First stop the forest reserve of Tai Po Kau, one of the few remaining unspoiled areas in HK, and after a short but steep climb we were happily birding one of the many different trails, and seeing (but mostly hearing) all manner of interesting birds. Unfortunately the weather had different ideas, and some torrential downpours saw us stuck under a shelter for the better part of an hour. As with all forest birding it was very difficult, and I didn't take a single photo worth posting here, so you'll have to take my word for it that Silver-eared Mesia and Blue-winged Minla are bloody fantastic. It was a hefty slog round a small part of the reserve in very humid weather, but well worth it, and eventually I had good views of nearly everything, with heard-onlys reduced to only a few.
Next stop, mid-morning, was the fabled reserve of Mai Po, on the edge of the New Territories and opposite the Chinese megacity of Shenzen. Very few permits are given, so I had had to organise mine well in advance. Once signed in we passed several commercial fishponds, well-populated by these, which I found to be strangely familiar...
|Kentish Pond Heron|
With the day heading to a close (it being the Tropics the days are not as extended or as curtailed as they are here), we made our way back to the entrance for some much-needed water, and headed to Long Valley, and agricultural area. The much hoped-for Painted Snipe was seen here, as well as more Prinias, some Red-billed Starlings, and several Long-tailed Shrikes. How I got through the day I'm not really sure, but I did sleep very well on the tube on the way back to Lantau! I'll write up the full list in due course, maybe even right after this, but it was a great day - you just can't beat foreign birding, as I'm sure I've said many times before. You have to work so much harder, but it is a lot more rewarding. Photography on the day was not easy, but my priority was to see the birds. A visit another time and I'd know more about where to go and what to target - especially that Mesia!
|Long-tailed Shrike - juv|