On the 3rd day in Hong Kong another locally based birder, Yann, kindly showed me some 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 Flowerpecker, 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 several species of Tern at Mai Po. Commonest were Gull-billed Terns. This is a species I’ve only ever seen once in Japan. There were also smaller numbers of Caspian Tern and Whiskered Tern: 2 other very scarce birds in Hokkaido (I’ve seen 2 of each over the last 20 years). Grey skies and heavy rain were not helpful for BIF shots of course.
There were lots of Black-faced Spoonbills at Mai Po. This is another species which I have seen a few of near Hakodate but Mai Po seems to hold a significant part of the world’s population in winter. There were still plenty of them around last week.
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.
One of the commonest wader species at Mai Po was Marsh Sandpiper. This is a fairly scarce passage visitor in Hokkaido and I had only ever seen a handful of lone individuals before. But in Mai Po they were abundant.
The tide was pretty high and the birds came fairly close to the hide but at 400mm in very poor light the photos are not so good.
It was still a great experience watching flocks of them busily feed.
My first full day in Hong Kong was dark and wet. I was picked up by John Holmes, a resident Hong Kong birder who kindly showed me around Mai Po and evirons.
Mai Po is a famous wetland site and had been high on my wish list for many many years. I knew it was going to be a good day when even the aceess road with its fishponds had some wonderful birds such as lots of Chinese Pond Herons. A common bird in Hong Kong but still pretty exciting for a novice like me.
A shame it was so dark and I only had my shorter lens.
There were many interesting birds around: House Swift, Azure-winged Magpie, White-Shouldered Starling, Grey and Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Wood Sandpiper, Oriental Pratincole, Asian Koel, Greater Coucal, White-breasted Waterhen, Common Tailorbird, Collared Dove, Pied Kingfisher, Yellow Bittern, Collared Crow, Chinese Bulbul, Yellow-bellied and Plain Prinia, Dusky and Yellow-browed Warbler (both hear only), Little Grebe, Barn Swallow, Masked Laughing Thrush, Common and Crested Mynah, other common birds which i’d also seen at Kowloon Park and other stuff I’ve probably forgotten. And all this before we’d even entered the mangroves…………
2 of the commonest birds in Hong Kong were very easy to see in Kowloon Park……………
These have both been widely introduced around the world but as far as I know they are native to south China.
Other species in the park included Crested Mynah, Black-crowned Night Heron and Alexandrine Parakeet. I’m sure other species were present too but I was too spaced out to identify strange noises in the trees and bushes and briefly glimpsed views of unfamiliar species. I headed back to aircon, dimsum and then a shower in my guesthouse and finally crashed out before 2 upcoming days of much more intense birding.
I visited Hong Kong for the first time last week. I arrived at 7am and had time to kill before I checked in to my guesthouse so I walked down to Kowloon Park. It was stinking hot and I was tired and jetlagged but it was worth the walk.
The first bird i photographed was this Oriental Magpie Robin. A common bird for sure but still nice to see for the first time.