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 at Laotieshan, Liaoning province- raptor watch

Laotieshan, located at the southernmost tip of Liaoning is probably the best place to watch raptors migrate in vast numbers in autumn in China! Waking up at 5am everyday and being at the same spot counting the number of birds till noon was no easy task unless you’re a hardcore birder! I was just there to take pictures, soak up the environment and watch the avid birders do the tough work…lol! 😛 The weather hasn’t been brilliant during my stay there-but there was no stopping of raptors trying to cross the sea to Shandong! Of course, there were a few solo raptors who aborted their onward flight when fog hits bad while some gathered in groups to fly together!

In early hours, small birds would migrate first-groups of Pechora pipits were heard and seen, Daurian starlings, Asian brown flycatchers, Black-Naped orioles, Siberian stonechats and even Dollar birds! Then came the raptors- Japanese Sparrowhawks in huge numbers with an Eurasian Sparrowhawk amongst them, Amur Falcons, Kestrels, Oriental Honey Buzzards and Pied Harriers!

Amur falcons are common in autumn migration

Amur falcons are common in autumn migration

oriental honey buzzards in Laotieshan

oriental honey buzzards in Laotieshan

Japanese sparrowhawks are plentiful at Laotieshan

Japanese sparrowhawks are plentiful at Laotieshan

On a foggy day, Gulls, Shearwaters, etc, seemed to near the coastal shore as well, which was brilliant for seabirding! I love seabirds!

Mongolian gulls and Black-tailed gulls

Mongolian gulls and Black-tailed gulls

the art of seabirding!

the art of seabirding!

It’s been a fun few days- every morning, we wake up with anticipation and by the end of the day, we rewarded ourselves with ice-cream and coke (but no lunch..@_@)! Can we have lunch included in the itinerary next time please?? >.<

a break for an ice-cream and coke!

a break for an ice-cream and coke!