Chinese Egret, Dapeng Bay, May 1st

Chinese Egret and waders, Dapeng Bay, May 1st.
Chinese Egret and waders, Dapeng Bay, May 1st.

Highlights (wader counts are approximate):

  • Chinese Egret 5
  • Osprey 1
  • Broad-billed Sandpiper 120
  • Terek Sandpiper 10
  • Sharp-tailed Sandpiper 5
  • Curlew Sandpiper 30
  • Grey-tailed Tattler 40
  • Whimbrel 12
  • Long-toed Stint 1
  • Red-necked Stint 15
  • Greater Sandplover 5
  • Mongolian Plover 60
  • Grey Plover 1
  • Pacific Golden Plover 80
  • Kentish Plover 10
  • Common Greenshank 10
  • Common Redshank 15
  • Black-winged Stilt 50

A fairly short morning visit to the usual wader pools, in somewhat gloomy weather conditions with occasional outbreaks of light drizzle. A grand total of five Chinese Egrets stole the show today, several of them showing very well at close range. They are beautiful birds, and seemingly regular (even common!) at this site on migration.

An Osprey was also present which spent most of its time loafing on the mud, but occasionally attempted an (unsuccessful) fishing foray into the bay.

Wader-wise, it was another big day for variety, with seventeen species noted. Broad-billed Sandpiper was the most numerous wader today, with around 120 counted; this species is listed as “uncommon” in Brazil’s Birds of East Asia, but they seem easy to find, even numerous, in suitable habitat on the west coast of Taiwan in late April and early May.

An ID challenge was presented by an intriguing stint that was consorting with the main Broad-billed Sandpiper flock. Unlike all the Red-necked Stints seen today – and indeed, almost all the Red-necked Stints I’ve seen over the last few weeks – this one was still completely in its grey non-breeding plumage. It always stayed with the Broad-billed Sandpipers, never venturing to join the Red-necked Stint flock feeding nearby. To my eyes, it appeared a little shorter-bodied and less elongated than Red-necked Stint. I suspected it was a Little Stint, but as this bird was still in full winter plumage it was impossible to reliably distinguish it from Red-necked Stint. So it will have to stay off the list, unless of course it stays for a while and moults into breeding plumage, in which case ID will be rather more straightforward.

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