Sunday 28 October 2012

Mai Po, Hong Kong, Oct 2012

The Hong Kong chapter of the WWF (that’s the World Wildlife Fund, not the World Wrestling Federation), have joined the Hong Kong Transport System in baiting Redgannet to see if he would crack. My permit application had not been received and entry was denied. It might have been possible to get a permit at the gate, but I had not brought my passport. For future reference, a passport is essential, even with a pre-approved permit.
Though…..the young lady at reception hesitated to suggest it, but I might be able to join a group tour, only it would be conducted in Mandarin. It turned out that the beautiful leader, Apple, had a good turn of English and I signed up to walk with Mr Li, his wife and his mother.

Mrs Li Senior, despite using a pair of pink plastic binoculars pulled the first bird out of the bag with a red-letter Oriental Stork. It was seen beyond the multi-storey hide at gei wai 11(?). Unfortunately, I had come straight from Long Valley and my focussing problem was still bothering me. You should not have to be exposed to pictures like this, but a lifer is a lifer and let’s be honest, you must be used to it by now.

We were on a timer and headed straight out towards the mangrove boardwalk. A flycatcher along the way had us vascillating between Asian and Japanese Paradise Flycatcher. In the end, the darker back pushed me towards the Japanese form. It was now that it suddenly occurred to me that I had just bought a new UV filter for my lens. This proved to be the cause of the focussing problem.

From the mangrove hide, the water was hundreds of meters away, but a Little Egret, a few Marsh Sandpipers and Common Redshanks fed in the shallow water of a small inlet to the north. Way out, hundreds of Great Cormorants were waiting for some depth to return to the bay while a few Common Greenshanks stalked Mudskippers on the flats.

There were plenty of distant Lesser Sand Plovers. A few, noticeably larger, were Greater Sand Plovers.
Common Kingfishers were seen a few times as well as a couple of White-throated Kingfishers and a single Black-capped Kingfisher.
The tide was due to reach its height at 16.30, but we had to leave slightly before this to get back to the centre and end our tour before dark. The tide was still a very long way off. At only 1.6 – 1.8 meters, it was never likely to push the birds as far as the hides. Mr Li had scoped a Black-faced Spoonbill and I had become ridiculously excited by a young rail-like Eurasian Moorhen, but we had to leave.

A pair of Ospreys made a flypast as we walked back along the control fence. This is the fence that restricts passage to or from the mangroves and Deep Bay. It is a throwback to pre-1997 when Hong Kong was governed by the British, but it is still scrupulously maintained.

Birds seen; 43

Little Grebe 6, Oriental Stork 1, Great Cormorant 500, Grey Heron 30, Great Egret 20, Little Egret 25, Chinese Pond-heron 12, Black-crowned Night-heron 20, Black-faced Spoonbill 1, Osprey 3, Eastern Marsh Harrier 1, Spotted Eagle 1, White-breasted Waterhen 4, Eurasian Moorhen 3, Lesser Sand-plover 150, Greater Sand-plover 4, Little Ringed Plover 1, Black-winged Stilt 1, Common Sandpiper 4, Common Greenshank 10, Marsh Sandpiper 8, Wood Sandpiper 3, Common Redshank 15, Eurasian Curlew 3, Spotted Dove 40, Asian Koel 2, Greater Coucal 3, Common Kingfisher 3, White-throated Kingfisher 2, Black-capped Kingfisher 1, Long-tailed Shrike 4, Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, Eurasian Magpie 2, Collared Crow 1, Barn Swallow 6, Light-vented Bulbul 80, Japanese White-eye 6, Masked Laughingthrush 3, Oriental Magpie Robin 4, Black-collared Starling 6, White Wagtail 1, Eurasian Tree Sparrow 6, Nutmeg Mannikin 8.
Mr Li very kindly sent me one of his pictures of the Oriental Stork to make up for my fuzzy one.

For more posts from Mai Po, follow the links below;

Visit the dedicated Asia Page for more from Hong Kong, including; Tai Mo Shan and Victoria Peak.


  1. Hi, Simon, We 're very happy to enjoy your blog.

    1. Thanks Mr Li,
      It was my pleasure to meet you and your family