Mai Po for beginners

I often post a few shots of birds taken at Mai Po and today will be no exception. However today I thought I would show you a few other snaps of the reserve. When I arrived this morning this was the light over the shrimp ponds.


The reserve is accessed by a path next to the warden’s hut.


And I usually then head straight for the Frontier Closed Area, beyond the fence that was erected to keep out illegal immigrants. This is where you go through, providing you have the right permits, which I do.


Then you reach the boardwalk. A few people have kindly suggested I spare my back by using a buggy or trolley – here is the problem! This is not your average boardwalk – just a few planks on floating drums, with a handrail on one side. Single lane traffic with occasional passing places.


The new section is much better but I honestly don’t fancy trying to get a trolley down the first 400m or so.


Walking this section early in the morning is wonderful. I liken it to entering a cathedral and this is the nave. No human sound, often bathed in light with wonderful (dawn) choral bird music. My tripod is held at arms length in front of me to break the spiders’ webs that cross the pathway. I always know when I am the first down the boardwalk. This morning I found this richly coloured fungus.


And if I am earlyI can watch the mudskippers.

Mudskipjump Mudskipper

But what I am really here for is birds. So here is a selection from today.

Black-tailed godwits

Black-tailed godwits

Cattle egret

Cattle egret

Chinese Pond Heron

Chinese Pond Heron

Great egret

Great egret


Great Knot

Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover with breakfast

Greater Sand Plover with breakfast

Sharp-tailed sandpiper

Sharp-tailed sandpiper

Terek Sandpiper

Terek Sandpiper

Finally, can anybody identify this bird? I know and so do the people who were in the hide with me this morning but its a good ‘quiz bird’.

Mystery Bird

Mystery Bird

So there we are. A beautiful day, convivial company (thank you Karen & Ruy) and a few snaps to bring home. What more could a boy want?


10 thoughts on “Mai Po for beginners

  1. Andrew, these are quite beautiful. Stunning. I’m very envious of the lovely green spaces you have around you in HK. Plenty of grey spaces here in Jak but not much green.
    The birds are extraordinary – they are all fabulous pictures. Glad you had a reet grand day out!

    • Aye, lass. Reet grand it were too.

      Sadly a lot of our greenery is under threat. The last few days have seen air quality so bad elderly and vulnerable people are being advised not to go outside. This is Asia’s World City. Crap. Sitting in my study I can’t see across the bay to the other side. It is NOT mist it is pollution. We are smothered in it. I’m off out to buy Lulu a canine gas-mask.

  2. Despite the human encroachment, HK certainly does seem to have its pockets of nature. Mai Po looks delightful and very productive for our happy and intrepid correspondent. A whole bunch of nice images, Andrew.

    Excellent illustration of the boardwalk difficulty. I don’t think even shock absorbers would help. If I were there I think a bit of Dramamine would be required to hazard those floating walks.

    For a city like Hong Kong one would think there would be action to improve the air quality. I don’t think that pollution is attracting as many visitors as it might. Of course, some of our cities here leave something to be desired but I don’t think they are at the dangerous level you have.

    • I hadn’t thought of motion sickness, Steve. My main worry is making sure I don’t drop the camera in the drink! They don’t float very well.

  3. They don’t float well… I had two old Nikon FM frames, dropped one from the floating fishing dock at Playa El Chaco in Peru as the dock rocked with a bigger than usual wave. I still kick myself over that. The other one was stolen, also in Peru.

    What did I learn? Don’t take a camera to Peru.


  4. Some interesting “boids” here; I am amazed at the variety of birds that you find in all of the pollution. Must all be hardy birds or else they return from whence they came and drop dead. I wish that I were joking but I’m not.

    • Mai Po is very open so the pollution is not as concentrated as in the urban areas but I do wonder how the airborne pollution affects the birds. I remember watching birds migrating across the Bosphorus in Istanbul one year. It was good but people told me years earlier there had been far more birds but the pollution was causing them to change their route. Slowly (?) we seem to be killing the planet.

      • Yes you are right. we are fast killin our world. I see not hope at all. My heart cries for the planet. I can’t understand why all governments/countires have ignored what scientists have been saying for so many years.

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