Autumn Birding in Hong Kong- Mai Po

Autumn is a prime time for migrating birds- every year, I’d venture out to other countries and places to see birds on their migrating paths; but this year, I stayed put in Hong Kong. Located strategically at the Southern Coast in China, enclosed by the South China Sea and Pearl River Delta.. autumn here can be filled with lots of surprises and for us birders, a chance to increase our bird ticks! Over the past 2 weeks, raptors and waders have begun their detours and its always easy to see them at the Hong Kong’s Mai Po Nature Reserve. Its not a huge reserve like ones overseas- but considering Hong Kong as a concrete jungle where land is so friggin expensive, its the place to see waders, ducks and raptors in HK. For overseas birders who would like to visit Mai Po, an application can be made at the WWF. Click here

Probably the easier raptors to see here during Oct. would be:

– Greater Spotted Eagle

– Peregrine Falcon

– Kestrel

– Imperial Eagle

– Pied harrier

– Japanese Sparrowhawk

– Besra

– Eastern Marsh Harrier

– Osprey

Here are some of the raptor photos taken in Mai Po!

Eastern Marsh Harrier, a regular autumn visitor

Eastern Marsh Harrier, a regular autumn visitor

Greater spotted eagle at MP

Greater spotted eagle at MP

Pied Harrier is possible to see too!

Pied Harrier is possible to see too!

Peregrine falcon in Mai Po

Peregrine falcon in Mai Po

Mai Po Nature Reserve is also an important resting stop for ducks, geese and waders during migrating season. While the endangered Black-Faced Spoonbills can be seen in small flocks… this autumn, a Greylag Goose  just stopped for a day (luckily I was there to tick it- phew!) As the migrating season is still on, I am keeping my fingers crossed to see something rare in Hong Kong.. 🙂

Greylag goose only stopped for a day at Mai Po

Greylag goose only stopped for a day at Mai Po

From left- Asian Dowitcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey-headed lapwing easily seen in Mai Po, Hong Kong

From left- Asian Dowitcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey-headed lapwing

From left- Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Fudge duck, Golden Plovers

From left- Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Fudge duck, Golden Plovers

Birding in Xinjiang day 4 新疆观鸟: 阿勒泰-布尔津

This was the day we got arrested! Our driver took us to a mountain park in Burqin county, approx. an hour’s drive from Altay Region. Unfortunately, this park is very close to the border of Kazakhstan! No one bothered us in the beginning but words spread fast in China! Very soon the China Border Police came up the hill to pick us and took us to the police station and have us “interrogated” (they asked the same questions over and over again), our documents and cameras checked, and photo taken (a police officer told me not to smile at the camera.. :-/ )

Luckily for us, we only had food and bird photos to show them! Anyway, we did some birding before our arrest! Birds seen at the mountain park included the Mistle thrush, Willow tit, Coal tit, Black-throated Bunting, and Booted eagle, etc.

coal tit, border of Kazakhstan and Xinjiang

coal tit, border of Kazakhstan and Xinjiang

Booted eagle at border of Xinjiang and Kazakhstan

Booted eagle at border of Xinjiang and Kazakhstan

After an hour’s stay at the police station (I wished them well before leaving), we continued our birding along what the Chinese called it the Xinjiang Clain River( 克兰河) ! Its probably more spectacular than the Clain River in Western France-I have never seen landscape as amazing as this, have you? 😛

 different colored waters..!

different colored waters..!

Along this route, we saw the following-

Montagu’s Harrier (乌灰鹞)

Greylag Goose (灰雁)

Black-tailed Godwit (黑尾塍鹬)

White-headed Duck (白头硬尾鸭)

Dunlin (黑腹滨鹬)

Red-crested Pochard (赤嘴潜鸭)

red-crested Pochard in Xinjiang

red-crested Pochard in Xinjiang

We drove all day, well our driver did-he was very determined to show us the likely areas for the Daurian Partridge (斑翅山鹑), but we couldn’t find it! :-/

By 3pm we found ourselves in yet another magical forest! The stars here included the

White-Backed Woodpecker (白背啄木鸟)

White-Winged Woodpecker (白翅啄木鸟)

Black Woodpecker (黑啄木鸟)

Common Chaffinch (苍头燕雀) and more!

white-back woodpecker in Northern Xinjiang

white-back woodpecker in Northern Xinjiang

black woodpecker

black woodpecker

chaffinch feeding chick

chaffinch feeding chick

It was a day with lots of happenings but no lunch! Back at the hotel, I wished the Pallid Scops Owl would call again outside my window. 🙂

PS. We had dog-fish for dinner

Highly recommend this dog-fish

Highly recommend this dog-fish