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

Birds of Western Australia- Birding on Penguin Island

Birding is also possible even when doing touristy activities! 😛 But to beat the human traffic, we took the earliest ferry to Penguin Island…and sure enough, birds were roosting along the coastal shoreline, nicely laid with strandlines of pebbles! 😛

It was a delight just to see Crested Terns (Thalasseus bergii) and Pied Oystercatchers (Haematopus longirostris) stamped on the sandy beach, Caspian Terns (Hydroprogne caspia) flew in close proximity to find a good landing spot on the beach, and  flocks of Australian Pelicans (Pelecanus conspicillatus) nicely distributed on the Northern cliff of the island. And of course  Silver Gulls (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae) who love sun-sparkled beaches were seen everywhere, I am very sure their numbers outnumbered the people on the island!!

Crested Terns, Pied Oystercatcher

Crested Terns, Pied Oystercatcher

Pelicans with chicks, Caspian Tern in flight

Pelicans with chicks, Caspian Tern in flight

Coming from a concrete jungle, wildlife is sparce if any!! As our boat cruised towards the Seal Island,  we had excellent views of a group of Pied Cormorants, also known as the Pied Shag, basking under the hot sun! Ospreys and Whistling kite were also seen flying from cliff to cliff! It was a cool boat ride and while we savoured fish and chips at the pier, a Singing Honeyeater (Lichenostomus virescens) came close to check us out! 🙂

Pied Cormorants!

Pied Cormorants!

Ospreys, one with fish!

Ospreys, one with fish!

Whistling Kite

Whistling Kite

singing honeyeater

singing honeyeater

And oh…we did not get to see any wild Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor) at Penguin Island, they probably went out fishing…but its still cool to see a few at the feeding centre! 🙂 And here’s a picture of a seal..! hehe!

little penguin

little penguin

seal enjoying the sun.. zz

seal enjoying the sun.. zz