Thursday, 15 July 2021

Brown Noddy - A Mid-Summer Twitch

Brown Noddy - 3rd record of Hong Kong

News of a Brown Noddy around Wong Mau Chau travelled fast, I wasn't able to go on the first few days after I received the news, but luckily the bird seems pretty stable and stayed on in the area. Brown Noddy is a rare vagrant in Hong Kong with only two previous records, naturally everyone wanted to see it. With help of friends we were able to arrange a boat to head out towards Wong Mau Chau to search for the Brown Noddy. We arrived at Wong Shek Pier just past 7am, and were soon searching for the bird out at sea.

Along the way we saw plenty of Bridled and Black-naped Terns, both regular breeding species in Hong Kong. I have been a bit lazy of late and haven't been to look at the breeding tern colonies, so I was quite happy to see them, although I didn't see any Roseate Terns.


Bridled Tern


Black-naped Tern

It took us half an hour before I spotted a bird perched on a piece of polystyrene foam, we went closer to investigate and sure enough it was the Brown Noddy, just sitting there preening and sunning itself! 




Brown Noddy - Resting on man-made 'island'

We had fantastic views of it sitting there before it flew off to feed with the other terns near Wong Mau Chau, where we continued to have awesome flight views at close quarters. It was an awesome experience to see it fly right past our boat, sometimes within an arm's length. This is the first ever 'twitchable' Brown Noddy in Hong kong, therefore not surprising it is also the most documented, there were three other boats out that same morning. 








Brown Noddy - flying past twitchers

I must once again praise the animal tracking system of Canon EOS R6, I fitted it with my EF 100-400mm lens and it delivered pretty good results, this setup was perfect for this occasion, as the bird occasionally came in so close that I had to pull my lens back to 100mm to get the entire bird in view. This setup was also light enough that my arms weren't hurting even after nearly two hours of continuous shooting. This was definitely top bird this summer so far, hopefully we will also get a Black Noddy sometime soon...









Brown Noddy - Top bird of summer!

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