Po Toi March 2016

Po Toi March 2016

Yesterday was my first visit for several weeks. Except for seabirds, Po Toi does not really start until the last week in March when most spring migrants begin to arrive. My objective yesterday was just to see what species were left over from winter plus possibly some gulls from the ferry. Peter Ho and KK Chang also there.

No gulls, but some early migrants seen from the ferry. 4 Great Egrets flew past and into Stanley Harbour, many pairs of Barn Swallows flying low over the sea in the channel before Po Toi as well as a single Pacific Swift. Then as we approached Po Toi, a single small raptor flying low over the sea eventually made landfall on Po Toi and revealed itself as a female Common Kestrel - the first time I have seen one actually on migration.

On land, wintering birds included Oriental Turtle Dove, lots of Chinese Bulbuls preparing to fly north, Asian Stubtail, Yellow-browed Warbler, Red-billed Starling, Japanese Thrush, Daurian Redstart and Little Bunting with early spring arrivals of Common Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail, all to be expected in early spring, and a single adult Black-crowned Night Heron flying in.

A lot of clearance work has been done to paths and gravesites, and at least two new gravesites constructed over the winter. You can now use all the paths, although some of the clearance has been a bit brutal. But it will recover in the wet season.

New visitors may notice work being done at the helipad. This is a ground investigation for a provisional freshwater well for the residents. The details were discussed with Chuan at HKBWS and me , the provisional work will be complete by mid-April and has not affected any important bird areas.
But visitors to the area where the Ijima's Warbler was last spring may notice two dumps of old railings in that area. These are railings taken out from the new footpath next to the generator. We will be complaining to the authorities about these dumps and asking for them to be removed.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 16/03/2016 10:36 ]


22nd March

I intended to sea watch from Po Toi for this visit but the weather was just too bad - drizzle and mist.
But I did see 120+ Red-necked Phalarope from the ferry, most in the area between Aberdeen and Stanley.

Just past the Sister's Cafe a Grey-faced Buzzard flew in off the sea and landed on the first available tree, looking just a little bit wet

It was calling loudly, looking for friends, but none appeared so it flew on.

Also on the Island, at least 4 Grey Wagtails plus one from the ferry, a White's Thrush and a male Blue-and-white Flycatcher - seems a lot of them around this spring.

I'll try again on Thursday, depending on the weather.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 23/03/2016 16:34 ]


2016-Mar-25, morning

Weather: Little rain->Sunny->Cloudy

Wan Chai:
Yellow-crested Cockatoo 3

Grey Heron 1
Little Egret 1
Black-crowned Night Heron 1
Pacific Reef Heron 1

Red-necked Phalarope 10 floating on sea
Heuglin's Gull 6
Barn Swallow 1

Po Toi
Grey Heron 1
Pacific Reef Heron 1
Little Egret 1
Chinese Pond Heron 1
Cinnamon Bittern 1
Grey Wagtail 4
Red-billed Blue Magpie 1 heard only
Chinese Bulbul 1
Red-whiskered Bulbul 1
Red-throated Flycatcher 1
Masked Laughingthrush 1
Spotted Dove 1
Daurian Redstart 3 one male and two females
Large-billed Crow 5
Greater Coucal 2 heard only
Blue Whistling Thrush 1 heard only
Common Tailorbird 2
Long-tailed Shrike 1
Common Kingfisher 1
Common Sandpiper 2
Chestnut Bunting 1 first winter
Japanese White-eye 1
Narcissus Flycatcher 1 male
White Wagtail 2
Stejneger's Stonechat 1 male
Blue Rock Thrush 1
Common Blackbird 1
White-throated Kingfisher 1
Crested Myna 1
Black Kite 1
Common Kestrel 1
Barn Swallow 1
House Swift 1

Cinnamon Bittern:

Red-throated Flycatcher:

And, I saw this single big swallow which didn't look like a House Swift.
What is its id please?  Thanks.



25th to 27th March

A Pacific Swift I think Alan. I saw several of these but I missed the Cinnamon Bittern and the Chestnut Bunting.

My first overnight stay on Po Toi for two years. The main objective was to watch for seabirds in the early mnorning and late evening, the best time for these. I was hoping for some unusual species but only saw the regulars, 136 Red-necked Phalarope, 29 Black-tailed Gull and 84 Heuglin's Gull. Not a great count for 8 hours watching the sea, but it was enlivened by seeing migrants flying over from Dangan Island in the early morning - one Grey-faced Buzzard but most interesting, 18 Large-billed Crow in four separate flocks, here are some from two flocks

Large-billed Crow is a regular early spring migrant on Po Toi although most of the birds I have seen in the past have been leaving Po Toi. These flocks were arriving from the south, causing great annoyance to the local resident pair which had to make sure they didn't overstay their welcome.
Also several mixed flocks of Great, Little and Cattle Egret typical at this time.
I probably missed some flocks of Grey-faced Buzzard on Friday morning when the weather conditions and timing would have been good for them - I didn't get to the island until lunchtime.

Plenty of time for ship watching. 33 empty container ships tied close to Dangan are a result of the economic downturn - the last time this happened was in 2008. But another ship which no doubt helped the economy of Hong Kong, and particularly Wanchai, this huge American Assault Ship USS Boxer leaving after a short time-out in Hong Kong

Also watching the antics of the now large group of overnight campers on the South Peninsular - I counted 32 tents

All students, watching the sunset, stars and sunrise - very romantic. There was a time when I had the South Peninsular all to myself, but not any longer.

Back to the birds. On land, high daily counts of Blue-and-white Flycatchers with six on Saturday, four males and two females, four Stejneger's Stonechats and eight Grey Wagtails, both high counts for Po Toi. Other good records, a calling Large Hawk Cuckoo, rare on Po Toi, a male Narcissus Flycatcher, and still calling Red-tailed Robin, Siberian Rubythroat, Stubtail and Japanese Bush Warbler. Here a fine male Stonechat and an unfortunate dead Red-necked Phalarope found on the path near the Lower School, not sure how it got there

Not a great tally but nice to get back, at least for one weekend. But it may be my last, I'm back to the usual day visits from now on.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 28/03/2016 07:56 ]



Narcissus Flycatcher x3

Blue-and-white Flycatcher 4 male and 1 female

Red-throated Flycatcher x1

Japanese Yellow Bunting x1

[ Last edited by leo2012 at 29/03/2016 15:44 ]


the white eye ring is typical of a Japanese Yellow Bunting .. nice find!!
Wilson Dring


Thanks Wilson


29 March 2016

Pretty much the same birds with those on 28 March but much more difficult to photograph (at least for me):

Narcissus Flycatcher x2
Blue and White Flycatcher x2
Red-throated Flycatcher
Japanese Yellow Bunting (probably 2 or more)
Grey-faced Buzzard
Red-flanked Bluetail
Asian Stubtail (heard only)
Thrush spp. (heard quite a lot around but never managed to see one, but probably included Japanese)

Also I heard a call like Blue-winged Minla from a distance, but couldn't see the bird to confirm.

Nothing migrating on sea apart from Barn Swallows.


31st March

Most species from the Easter weekend had left with the change in wind to southerly, so today much more difficult to find birds.
Interesting species, a fine male Swinhoe's Minivet, two Blue-and-white Flycatchers, and a Siberian Blue Robin. Still many Red-necked Phalarope from the Ferry.
Here a photo of the Minivet with thanks to WK Nip

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 31/03/2016 17:41 ]



Narcissus Flycatcher x 2 male and 1 female (seen by other birder)

Blue and White Flycatcher 1 male and 1 female
Olive-backed Pipit
Pacific Reef Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Common Kingfisher
Yellow-fronted Canary (photoed by other birder)
Asian Stubtail (heard only)



Just a quick walk on Po Toi this morning:

White-bellied Sea Eagle 2 on same tree

Po Toi:  
Black Kite 1
Pacific Reef Heron 3
Chinese Pond Heron 3 one mature
Common Kingfisher 2
Crested Myna 1
Chinese Bulbul 1
Red-whiskered Bulbul 1
Large-billed Crow 3
Red-billed Starling 1
Barn Swallow 1
Long-tailed Shrike 1
Little Egret 5
Common Kestrel 1
Masked Laughingthrush 1
Greater Coucal 1 heard only
Blue Whistling Thrush 1 heard only
Eastern Buzzard 1
Oriental Magpie Robin 1
Common Tailorbird 1 heard only
Spotted Dove 1
White Wagtail 1
Olive-backed Pipit 1
Eastern Cattle Egret 2 one mature

And I saw about six Swinhoe's Minivets or Ashy Minivets which were in flight with call.
Hope some photographers can get it.


Apr 5

An ashy minivet taken near Sisters' Cafe this afternoon

Also, a phalarope (?) taken on the way to Po Toi


IMG_7639a.jpg (136.79 KB)

5/04/2016 18:09


IMG_7574a.jpg (153.08 KB)

5/04/2016 18:09




In addition to Edward Yip, the followings were seen:

棕尾褐鹟 Ferruginous Flycatcher (Muscicapa ferruginea)

岩鷺 Pacific Reef Heron (Egretta sacra)x3

大嘴烏鴉/巨嘴鴉 Large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos)x2
黑鳶 Black Kite (Milvus migrans)x6
白胸翡翠 White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)x1
絲光椋鳥 Red-billed Starling (Spodiopsar sericeus) (many)
八哥 Crested Myna (Acridotheres cristatellus) (many)
紅耳鵯 Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) (many)
白頭鵯 Chinese Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) (many)
珠頸斑鳩 Spotted Dove (Spilopelia chinensis)x6 (at least)
鵲鴝 Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis) x2 (at least)
白鶺鴒 White Wagtail (Motacilla alba) x1
池鷺 Chinese Pond Heron (Ardeola bacchus)x1
牛背鹭 Eastern Cattle Egret (Bubulcus coromandus)x1 (I only saw one, some birder told me there were 2)
紫嘯鶇 Blue Whistling Thrush (Myophonus caeruleus)x1
白腹海鵰 White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)x1
家燕 Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)x1

I was told by other birders that they also saw
黃眉姬鶲 Narcissus Flycatcher (Ficedula narcissina)x2
中杜鹃 Oriental Cuckoo (Cuculus optatus)x1

[ Last edited by kkchang168 at 6/04/2016 12:07 ]


I would like to add to the list of April 5:
普通翠鳥 Common Kingfisher X1