Growing up in Britain gives Pied Avocets something of a air of royalty, birdwise. They are, after all, the symbol of the RSPB, a rare and valuable bird, something to be cherished and protected. The first one I ever saw didn’t live up to this expectation, however. Instead of some attractive East Anglian fen the first Pied Avocet I ever saw was in a ditch in India. Actually, more of an open sewer than a ditch, if I’m honest. Still, they are very attractive birds, even if they are prepared to slum it a bit. The ones I saw earlier this year were not exactly slumming it, as Mai Po Reserve in Hong Kong is a stunning reserve that should be on the bucket list of every birder, and I am grateful for them being the only bird close to the hide when I managed to time my visit to be at the lowest tide!
The Pied Avocet, Recurvirostra avosetta
Mai Po at a very low tide. There could be lots of rarities but they would be very far away.