Journal archives for May 2021

May 01, 2021

Urban phalaropes at Shatin

The Shing Mun River running through Shatin is an artificially created channel, not very promising at first sight as a habitat. The only regular water birds are egrets and herons. Once in a while, however, it becomes a refuge for migrating water birds. This April, a flock of Red-necked Phalaropes has been reported on the river, and on May 1st a few remained there to be counted in the City Nature Challenge. To be precise, three phalaropes were there, two adults and an immature presumably from 2020. An endearing feature of phalaropes is that they are 'confiding', often coming within point-blank range (but still not easy to photograph because they are constantly bobbing about).

Posted on May 01, 2021 10:35 AM by stephenmatthews stephenmatthews | 2 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 06, 2021

Spring passage migrants at Mount Davis

As David Diskin points out in his invaluable book 'Hong Kong Nature Walks: Kowloon, Hong Kong and Outlying Islands', Mount Davis is a strategic place to observe migrants, especially in the Spring. The reason is to be found on the map: at the western tip of Hong Kong Island, the green slopes of Mount Davis make an attractive landfall for birds crossing the South China Sea or hopping across the Pearl River on their way up the coast. Grey-faced Buzzards and Chinese Sparrowhawks, sometimes in large flocks, use the updrafts and thermals generated by the mountain to gain height. This morning a late Chinese Sparrowhawk passed overhead, most having passed through in late April (Geoff Smith recorded 20 over Lamma on April 26th). A Brown Shrike was hunting in the scrub area on the summit -- ideal shrike habitat, but often busy with visitors and the migrating Brown Shrikes are less habituated to people than the resident Long-tailed Shrikes. Another spring migrant, the Pacific Swift was among the house swifts overhead, and a Grey-streaked Flycatcher was in the garden of the deserted youth hostel.

Posted on May 06, 2021 02:25 PM by stephenmatthews stephenmatthews | 3 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment