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2001 Postgraduate degrees from DEB

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Wild Corner
Any sightings of civets, mongooses, ferret badgers, leopard cats, barking deer, pangolins and porcupines live or dead should be reported. Rare birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, or unusual behaviour by common species, are also of interest, as are rare or interesting invertebrates and plants. If you think it is interesting, our readers probably will! Please give dates, times and localities as accurately as possible.

MAMMALS

Kwok Hon Kai saw an Indian Muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak) and a squirrel in Tai Po Kau on 22 Dec 2001.

Jackie Yip saw 5 Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta), including two juveniles, near Chek Keng village on 13 Jan 2002. A male adult was attacking the passers-by. According to Fellowes (1992), the Chek Keng population was likely to have been of migrating males from the established populations in Kowloon Reservoir and central New Territories. On 16 Mar 2002, Jackie Yip saw an adult male Rhesus Macaque grabbing a plastic bag from the hand of a passing hiker in Chek Keng.

 

Angel Au and Richard Corlett found fresh Porcupine (Hystrix brachyura) droppings near the Nature Trail at Tai Po Kau on 3 April 2002. They seemed to consist entirely of wood fibres.

Captain Wong found Civet scats with many seeds inside on a footpath between Hok Tau Reservoir and Sha Lo Tung on 14 Feb 2002. The dominant habitat was tall shrubland with small areas of secondary forest.

Captain Wong saw a village dog with two Porcupine quills on the chest, at Kuk Po, Starling Inlet on 10 Mar 2002. It suggests that this dog, probably with other dogs in the village,attacks porcupines in the nearby areas. A villager also revealed that dogs with porcupine quills were regularly seen.

Captain Wong found a quill of a Porcupine on the footpath near Kau Tam Tso, Wu Kau Tang on 16 Feb 2002.

A male Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) weighing 70 kg was found dead entangled in ropes, in Cheung Hang Tsuen (KK054747) near Kowloon Reception Reservoir on 24 Feb 2002. The cause of death was suspected to be suffocation, as it got entangled in the ropes when it tried to escape from a dog chase. (Reported by Ming Pao http://full.mingpaonews.com/20020225/__gnd1.htm.)

Two Wild Boars (Sus scrofa) were sighted in Tai Po Kau by Sukh Mantel. A juvenile (about 60 cm long) was seen on 7 Dec 2001 around 9:30 am and an adult (about a metre long) was rushing across the blue trail at around 6:00 pm on 13 Dec 2001.

Kevin Caley made the following observations during a night walk on Hatton Road on 3 Mar 2002. One Ferret Badger (Melogale moschata) was seen foraging on the right among the bamboo (below the path) at the 500 m marker at 8.40 pm. One ferret badger was seen feeding on the left (above the path) at the 1200 m marker, at 10.05 pm. It was attracted by the torchlight to within 1 m, where it fed in the leaf litter searching for prey. It was surprisingly tame. It then disappeared down a drainage channel connecting the upper slopes with the lower ones. The observations lasted for 1 minute and 5 minutes, respectively.

Bosco Chan and Lee Kwok Shing saw footprints of the Otter in Mai Po on 7 February 2001. Tracks were seen along the newly-constructed boardwalk as well as the boardwalk outside the border-fence.

The Spinner dolphin, Stenella longirostris, a conservation-dependent species (IUCN 2000), is uncommon in Hong Kong and was recorded at Clear Water Bay in June 1996 (L.J. Porter, personal communication). One S. longirostris was observed swimming over shallow area about 10 m deep water approximately 200 m off Ko Lau Wan along the northeastern coast of Sai Kung Peninsula on 28 April 2001 by Cheung Ming Hong (Swire Institute of Marine Science, HKU ) It measured about 2 m in total length and is considered to have reached adult stage (Jefferson et al., 1993). Similar to what Mohan (1990) observed, it was bow diving the vessel, making acrobatic acts and followed the vessel for 30 minutes before it left. It is quite unusual that the dolphin is active during its normal morning-midday rest period (Norris et al., 1980; Jefferson et al., 1993). (Acknowledgements : I thank Dr Lindsay J. Porter for dolphin species identification. See Porcupine! website for photo.)

BIRDS

A Brown Breasted Flycatcher (Muscicapa muttui) was recorded and photographed by AFCD warden Wong Choi On in Tai Po Kau on 7 Nov 2001. This is the first record of this species in Hong Kong. (Reported by Ming Pao http://full.mingpaonews.com/20020310/__gma1h.htm)

Kwok Hon Kai also saw the Brown Breasted Flycatcher in Tai Po Kau between November 2001 and January 2002. The bird was also seen by many local birdwatchers.

Kwok Hon Kai saw Twelve Grey headed Lapwings (Vanellus cinereus) on an exposed mudflat in a flood control channel in Kam Tin on 20 Dec 2001.

 

Kwok Hon Kai saw five Mountain Bulbuls (Hypsipetes mcclellandii) feeding on nectar of Rhodoleia championii in Tai Po Kau on 12 Jan 2002. They were guarding the Rhodoleia championii flowers, and chased away any approaching White-eyes and Phylloscopus warblers. These five birds were probably the same that flocked with Chestnut Bulbuls (Hypsipetes castanonotus) in December 2001, and were no longer seen with Chestnut Bulbuls this time.

Kwok Hon Kai saw two flocks (15 and 30 birds) of Striated Yuhinas (Yuhina castaniceps) in Tai Po Kau on 22 Dec 2001.

Kwok Hon Kai saw Orange-bellied Leafbirds (Chloropsis hardwidkii) feeding on the nectar of Stiff bottle-brush (Callistemon rigidus) in Tai Po Kau on 16 Mar 2002.

A Ruddy-breasted Crake (Porzana fusca) was seen feeding along the drained channel in Gei Wai 14 in Mai Po Nature Reserve in the afternoon of 24 Jan 2002, by Vivien Wong and Ellen Shek, together with 40 primary students on the new boardwalk. It was seen at the same location again the following week.

Captain Wong saw about 10 Little Buntings (Emberiza pusilla) feeding on the ground covered by fallen flowers of Machilus near Orchid Haven, KFBG on 15 Mar 2002. Apparently, the birds did not take the whole ripe flowers. They probably preyed upon insects attracted by these flowers on the ground, or small parts of the flowers.

Captain Wong saw about 10 Greater Necklaced Laughing Thrushes (Garrulax pectoralis) visiting the flowers on the top of two Cotton Trees (Gossampinus malabarica) at KARC on 18 Mar 2002. These planted trees are about 12-15 m height and are in close proximity to tall shrubland.

AMPHIBIANS/ REPTILES

A male Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) was caught in Mak Bin Tsuen, Sai Kung (KK202792) on 14 Feb 2002. The Water Monitor, with a total length of over 6 feet and weighing over 10kg, was in poor condition. (Reported by Ming Pao http://full.mingpaonews.com/20020215/__gcc1.htm).

Jackie Yip and friends saw a Checkered Keelback (Xenochrophis piscator) in Mai Po, along the main path leading to the Education Centre on 3 Mar 2002. The snake was 50 60 cm long, and in very poor condition.It stayed still while being photographed.

A slightly decomposed dead body of Chinese Softshell Turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) was found by Cheung Sze Man on the shore of Dong Ping Chau on 16 Feb 2002. A natural breeding population of the species has been recorded only from northwestern New Territories , personal observation). The natural environment of the island is not suitable for this lowland aquatic turtle species as there are no longer extensive permanent freshwater sources. The specimen sighted was probably an escapee from softshell smuggling boats travelling near the island as suggested by boatmen frequently visiting Dong Ping Chau.

A 15 feet long Python was captured in Liu Pok, Sheung Shui, by local villagers. (Reported by Apple Daily)

On 3 Mar 2002, at 2 pm, Richard Corlett noticed Cicadas calling loudly in the Wu Kau Tang feng shui wood. This was three weeks earlier than the usual appearance of the first cicadas of the year, Gaena maculata, and they did not sound like this species. No cicadas were heard at other forest sites in Hong Kong until near the end of March.

Richard Corlett, Anita Tsang and Ng Sai-chit saw many worker Bumblebees (Bombus eximius) visiting flowers of Ormosia semicastrata (Leguminosae) at Ma On Shan on 5 April 2002. This area seems to be the main stronghold for bumblebees in Hong Kong, but we have no summer records. What happens to them then?

FISH

Charles Frew caught a species of Bamboo Shark during a fisheries survey on 3 Dec 2001, in the East Lamma Channel. The male shark was approximately 55 cm long and was released back into the water. The species has yet to be confirmed.

PLANTS

Five men were convicted of illegally entering Hong Kong and attempting to cut a Buddhist pine Podocarpus macrophyllus in Yin Tsz Ngam, Sai Kung on January 2002. The tree is a nationally protected and locally restricted species. The illegal immigrants were hired to cut and smuggle the trees to China. Police record showed that at least 50 trees have been stolen since January 2002.

(Reported by Ming Pao http://full.mingpaonews.com/20020310/__gbb1h.htm)

Wild Corner Bibliography

Fellowes, J. R. (1992). Hong Kong Macaques. World-wide Fund for Nature, Hong Kong, 164 pp. IUCN.2000. IUCN (2000). Red List of Threatened Species. Web version: www.redlist.org Jefferson, T.A., Leatherwood, S. & Webber, M.A. (1993). Marine mammals of the World. United Nations Environment Programme, Rome. pp.160.

Mohan, R.S.L. (1990). Observations on a large school of spinner dolphins, Stenella longirostris off southwest coast of India with note on its behaviour. In K.J. Matthew (ed.), Proceedings of the First Workshop on Scientific Results of Forvsagar Sampada, pp. 415-416. Cochin India Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Cochin.

Norris, K.S. & Dohl, T.P. (1980). Behavior of the Hawaiian spinner dolphin, Stenella longirostris. Fisheries Bulletin 77(4): 821-849.

Norris, K.S. & Dohl, T.P. (1980). Behavior of the Hawaiian spinner dolphin, Stenella longirostris. Fisheries Bulletin 77(4): 821-849.

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