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Wild Corner (pdf)
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.

How to distingusih the Masked Palm Civet from the Chinese Ferret Badger

MAMMALS

Annika Walters saw a Porcupine (Hystrix brachyura) at around 6.30 am on the verge of Route Twisk road around mid-February 2003.

On 9 February 2003, at about 5.45 pm, Robert Davison saw a large adult Barking Deer (Muntiacus sp.) crossing a footpath between Lion Rock and Amah Rock in the south central New Territories. It was moving up the hillside, feeding slowly as it went. This is a wooded area, with dense secondary forest and undergrowth on steep slopes. A Barking Deer (Muntiacus sp.) was sighted by Ian Roper in the late afternoon of 26 June 2002 at Tai Po Kau Forest Reserve. Barking Deer were also heard on the mornings of 12 December 2002 at Hok Tau side of Cloudy Hill (near Tai Po) and on 28 December 2002 above Wu Kau Tang (Plover Cove Country Park).

Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) in Shing Mun Country Park were observed tearing off bark of Melaleuca quinquenervia and searching through it (possibly for insects) on 27 January 2003 by Sukh Mantel.

Ian Roper saw Porcupines (Hystrix brachyura) on the following evenings: two adults on 17 April 2002 in Sam A Chung (Plover Cove Country Park); one on 19 July 2002 in Tai Po Kau Forest Reserve; one on 4 September 2002 in Lam Tsuen Valley near Tai Po; one on 20 September 2002 on Tai Mo Shan.

One Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) was seen by Ian Roper on the morning of 11 May 2002 in Tai Po Kau Forest Reserve.

Ian Roper saw one Ferret-Badger (Melogale moschata) on the evening of 12 June 2002 and a Masked Palm Civet (Paguma larvata) on the morning of 27 April 2002 in the foothills of Kai Kung Leng (Lam Tsuen Country Park).

Vijaykrishna Dhanasekaran saw a half metre long Masked Palm Civet (Paguma larvata) at 11.57 pm on 17 March 2003 near the service lift of on the ground floor of Kadoorie Biological Sciences Building (HKU). It ran off towards the spiral stairs upon being sighted.

Ian Roper sighted Wild Boars (Sus scrofa) as follows: one adult and two young on the morning of 26 January 2002 in Lam Tsuen Valley; one on morning of 23 February 2002 in Tin Fu Tsai (Tai Lam Country Park); two adults and two young on the evening of 19 June 2002 in Tai Po Kau Forest Reserve; one on the morning of 14 October 2002 in Sha Lo Tung near Tai Po; one on the evening of 22 October 2002 on Kap Lun Trail (Tai Lam Country Park); one adult and two young on the evening of 4 December 2002 above Kowloon Reservoir; one on the evening of 11 December 2002 on Bride's Pool Road near Tai Po.

Kylie Chung caught a 45-55 cm long Javan Mongoose (Herpestes javanicus) near the roadside of Tai Mo Shan on 26 November 2002. Some insect remains and more than 40 intact Rhodomyrtus tomentosa seeds were found in its droppings along with some whitish grey long hair, which did not seem to belong to the mongoose. On 21 February, Katie Chick trapped a 60 cm long (including tail) Javan Mongoose (Herpestes javanicus) in a wire cage trap in an open grassland near Pak Ngau Shek. On 26 February, she came across a Barking Deer (Muntiacus sp.) at the site around 11.00 am. The deer looked quite large, around 120 cm tall. It immediately fled on seeing her.

BIRDS

A Streaked Spiderhunter (Arachnothera magna) was seen by Kwok Hon Kai in old woodland in Chatham Path, near Barker Road at the Peak on 24 January 2003 and 20 February 2003. The bird did not have a blue nape, but was streaked on both the back and the belly. The bird flocked with two Black Bulbuls (Hypsipetes leucocephalus) on both occasions. There is at least one previous local record of this species in Ng Tung Chai (M. Kilburn, pers. comm.). Since this species is not known to migrate, the bird was believed to be an escape (R. Lewthwaite, pers. comm.). The eastern limit of distribution for Streaked Spiderhunters is western Guangxi. Kai has never seen this species in the bird market.

On 12 March 2003 Kwok Hon Kai saw two Oriental Pratincoles (Glareola maldivarum) at Lut Chau. He saw another 14 in a drained fish pond in San Tin on 21 March, and also a Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) on Po Toi Island on 22 Mar 2003.

Jose Cheung and Captain Wong saw one juvenile Mugimaki Flycatcher (Ficedula mugimaki) with about 10 Japanese White-eyes (Zosterops japonicus) feeding on fruits of Mallotus paniculatus at the entrance of Kowloon Hill catchment on 1 January 2003. It is unusual (but not unknown) for flycatchers to eat fruit.

Kwok Hon Kai saw a flock of 20 Red-rumped Swallows (Hirundo daurica) feeding at a fishpond in San Tin on 9 December 2002.

A Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) and a Eurasian Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus) were seen soaring at the same time by Kwok Hon Kai at Lok Ma Chau on 6 March 2003.

Kwok Hon Kai noticed one Black-headed Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala) in Tai Sang Wai on 13 February 2003.

Kwok Hon Kai saw a flock of six Azure-winged Magpies (Cyanopica cyanus) on a fishpond bund at Lok Ma Chau on 6 March 03. Solitary birds (presumably from the same flock) were frequently seen near the Peter Scott Centre at Mai Po Marshes Nature Reserve between November 2002 and February 2003. The Azure-winged Magpie is an escaped/released species, first noted at the ZBG on Hong Kong Island in 1975, where a small and extremely sedentary population bred for several years before dying out. Their native range is northern and eastern China (Carey et al. 2001).

AMPHIBIANS/REPTILES

James Hopkinson came across a Burmese Python at least 3 m long (Python molurus bivittatus) at around 10.30 pm on 15 December 2002, on the road between Shek O and Central.

Emma Long, Cecily Law, Roger Kendrick, Will Trewhella, Kevin Caley and Jacqui Weir noticed eggs of the Hong Kong Cascade Frog (Amolops hongkongensis) on rocks under the largest waterfall at Ng Tung Chai. The eggs were seen on 23 March 2003.

PLANTS

Billy Hau and Katie Chick found a very peculiar flowering tree along Black's Link on 13 February. It was later identified by Ng Sai Chit as the rare Sycopsis dunnii. No flower specimen has ever been collected for this species in Hong Kong. It was previously recorded on Ma On Shan, Tai Mo Shan, Tan Chuk Hang and Sunset Peak. This represents a lowland record (330 m) of this montane forest species and the first for Hong Kong Island.

Fig.2. Sycopsis dunnii (Copyright: Billy Hau)

P.15-17

   

 

Porcupine!
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