A flock of 35 globally endangered black-faced spoonbills was spotted at a fish pond in Futian Mangrove Nature Reserve on Saturday, marking the largest community of the species documented on a single day during the 2020 International Black-faced Spoonbill Census, which was held between Friday and Sunday, Shenzhen Evening News reported.
Tian Suixing, a bird surveyor at the nature reserve, spotted the flock of black-faced spoonbills landing in a fish pond after finishing the regular counts carried out simultaneously among major wintering sites in Shenzhen that day. The number of birds gradually added up to 35 in a short time. He compared his findings with existing records and thereafter confirmed that the flock was the largest community spotted at the nature reserve on a single day.
“No black-faced spoonbill had been spotted at the fish pond during the census so far,” said Tian. “The water level of the pond had been lowered artificially over the past few days, making it more habitable for the birds.”
According to the organizer of the three-day census, simultaneous bird counts were carried out at Shenzhen’s wintering sites, including Shenzhen Bay Park, Futian Mangrove Nature Reserve and the estuary of the Shenzhen River, once an hour between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. every day. Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (HKBWS) collected the data from the counts on a daily basis.
The inaugural edition of the International Black-faced Spoonbill Census was held in 1994 and recorded only 300 birds. The species was defined as “endangered” (EN) by IUCN Red List of Threatened Species according to the result. In 2019’s census, 4,463 black-faced spoonbills were recorded.
Yu Yat Tung, the research manager of HKBWS, foresaw that the species would be defined as “vulnerable” (VU) on the list thanks to the improving environmental and wildlife protection work in Asia.