Monday, 27 April 2015

Po Toi - more migrating action

With migration season in full swing, numerous of exciting birds have been spotted in Hong Kong! Including our first ever Buff-breasted Sandpiper in Mai Po, a male Japanese Paradise Flycatcher as well as a few Bramblings on Po Toi last week, and Chinese Goshawks around the place. ALL of which I MISSED!

Finally a day back on Po Toi for me, today we took the kids from Project Care Small Group Home to Po Toi, many of them were visiting this little island for the first time. It was nice to bring them out to get some fresh air, especially to see the bird migration for themselves was enough to get the kids excited!

An hour after departure from Aberdeen pier have us landed on Po Toi Island, with strong Easterly winds its promising weather for birds. It started off slowly, but things picked up when we got to the helicopter pad. A few Black Drongo made an appearance, giving the kids good scope view. These are clearly summer visitor to Hong Kong, a few pairs do breed on Po Toi annually. Just then, an Indian Cuckoo made it's distinctive 4 syllables call of "one more bottle" and gave a distant fly-by view, which gave me a great opportunity to tell the kids some fun facts about this species, including how it's actually a parasitic brooder that targets Black Drongos!

Black Drongo

Indian Cuckoo

A Red Turtle Dove flew into view, stopping on a large rock and gave great views for everyone. Another passage migrant that is passing through Po Toi, we usually get this species in open country around New Territories.

Red Turtle Dove

Not too far off near the public toilet, a pair of Grey-streaked Flycatcher gave prolonged views. Another classic passage migrant on Po Toi, they are one of the commoner species of flycatcher we get during migration. They displayed their characteristic hawking technique for everyone to enjoy.

Grey-streaked Flycatcher

I spotted a warbler on a nearby tree, impression was of an Arctic, but a closer look at the mandible have me puzzled. Most Arctic Warblers have a dark tip on the lower mandible, while this one doesn't. I thought it could be something else but couldn't quite make up my mind. I later asked Kwok Jai about his thoughts on this warbler and he suggested Arctic as well, so I guess I will settle with the answer that it's an odd Arctic.

Arctic Warbler

Got news from others that a Malayan Night Heron was spotted near the sister's cafe. While the kids went ahead I stayed behind for 15 minutes to look for the bird. I was however disappointed to not see the bird. Though I have seen this bird in Taiwan before, this rare species eludes me in Hong Kong. I quickly rejoined the group at the "peninsular trail", where we got good views of a pair of very distant Blue Rock Thrush, the kids were very excited about the bright colours on the male. On our way back we got news that the Night Heron was back out while we were away and was stationed for a good 40 minutes...damn it. Here's a photo from my trip to Taipei few years back, truly a magnificent looking creature.

Malayan Night Heron (Taiwan 2013)

We were on time for the 4 o'clock boat back to Aberdeen. On our way back we got a flock of migrating Whimbrels which stopped on a rocky island to rest. Later near Stanley, an unsual flock of migrating Black-winged Stilt, which flew around and around for quite some time. We don't usually see them out at sea, so it just proves anything can turn up anywhere during migration.

Whimbrel in a distant

Black-winged Stilt on migration

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