A BIRDING BLOG -
hong kong AND
hong kong AND
I picked up a small number of good birds during this month. Resident Category IIB species included Vinous-throated Parrotbill on top of Tai Mo Shan, and breeding Chestnut-tailed Starlings in Kowloon Tsai Park (with thanks to Lo Chun Fai for directions to the starlings). I went to Po Toi on 12 May to look for the Roseate Terns that nest with Bridled and Black-naped Terns on Castle Rock near the island. The Roseates don’t usually arrive until May and I spent some time near the Tin Hau temple watching several fishing at the entrance to the harbour. Elsewhere, I also managed to connect with two other summer visitors – a Lesser Cuckoo heard at Tai Po Kau on 15 May (later seen at Mai Po on 22 May) and a Malayan Night Heron near Tai Tong shortly after dawn on 14 May. Most unexpected was a Common Cuckoo found by Peter and Michelle Wong at Mai Po on 20 May – only the second record for Hong Kong; this bird was vocal which made identification straightforward. The final hoped-for bird of the month was a Cotton Pygmy Goose found at Mai Po on 28th by Banson Leung.
June and July
These are the dead months bird-wise in Hong Kong. I managed to add two species in June – Slaty-breasted Rail at Mai Po on 4th, and Common Emerald Dove at Hok Tau on 12th. July was slightly more productive and brought four new species for the list – three of them not entirely unexpected (Black-winged Kite, Eurasian Hobby and Brown-breasted Flycatcher) but one totally off the radar. This was a Ryukyu Scops Owl near Sheung Shui. This bird had first been heard briefly by John Holmes back in May but had remained unidentified. It was heard again, and also seen by John on 25th July, and eventually pinned down as a Ryukyu Scops Owl, apparently of the Lanyu subspecies, by John Allcock. I saw the bird on 28th. Quite how this island scops owl ended up inland in southern China is a matter of conjecture - and it is up to the HKBWS Records Committee to decide on its status - but for the moment it remains on my Big Year list!
And at last, in the final week of the month, the start of autumn migration. I picked up expected Eastern Crowned Warbler and Amur Paradise Flycatcher. I also headed out to the Cheung Sha Wan Wholesale Food Market in urban Nam Cheong on the advice of Carrie Ma to add House Crow (Category IIB) to the list – this is not a species that you come across casually. I added six species in total during the month.