Po Toi Winter 2007/8

Po Toi Winter 2007/8

No new birds this week but most of those from last week are still there and perhaps settled in for at least the early part of winter.

Three interesting chats, all males, Grey Bushchat, Stonechat and Magpie Robin

The Grey Bushchat from last week was still in the football field area yesterday. Stonechats are regular on the south peninsular grasslands at this time of year, but males are rare and this fine looking one was also around the football field and obviously migrating through, only seen on Tuesday.

Why are Magpie Robins interesting? - because all the Magpie Robins on Po Toi disappear from view for all of November and suddenly reappear all together at the start of December in fine new plumage, like this bird, and re-establish their territories. I presume this missing period is for their annual moult, but where they go to, I don't know. Does anyone else have this experience with Magpie Robins in their areas?

Other interesting species still to be seen this week, the Striated Heron, the Hoopoe, now present since October 18th, at least 3 Scaly Thrushes plus Japanese, Grey-backed, Pale and another Brown-headed, this one a first winter bird with a white-streaked throat and a wing bar, a Mountain Bush Warbler and at least two Russet Bush Warblers, the Bianchi's Warbler and a Black-naped Monarch. Photos of the Hoopoe, male and female Grey-backed Thrush, the Brown-headed Thrush, the Bianchi's and the Monarch

Most of the buntings from last week appear to have left, including the Japanese Yellow Buntings after a stay of 4 weeks and including the bird ringed in late October in north Honshu, Japan.

No photos of the two Bush Warblers because, well, it's difficult enough just to see them. Much easier is to hear them, here is a 15 second sound recording made this week on Po Toi, with 5 seconds Russet Bush Warbler song (the 'zee-bit' call), 5 seconds Russet Bush Warbler contact call ('chack, chack') and 5 seconds Mountain Bush Warbler contact call ('tick, tick').

The contact calls are the best way to locate these skulkers but it's still nearly impossible to see them.

Next week will be warmer, not usually a good sign for Po Toi.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 18/08/2010 08:34 ]


Second Week in December

Bird of the week was, of course, the first-winter Black Redstart seen briefly on Tuesday (more photos in the ID section under Blue-fronted Redstart?)

Considering the chance nature of this find (5 minutes either way and I would not have seen it), and the fact that Po Toi is watched for less than 50% of the available week, I wonder how many other great birds are missed?

Mostly the now regular birds for the rest of the week. This pair of Crested Goshawks was unexpected, exchanging a look which passes for love in the eyes of a Goshawk? Also a Kestrel with a long-legged mouse

Several people have told me the Bianchi's Warbler moves around with a Mountain Tailorbird but I had not seen this until Thursday. They were definitely foraging together - maybe they like the look of one another. Also one of the three Scaly Thrushes now around.

This Mountain Tailorbird was one of five on Thursday - a good number for a species not recorded on Po Toi before this autumn. Surely evidence of the spread of Mountain Tailorbirds into Hong Kong.

Although generally a good autumn for species numbers, flycatcher numbers have been poor - very few Mugimaki and Yellow-rumped. But more Japanese species like Japanese Yellow Bunting and Narcissus Flycatcher - coincidence or weather related? Also no Chestnut Bulbuls yet this year - last year there were flocks around by this time.

I nearly trod on the tail of this Burmese Python sunning itself in the leaf litter on a gravesite. As it was over 6 foot long with a girth like my forearm, I gave it plenty of room. These magnificent animals are highly under-rated amongst Hong Kong wildlife. Is the bump towards the tail natural or evidence of a past meal? At the other end of the scale, a two inch mouse.

Back to baby-sitting - it's safer.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 18/08/2010 08:37 ]


I think the bump towards the end of it's tail is literally the beginning of the snakes tail.  It seems strange snakes having tails when they look like one great big tail anyway but generally this bumps are just where the body ends and the tail starts.  

Underneath this bump is the snake's cloaca, or bum.  If a snake can have a bum.  Perhaps though this is a discussion for another forum..............


Thanks Dave, I shall turn it over next time and have a look.


Third Week in December

Another Red-breasted type Flycatcher on Po Toi this week, found by Pippen Ho and Graham Talbot. This is the third this year, one in April, one in November and now one in December.

The most obvious ID features of these birds are the pale bill and the call. This week's bird has the palest bill of all three, the lower mandible almost totally pale and the upper mandible pale on its lower edge. If you see these birds from underneath, your first impression is Asian Brown Flycatcher because of the bill colour (see second photo above).

All the Red-breasted Flycatchers this year have been very vocal, making two calls, a churr similar to Red-throated and a monotonous 'whee' call.

You can hear the difference between the churr note of Red-throated and Red-breasted on the following short sound clip, firstly two churrs from a Red-throated in October followed by two churrs from the Red-breasted this week. The Red-breasted has a much slower rate of churring, each churr can be heard distinctly whereas the Red-throated churr is much faster and sounds like a rattle.

I'm not sure if the Red-throated makes a 'whee' call but the Red-breasted does and it's quite distinctive

Apart from the fairly common Japanese (Manchurian) Bush Warblers, there are (at least) two other Bush Warblers on Po Toi at the moment, Mountain (one only) and Russet (several birds). They are quite different in behaviour.
The Russet Bush Warblers are very territorial, keep to their own area and defend it against all others. For this reason, they will often come right up to you if you copy their call. But they are still almost impossible to see, staying hidden in thick vegetation even though only a few feet away

The Mountain Bush Warbler does not keep a territory but roams around, so it doesn't respond to copying its call. But the call, a continuous quiet clicking note, is quite distinctive and if you wait around, you may be lucky with a brief sighting, often looking through leaves and other vegetation to see it

Also on Po Toi this week, the current regulars, Hoopoe, Bianchi's Warbler, Mountain Tailorbird and Black-naped Monarch. Also a juvenile Crested Goshawk slowly eating its way through the flock of moulting Oriental Turtle Doves.

Next week is the last of 2007, so I will show my top ten favourite photos of the year. Have a good Christmas Holiday, I will have mine away from Po Toi so please let me know if you go there and see anything interesting.

PS Last week's Redstart has been identified by Paul Leader as a Black Redstart (great, a Category A bird) so I have amended last week's report.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 18/08/2010 08:45 ]


Christmas Quiz

In response to popular demand (one person) and in keeping with tradition, here is the Po Toi 2007 Christmas Quiz.

10 questions, 10 correct answers will earn you the First Prize of A Free Night on Po Toi in January.

Questions on birds

1.        What is the commonest Hong Kong species which has not yet been recorded on Po Toi? (based on the Hong Kong Breeding Bird Survey in Avifauna)

2.        Paul Leader was the first birder to survey Po Toi, recording 123 species over the year 1997. One species he recorded has not been seen again on Po Toi. Which species? (clue – this species is already on the list of Lai Chi Kok Park)

3.        What was the first ‘Hong Kong First’ to be seen on Po Toi?

Questions on Po Toi facts, all answers True or False

4.        Po Toi seaweed is as effective as Viagra

5.        The old lady who lives in the house near the jetty is the oldest regular inhabitant on Po Toi

6.        The same old lady has a more impressive list of Hong Kong species than Paul Leader

7.        The last person to live in Mo’s Old House was Japanese

Questions on things that happened on Po Toi in 2007, all answers True or False

8.        A pig was seen to jump off a passing ship and swim on to Po Toi

9.        I was bitten by a snake while sleeping one night on Po Toi

10.        I was boycotted by the islanders for one week for disturbing their weekend

10 questions, 10 correct answers and a free night on Po Toi could be yours.
Answers after the Christmas holidays.


given the recent addition to your family this year, I reckon Question 4 has gotta be true Geoff!!


1. Crested Myna
2. Eagle Owl
3. Temminck's Cormorant

4. Um, no.....but no proof
5. Yes
6. Yes, but doesn't know that.
7. Yes
8. Yes
9. Hope not, so no.
10. No

Merry X'mas!


Only 6 out of 10 Ken, good try but no free night on Po Toi for you.

By the way, the first prize is limited to the first correct answer received.


Christmas Quiz - answers

Answers to the Po Toi 2007 Christmas Quiz

Questions on birds

1.        What is the commonest Hong Kong species which has not yet been recorded on Po Toi? (based on the Hong Kong Breeding Bird Survey in Avifauna)

Answer – Hwamei. Recorded in 43% of Hong Kong, but not yet on Po Toi. Next most common species not yet recorded on Po Toi is Chinese Francolin (29%)

2.        Paul Leader was the first birder to survey Po Toi, recording 123 species over the year 1997. One species he recorded not been seen again on Po Toi. Which species? (clue – this species is already on the list of Lai Chi Kok Park)

Answer – Eagle Owl

3.        What was the first ‘Hong Kong First’ to be seen on Po Toi?

Answer – Drongo Cuckoo, 9 May 1999, by Ho Fai Cheung. The second was Temminck’s Cormorant in 2005, also by Ho Fai Cheung

Questions on Po Toi facts, all answers True or False

4.        Po Toi seaweed is as effective as Viagra

Answer – False. Sorry to disappoint those members eagerly awaiting a positive answer to this question. I will not disclose the scientific process which led to this conclusion, only to inform you I have been told that Po Toi Seaweed is effective for most human conditions (except this one)

5.        The old lady who lives in the house near the jetty is the oldest regular inhabitant on Po Toi

Answer – False. She is a mere 82, the oldest regular inhabitant is a sprightly 85-year old man who lives near the temple and regularly goes fishing out at sea on his own.

6.        The same old lady has a more impressive list of Hong Kong species than Paul Leader

Answer – True. This is self-evidently true, she has been watching birds from one of the best spots on Po Toi continuously for more than 60 years. This was a very easy question, although strangely one person got the answer wrong.

7.        The last person to live in Mo’s Old House was Japanese

Answer – True. The Japanese Army took over the house during World War 2 as living quarters and an observation post. After the war it was never re-occupied because the Fung Shui was considered too bad.

Questions on things that happened on Po Toi in 2007, all answers True or False

8.        A pig was seen to jump off a passing ship and swim on to Po Toi

Answer – True, at least if you can believe the fisherman who told the tale. He saw the pig jump off and swim strongly for shore, catching up with it in his boat. Naturally, the pig was reluctant to board his boat and kept swimming, reaching the shore around the temple area and quickly disappearing into the surrounding bush. It has never been seen again.

9.        I was bitten by a snake while sleeping one night on Po Toi

Answer – False, at least technically. The snake in question was a Blind Snake which does not have a mouth and therefore cannot bite. It does, however, have a sharp point on its tail which it jabs into offending objects such as my foot. I can assure you, it is as painful as a bite.

10.        I was boycotted by the islanders for one week for disturbing their weekend

Answer – True. The weekend in question was the 19/20 May, a very wet weekend. The islanders wanting to leave on Sunday persuaded the ferry captain to make the 3pm ferry the last of the day and go straight to Aberdeen after calling at Stanley. They had reckoned without ‘the mad gwei’ waiting at Stanley for the ferry to go to Po Toi. After a 15 minute ‘discussion’, mostly in sign language, during which time I kept pointing to the Ferry Schedule, the captain reluctantly took the ferry back to Po Toi, much to the annoyance of all the islanders on board. I’m pleased I insisted, this was the weekend all the bitterns including Black Bittern arrived on Po Toi. I wasn’t spoken to for a week.

As there were no ‘all correct’ submissions (just like last year), the first prize of A Free Night on Po Toi in January will be held over again until next year.
Difficult to believe, but it seems almost that nobody wants to win the prize  :?


Last Week in December

Two new birds this week, a new Hoopoe (the long staying bird from October appears to have left) and a Greenish Warbler. Still there this week are the Bianchi's Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher and Black-naped Monarch.

No new photos this week, instead a review of the year 2007.

Spring was not as exciting as 2006, but autumn was better with more northerly winds to bring in the migrants which might otherwise have passed to the north of Hong Kong. This chart recording the number of non-resident species seen on each day recorded (145 days over the year) shows that quite well

Each peak in species numbers corresponds to a fall in temperature caused by northerly or north-easterly winds.
In spring the peaks immediately follow the passage of a cold front and are mostly Philippine wintering species migrating north and blown west by the cold front.
In autumn there is sometimes a gap of a day or so before the winds take effect and the birds are mostly first-winter migrants heading across China for SE Asia.
In winter, the gap may be a few days and the birds are mostly Guangdong winterers moving south to avoid the cold weather.

Year charts showing daily numbers for individual species are also interesting. Here are charts for Oriental Turtle Dove, Brown Shrike, Yellow Wagtail, Yellow-browed Warbler, Tree Sparrow and Black Drongo

Oriental Turtle Dove is mostly a late autumn migrant (birds moult their feathers on Po Toi) with a few birds staying into January and a few records in spring and summer
Brown Shrike is mostly a late spring migrant (lucionensis) with fewer birds in autumn (usually first-winter with a few adult cristatus)
Yellow Wagtail is also mostly a spring migrant (tschutschensis)
Yellow-browed Warbler is a winter visitor with wintering birds joined by spring migrants in April
Tree Sparrow is a migrant on Po Toi, first birds arriving in April, a few staying over the summer, more migrants in autumn with the last leaving in December
Black Drongo is a summer visitor, around 5 pairs over the summer, plus a few extra juveniles in August, most leaving in early September with fresh migrants arriving in late September and all leaving by mid October, one November record.

Top 10 bird photos for 2007 to follow over the weekend.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 18/08/2010 08:39 ]


All these informative graph remind me of "The Avifauna of Hong Kong"
Maybe some day we'll have a "The Avifauna of Po Toi"
Thank you very much Geoff, for keeping us update of the migratory pattern .



Thanks Gary. One small difference with Avifauna - my graphs are actuals for one year. Avifauna are averages over 40 years.
So my book should come out in 2047 - I may not be here to see it.  

Here are my top 12 picks for birds on Po Toi in 2007, out of a total of 228 species recorded by all

1. Temminck's Cormorant 18 January
2. Orange-breasted Green Pigeon 24 January - the last ever look at this bird?
3. Common Cuckoo 4 April
4. Red-breasted Flycatcher 11 April, the first of 3 in 2007
5. Drongo Cuckoo 19 April
6. Ruddy Turnstone with South Australia leg flag 3 May
7. Bulwer's Petrel (2 photos) 14 May
8. Black Bittern 21 May
9. Brown Booby 26 August
10. Purple Cochoa (photo by Leung) 11 October
11. Japanese Yellow Bunting with ring (photo by Owen), photo taken on Po Toi 27 November, ringed in northern Honshu, Japan on 24 October
12. Black Redstart 11 December

Best of the 12 - my pick is the ringed Japanese Yellow Bunting.
This required three rare events to happen together - a Japanese Yellow Bunting in autumn in Hong Kong (first ever), a ringed bird and a photo good enough and close enough to read the ring. I estimate the chances of all three happening together is about 1,000,000 to 1.
More chance of seeing an albatross in HK waters. So next year I will be looking out for an albatross.

Good luck to all in 2008.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 18/08/2010 08:42 ]


Albatross to HK....

Actually, there was a record of Short-tailed Albatross from 'Hong Kong'. Check the book 'Threatened birds of Asia'. You can see one bird was claimed to be caught by fishermen from 'Hong Kong' about 100 years ago! But it just cannot find out the bird was really caught in HK waters or been brought into HK.

OK. then from my past experience the mega rarity would finally come out when people become NOT hoping it. An example is the Chinese Crested Tern. I remember that people already discussed that was extincted but just a few months later 4 pairs were re-discovered! So, I am going to say that Albatross is very UNLIKELY to come to HK based on following reasons:

1) So far I only realised two injuried albatrosses (one is Short-tailed, one is Laysan) were found in Taiwan in past 10 years. Also, I think there are also not many sighting records from Taiwan as well (but would like to see anyone could update my information!!).

2) Although the Short-tailed Albatross bred in Panghu islands (near Taiwan) about 150 years ago, the current nearest site for albatrosses is Dao-yu Island located between Taiwan and Okinawa. Several pairs of Short-tailed Albatrosses are breeding there and also Black-footed Albatrosses as well. The albatrosses are breeding in the time of northern winter, i.e. from November to April. Then in northern summer, they migrate north up to Alaska. Young birds have been recorded in the northern pacific in the breeding season (i.e. not going to southern area). Therefore, they like cold weather and they would not need warmer weather in the south.... So..HK could not attract it...

3) Many seabirds, including albatrosses, depends on sea current for food resource. The Dao-yu Island is actually on the main current called Kuroshio current (also called 'Black' current) which bring numerous food source for not only seabirds, but also cetaceans. However, this current becomes so weak when entering South China Sea. That is also why we have so few records of procellariiformes/procellariidae. In addition, many said that the fish stock in HK and South China Sea has been seriously depleted. So, we just do not have enough food to attract them...

So, I am not so optimisitic for albatross in HK. But only one record could reject all above..... I am in fact happy to see I could be wrong this time!!  


This Eagle  Owl, photographed on Po Toi  around 5pm on 1st January is the last bird Geoff needed to fill his list of Po Toi birds - it was on the hillside above the helicopter pad yesterday!

Mike K


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2/01/2008 23:11


Mike KilburnVice Chairman, HKBWSChairman, Conservation Committee


First Week in January

As Tung says, good birds turn up when you don't expect them. Like New Year's Day. 5pm.

Mike Kilburn - "I think I'll walk up to the reservoir, see if anything's around up there"

Me - "Not for me, I never see anything up there" (actually, I'm too lazy to climb all those concrete steps. But for someone from Ng Tung Chai, it's just a walk in the park)

The result - Eagle Owl, and a red face for me. Not red from embarrassment, red from having to RUN up the steps instead of walk. (You should have seen Kinni's face - he had to run carrying his 600mm lens as well)

Here's my photo of the Eagle Owl - probably the smallest Eagle Owl you will ever see

Unfortunately, the bird did not re-appear on Wednesday but I guess it is still on Po Toi somewhere.

As expected, the cold spell brought in some new birds, new species in Yellow-breasted Bunting (not seen by me) and Common Rosefinch, also many more birds of three particular species, Red-flanked Bluetail, Japanese Thrush and Pallas's Warbler. Interesting that the numbers of comparable species, Daurian Redstart, Scaly Thrush and Yellow-browed Warbler, are never affected by cold spells. The Red-flanked Bluetails included two males, quite rare on Po Toi

Unexpectedly, most of the new arrivals left on Wednesday night so Thursday was quiet, but still the Hoopoe (two birds now), Mountain Bush Warbler (at least 3), Bianchi's Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher and now two Black-naped Monarch.

I was able to get new tape recordings of the sound of the Red-breasted Flycatcher, and once again compare it with a Red-throated Flycatcher in October last year and commercial recordings of both species. Here are two sound files and their equivalent sonograms. Firstly, my Po Toi recording - two calls from the current Red-breasted and two from the Red-throated last October

Next, two calls from the same two species in a commercial recording, Calls of Eastern Vagrants by Hannu Jannes

Now the two sonograms from these recordings, my recording first and the commercial recording next

Each dark line in the sonogram is a single note in the bird's call. Look at the lower one first, the commercial recording. You can see, the Red-throated lines are much closer together than the Red-breasted - about twice as close. Red-throated makes twice the number of notes per second that Red-breasted does (the bottom line is time, marked in seconds). Now look at the upper picture, you can see the same pattern in my recordings done on Po Toi.
I find these sound pictures very convincing. When you actually measure the timings of the call, the Po Toi and the commercial recordings are very similar for both Red-breasted and Red-throated. The bird also knows the difference - although it will respond to a Red-throated call, it is much more enthusiastic with the Red-breasted call.

The first sea birds this week since last September - a small movement of 10 immature Black-tailed Gulls flying NE past Po Toi early on Thursday morning. This bird changed direction and flew up the East Lamma Channel.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 18/08/2010 08:47 ]


Second Week in January

A warm week and very quiet for birds, no new species and a few of the previous regulars not seen.

The Red-breasted Flycatcher, the two Hoopoes, two of the Mountain Tailorbirds and one of the Black-naped Monarchs were still there from last week. Not seen (and possibly now gone) were the Eagle Owl, Mountain Bush Warblers and Bianchi's Warbler.

Two common Hong Kong species which appear on Po Toi in large numbers in January are Japanese White-eye and Scaly-breasted Munia.

January is the peak month for White-eye, the numbers building up from November. In January, flocks can be seen migrating south from the South Peninsular on calm days (first photo below). Most of the birds which winter on Po Toi leave in late April and early May, when migrant flocks can also be seen. There are very few over the summer and none at all in September.

January is also the peak for Scaly-breasted Munia when a large flock descends on the elephant grass which is seeding (second photo below). How they know it's the right time and where they come from I don't know.

Also a photo of a Hoopoe which shows how an apparently bright and colourful bird can really blend into the background when in its usual environment

Finally, this pair of Rat Snakes were really upset when I interrupted whatever they were doing together - let's just say they were enjoying the sunshine

A cold spell starting on Sunday should bring in some new birds next week. Unfortunately, I will be away in UK. My next report will be in February.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 18/08/2010 08:49 ]


First Week in February

It's good to be back in warm and sunny Hong Kong - where is it?

Two days on Po Toi this week, last Thursday and yesterday (Tuesday).

As Martin Williams has noted elsewhere, not much sign of a cold weather influx of birds, on Po Toi at least. In fact, many birds have left, maybe they have all gone further south.

The only species definitely increased is Daurian Redstart, at least 6 yesterday in the main area. Also 7 Red-flanked Bluetail, 2 Mountain Bush Warblers and up to 10 Japanese Thrush with some Grey-backed, Pale and at least one Scaly.
Another species showing signs of recent arrival is Siberian Rubythroat, one on the ferry pier last Thursday obviously wasn't too sure where it was, and one today near the toilet block.

The Red-breasted Flycatcher was still there last Thursday, starting to develop a red throat.

But not seen yesterday - has it gone too?

A flock of 10 Heuglin's Gulls with 2 Black-tailed Gulls from the ferry, here 3 of the Heuglin's and 1 Black-tailed

Good news for regular ferry users - the hard plastic seats on the upper deck of the normal ferry have been replaced with soft padded seats with arm rests!!

Kung Hei Fat Choi.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 18/08/2010 08:50 ]


On 10/2,

Pale Thrush 1
Japanese Thrush 2M 1F
Scaly Thrush 1
Red-flanked bluetail 1M 2F
Daurian Redstart 1F
Asian Stubtail Warbler 1
Rufous-tailed Robin 1
Hoopoe 1
Crested Serpent Eagle 1

Here is the photo of the Crested Serpent Eagle, would any experts to confirm or correct the ID? Thanks very much.


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10/02/2008 22:04

raptor (Medium).jpg


Unfortunately, no tail!!

I'm no expert on Crested Serpent Eagle but the underwing pattern looks right for this and the head and neck shape looks too big for Crested Honey Buzzard.

In which case, it's a first record for Po Toi.


Two green sandpipers were also seen yesterday.


Second Week in February

Thanks for these records Hey and Chunchiu.

Bird of the week this week was a Diver which flew past my seawatching position at 8am on Wednesday morning. Unfortunately I wasn't prepared, camera and telescope still in my bag, so the photos were too poor to identify. I think it was a small diver, Red-throated size, but not really sure, it was too far away for binoculars only. I include a photo just to show it was a Diver. Also a migrant flock of 10 Heuglin's Gulls yesterday - quite early for Heuglin Gull migration.

Finless Porpoise have also started appearing around Po Toi.

No evidence of a cold weather fall on Po Toi, but I think there has been a high mortality of certain species - Yellow-browed, Pallas's and Dusky Warbler. Also the Red-breasted Flycatcher, I'm afraid.

Birds which seem to have survived well are thrushes and chats, all now easier to see and photograph. Here Japanese, Grey-backed, Pale, Blue Rock Thrush and a very confiding Asian Stub-tail.

Siberian Rubythroat and Rufous-tailed Robin have suddenly appeared in the main area, birds I think have come down from the hillsides in search of easier food.

All the Rubythroats are males - why should that be?

Together with many Daurian Redstart and Red-flanked Bluetail, at least one Hoopoe, Mountain Bush Warbler, Russet Bush Warbler, still lots of birds around.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 18/08/2010 08:52 ]


Third Week in February

A few new arrivals as the temperature warmed up this week, although none of them can be classed as spring migrants. I have yet to see a Barn Swallow this year on Po Toi, whereas the first was on 15 February in 2006 and 16 January in 2007. So this year is clearly later (not surprising).

New arrivals were a Fork-tailed Sunbird on Tuesday and three Red-billed Starlings on Thursday, together with a first record for a Mountain Tailorbird since mid January. All the wintering species from last week were seen again this week, including the Hoopoe, the tame Asian Stub-tail and the untypical Siberian Rubythroat which continues to forage openly in the jetty area.

Here one of the Starlings, the Stubtail, the Hoopoe and the Rubythroat

Maybe spring will start next week?

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 18/08/2010 08:53 ]


Quite quiet today on Po Toi. Birds Included (in no particular order):

Daurian Redstart - 5 inc. Male
Red-Flanked Bluetail
Red-billed Starling
Pale Thrush - 3
Japanese Thrush
Pallas's Leaf Warbler - 4
Blue Rock Thrush - 2
Mountain Bush Warbler
Black Bulbul - 2 (with partially white heads)

Out on the southern rocks:
Dusky Warbler
Blue Rock Thrush
Large Bunting sp. - didn't get enough on this to id.


Last Week in February

Thanks Dave. Pity about the large bunting - I have hopes of Crested Bunting some day .....

Spring has sprung - well, just a little. First definite spring migrants were two Black Bulbuls on Tuesday. Black Bulbul is a regular early spring migrant on Po Toi, although I have never managed to see them before this year. So a new Po Toi tick for me.

Much less expected was the lucionensis Brown Shrike which arrived late on Tuesday afternoon. Winter Brown Shrikes on Po Toi have never been so obviously lucionensis as this bird, but as a spring migrant, it's about 6 weeks early. I suspect this bird arrived with the cold front which passed through Hong Kong early on Tuesday morning, so it could well have been a migrant. It was on the move to somewhere - it had gone by the next morning.

Here one of the Black Bulbuls and the Shrike

Also photographed among the winter residents, a very spotty Japanese Thrush, the juvenile Crested Goshawk and the most recent Hoopoe

One worrying thing pointed out to me by Dave Stanton on Tuesday - there are no fish in the lagoon. I cannot remember not seeing small fish in the lagoon before - have they all died off in the cold weather? If so, a problem for egrets and bitterns on Po Toi this spring, and presumably elsewhere in South China for the breeding season.

The first spring migrants at sea, one Ancient Murrelet on Wednesday morning and a flock of four on Wednesday afternoon, all flying fast towards the east. But bird of the week was the Diver sp also seen on Wednesday afternoon. This bird was not migrating but moving from a feeding area (south of Lamma) to an overnight area (north of Po Toi), as it was two weeks ago. For more photos, and hopefully eventually an identification, see Diver sp under Bird Identification

(Later - this bird has now been identified as a Red-throated Diver)

This is my last entry under Po Toi Winter 2007/8 - Po Toi Spring 2008 starts next week - an exciting prospect!

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 18/08/2010 08:56 ]