With China’s economy booming, HK’s appeared to have peaked. Manufacturing had moved north, HK’s own shoppers all headed for Shenzhen every weekend (tourists were following them). As a desperate roll of the dice, the HK government threw a load of cash at Disney to build a theme park on a remote shipyard.
About 2km along the highway from Yuen Long to Tuen Mun lay an extremely unprepossessing area called Hung Shui Kiu. I use the past tense (lay) because the intention around the turn of the century was to build a new town of 200,000 people from scratch. The town’s new inhabitants were expected by the Planning Department to come from China, though how they were expected to earn a living was never explained. Perhaps they could compete with HKers for part time jobs dressing up as oversized mice, talking ducks and idiotic dogs.
A circle was drawn around Hung Shui Kiu on the map because it looked as if there was nothing of value to slow development.
View from the hills above Hung Shui Kiu towards Tin Shui Wai (on the left) and Yuen Long on the horizon.
View across Hung Shui Kiu. The long buildings in this and the previous photo are pig or poultry sheds. The land in between is agricultural. The area had been surveyed for the proposed railway, but only a handfull of very common urban species were found.
Surveys of the same railway project that missed anything of value in Kam Tin valley appeared to have the blinkers on in Hung Shui Kiu too.
From the ground, the place isn't nearly so bad as it looks from afar.
Just a few hundred metres away were a series of abandoned ponds surrounded by woodland and scrub. Recovering habitat.
A coupling pair of Grey Pansies Junonia atlites
A Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea, a migrant species visiting in winter.
Blue Admiral Kaniska canace
Purple Sapphire Heliophorous phoenicoparyphus
The same displaying its upper wing
Paris Peacock Papilio paris
Common Blue Skimmer Orthetrum glaucum male
Indigo Dropwing Trithemis festiva male
Common Red Skimmer Orthetrum pruinosum neglectum coupled pair
Yellow Featherlegs Copera marginipes male
Staff Sergeant Athyma selenophora male
Green Skimmer Orthetrum sabina sabina
Red-faced Skimmer Orthetrum chrysis male
Dark Cerulean Jamides bochus
A formation of Wandering Gliders Pantala flavescens
Over the course of six months, I systematically revisited the same areas. And systematically found trapped snakes in a concrete channel. This is a Checkered Keelback Xenochrophis piscator
Plumbeous Watersnake Enhydris plumbea
Indigo Dropwing Trithemis festiva
Asian Amberwing Brachythemis contaminata
Common Flangetail Ictinogomphus pertinax
Asian Pintail Acisoma panorpoides panorpoides
Changeable Lizard Calotes versicolor
Crimson Darter Crocothemis servilia servilia
Crimson Dropwing Trithemis aurora
Crimson Dropwing female
A White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus stalks the twitcher. A Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis searches the background
Cattle Egrets foraging in the abandoned farmland