Sai Kung (to the east of Kowloon) is all about indented coastlines, narrow (or non-existent) coastal plains and steep sided, wooded hillsides. Most of the peninsular is designated country park. Sai Kung hosts HK’s best bay of corals (Hoi Ha Wan) which WWF-HK wished to make an education and tourism centre, but was tied up in knots by HK’s most famous loony-toon environmentalist.
Sai Kung’s more interesting wildlife includes Civets, Cobras, Macaque Monkeys, Porcupines, Barking Deer, Bamboo Pit-vipers, Hong Kong Newts, Painted Frogs and Birdwing Butterlies. I saw all of these (or traces of them) first hand, and managed to photograph most of them.
Traveling to work on the 299 refrigerated bus one morning, I saw what I thought was a large dog dash out of the jungly verge (near Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai) and pelt along the road. Nothing too unusual there, until it reached the next tree and ran straight up the vertical trunk into the canopy without changing pace. Macaques are very common (almost to pest level) between Sha Tin and Lai Chi Kok, but not widely reported this far east.
Another morning, same bus, same place, this time a young Barking Deer stood quite still beside the road while the bus waited at a roadwork traffic light.
I picked up porcupine quills from beside the restricted road above Sha Kok Mei, and going out of my apartment one dark one night, I nearly stepped on Cobra. Those four you’ll have to take my word for.
A road-kill Civet (close to the sightings of the Barking Deer and Monkey)
Leaf-nosed Bat Hipposideros sp roosting in the eves of an abandoned house
Changeable Lizard Calotes versicolor
The venomous Bamboo Snake Trimerersurus albolabris crossing the path near my apartment
This Red-necked Keelback Rhabdophis subminiatus helleri has met the same fate as so many other snakes in HK. The steep sided channels so favoured by concrete pouring engineers provide no escape for snakes, which eventually expire from heat or starvation.
HK has only one species of newt. Sadly, the only time I came across it, around 7 or 8 of them had been flushed into a concrete catchwater along with a snake and all were dead or dying. A large newt and a protected species under local law, Paramesotriton hongkongensis has a spectacular red, patchy belly.
Asiatic Painted Frog Kaloula pulchra pulchra. My favourite frog; this one lived in the yard of the old school and mooed as loud as any cow. When picked up, they puff themselves up and squeak. I also found them high off the ground in trees.
Gunther's Frog Rana guentheri
Paddy Frog Rana limnocharis
Asian Common Toad Bufo melanostictus
Mudskipper Periophthalmus cantonensis
A Lantern Bug Pyrops candelaria usually associated with Lychee trees
A magnificent multicoloured Stick Insect Phasmatodea
Birdwing Butterfly Troides helena can normally be found in the upper reaches of one Sai Kung river valley, but on this occasion, they arrived in numbers to sup from this hibiscus plant in Sha Kok Mei.
White Dragontail Lamproptera curius - probably the most unusual butterfly in HK. The forewings are transparent like a dragonfly
Danaid Eggfly Hypolimnas misippus female
Blue Tiger Tirumala limniace
Plain Tiger Danaus chrysippus
Peacock Pansy Junonia almana The piece missing from the right rear wing has probably been pecked by a bird aiming for the 'peacock eye'
Great Mormon Papilio memnon male
Great Mormon female
Tailed Jay Graphium agamemnon
Rustic Cupha erymanthis
Pale Awlet Bibasis gomata
Ceylon Blue Glassy Tiger Ideopsis similis
Danaid Egg-fly - male
Common Rose Pachliopta aristolochiae
Great Egg-fly H. bolina. I watched males of this species aggressively defend their territory (a small garden patch) from other butterflies
This Grey Pansy Junonia atlites has suffered the same fate as the Peacock Pansy (pictured above).
Common Sailor Neptis hylas
A Blue Lycaenidae
Moth Nyctalemon menoetius
Blue Percher Diplacodes trivialis
Crimson Dropwing Trithemis aurora male
Elegant Clubtail Leptogomphus elegans hongkongensis
The stuff of nighmares: cannibalism! A Green Skimmer Orthetrum sabina sabina consumes a Coastal Glider Macrodiplax cora
Marsh Skimmer Orthetrum luzonicum
Large Woodland Spider aka Giant Orb Weaver Nephila maculata
Large Woodland Spider