mai po marshes

Migrations of Hong Kong ducks revealed by satellite tracking

WWF Hong Kong press release, on study showing ducks wintering in Hong Kong travel impressive distances, with one wigeon flying 2000km in a single flight:

The first phase of a multi-partner project to track the global movements of Hong Kong's wild ducks has ended successfully. The 12-month period of satellite tracking discovered that coastal regions of the Yellow Sea are critical staging areas for Hong Kong's ducks within the East Asia-Australasian Flyway (EAAF), and that these ducks require a diverse range of wetland habitats scattered across many countries to complete their migration.

"The Hong Kong ducks clearly undertake epic migration journeys and rely on a wide range of inland and coastal wetland habitats. The Yellow Sea in particular appears crucial as a staging area for over 90% of the duck, and we observed the importance of protected wetlands to complete their migration," said Bena Smith, WWF-Hong Kong Mai Po Reserve Manager.

Mai Po resources

Mai Po

Info from Hong Kong's Great Outdoors

Key reserve in the Deep Bay wetland, managed by the World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong. Managed ponds, reedbeds and rows of trees hold wide variety of bird species, but main bird flocks usually best seen from Boardwalk hides overlooking mudflats (when conditions including tide are right). Visitors need permits; contact WWF Hong Kong, tel. 2526 4473.

Visitors need permits; there are escorted tours, but maybe visit individually for best birding. Contact WWF Hong Kong, tel. 2526 4473. West Rail to Kam Sheung Road Station, then taxi.

Mai Po Marshes articles/photo albums on this site

Birding at Mai Po Marshes gives an introduction to birdwatching here, with seasonal changes and some of main species.

HK Deep Bay threats

Last decade, the future looked bright for the Deep Bay wetland, in northwest Hong Kong.

The British and Chinese governments agreed to list it under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance – showing they recognised it should be protected by “wise use”.

A slew of globally rare birds occurred each year, and numbers of waterbirds increased to a peak of around 70,000 in winter 1995/1996; great flocks of gulls, ducks and shorebirds treated visitors to what one birdwatcher called, “One of the greatest bird spectacles in Asia.” The Hong Kong Government helped expand the land managed by the World Wide Fund for Nature in the bay’s key reserve, Mai Po Marshes.

But now, many local conservationists are afraid Deep Bay – which is really a shallow estuary – is in steep, perhaps terminal decline.