This spring (2022), thanks to birding naturalist Paul Aston, I helped discover that the hills near Ngong Ping on Lantau island are good places for observing migrating birds of prey – especially Grey-faced Buzzards and Chinese Sparrowhawks, along with seeing other migrants, and some resident birds of prey.
For information on the spring raptor migration here and elsewhere, including in spring 2022, see Spring Migration of Grey-faced Buzzards and Chinese Sparrowhawks in Hong Kong.
The resident birds of prey include Bonelli’s Eagle, Crested Serpent-Eagle (well, maybe at least some passage migrants), Crested Goshawk, Besra and Black Kite, with White-bellied Sea-Eagle also seen at times. Other passing raptors have included Osprey and Eastern Buzzard; swifts and swallows occur, and six Blue-tailed Bee-eaters passed by one day. Hence, watching for visible migration can be rewarding here.
Windy Gap is the easiest vantage to get to – there’s a lookout pavilion beside Ngong Ping Road, affording superb views to the south and east; it’s about five minutes’ walk from a bus stop.
Watching from Windy Gap, we noticed birds of prey sometimes passed close to a somewhat higher hill, Lion Head Mountain (Sze Tsz Tau Shan, 492m). I’ve tried this, and found it a better vantage – with 360-degree views, and more chance of birds passing at head height. Though only a narrow footpath heads here, via a narrow road through the Tea Gardens, it is only around 15 minutes’ walk from the Ngong Ping bus terminus.
Below is a gallery of some photos taken from these vantages during this spring, to indicate the birds seen.
Below, some butterflies at Lion Head Mountain on 17 May 2022. These are males of species with “hill-topping” behaviour – head to peaks to show off, establish small territories, and perhaps meet females to mate: like a singles bar/pickup joint for butterflies!