24 Apr 2020

White-throated Needletails (Hirundapus caudacutus)

A rainy day in April seemed like it could be good for avian migrants, and sight of a single Chinese Sparrowhawk told me that I’d basically got the right idea.

But it wasn’t until I got to Tsim Bei Tsui (overlooking Deep Bay) that the rain grew more steady.

Some circling House Swifts made me look up, and slicing past them was a single Needletail.

Later I counted forty-two birds - kettling like raptors over the helipad at Tsim Bei Tsui.

I spent an hour there.  When the rain got heavy one or two would come low enough to photograph, but when the rain eased, up they went again.

White-throated Needletail is a scarce passage migrant in Hong Kong, with most sightings being of fewer than ten individuals, although 120 were sighted (at Shek Kong) as recently as 2016.