Well after a few feeble attempts at humour I revert to saner territory today. I am not sure which is working more slowly, my Macbook or my brain. I think the physioterrorist damaged one of them this morning. In lieu of humour some shots from my walk in the park yesterday. I have mentioned before the Lion’s Nature Education Centre near our home in Sai Kung. It is always worth a stroll and yesterday I took my trusty 300 F2.8 lens with me. I also took a camera body as they tend to go well together. The main area of the park was infested with school children (and I am firmly in the W C Fields camp on the matter of children) so I wandered off to the arboretum.
The first treat was my first group of Olive-backed pipits for the winter. They are common visitors, even venturing into the garden but they are extremely skittish and rarely give nice ‘clean’ views. Anthus hodgsoni is a dainty little bird, beautifully if conservatively marked up close. My quarry seemed to be keen to live up to the description skittish but I managed a few shots through the foliage. Here is my favourite:
The poor chap has a vaguely sleepy air to him (or her) and I did not press hard as the group was keen to feed up.
My next surprise was a relatively confiding Long-tailed shrike, Lanius schach. This bird perches prominently and often noisily but does not normally tolerate close approach. I did manage some close shots of the dusky morph some time ago but yesterday was the turn of the standard variety.
What a handsome bird this is. Shrikes are known as butcher birds as they impale their small prey on thorns. Note the hooked beak-tip. And what a rich chestnut he wears.
Just for the record, this is the dusky morph taken in HK on September 27th 2011. Note that this bird carries a ring (or band as they say in America).
And finally, the bug. A hornet in fact. Burying its head in a Camellia sp. I should have noted which particular Camellia this is and I shall check when I return, maybe on Monday. The hornet was huge and I was all too happy that it focussed its attention on the plant, not me. Generally I find hornets are given a bad press and I have never been stung (tempting providence) by one, thank goodness.
Now the picky amongst you may argue that this is actually only half a hornet. Mea culpa. I did not get the prow end. but the stern looks pretty sharp to me.
This was a fairly typical couple of hours in LNEC. Nothing sensational but always something to see. When you look at the images of HK and see skyscrapers, malls and traffic jams, remember there is another side to us.