How did I ever find the time to work?
We have turned the page from February to March. Nature was a day ahead of the calendar as there was a noticeable change in weather and activity on February 28th. Butterflies flew, ants scuttled, skinks darted around and the birds filled their tiny lungs and sang their cardiac muscles out.
I was especially pleased with the skinks. Blue-tailed. I had never seen one in Hong Kong before to my best recollection. The first taunted me. I saw the skink and the skink saw me. Gone with the wind and frankly my dear, I did give a damn. The head went down. Mine, not the skink’s. Forlornly I shuffled on. Better, I thought, than shuffling off.
Barely three paces along the path another Blue-tailed Skink was sunning itself on the fringe of the leaf litter. I paused and pressed the shutter button. I fiddled with the camera and clicked again. I held my breath and edged forward, Tonto on the trail of the bad guys. Click again. Bad angle though. I wanted to get low. I start to lean forward. I think my bones must have clicked or the skink heard my brain pulsating in my cranium. The crinkling sound of skink retreating through dry leaves. I peered into the undergrowth, hoping to pick out a glimpse of electric blue. No luck. After a while I remembered it was safe to breathe again. I move on.
In the next half hour I see three more Blue-tailed Skinks. None waited for its portrait to be taken. At least now I know roughly where to find them. I need a warm sunny day, a rock for them to bask on and some glucosamine to stop my knees waking the dead when I try to kneel.
Since then opportunities to walk have been restricted. People passing through Hong Kong I really want to meet. Family commitments. We have even ordered a car at long last. I have to wait until August or, heaven forfend, September to be mobile but Mrs. Ha has signed off on the expenses claim.
This hiatus has coincided with warmer, muggier weather. The Peak is shrouded in low cloud. Visibility is poor. Just what the insects like. Already the clowns are crawling up the Longan trees. Lantern Flies, crazy, gaudy, bizarre creatures that appear on the tree trunks, passed by and overlooked by most of the hikers and dog-walkers.
The frogs are croaking and the cicadas are doing whatever cicadas do to make such an infernal racket. The mozzies have started to remind me that I am the only free lunch. No snakes yet, which is odd because Hong Kong is full of snake-oil salesmen. Just look at Nathan Road or the stock exchange.
So much to see and so little time to see it all in. Today is another no-walk day but tomorrow I have a free schedule. Weather permitting I will see what has joined the rites of spring. Never mind Christmas, now ‘tis the season to be jolly, tra la la la la and all that jazz. The future is bright, it may be orange.
22 thoughts on “The Skinks”
I thought the blue tailed skink was about the coolest thing I’d ever seen, and then I scrolled down. Wow! That beetle looks like a fantasy creature. I’m happy you are having such a fine time there 🙂
So glad to see you back on the trail. I love your photos because they show me a world I would never otherwise see. The UK is not sure whether to side with the weather of Siberia or Timbuktu, but I did see a small bee covered in pollen having a ball in the crocus flowers before the big snow last week.
Hello Hilary. I hope things are better, weather aside. I have just finished the book you recommended – No is not enough. And I also have the HSBC expat tales to read soon. The walking is good for me. I am down 30lb in 14 months despite the odd bread & butter pudding at The HK Club. David Eldon comes in occasionally. I should blog more often but life is so busy.
The photo you did manage to get is lovely. I didn’t know skinks came in any colour than brown. Ours aren’t nearly as pretty as yours, but they are just as camera shy.
I saw quite a large blue-tongued skink in Victoria- in Mount Martha, in my husband’s aunt’s back garden.
A blue tongue is really quite special. Did it stick it out for you to check?
I will try to find my photo of it and will post it, if I can. Maybe it had been eating M&Ms, or Smarties.
The future is bright
But it maybe orange
Well we have a carrot top living in a white house doesn’t know his strengths or potency
So good to see Andrew
And to hear your spirits
Are high,still gives me hope
That I too still have a chance of
Christmas in March
With bones,Mirganes,and all
As Sheldon Unusally
love the skinks…i often found them on tai mo shan or the peak…where were these?
These were on Lung Fu Shan and on Harlech Road. I never saw them in Sai Kung.
Very much enjoyed your nature watch and photos, it reminded me of the works of Gerald Durrell whose books I read avidly in my younger days .
The 1960 ‘s weather has brought a number of migrants to the village including Fieldfares and Hawfinches, sadly no photos of same.
My favourite Skinks track Waterloo Sunset
I would swap my skinks for your hawfinches Geoff. I wondered about Lily the Skink 😱
Ha ha yes
We’ve had such cold wintry weather in the UK and Ireland recently so it was wonderful to find this blogpost full of warmth and colour.
Thanks Karolyn. Skinks Utd v Boggy FC?
Beauty of a skink and to my knowledge or perhaps lack of, there are no colorful skinks in my neck of the woods.
I’m sure you have other delights Yvonne. But I was really happy to find this one.
You sound downright jocular, Andrew! Is it spring, stirring the sap in your blood vessels, perchance?
Joc-ular? Does that mean I have a Scottish tone to my writing?
Long may your “Skinktastic” printemps continue !
I read your blog on S. Ecuador yesterday – still can’t comment. Must be one of the best places anywhere to go birding, even if you leave out Galapagos.