Crested Serpent Eagle (in the garden).

A loud double wail this morning had me looking skywards. Twice I heard it and saw nothing. I was puzzled as it sounded close. Then I twigged, it was sitting in the tree in front of me!!! Doh!!!!!!!

Spilornis cheela

Spilornis cheela

I didn’t have time to get a tripod. I grabbed the 800mm lens and went onto the roof terrace and hand held the beast, resting the lens hood on the glass wall. The branches are a bit annoying but that’s what it was like. I was also shooting into the sun so I have boosted the contrast a little.

This is described in The Avifauna of Hong Kong as an uncommon resident. Well here it is quite common but not in the garden. Normally way over head. This is only the second perched sighting I have had here at home since we moved in three years ago.

It flew after about one minute. A magnificent start to the weekend.

I was born a ramblin’ man……

So sang the Allman Brothers and I would rather like it as my funeral music.  That and Cwm Rhondda. CR is obligatory. We sent my father off to it and my brother. Family tradition. I think mother had it too.

Today I went for a ramble. Readers who pay attention may recall that Lulu was off to the vet today but her appointment was put back from 11am to 3pm so I decided to use my morning productively by walking up the hill towards Wong Chuk Yeung. There had been rain overnight and I wondered if some winter birds might have arrived. I had good sightings of Dusky warbler but having had one in the dining room recently that was not my highlight. An unidentified large accipiter flew over at one point and all the time I could hear Crested Serpent Eagle calling. I love that wail. I had already seen my first Olive-backed pipits of the season in the front garden area  but behind the house I later saw a Yellow-browed warbler and a flock of 40-50 Japanese white-eyes, looking for somewhere to roost. On the walk down the hill I found a flock of Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush. So I had a fairish bird day.

But what surprises me still is the number of butterflies still flying. Here are 3 browns I photographed today:



South China Bush Brown

Ypthima sp.

The Ypthima is probably Y. baldus but I’m not 100% sure.

I also took some lichen shots.

Lichen with bark as substrate

Lichen with rock as substrate

I was also interested to see this sign:

It was a reasonable sized area and I found a few birds and butterflies enjoying the clearing so I hope this is all to the good.

But this road leads to the derelict village that is earmarked for redevelopment and I am slightly suspicious of what is going on here. If they do redevelop then the road will need to be widened and this project will be in vain. I want to investigate further.

I am useless at botany. I see endless plants and wonder what they are. I am sure they are all common but I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue.

But I can recognize a broken tree trunk when I see one, whether it is in colour or black and white. I was going to call this post “Twisted Bark” but then realized that a) I hadn’t taken the picture I intended and b) it sounded like a great name for a dog rock group. It would certainly top Cat Stevens or the Pet Shop Boys.

And that’s about it. All taken with my toy camera, the SX50 HS. One observation on my walk….. each person I met, whether local or not, gave me a cheery greeting. Away from rural areas this would be a cause for calling the men in white coats. There simply isn’t time to greet strangers. I am convinced a rural lifestyle is healthier than an urban or even suburban one. It is certainly more enjoyable in my experience, mosquitoes excepted. Fortunately Lulu is now deemed protected against heart worm, rabies, fleas, ticks and mozzie-borne diseases. She was as good as gold as Dr. Brad gave her the injection and checked her blood. I gave her a chew stick as a treat when we got home.

And as a final addendum to my political foray, it seems the markets were not willing to wait a week or so. The fiscal cliff jitters set in the same day. Me, I am a contrarian investor so I bought some blue chips in the Fall Sale yesterday. I only hope that “Fall” is not what they continue to do. I am watching Oracle, Medtronic and ADM. Hmmm. Just how brave am I…….? I think I need to go for a walk before I do my pension fund any more damage.