Sai Kung – Nature

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.

Mammals

Sai Kung

A road-kill Civet (close to the sightings of the Barking Deer and Monkey)

Sai Kung

Leaf-nosed Bat Hipposideros sp roosting in the eves of an abandoned house

Reptiles

Sai Kung

Changeable Lizard Calotes versicolor

Sai Kung

The venomous Bamboo Snake Trimerersurus albolabris crossing the path near my apartment

Sai Kung

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.

Amphibians

Sai Kung

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.

Sai Kung

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.

Sai Kung

Gunther's Frog Rana guentheri

Sai Kung

Paddy Frog Rana limnocharis

Sai Kung

Asian Common Toad Bufo melanostictus

Fish

Sai Kung

Mudskipper Periophthalmus cantonensis

Insects

A Lantern Bug Pyrops candelaria usually associated with Lychee trees

Sai Kung

A magnificent multicoloured Stick Insect Phasmatodea

Butterflies

SKM

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.

Sai Kung

White Dragontail Lamproptera curius - probably the most unusual butterfly in HK. The forewings are transparent like a dragonfly

Sai Kung

Danaid Eggfly Hypolimnas misippus female

Sai Kung

Blue Tiger Tirumala limniace

Sai Kung

Plain Tiger Danaus chrysippus

Sai Kung

Peacock Pansy Junonia almana The piece missing from the right rear wing has probably been pecked by a bird aiming for the 'peacock eye'

Sai Kong

Great Mormon Papilio memnon male

Sai Kung

Great Mormon female

Sai Kung

Tailed Jay Graphium agamemnon

Sai Kung

Rustic Cupha erymanthis

Sai Kung

Pale Awlet Bibasis gomata

Sai Kung

Ceylon Blue Glassy Tiger Ideopsis similis

Sai Kung

Danaid Egg-fly - male

Sai Kung

Common Rose Pachliopta aristolochiae

Sai Kung

Great Egg-fly H. bolina. I watched males of this species aggressively defend their territory (a small garden patch) from other butterflies

Sai Kung

This Grey Pansy Junonia atlites has suffered the same fate as the Peacock Pansy (pictured above).

Sai Kung

Common Sailor Neptis hylas

Sai Kung

A Blue Lycaenidae

Sai Kung

Moth Nyctalemon menoetius

Dragonflies

Sai Kung

Blue Percher Diplacodes trivialis

Sai Kung

Crimson Dropwing Trithemis aurora male

Sai Kung

Elegant Clubtail Leptogomphus elegans hongkongensis

Sai Kung

The stuff of nighmares: cannibalism! A Green Skimmer Orthetrum sabina sabina consumes a Coastal Glider Macrodiplax cora

Sai Kung

Nannophya pygmaea??

Sai Kung

Marsh Skimmer Orthetrum luzonicum

Arachnids

Sai Kung

Large Woodland Spider aka Giant Orb Weaver Nephila maculata

Sai Kung

Large Woodland Spider

Sai Kung

Spider, obviously!

2 responses to “Sai Kung – Nature

  1. Saw an adult monkey and baby run across Hoi Ha rd earlier today on the way back from Hoi Ha village to Sai kung. Can only assume it was a macaque but i’m no expert!

    • As the Country Park vegetation matures, the more adventurous (or evicted) individuals will move in. Back in the mid-90s, there weren’t many reports of monkeys far beyond Monkey Hill on the Sha Tin road. They are definitely spreading east. Whether it’s a good or a bad thing, time will tell. They can be nasty little blighters!

      By the way (and thanks to Andrew for prompting me by way of his sighting), I encourage other readers to submit any interesting floral & faunal sights as well as any hidden cultural gems.

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