Po Toi Autumn 2009 - October

Po Toi Autumn 2009 - October

First Week in October

The birds have started moving again, as mentioned by Ho Fai in an earlier posting. After two weeks with little normal autumn migration due to Typhoons Koppu and Ketsana, many more migrants this week. Wednesday had easily the highest non-resident species count of autumn so far with 36 species.

In any normal week, the Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher (first Po Toi record) or the Eagle Owl (third Po Toi record), both seen on Thursday, would be best bird. But this week, I hope that will belong to the possible Yellow-streaked Warbler seen on Tuesday.

If confirmed (see under Bird Id), this would be a first Po Toi record and the first Hong Kong record since 1998 I think. (Later - this bird has now been confirmed as a Radde's Warbler, not a Yellow-streaked)

Here photos of the warbler and the flycatcher. Unfortunately, none of the owl but trying to get a photo of the owl led me into seeing the flycatcher.

Other new autumn species this week included Plaintive Cuckoo, Blackbird, Lanceolated and Goodson's Leaf Warbler on Wednesday and Woodcock and Olive-backed Pipit on Thursday.

Woodcock are one of the most regular autumn migrants on Po Toi, with a few usually seen each day between now and the first week in November. Also regular at this time are small flocks of migrant Black-crowned Night Herons which you can often  disturb from their daytime roosts in tall trees and make a very noisy departure. Here an immature Black-crowned Night Heron from this year and a Woodcock from 2008

Also photographed this week, a Bright-capped Cisticola, the Goodson's Leaf Warbler, a male Blue-and-white Flycatcher and a Red-throated Flycatcher

Altogether, a very good week on Po Toi

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 12/11/2009 18:04 ]


Second Week in October

Another excellent week on Po Toi (although not for photos). Thirteen new autumn species, including some winter birds.

Best bird was a Button-quail, probably Yellow-legged, seen in the South Peninsular grasslands on Thursday. Having disturbed a Japanese Quail at the same location on Wednesday, I was prepared and managed to get my binoculars on the bird very quickly. It appeared slightly smaller and certainly much less plump than the Quail, without the back and head streaks, sandy brown on the forewing, darker brown on the primaries and back with pale rear underparts. No photos, I would have needed a head-mounted camera.

Narcissus Flycatchers were previously not recorded in autumn in Hong Kong but appear to be regular autumn passage migrants through Po Toi with a few birds each autumn since 2007. A male last Sunday (see Allen's photos) and this week a female (first-winter?) on Wednesday

These birds may be taking a long route to Borneo where they normally winter or perhaps they are wintering somewhere in south China like Hainan.

Also new (for me) this week, the Mugimaki Flycatcher from last weekend, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Ashy Minivet, Greenish Warbler, Little and Yellow-breasted Buntings on Wednesday, Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler, Mountain Tailorbird, Black-naped Monarch and the first calling Siberian Rubythroat on Thursday.

As sometimes happens on Po Toi, Thursday's birds arrived in a rush at about mid-day. I noticed it, and so did Martin Hale taking photographs in another location. I guess these are birds which arrive somewhere on the island overnight and take the morning to find their preferred location. They are usually more noisy and easy to see when they first arrive. But I didn't have time to take photos of these new arrivals.

Here photos of 5 Grey Herons coming in off the sea early on Thursday morning, a green Pale-legged Leaf Warbler (there are now at least 3 on Po Toi), an adult Dark-sided Flycatcher (adults are quite rare in autumn) and the first Little Bunting of the winter, this one on the South Peninsular

Finally, after not being seen for over 1 month, the Orange-headed Thrushes have come back in force. I saw two different males and a single female over Wednesday and Thursday - I guess they have been hiding in some quiet location (moulting?). This photo shows one of the juvenile birds, still with a slight juvenile gape, but now a handsome male.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 10/11/2009 06:54 ]


Third Week in October

Another good week this week with lots of birds around and 42 non-resident species counted on Wednesday.
New species for autumn were Yellow Bittern, Oriental Turtle Dove and Scaly Thrush on Tuesday, Besra, Common Buzzard, Amur Falcon, Red-throated Pipit and Black-faced Bunting on Wednesday and Daurian Redstart and Japanese Paradise Flycatcher on Thursday.

The Amur Falcon passed through at lunchtime on Wednesday, a typical time of day for this species, and as they usually do, it drifted over the harbour in a westerly direction making regular circles with a fanned tail

Later in the evening, just before it was getting dark, a single Amur Falcon took off from the woods opposite my house where I was eating my dinner and flew very fast across the harbour heading west. It was clearly starting a new leg of its migration, so these birds migrate at night as well as during the day.
15 minutes later, an Eagle Owl flew slowly over my head, coming from the direction of the Temple and heading towards the Restaurant. Quite an eventful dinner.

Eight species of flycatcher during the week, Grey-streaked, Dark-sided, Asian Brown, a male Narcissus (found by a young girl photographer whose name I don't know), Mugimaki, Blue-and-white, Black-naped Monarch and Japanese Paradise. Here the Narcissus and Japanese Paradise

Among the new arrivals this week, the first flock of migrant Chinese Bulbuls on the South Peninsular. This was a small flock of 50 birds but the flock size will increase into hundreds in November, many of them leaving Po Toi early in the morning heading south west.

Also new, the first Oriental Turtle Doves. These birds can be seen on Po Toi from now until early January and during their stay, they will moult their feathers with some becoming completely flightless. It is not unusual at this time to find a pile of feathers where a rat has caught the bird on the ground.

Monday next week is a Public Holiday, so the Po Toi Ferry will be running a regular Sunday timetable that day.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 10/11/2009 06:55 ]


Fourth Week in October

Another good week in this very good autumn, with high migrant species counts and some interesting species among them.

Bird of the week was a male Small Niltava seen briefly on Thursday near the Upper School, a new record for Po Toi. Other new species for autumn were Red-billed Starling on Tuesday, Russet Bush Warbler, Pallas's Leaf Warbler and migrant Large-billed Crow on Wednesday and Red-flanked Bluetail and Fork-tailed Sunbird on Thursday.

In addition to these, at least two different Japanese Quails were seen on the South Peninsular, the Scaly Thrush was around all week (hopefully all winter), a Radde's Warbler, at least one Two-barred Greenish Warbler all week, eight species of Flycatcher including Verditer, female Narcissus, a fine-looking young male Mugimaki and a Black-naped Monarch all week and Chestnut Bunting on Thursday.

Unfortunately, I can't post any photos this week since Yahoo have closed down the Geocities website hosting my photos (you may notice photos missing from my earlier reports) and I am still waiting for my new website to activate.

(Later - thanks to help from Peter Wong, I am now able to show some photos from the week - Black-naped Monarch, Chestnut Bunting, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Mugimaki Flycatcher, Scaly Thrush, Small Niltava and Verditer Flycatcher)

Migrant Large-billed Crows occur every spring and autumn on Po Toi, much to the annoyance of the resident pair of Large-billed Crows which spend endless time trying to chase them off. This ability of Large-billed Crow to migrate or wander into new territory is no doubt responsible for their gradual increase in numbers over the last 50 years.
I also had the priviledge of seeing a Black-crowned Night Heron start another leg of its southerly migration late on Tuesday evening. I was on the lookout for the Eagle Owl when I heard the grunting noise of a Night Heron as it circled over the harbour, no doubt trying to encourage other Night Herons to join it. None did, so eventually it set out on its own, heading off in the direction of Llamma.

The cold front early next week should bring in some new species by the end of the week. I will not be staying on Po Toi next week so my next report, hopefully with photos again, will be in two weeks time.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 30/10/2009 10:50 ]


Yellow-throated Buntings on Sunday

Both the male and female Yellow-throated Buntings were seen again on Sunday (but were highly elusive) , along with at least two Yellow-browed Buntings, two Chestnut Buntings,a Brambling, Mugimaki Flycatcher, Greenish Warbler, Arctic Warbler, Pallas' Leaf Warbler, male and female Red-flanked Bluetail, at least 3 Rufous-tailed Robins, five Chinese Blackbirds, White-cheeked and Silky Starlings and a Common Buzzard.

Mike K
Mike KilburnVice Chairman, HKBWSChairman, Conservation Committee