Po Toi May 2016

Po Toi May 2016

Sunday 15 May

Nothing new on land this week, but this is the peak week for Short-tailed Shearwater passage past Po Toi and this was my target.
But you need to be there evening and early morning for these birds so it meant an overnight stay on Saturday night, something I don't often do now.

Also taking the chance to see Short-tailed was John Clough from Shek Kong Catchment, camping on the Peninsular. And we weren't disappointed  - John spotted the first shearwater at about 6.10am this morning. Unfortunately he missed another two which passed at about 9.40am while he was packing his tent. But one is enough

Also three skuas, unfortunately all Arctic so not a tick for John, two pale phase and one dark phase

and lots of terns to keep us busy while waiting for the big birds, here Greater Crested, Aleutian, White-winged and Bridled

also some Black-naped and two Roseate. Not close but these are seabird migrants seen from land.

Also migrants, these two Large-billed Crows coming straight in from Dangan Island, and a flock of Crested Myna heading off north from the Lighthouse.

Crested Myna are regular May migrants heading off from Po Toi.

Maybe try again for shearwaters this week.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 16/05/2016 10:50 ]


Tuesday 17 May

Seawatching only today, for two hours from 11.15am to 1.15pm, target again Short-tailed Shearwater.
As I said above, this is the peak period for them and they can turn up at any time but I was still surprised to get one at these mid-day hours - but a long way away

One reason for going back today was to reminisce - it happens when you get older.

10 years ago today, on 17 May 2006, I was on Po Toi when a rare spring typhoon passed through - Typhoon Chanchu. It passed quickly, in about six hours from 10am to 4pm, but the peak wind strength at 7-8 was enough to send waves crashing over my seawatching station at the point.


It was my first year staying on Po Toi and I was crazy enough to stay out seawatching during the typhoon (from the lighthouse, not my usual station).
But the reward was, lots of seabirds including over 80 Streaked Shearwaters and a new HK First Record, a Brown Noddy

All of these seabirds disappeared as soon as the wind calmed down after 4pm but a short walk around the pier area at 6pm briefly showed another HK First Record, a Ruddy Kingfisher, also brought in by the typhoon. A group of birders coming over to see the seabirds the next day, including KwokJai Cheung and Graham Talbot I remember, didn't see the Noddy but had a much better view of the Ruddy Kingfisher and made the positive ID, and the bird stayed around for a few more days.

One of the most memorable days of my life.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 17/05/2016 18:15 ]


Thank you Geoff for telling us the story.


Thank you Geoff for telling us the story. I regret that I could not come yesterday as I was in Beijing.


Tuesday 24 May

Yesterday, a Lesser Cuckoo calling loudly from the helipad area

ID thanks to John Allcock.
A very loud and distinctive call, worth remembering because this species is now more common in Hong Kong.
But I couldn't see it, even though it was just above my head in the tall trees.

Not much else on the Island, the weather has been too good for Po Toi. No small bitterns to be seen but two Striated Herons, one coming in off the sea.
Only single Arctic Warbler and Brown Shrike, also at least two White-shouldered Starling which are very late for Po Toi - maybe they will stay to breed?

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 25/05/2016 08:32 ]


Thursday 26 May

A quiet day again today.

One Grey-streaked Flycatcher, equaling the previous HK latest spring date 26 May 1961 so I guess that's something remarkable.

Nothing else of note on land but 3 Greater Crested Terns around the Po Toi (Castle) Rock are also quite late and an unusual location, maybe they are going to breed locally this year.

Today would be a much better day to be on Po Toi, for both land and seabirds, with the wind and some rain. Frustrating.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 27/05/2016 08:30 ]