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Chris Galvin
Monday 10th November 2008, 14:19
All,

Hoping for a bit of help from any HK birders or folks who know Hong Kong. I am going to be in Hong Kong for three day in February 2009. As this is a quick visit to HK and not a dedicated birding holiday I may not have the opportunity to go to Mai Po marshes, or will I.

I will be staying in Causeway Bay area and would like any info about any type of birding that can squeezed into a three day sight-seeing and city break for my none birding wife and I

How long would it take to reach Mai Po by taxi/public transport?

What are the local parks such as Victoria Park like and what kind of species could I reasonably expect?

Where would I need to go to see Saunders Gull?

Is the Peak any good for birding ?

Is it worth lugging around my 500mm f4 for photo ops?

Any info greatly appreciated

Bruce Ramsay
Tuesday 11th November 2008, 03:46
Hi Chris.
My partner and I were in Hong Kong for a week in mid-March 2007. Like you we didn't go there specifically birding - but nevertheless managed to see a small number without really trying.
Best place we found in the city was Hong Kong Park. You could (if you were keen) walk there from Causeway Bay or, better, catch the MTR to Admiralty - about 2 stops, I think. We stayed in Kowloon near the Star Ferry terminal and caught the ferry over to the city and walked the rest of the way. Wasn't any hassle to find really. Nothing out of the ordinary there - but when you are from far away, everything is new and therefore especially interesting!
You will also see plenty of Black Kites around Victoria Harbour and quite probably Little Egret there too.
Not sure if you will get into Mai Po - best I can recommend is to go to the Hong Kong Birdwatching Society website, join up (register) there and then ask for advice.
Sorry I can't give more detail - but birding was really very incidental to our trip and the only real effort we made to go to a place specifically to see what birds might be there was to Hong Kong Park.
Hong Kong is fabulous - birds or no birds - and we can't wait to go back. Am sure you will enjoy your time there.
Cheers,
Bruce

Bruce Ramsay
Tuesday 11th November 2008, 06:14
Hi again Chris.
Forgot to answer a couple of your other queries.
We went to the Peak but I can't say I found it a birding hotspot. Mostly Red-whiskered Bulbuls and a Black Kite or two. I think if you were to take the recommended walk around the roads up there you would probably do a lot better than we did.
Hong Kong Park gave us Red-whiskered Bulbul, Chinese Bulbul, Masked Laughing-thrush, Spotted Dove, Common Tailorbird, Oriental Magpie-Robin, Black-collared Starling, Yellow-crested Cockatoo, some sort of long-tailed parrot (Alexandrine was the most likely but we didn't get a good enough look at it to properly ID it), and there is probably a bunch I can't remember now and that I didn't get photos of (sparrow, crested myna etc).
I also know that Kowloon Park is supposedly even better (in terms of variety) but we didn't actually get to call in there (so much to do - so little time!!!!).
Hope this whets your appetite - the Birdwatching Society website is great value for finding out what is about and where.
Bruce

johnjemi
Monday 15th December 2008, 11:44
Hi Chris,

You may find the Hong kong Birdwatching Society website informative:
http://www.hkbws.org.hk/BBS/

How to apply for a Mai Po permit here: - http://www.wwf.org.hk/eng/maipo/publicvisit/specialist.php (WWF Hong Kong manage the reserve.)

Closer to Causeway Bay, the Peak has a few birds - thrushes, for example, if you get to Mount Austin Road at first light. The view can be good if it's not too hazy !
There are a good variety of common birds in Kowloon Park at Nathan road j/o Peking Road.
Hope this gives you a start
John

johnallcock
Tuesday 16th December 2008, 08:24
It's actually not too difficult in Hong Kong to get from the city into habitats which are good for birding.

As others have said, Kowloon Park is probably the best park in the city for birds - it's close to the Star Ferry Pier or Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station. Hong Kong Park and the nearby Zoological and Botanical Gardens in Admiralty also have some interesting species. Victoria Park is not good for birds - generally just the very common species which you can see elsewhere.

The Peak can be good for birds, and of course is a good tourist site as well. I suggest you make the effort to walk around while you are there - there are good views over the city and a chance of various woodland/shrubland birds, especially in winter.

Mai Po is about 1 hour by taxi or 2 hours public transport from Causeway Bay. The easiest way to get into the reserve is to book a permit for the day which you can collect when you arrive (it costs about 100 HKD I think). the downside is that you can't get onto the reserve early - although this doesn't matter for most of the waterbirds.

There are also sites on Lantau which can be good for a combined tourist/birding trip (eg the Big Buddha), but these are further from the city (closer to the airport)