Well that was a pretty slow spring. No rarities and even the common stuff passed straight through. The weather was just too nice………….
The only waders around at the weekend were Lesser Sand Plover near town, lots of Grey-tailed Tattler everywhere and Dulin and Turnstone at Oshamanbe where there were also 6 species of Gull around including a Black-legged Kittiwake. Rhinoceros Auklet were offshore at Kaminokuni and Hakodate and Black-browed Reed Warbler, Siberian Blue Robin and Japanese Robin put in their first appearances of 2019.
Spring migration is still very slow. The calm sunny weather over the last couple of weeks might have meant most of the migrants have passed straight through. Today near my apartment there was a lone Asian Brown Flycatcher and yesterday in the west of town there were 2 Grey-tailed Tattler, 1 Brent Goose, I Goosander, 1 Wigeon and 1 Vega Gull.
I’ve also done something to my leg/back that is making walking difficult. It’s been present on and off for several weeks now. Probably sciatica and hopefully time will heal it…………..
There were several Red-necked Stints around today. this is the default small passage wader of Northeast Asia but in SW Hokkaido it is much commoner in autumn than spring. Sadly I don’t get to see them much in their breeding finery so it was nice to photograph this one up at Oshamanbe this morning………….
The Dunlin flock north of Yakumo were still around on Monday and in summer plumage too.
Not many waders around this Golden Week though: 1 Mongolian Plover, and several small flocks of Grey-tailed Tattler were the only passage shorebirds around and there were the breeders: Latham’s Snipe, Common Sandpiper and Little-ringed Plover.
On the 3rd day in Hong Kong another locally based birder, Yann, kindly showed me aome other sites in Hong Kong: Long Valley and Kai Po Tau. I saw many new birds, particularly in the latter site, but didn’t get many photos. Among the new birds I saw were Dusky Warbler, Long-tailed Shrike, Scarlet-backed Flowepecker, Hainan Flycatcher, Verditer Flycatcher, Scarlet Minivet, Yellow-cheeked Tit and Black-winged Cuckoo Shrike.
There were a lot of unfamilar birds and bird calls and it was reassuring to find easy to identify species such as the above Stilt and the Chinese Pond Herons which were everywhere.
There were 28 species of wader present last week in Mai Po.
3 of them were lifers for me: Greater Sand Plover, Nordmann’s Greenshank and Asian Dowitcher. The latter 2 are of course pretty rare and were my 2 target species for the trip. I could only get decent views of them through a scope and neither species came close enough to photograph.
Most of the common species of east Asian shorebirds were present. The above photo shows mainly Black-tailed Godwit and Curlew Sandpiper with a few Marsh Sandpiper and Common Redshank mixed in.
Curlew Sandpiper were especially common. I’ve only ever seen 3 lone individuals in Hokkaido but in Mai Po they were abundant. Some were in summer plumage as you can see.
It would have been even better if it had been sunnier and I’d had my big lens but the whole spectacle would have been worth witnessing even without a camera.