30 Mar 2021

Four Glossy Ibis at Mai Po Nature Reserve, 30th March 2021

I was out at one of Mai Po's boardwalk hides - where mobile coverage can be intermittent - when I got "pinged" on the phone with some "hot" bird news that there were four Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) just landed on Ponds 16/17, a few hundred metres away. This was the fourth time Glossy Ibis had occurred in Hong Kong and four was a new "high count". Naturally, I hurried along, and the birds were still there. They all appeared to be adults. The last record was of two immature birds at Long Valley on 21st March 2019.
The birds looked unsettled and I wasn't surprised when they were spooked by a Black Kite after about half an hour. Spring wader migration is slowly starting and "also-seens" at the board walk were two Endangered species of wader...Far Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis)and Great Knot (Calidridris tenuirostris)
Turned out nice again !

23 Mar 2021

Black-faced Spoonbills - all dressed up and somewhere to go

At the Mai Po boardwalk yesterday, most of the remaining Black-faced Spoonbills (Platalea minor) were in breeding plumage and feeding actively before they departed for their Korean breeding grounds. These individuals were twitching their wings like butterflies as they chased fish in the shallow water.
It's great to see these birds, but I'm also sad to report that numbers in Deep Bay are slowly dropping, even when the known population of this Endangered Species is still rising. Water quality is declining, probably as a result of increased development and urbanization.

18 Mar 2021

Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel) at the Mai Po boardwalk

Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel) From the most recent Hong Kong Bird Report - “Scarce spring visitor with other isolated records and some long-staying individuals; most records are of immatures and occur in the first half of the year.” The book is spot on, in this case !
This individual has been a regular visitor to the Mai Po tideline in the past few weeks. Viewed from the Boardwalk hides, these are photos taken on 12th and 15th of March.

14 Mar 2021

Two early Spring woodland “Twitches"

It took three visits to Mount Davis on Hong Kong Island before we successfully “twitched” HK’s first Ryukyu Minivet. After a few East China records this past winter, this species was seen first at the site in mid-February. Since then it has appeared intermittently near Sitting Out Area No.2 on the road to the Youth Hostel. While waiting there were a few other woodland species to enjoy. Mount Davis has commanding views to the west, and Green Island is in Hong Kong Harbour to the north. Early butterflies appeared on all the flowering trees. My 1988 Urban Council Book “Hong Kong Insects” identifies these as Common Black Jezebels (Delias aglaja), … ”notable for being brighter on the underwing than on the upperwing..” They certainly don’t name butterflies like they used to. The Blue-winged Minla (last four photos) etcetera, were taken at KFBG.

Crested Goshawk - Accipiter trivirgatus

Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike -Lalage melaschistos

Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike -Lalage melaschistos

Green Island

White-bellied Sea Eagle - Haliaeetus leucogaster (with Black Kite, Milvus migrans)

Scarlet Minivet - Pericrocotus speciosus

Scarlet Minivet - Pericrocotus speciosus

Common Black Jezebel - Delias aglaja

Common Black Jezebel - Delias aglaja

Blue-winged Minla - Minla cyanouroptera

Black-throated Laughingthrush - Garrulax chinensis

Yellow-cheeked Tit - Machlolophus spilonotus

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch - Sitta frontalis