All fall down

Temporarily confined to barracks.

Not a bad place to be honest but wandering the paths of Lung Fu Shan is better. Soon I will have to start planning how to keep my fitness regime going when the temperatures top 30C and the humidity approaches the level when I can resemble a wet rag by the time I have gone a mile or so. Perhaps I need to turn into a vampire naturalist. I shall spend my day in a coffin (or perhaps hanging upside down in a wardrobe) and only venture forth after sundown. Sometimes I look in the shaving mirror and wish there were no reflection but I suspect it is not a good sign. And the only stake I want is a medium rare Wagyu. With apologies to all vegans but I can’t live off limp lettuce and nuts. If the taxonomy of Iberico pork is changed to something akin to a vegetable then sign me up. (Editor’s note: the spell check suggested Liberace for Iberico. Play it again, Lee.)

The birdlife of LFS has been a bit elusive recently. Loud yet elusive. And although the insects are certainly in the ascendance they have yet to burst forth as they doubtless will after a few decent downpours. The ground is dusty, dry and unforgiving as I recently found out. There is a good argument to be had for calling Spring in Hong Kong Fall. With no rain the trees shed their leaves like the cast of Oh Calcutta flinging off their inhibitions. That helps me hear the rustle in the leaf litter that can betray the lizards or a foraging bird. I can think of no other advantage.

The Koel has started calling and whilst it may be the harbinger of Spring it also annoys the wotsit out of Mrs. Ha. Heaven forbid we should have a Large Hawk Cuckoo nearby. All night long… brain-fever, brain-fever. I heard it first on a trip to Nepal in the early 90s. I suspect it is the same bird that has followed and taunted me ever since.

My highlight recently has been a (probable?) Besra dog fighting with a Black Kite. Not much of a contest as the kite dwarfs the accipiter. Still, it added another raptor to my LFS list. The wasps are starting to emerge and the first couple of dragonflies have graced us with their presence.

I continue to grapple with the dilemma of how much camera gear to carry. My Fuji kit is lighter but less flexible. The long lens is reasonable for birds but useless for butterflies in confined spaces. It just does not focus close enough. The Canon lacks the reach of the Fuji but has excellent close focus. Weight however is a problem. For close ups either macro kit is fine but if I really want to be serious I need to add the tripod. More weight. Then I need spare batteries, lots of drinking water and a few more bits and pieces. Plus my binoculars. If I am willing to forego the hope of good quality photos I can chuck the lot and carry a bridge camera. These actually do a decent job if something wants to be photographed and the light is excellent. At some point that tipping point will come.

The astute among you (well one out of two ain’t bad) will be wondering why I am confined to barracks. Sadly I had my second spell in hospital of the quarter. I seem to be up and down like the S&P at the moment. A recent fall has apparently disturbed the balance mechanism in my ears. It was originally suspected that I had had a stroke but the brain scan revealed nothing (pause for reader to insert amusing comment here………). Had it been 30 or 40 years ago I would have attributed it to a veritable mammoth of a bender but since the liver handed in its pink ticket 12 years ago I can discount that. The only logical conclusion is that when cranium and rock come into rapid and unplanned contact the cranium comes off worse. I was out faster than an English batsman in NZ. At some point I am assured I will be able to see straight, walk straight and possibly even talk straight. Will I be able to play the piano afterwards? Who knows? I couldn’t beforehand.

So there we are. LFS will have to do without me at least for a few days. I suspect Mrs. Ha will geo-track me from now on, lest I should make a habit of somersaulting base over apex again, auditioning as it were for The Rocky Horror show. If I could do the time warp I would probably go back to about 1990 and make sure that wretched Brainfever Bird never caught up with me.

Iberico pork on the hoof.

Pig on a Po Shan Road

Smile though your head is aching….

Smiley the Spider

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The Recycler

This is the Lousy Watchman, the Dor Beetle, or Geotrupes stercorarius. A friendly chap whose job in life is recycling. Apparently it recycles animal droppings. Nothing wrong with that. The Victorians had Pure Collectors’. I have Geotrupes stercorarius. The Baldrick of Hampshire?Geotrupes stercorarius.jpgAlso in the frame this morning is what might be Evernia prunastri. I am not yet 100% sure.Evernia prunastri TBC

No flies on this. I did put yesterday’s lichen under the microscope and found hiding inside the smallest wood louse you ever did see. I have not told Mrs. Ha as she is not that keen on house guests of the louse variety, wood or otherwise. She did however glance at Geotrupes stercorarius but returned swiftly to her breakfast. I did not explain GS’ role in life.

Orchid

Yesterday evening I was getting the trap ready and noticed a plant that appeared to have sprung up quite suddenly. Dactylorhiza fuchsiiAfter a little research I believe this is Dactylorhiza fuchsii, Common Spotted Orchid. The benefits of not mowing everything to a bowling green level.