From the garden

I was going to walk up the hill today but it is so murky here taking photos would be a waste of time. It has also drizzled intermittently. Of course tomorrow I am doing a day of contract work to pay for the laptop so it will be warm, sunny, light breeze and a bird and bug-full day. So a few more shots of the garden residents come out of the top quality, hessian, reusable, recyclable,  totally organic, vitamin-packed (made in China) camera bag. They may be old friends by now but I never tire of watching their antics and wondering what is going on in their minds.

Something clearly attracted the attention of this couple in mid-preen. What was that Doris? No idea Dan. Probably just another super-hero passing through.SidebySide And one of them decided to call the alarm for the neighbours. Or perhaps he was just feeling a bit frayed – can’t you stop your kids playing football near my nest? No, you can’t have your ball back. Buzz off.Singing RWB

And the Crested Mynas look just as baffled. Or is that an alert look?Crested Myna2 ‘Ere. Stop pointing that thing at me.  They can be very sensitive little souls in between terrorising the rest of the garden residents.Crested MynaBut the prize for my favourite bird yesterday went to this chap. Singing his little heart out. A Magpie Robin. This fulfils all Mrs. Ha’s criteria for identifying birds, being a combination of black and white. She contends that all birds are either black or white or a combination of the two. I do wish she’d allow me to buy a colour TV. Watching David Attenborough’s Life of Birds in B&W is not as rewarding as in glorious technicolor.

Magpie RobinAnd finally, just because I liked it – a leftover shot from yesterday – some seeds.


More as soon as a rest day coincides with decent weather. I hope everybody had a spam-free and enjoyable holiday.



Posted in Birds, Nature, Photography | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Bug Day

It is Easter Sunday and a time of rejoicing for many. For me it was a day of realisation that the waistline can’t expand indefinitely, whatever the ailments that plague me. Indolence is no excuse. Actually its a jolly good one but not in the eyes of Mr. Scales. Mr. S and I have something of an on-off relationship. I rarely like to step on but I am all too quick to step off. Mr. S it may have been who first uttered the immortal words “one at a time please”.

So with gammy knee, neck and probably a few other things that creak and groan, I resolved to walk UP the hill. Of course a camera went with me. And here are a few record shots. No tripod, light a bit gloomy into the shade but useable under duress. This colourful little chap is not a butterfly or moth cat. No, this is a sawfly larva. I saw dozens of them on a tree, Celtis sinensis. Ripped it to shreds they did. I am indebted to Blackdog To Chan for identifying the larva and the foliage. I had worked out that it was a sawfly but I would have groped in vain for Agenocimbex jucunda. Note how the larvae curl up when they are so full they can’t move. Nature’s answer to Mr. Creosote? Agenocimbex jucunda Agenocimbex jucunda TBC Sawfly and leaf Agenocimbex jucunda curled up after eatingNext a rather attractive wasp, an ichneumon. It is possible that it belongs to the Hadrocryptus species which belongs to Cryptini tribe. [Source FB entomology group, Kamil Einbacher].Ichneumon waspNote the small red parasites on the thorax.

These are final three, the first being a cicada that you have seen before.Gaeana maculata And this little chap is a firefly, possibly Vesta sp. Not to be confused with Swan Vesta of course. Or Vesta curries. Firefly. And last but not least Lethe confusa, a common flutterby in HK. Not a very good name as even I am not confused by this one.Lethe confusaI took this by the cunning approach of putting the camera on the road and using AF. Saved me getting down to butterfly level. And that was it. I felt much better for the walk and as the saying goes, we must do this again sometime. I hope you feel suitably bugged up.




Posted in Animals, Nature, Photography | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

Dear diary…..

I awoke this morning to the gut-wrenching experience of a moribund laptop. We had been close pals for a few years and suddenly I saw only a pallid face and a few tears (mine). Mrs. Ha was going onto the Island anyway so I packed my gear and hitched a life to the Apple Store. En route Mrs. Ha decided that it was imperative that we inspect the reopened supermarket in Tai Koo Shing. Now that was not on my agendum (one item) but I resolved myself to stiffen the sinews and straighten the spine and tackle it manfully. Why a supermarket evoked such curiosity I know not. I avoid them like the dreaded lurgi. I did however need some shower gel so we dutifully searched out the shelf we needed, which was, lo and behold, in exactly the same position it had been in 2 months ago. What a renovation! We then started a ‘discussion’ on what flavour shower gel I needed. I opted for plain vanilla but of course I lost and ended up with ‘active’ flavour. I think that is just wishful thinking on Mrs. Ha’s part.

A quick escape and we were soon in the Apple store in Causeway Bay. My soon to be bosom pal Nelson ran a series of tests and proclaimed that my logic board was dead and the laptop unstable. A repair would take 7 days and cost almost HK$5,000. Or I could buy a new one for HK$20,000. Mrs. Ha wanted new, I wanted patch up. Guess who won?  She spends my our money with such abandon.

So now Nelson (soon to be replaced by Louis) offers to migrate my data with a Thunderbirds are Go cable which might take anything from 3 hours to a week depending on how much data I was moving from laptop 1 to laptop 2. It took 2.5 hours although the status bar went over 12 hours at one point.

Mrs. Ha had beaten a tactical withdrawal to lunch.

Now came the most exciting moment (after paying). We booted it up to see how blazingly fast it was. Only it wasn’t. After 5 minutes my sooper-dooper new 15″ retina screen jobby coughed asthmatically and spat out an attempt at logging me on. We tried this three times.

Nelson returned. Still no go. Enter Jerry, the “Lead Genius”. And by golly so he was. Within 5 minutes he had worked out that all my external drives are WD and their drivers work fine on Mountain Lion but not Mavericks. So he updated the drivers and SHAZAM! Faster than a speeding thingummy the laptop did its stuff.  We were all so enthralled at Jerry’s genius that we carried him shoulder high around the store with shouts of “huzzah!” and “Long Live Jerry”. Whatever happened to his friend Tom, I wonder. We then repeated the reboot 4 times just to maximise our fun and satisfaction.

And here I sit, tinkering, finding the odd gremlin but nothing serious. The retina screen is antiseptic in its clarity. I wonder whether it is like the old school swimming pool, full of chlorine.

The downside of course is that I am considerably poorer than I was when I woke up and I am going to have to work almost a full day to pay for it. And I have to use the active flavour shower gel. The best bit is that I have three new chums in Nelson, Louis and Jerry, geniuses all. Oh and a rather ritzy new toy too. What a day its been.

Posted in Humour | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments