25 Nov 2019

A Long Weekend..

Long-tailed Shrike

Well I’ve declared the weekend that just passed five days long, solely for blog purposes. Last weekend began on Wednesday, 20th November.

November in HK was known traditionally among expats as “Wrinkly Season” - the best weather of the year, when people’s aged relatives chose to make a pre-Christmas visit.

The birding was good too, with feathered winter visitors arriving in numbers.

Perhaps fewer expats and “wrinklies” now, and the climate seems milder than twenty years ago, but there are still many birds around in late November.

“ocularis” White Wagtail

Daurian Redstart (f)

Common Kingfisher

Red-rumped Swallow

An outgoing tide at Mai Po on Friday 22nd drew us out to the boardwalk, bright and early.

In the clearest of light, we watched the Cormorants pouring out of Nam Sang Wai and out over Deep Bay.

Great Cormorants - crossing Deep Bay

Western Osprey

Great Cormorant

....and the Wigeon came very close to the boardwalk hide. 

Eurasian Wigeon (f)

Eurasian Wigeon (m)

Musical notes ?

The tides weren’t looking so promising on Saturday 23rd, so we just strolled to the scrape at Mai Po Nature Reserve, along the casuarinas.

Common Kingfisher

Masked Laughingthrush

Typical winter view looking towards the Border Fence

Once numbered in HK in hundreds, Chinese Spotbills don’t reach double figures here now.
"Chinese Spot-billed Duck" 

Grey Heron

Black-faced Spoonbill

A "Grebe Day" on Sunday 24th..we ventured forth after casting our votes (For candidates, not Grebes).

The biggest Grebe, Great Crested, was at an overgrown Fung Lok Wai, near Yuen Long. 

Great Crested Grebe

Meanwhile the twice-a-decade* Black-necked Grebe near San Tin returned to the fishpond where it was originally found (by Geoff Carey) on Tuesday, 19th November.
Black-necked Grebe (Little Grebe in BG)

Black-necked Grebe - “Eared Grebe” in the USA

....and a bonus Rosy Starling, also at San Tin...

Rosy Starling

...a rarity here in HK. 

Perhaps the same bird as originally seen (by Chris Campion) at San Tin on 7th October. Or  perhaps not - this blog doesn’t do certainties.

* Last two BN Grebe records were 2018 (briefly, one observer) and 2010


  1. You do have a way of bringing back fond memories for me, John. My two visits to Mai Po are in the stratosphere of my birding experiences.

  2. Nice to see you got some BNGs.............

  3. A lovely selection of birds there John, great to see them so well photographed and close-up. Usually for me they are a lot further away!