Po Toi Autumn 2009 蒲台 2009 秋 September

Po Toi Autumn 2009 蒲台 2009 秋 September

First Week in September

Another good week on Po Toi, with 12 new autumn species. Pride of place to the immature Tiger Shrike, the first since 2006

This bird may have come in with the recent northerly winds.

Other new species this week, Crested Goshawk, Grey Wagtail, Blue Rock Thrush, Asian Paradise Flycatcher and White-shouldered Starling on Tuesday, Striated Heron and Blue Magpie on Wednesday and Emerald Dove and Oriental Cuckoo on Thursday.

Crested Goshawk and Emerald Dove are regular autumn visitors on Po Toi.

At sea, the first Aleutian Terns with a flock of four on Wednesday, and 2 Grey-tailed Tattlers migrating around the coast on Thursday.

Also throughout the week, at least 2 Bright-capped Cisticola on the South Peninsular, a Forest Wagtail and 2 Orange-headed Thrushes which look like juveniles and may come from a local nest, possibly on Po Toi itself.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 15/12/2009 05:09 ]


Birding time 觀鳥時間: 1100-1600

Sunny, 30-33C, Breezy

018 Little Egret 小白鷺 (on the way to PT)
020 Pacific Reef Egret 岩鷺
067 Black Kite 黑鳶 (麻鷹)
069 White-bellied Sea Eagle 白腹海鵰
136 Common Sandpiper 磯鷸 (on the way to PT)
194 Spotted Dove 珠頸斑鳩
208 Common Koel 噪鵑
210 Lesser Coucal 小鴉鵑
235 Dollarbird 三寶鳥 3+
254 Forest Wagtail 林鶺鴒
257 Grey Wagtail 灰鶺鴒
270 Red-whiskered Bulbul 紅耳鵯
271 Chinese Bulbul 白頭鵯
272 Sooty-headed Bulbul 白喉紅臀鵯
287 Oriental Magpie Robin 鵲鴝
279 Long-tailed Shrike 棕背伯勞
312 Masked Laughingthrush 黑臉噪鶥
347 Common Tailorbird 長尾縫葉鶯
356 Arctic Warbler 極北柳鶯
369 Asian Brown Flycatcher 北灰鶲
397 Japanese White-eye 暗綠繡眼鳥
421 Scaly-breasted Munia 斑文鳥
424 Eurasian Tree Sparrow 樹麻雀
433 Black-collared Starling 黑領椋鳥
434 White-shouldered Starling 灰背椋鳥
436 Crested Myna 八哥
437 Black-naped Oriole 黑枕黃鸝
438 Black Drongo 黑卷尾
Manson Tsang


Second Week in September

Another good week on Po Toi, keeping up the pace of what has been, so far, an excellent autumn.

New species for the week were Pacific Swift, Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler, Grey-streaked, Blue-and-white and a very early and colourful Verditer Flycatcher, and a Black-naped Oriole. But best bird may be the Pipit on the South Peninsular (see elsewhere for other photos and comments). Whether this is Blyth's or not, time will tell. But it certainly has an odd call and doesn't really look like a Richard's in flight.

Here photos of the Pipit, one of at least 7 Asian Brown Flycatchers on Wednesday, the first Grey-streaked and the Verditer, the Black-naped Oriole and finally a female hepatic Oriental Cuckoo which gave me some unusually good views on Wednesday.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 15/12/2009 05:10 ]


Third Week in September

Not surprisingly, a short week this week with no ferry on Tuesday due to Typhoon Koppu. I managed to get over on Wednesday and stayed one night.

The best day was actually last Sunday, when several people saw both Fairy Pitta and Siberian Blue Robin in the same area. No Fairy Pitta later in the week but I did manage a first-winter male Siberian Blue Robin on Wednesday evening which was almost certainly a different bird than that seen on Sunday. No photos though.

Also late on Wednesday evening, a Himalayan Swiftlet feeding over the sister’s café

This species has a very distinct erratic flight when feeding – more like a bat than a swift.

This is my fifth record of Himalayan Swiftlet on Po Toi, but strangely the Po Toi records are all at different dates to those for the rest of Hong Kong. Up to the end of 2004, all records of Himalayan Swiftlet in Hong Kong were in the period 14 January to 10 May. All my Po Toi records have been in two periods, two from 22 May to 25 May and three from 12 September to 28 September. What’s going on here?

A rare autumn fall of Brown Shrikes this week – 25 counted on Thursday and certainly many more on the Island. This is a highest ever Hong Kong autumn count, the previous highest being 10 on Cheung Chau on 18 September 1980 and my previous highest on Po Toi is 5.

Clearly the Typhoon was responsible and the fact that several adult lucionensis Brown Shrikes were present (unusual for autumn) suggests that many of the birds were heading towards The Philippines and the Typhoon intercepted them and dumped them on the south China coast. Here photos of two different adult subspecies of Brown Shrike from this week, a lucionensis with a grey crowned head and what looks like a cristatus/confusus type with a reddish-brown crown.

Other good species this week included a resighting of one of the Orange-headed Thrushes on Wednesday and another Oriental Cuckoo on Thursday. At sea, a resighting of the Black-tailed Gull, the first Red-necked Phalarope and some small movements of terns, mostly Common.

Just to prove that anything is possible in the birding world, a Tufted Puffin from the north Pacific has just been seen and photographed at one of my old U.K. birdwatching sites, Oare Marshes in the county of Kent – several oceans and many thousands of miles from where it should be. Global warming and the opening of sea lanes from the Pacific to the Atlantic via northern Canada may be responsible. So, look out for Atlantic Puffin on the next Seabird Boat Trip.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 15/12/2009 05:11 ]


Fourth Week in September

A quiet week but still with some interesting birds. Perhaps the best was a large Ringed-type Plover in the Helicopter Pad area on Thursday but unfortunately it was scared off before I had a really good view and seemed to fly off the Island.

Best definitely identified were a fly-through Black-winged Kite and a Pechora Pipit in off the sea, both on Thursday morning. The Pipit made its usual very loud 'dzeep' call on approaching Po Toi, but later when I disturbed it from the path, it made a much softer 'seep' call. Also this week, a Large Hawk Cuckoo on Wednesday. These are rarely seen in autumn, Avifauna mentions only one in September but this is the second late September record on Po Toi so perhaps they are regular in small numbers.

Other new species for autumn this week included the first Dusky Warblers on Tuesday, the first Kestrel and Black-capped Kingfisher on Wednesday and a Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike on Thursday.

Egret migration would make an interesting study. Each year at this time, large flocks migrate south-east past Po Toi in the first hour after dawn. These are mostly Great but with perhaps a few Little. On Thursday, a record count of 350 in 5 flocks, the largest flock of 130 birds seen here as small dots in the sky behind the ship

These birds appear to be leaving Deep Bay at dawn and their direction of flight is towards the southern Philippines, but I never see any return passage of Great Egrets in spring when only a few appear in the Po Toi area.

It seems another storm is brewing in the west Pacific which might pass near Hong Kong next week.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 15/12/2009 05:12 ]


Two Great Egret migrant flocks arrived yesterday evening (175 & 72) heading West over Deep Bay. I assume they were looking for a place to roost for the night. Probably heading your way this morning Geoff.


While you mentioned Egret flocks, we saw a flock of at least 200+ flying South near Wonderland Villas! I think that was a new record for us too...
As The Crow Flies- a Hong Kong Birding Blog


Thanks Bena and Matthew, very interesting.

You can draw a nice straight line between Deep Bay, Wonderland Villas and Po Toi. If these birds carry on that heading, they will get to North Borneo and South Philippines, where Great Egrets are mostly winter visitors, in 2-3 days at a steady 30 kph.

I wonder if that's where they are going? Hainan is another possibility, but they'd have to make a sharp right hand turn somewhere.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 25/09/2009 10:53 ]


Chinese Pond Heron x3
Pacific Reef Egret
White-bellied Sea Eagle x1
Eurasian Hobby x2
Grey-tailed Tattler x2
Common Koel x1
Dollarbird x2
Magpie Robin x3
Blue Rock Thrush philippensis x1
Grey-streaked Flycatcher x1
Asian Brown Flycatcher x2
Black Drongo
White-shouldered Starling x4
As The Crow Flies- a Hong Kong Birding Blog


Matthew, nice to have seen 2 hobbies!  Any photos to share?!
Manson Tsang


Unfortunately they were too far away for me to photograph, they flew high over the island and disappeared behind the hills!!
As The Crow Flies- a Hong Kong Birding Blog


Some of the birds seen during the HKBWS outing to Po Toi, 27 Sep:

Striated Heron
Japanese Sparrowhawk
Kestrel 2
Tern sp 12 at sea
Red Turtle Dove
Pechora Pipit
Brown Shrike cristatus 3
Blue Rock Thrush 16 (new high count for HK)
Asian Brown Flycatcher 8
Grey-streaked Flycatcher 2
Black-naped Oriole 5


Transition Week September to October

Another quiet week on Po Toi for most autumn migrant species. It seems the two recent typhoons, Koppu and Ketsana, have stopped mainstream autumn migration into Hong Kong from the north-east and instead have dumped a number of Philippine wintering species on to Po Toi.

Bird of the week was definitely the Needletail which flew in off the sea on Tuesday just after Ketsana passed. I'm not quite sure what species it is (see ID section for more photos) but any Needletail is rare in autumn.

New this week were two Chestnut-cheeked Starlings among the flock of White-shouldered. I originally called the starlings as Purple-backed on Birdline but close examination of the photos that night shows they are Chestnut-cheeked. Also a female Blue-and-white Flycatcher.

Also this week, another fall of Brown Shrikes, 13 counted on Wednesday, and at least 8 Grey-streaked Flycatchers on Thursday, a highest ever autumn count. These are all mostly Philippine wintering species.

Large numbers of terns and quite a few species of waders came in with the strong winds on Tuesday and Wednesday. Over 170 terns in four flocks flying south west from the ferry on Tuesday, Common/Whiskered type, but there must have been many more. Common, Aleutian, Whiskered and single White-winged and Little Terns from the Island, making easily the best sea bird week of the autumn. Also odd single Lesser Sand Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone and Red-necked Phalarope at various points around the Island suggesting strong winds and some very heavy rain brought them in.

The rain from 3pm on Wednesday was really something - it turned the lower floor of my house on Po Toi into a small river.
So much for a few days on Paradise Island.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 11/12/2009 08:25 ]