarope turn up on inland patches of water, like the ponds at LV, you know it must be rough at sea. 

Red-necked Phalarope - Phalaropus lobatus

Red-necked Phalarope - Phalaropus lobatus

Red-necked Phalarope - Phalaropus lobatus

Red-necked Phalarope - Phalaropus lobatus

On March 28th the diligence of the fishpond surveyors paid off again with the finding of this unusual wagtail, which may be a Western Yellow Wagtail.  Richard Lewthwaite and I arrived at the same time for a twitch of this potential HK first, feeding on a fishpond bund at Lut Chau.

Western Yellow Wagtail ?- Motacilla flava leucocephala (rear)

Western Yellow Wagtail ? - Motacilla flava leucocephala

Wagtail and admirers

At the boardwalk hides of Mai Po Nature Reserve, on the final day of March, it felt like winter was turning to spring. The wintering gulls were fewer in number and the terns were coming through.  Here’s one -

Gull-billed Tern - Gelochelidon nilotica

Gull-billed Tern - Gelochelidon nilotica

And the Black-faced Spoonbills were colouring up for their return to their Korean breeding grounds.

Black-faced Spoonbill - Platalea minor

The commoner passage migrants had increased in number and were also adopting some breeding plumage…

Greater Sand Plover - Charadrius leschenaultii

Curlew Sandpiper - Calidris ferruginea

There are fewer than ten records per year of Oriental Plover -and, actually, I haven't seen one in such good plumage for several years, - so it was great when this was pointed out to me on the Deep Bay mudflats :

Oriental Plover - Charadrius veredus

Oriental Plover - Charadrius veredus
And April is just getting started… 


  1. The wagtail certainly was worth a look! Wonderful Oriental Plover...I've never seen one in breeding plumage in HK...

  2. Lovely birds, John. Brings back memories of the Deep Bay mud ;-)

  3. Great birds as always! Forgot how spectacular Curlew Sands are in breeding plumage, they're always pretty drab in the Philippines.