A BIRDING BLOG -
hong kong AND
hong kong AND
In my capacity as a bird guide, I was out in the field on December 2nd, 2016 with Mark Hodgson from Wisconsin, USA . Mark recently sent me a couple of photographs of greenshanks he took on the outing asking for confirmation of the ID: Nordmann’s Greenshank and Common Greenshank.
With Mark’s permission, I’ve put the images on this page as they show clearly the features for separating Nordmann’s from Common in non-breeding plumage, even though the bill of the Nordmann’s (and the Common) is not visible.
Non-breeding Nordmann’s is generally paler than Common. It has a thin grey line in the centre of the scapulars, coverts & tertials and thin white fringes to these feathers but no other markings, so it is rather plain in appearance. Common is usually darker and is much more patterned with lots of dark notching on the feathers.
There are sometimes paler Common Greenshank around, and they can initially suggest Nordmann’s, but they always show vestiges of the darker notching when looked at closely. The head patterning is also different, being paler and mottled on Nordmann’s, darker and streaked on Common.
Nordmann’s Greenshank is one of Mai Po’s special birds. It is a limited-range wader, breeding in a relatively small area of eastern Russia ( Sakhalin Island and the adjacent mainland) and wintering locally in coastal areas of north-east India, Bangladesh and Myanmar, south to Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo. With an estimated global population of c.1300 birds, it is classified as Endangered by the IUCN.
In Hong Kong it is a regular spring passage migrant with a high count of 58 on April 13, 1993. It is rare in autumn and winter. The bird in the photograph has been present at Mai Po from November 2016 and can usually be observed from the southern hide on a 2.0-metre tide.
Also on December 2, 2016 Mark and I were fortunate enough to see a recently-arrived adult Siberian Crane accompanied by a juvenile out on the mud flats in front of the southern hide. We first saw them from the northern hide and walked back to the southern hide to observe them more closely. Unfortunately, the birds flew off onto the reserve just after we arrived at the hide but Mark managed to take a few quick shots before they disappeared. I’ve included one of those shots here.
An adult has remained in the area since then and can currently be seen on pond 16/17. This may be the same individual as the bird on December 2nd, but as two adults were seen by an observer on December 17th , this may be a different individual.
Since the first record on December 2nd, several of my clients have seen the Siberian Crane.
All images are © Mark Hodgson. Many thanks to Mark for allowing me to post them here.