Friday, 12 November 2010

Birds and Bees in Hong Kong

Greater Coucal

It's cooling down here in just-tropical Hong Kong, getting down to 19 C at night, brrrrr.   That means we can turn off the a/c and leave the window open, and that, in turn means we're woken by the music of the birds in our garden: magpie robins, bulbuls, olive-backed pipits.
I left early this morning and flushed out a Greater Coucal, usually found in the rain forest or scrub on the mountains just behind our house, not so often near humans.  It squawked its cuckoo-call, thrashed through the low bush and took off over the banyan trees.
Here are some of the birds I've identified in our garden, up the mountain, or the park right behind us:

Violet Whistling Thrush

Chinese Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul

Japanese White-eye


Magpie Robin

Mynah bird

Olive-backed Pipit


Spotted Dove

Speckled Starling

Black-eared Kite

Barn Swallow (up by Tiger Head mountain)

(just kidding -- not here in Hong Kong, but in the Drake Passage
on way to Antarctica, Feb 2008)

Photo source: some of the photos above are mine, some, I confess "snipped" from the internet.  I hope folk'll forgive me; it's just to illustrate some of the wonderful birdlife we have here in suburban Hong Kong.  I'm aiming to replace all with my own photos bit by bit.

And what of BEES?
I think we must be suffering the same mysterious death of bees as I've read is happening in many parts of the world.  I say that because our mango tree which used to produce an embarrassment of mangos each year (yes, that's the measure word, "embarrassment"...), stopped producing last year and did not again this summer.  Friends suggest using a fine paint brush to do the fertilisation by hand, but that all sounds rather too much work.  I've been considering finding where bees are raised in Hong Kong and seeing if I can get a hive working here.  There's a place in the New Territories.  We'll see how that goes....