After I suggested bird records and photos could help conservation on south Lantau, I was asked to recommend places; wrote these notes:
Easiest of prime sites to visit is Pui O; the old paddyfields, some trees etc; Coastal "Protection" Area
too dry for many birds when I went three days ago; but as and when marshier can be more attractive, including to migrant sandpipers etc
Nearby Shap Long area is somewhat similar; gets too little attention in my view
The marshy area near River Silver, Mui Wo; deteriorated. Could make a great wetland reserve, including for visitors...
Shui Hau, especially the silty flats. Get a few shorebirds here, including Grey-tailed Tattler occasionally; this is a globally threatened species. I've made few visits, seen tattler a couple of times I think, so guess it's pretty regular. Might be others; Chinese Egret sometimes? Swinhoe's Plover, is one I always look out for...
Perhaps best area is southwest Lantau.
Yi O now, with the rice paddies. Not as good as Long Valley nr Sheung Shui, but I wonder if this is partly as habitat [a wetland type] yet to mature. Yellow-breasted Bunting, now Critically Endangered worldwide, is evidently a regular migrant. Should be lots more to be found; can be neat variety, with some vegetable fields nearby, trees, grassland ...
[get signage about not visiting; seems this is from grumpy former residents; Yi O farm people fine with birders - providing no damage to crops!]
This sw coast can be good for passage migrants, including flycatchers, warblers. Seen around Tai O; also Yi O, and Fan Lau - which seems an ace location for migrants in HK arriving from over the sea; and has some good old trees, plus small fields etc.
Also here in sw, especially, can watch for passing birds of prey - Grey-faced Buzzards and Chinese Goshawks - from now till around end of April; esp if easterly winds after a cold front. Could be other parts of Lantau.
No really good woodland areas I know of; always wonder about woods along catchwater trail towards Ng Yuen but never had much there. Heard scarlet or grey-chinned minivet above Pui O, near village; unusual for Lantau. Crested Serpent Eagle maybe breeding north Chi Ma Wan; but based on v few sightings, inc a pair over Nam Shan three days ago.
Also, at night, would be interesting to learn more about Brown Fish Owls, which seem scarce in HK but maybe have fair population on Lantau.
- seems best at Pui O; maybe Mui Wo too sometimes. Tai O too, I've been told.
Eagle Owl present too, likely breeding in hills. I once saw v close near pier at Mui Wo; heard at Yi O.
Collared Scops Owl present too, in places; I once heard at Cheung Sha, though I'm rarely out and about on Lantau after dark.
Are there nightjars? - Savannah or Grey.
Then, might mention upland birds; Chinese Grassbird - a highly localised species in world - on Sunset Peak; Upland Pipit - localised in HK - recently on Lantau Peak [not by me].
Knowledge overall is patchy.
Sustainable Lantau Office has a consultant looking at ecology of Pui O at least; but I wonder how good. Also, seems to me another "reason" for inaction, when we know what should be done right now!