A failed attempt in locating rare birds

On 21 March, photos of two Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) appearing in Long Valley were uploaded to the online forum of the bird watching society. News spread quick! The next day dozens of photographers lined the fields, waiting patiently for the two recherché birds to land on the shallow water. This was how the third record of glossy ibis of Hong Kong was made with ravishing photos.

Bearing in mind that these two epic birds were recorded a week earlier in Mai Po, I made my decision on Friday to visit Long Valley on the ensuing Monday. A reason was that my schedule is not as flexible as before. Unfortunately, this is a regretful decision.

On 25 March, I arrived Long Valley in the morning. But the absence of crowds was a bad sign, meaning the pair of rarity was long gone. Nevertheless, there were seven Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) swimming in an open pond, a photographic opportunity. These migratory birds fed frantically before resuming their journey to the breeding ground.

Red-necked Phalarope Standing
Active in water so shallow that they could actually stand
Red-necked Phalarope swimming
Constantly swimming.
Bathing and feeding in the same pond.
Four Red-necked Phalarope swimming in numbers
Safety in numbers
Two of them were already putting on mesmerising chestnut-red feathers around their neck. To take better photos, a number of photographers, including me, brought their tummy to the ground.

Red-necked Phalarope in Hong Kong
The breeding plumage was reflected on the water surface.
Red-necked Phalarope in Long Valley
Different individuals displayed slightly different breeding plumage.

Next to the neighbouring pond, a lonely Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva) was sighted.

Pacific golden plover in Long Valley
Someone reported seeing two golden plovers.
On the way back, I walked along Sheung Yue River. Two Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis) were active near some cattles. Spring is near, so the egrets' heads and necks are starting to turn orange.
Cattle egret with cattle nearby
Cross-species communication with psychic power.
A Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata) seemed to be sun-bathing on a rail, the skill to take this picture was to approach the bird and put the camera on the rail slowly.
Spotted munia standing on a railing
Impressive depth of field.
Spotted munia jumping from stalk to stalk
Jumping from stalk to stalk.
An Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) was calling so hard that I could hear voice crack miles away. Its black plumage suggested it is a male specimen.
Asian Koel calling loudly
Loud calls gave away its position.
Some water birds preferred Sheung Yue River to Long Valley. Among them were Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus) and Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia).
Green sandpiper in Long Valley
Why do you stand on the railing?
Common greenshank on a rock in a river
Why do you stand on the rock?
Update: On 27 March, one glossy ibis re-appeared, but this time in Nam Sang Wai. How important these wetland are to these pulchritudinous creatures. Let's see if I can sniff the whereabouts of the rare birds.

Friendly dog in yellow colour
A much more friendly dog than those seen over the years.

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