Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Ancient Murrelet - A Venture to the Deep South

Po Toi Island is not a particularly popular winter birding hotspot, while the island is known to be a good migrant lookout, winter birding there is usually a little slow going. Some birders still likes to visit the island during the cooler months, and last Saturday it certainly paid off when they found an Ancient Murrelet foraging in the bay! This species is a scarce passage migrant and rare winter visitor, I personally have never had any luck finding these seafaring birds. I waited till Tuesday to visit Po Toi, and luckily enough for us the bird was still there!

Ancient Murrelet

Murrelets are pretty interesting birds, as they are incredibly well adapted to dive and swim in the ocean, this individual was actively chasing shoals of small fishes around the bay, often diving for prolonged period. It certainly looks to be in pretty good shape, it was resting quite far out in the bay most of the time, but venturing in close to the shore when feeding.

Ancient Murrelet

The hunting area for the Murrelet

I was very glad that my trip to the most southerly island in Hong Kong was not wasted, and was particularly delighted to find another bird on the island to add to my annual list, a Red-breasted Flycatcher which showed up when I was having lunch! Although a regular migrant and winter visitor, Red-breasted Flycatchers are much rarer than the similar Taiga Flycatchers.

Red-breasted Flycatcher

The pair of Oriental Storks stayed on and continues to show well at tower hide. I was there again one morning, hoping to get some photos in better light, although they were evidently further away than my previous visit, but the colours around their eyes and legs really show up well in the morning sunlight.

Oriental Stork

The towerhide was quite a decent spot to scan for raptors as well, many drifted past the hide including a very scruffy looking Eastern Buzzard. A pair of Greater Spotted Eagles showed well and circled back a few times at decent range, while two Eastern Imperial Eagles flew past at distant.

Eastern Buzzard

Greater Spotted Eagle

Eastern Imperial Eagle

Captain found a Rosy Starling at San Tin a few weeks back, I missed it twice while searching for it in the afternoon, turns out it really was a morning bird, as I finally saw it on my third visit, although it only showed briefly and did not give good photo opportunity, it was still a nice bird to see.

Rosy Starling

At my local patch the Tai Mei Tuk Catchwater, Speckled Piculets have been extremely vocal of late, I heard and saw up to four different individuals along there. The pair of Grey Bushchats have stayed on, they continued to show fairly well in the same area. During one of my early morning walks there I was treated to a low flying White-bellied Sea Eagle, the most majestic looking raptor in Hong Kong in my opinion.

Speckled Piculet

Grey Bushchat - female

White-bellied Sea Eagle

Out along the Ting Kok beach things remained much the same with a few Kentish Plovers and Greater Sand Plovers. A few Collared Crows foraged at close range, allowing some awesome full frame shots of this now vulnerable species. A better bird seen around the area was a single Brown Shrike.

Kentish Plover

Collared Crow

Brown Shrike

1 comment:

  1. It’s been great to see the raptors at Mai Po recently; - the Storks have been a bonus !