How protected are marine protected areas?


DEB News




Diversity at a glance


"In the News"

Book Review

Wild Corner

Recent Publications

Information for Contributors



Miscellany (pdf)

Indiana Jones?! Safety issues on exploration of underground water channels in Hong Kong
BBR-----More than a race!
BBR-----A special experience in HK
A meaning way for for Enviromental Life Science Students to spend the summer holiday

BBR ----- More than a race!

by Fion Cheung
Environmental Life Science Year 2 student

To most people in Hong Kong, the 22nd of February 2003 was just an ordinary Saturday. To us, a group of 9 Environmental Life Science students, it was a big day. After learning bird-watching for about 4 months, it was the time to test our birding skill in the Big Bird Race.

The schedule on that day was quite tight. Starting at 6 a.m. at the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, we visited Tai Po Kau, Long Valley, Mai Po, Kam Tin, Tai Mo Shan and finally went back to Mai Po at 5:00 pm. Breakfast and lunch were bread and water on the coach while traveling from one site to another. Despite the tiredness, we enjoyed the race very much. Every time we arrived at a site, we took the binoculars out immediately and started looking for birds. We had to keep very quiet most of the time, which was very unusual behaviour for us. Apart from those birds we had seen before on training trips, we saw many species new to us such as the European Spoonbill and Oriental Pratincole. Our "Bird of the Day" was a Common Starling, which is, in fact, uncommon in Hong Kong. We saw it amongst the water buffaloes at Kam Tin.

Fig.1. The "Pokfulam tree sparrows" looking for forest birds at Tai Po Kau in the early morning.

In the end, we recorded 136 species and came sixth amongst all teams. For a group of bird-watching beginners, this result was really encouraging. Many thanks to Lee Kwok-shing, our trainer and the star of our team. Aside from the outcome, what delighted us most was the valuable experience we had in the BBR. Now, we have seen many more bird species than the common ones such as swallows, sparrows, black kites and feral pigeons that we were already familiar with. What is more, my parents have begun to appreciate nature and wildlife since I have started pointing out birds to them with my new skill when we go to parks. This shows how we can change peoplesí minds with just a little effort. To me, the BBR is not just a race but a real life lesson.

Finally, I sincerely appreciate Dr. Hauís effort in putting together such a meaningful activity for us.  I am also very grateful to Lee Kwok-shing who spent so much time teaching us bird-watching skills. We have decided to continue birding so as to prepare for the next year BBR and I hope that more ELS students will be interested in this kind of activity besides studying.



For more information, contact

Copyright © 2000