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

Melbourne’s western water treatment plant- What a huge supermarket!

cape barren goose and pelican

cape barren goose and pelican

When I was in Melbourne, I think I spent 70% of the time indulging in food! But surely I had to do some birding :P…and where’s a better place to bird than the Western Water Treatment Plant! It was truly an eye-opening experience (well, for me it was) to bird in Western Water Treatment Plant, which was only an hour drive from the city! This place was filled with lagoons, grasslands and coastline that provided an ideal and varied habitat for all sorts of birds! To bird in the water treatment plant, you need a permit! Click here for more information about permit application. 😛 😛

Pink eared duck and banded lapwing

Pink eared duck and banded lapwing

To beat the heavy traffic, I headed off at 0630, and arrived at the plant around 0740. There were gates to open to enter each zone area in the plant! So every time you opened the gate and drove your car in, you would have to lock the gate. Once in the plant, there were no shortages of birds- raptors, water birds, shore birds, bush birds, you just name it!! Having only spent 1/2 day in the area, I saw abt 50 birds, but I only took photos of  30 odd species (all new ticks!)… As I am writing this, I feel like going to Melbourne again, this time to do some serious birding! 😛

Royal spoonbill and Yellow Billed spoonbill

Royal spoonbill and Yellow Billed spoonbill

peregrine falcon and spotted harrier

peregrine falcon and spotted harrier

straited field wren and straw headed ibis

straited field wren and straw necked ibis

hard head, Musk duck and Black fronted plover

hard head, Musk duck and Black fronted plover

zebra finch and white fronted chat

zebra finch and white fronted chat

australian crake and white necked heron

australian crake and white necked heron

fairy martin, bushlark, golden headed cisticola

fairy martin, bushlark, golden headed cisticola

red capped plover, banded stilt, red necked advocet

red capped plover, banded stilt, red necked advocet