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Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden - Wildlife updates & sightings

by Gary Ades

Wildlife recording, surveys and rehabilitation at Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden (KFBG) have produced a number of interesting and unusual records since August. In this report, KFBG staff provide some of the highlights of their findings.

General wildlife sightings are posted on the KFBG Wildlife Sightings Board on a fortnightly basis, with records provided by KFBG staff and visitors. Most records tend to be generated by the KFBG Security team on night shifts, the monthly Night Safari activity and regular surveys by the Fauna Conservation Dept. staff. All records will soon be databased to investigate any possible patterns of habitat use by fauna on our hillside.

(1) The following sightings records were posted between August and November, 2003:

August

5 August, 5.10pm; Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum), near tropical plants house - adult female with 3 juveniles begging for food.

23 August, (Night Safari) 7.30 pm; Japanese Pipistrelle Bats observed hunting insects, and picked up at 46KHz on bat detectors, over the Butterfly Garden; 8:30 pm - still a few fireflies along the stream at the Fern Walk.

27 August, p.m.; Many-banded Krait hatchling found outside the Admin. Office.

29 August; a male Macaque seen outside the Conservation Office.

September

1 September, 4 pm; at least 5 Birdwing butterflies (Troides helenus and T. aeacus) flying around the Butterfly Garden.

3 September; Small Indian Civet at Signpost Corner.

6 September; Bamboo Snake at Native Tree Nursery.

8 September; Cobra near Helicopter Pad.

10 September; Atlas Moth (mating pair) at Parrot Sanctuary.

12 September; Muntjac (Barking deer) heard, below Kwun Yum Shan and near Post Office Pillars.

12 September; Porcupine seen on road above Post Office Pillars.

12 September; Wild boar seen on road above Post Office Pillars.

13 September; Barking deer above Post Office Pillars.

15 September; Porcupine at Apiary.

24 September; Burmese Python near T.S.Woo pavilion.

29 September; Woodcock below Twin Pavilion.

October

5 October; Black-naped Oriole, (two individuals) at Kwun Yum Shan summit.

24 October; Big-headed Terrapin, Magnolia Reservoir.

25 October; 2 Ferret-badgers playing near Orchid Haven; 2 Porcupine at Raptor Sanctuary, unidentified species of Nightjar hawking for insects at dusk, summit of Kwun Yum Shan; Japanese Pipistrelle Bats above Upper Canteen; Himalayan Leaf-nosed Bats (Hipposideros armiger) hunting airborne invertebrates below TS Woo Pavilion; fireflies evident after dusk at the top of Kwun Yum Shan and at Great Falls.

Fig. 1. Juvenile Chinese Porcupine; family groups of porcupines have been seen regularly at KFBG in 2003.

November

21 November (evening / night); Wild boar, Leopard Cat and Small Indian Civet - upper Farm tangerine terraces; HK cascade frog - stream pool near Orchid Haven; Big-headed Terrapin x 3, Lesser Spiny frog, Anderson Stream Snake x 3 - stream above Magnolia Reservoir; HK Newt - stream near Fern Walk.

22 November (Night Safari); Porcupine (2 adult, 2 sub-adult) (Fig. 1) on road beneath summit of Kwun Yum Shan; Porcupine (one adult) above Boulder Lodge; Fire-fly larvae (=glow-worms!) at Magnolia Reservoir, by stream at Orchid Haven, Fern Walk and below Butterfly Garden.

 

(2) Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden Fauna Department Project News

Roger Kendrick: The monthly moth survey has increased the number of moth species recorded at KFBG to at least 1,146 as of 23 November (Fig. 2). The latest new record (22 Nov 2003, Butterfly Garden, at a mercury vapour light trap) is of a species of Yponomeuta (Yponomeutidae) - a small ermine moth, which is also new to Hong Kong.

Fig. 2. Indian Moon Moth (Actias selene); one of the more than 500 moth species recorded at KFBG between August and November 2003.

Paul Crow: Artificial bat roosts for insectivorous bats at KFBG

KFBG currently has a total of 21 artificial bat roosts of 4 different designs installed on site. The boxes are all between 1-2 yrs old and as yet have not attracted a significant level of occupancy, however that is not to say they are not utilized. Our most successful design to date was our "first draft" which was our simplest design based upon principles laid out by Bat Conservation International and reference design laid out in "The Bat House Builder's Handbook" 1993 Merlin Tuttle and Donna Hensley.

The first design was recorded as housing up to 5 head of Japanese pipistrelle (Pipistrellus abramus) in a box at any one time and up to 11 bats at one time between all four roosts of that design. Unfortunately this box design was not resilient enough to last in the Hong Kong climate, being constructed only of Plywood and later upgrades have as yet failed to attract the same response from our local bats.

Other designs in use include a "Bat Condo" designed to offer housing to larger numbers of bats and prefabricated "Woodcrete" boxes designed to be built into permanent brick or concrete structures.

In many temperate countries, artificial roost structures for bats are well researched and are recognized as a valid conservation measure for some species. By putting different designs through trial, we hope to find those most appropriate for use in Hong Kong which may have value in mitigating loss of existing bat roost sites (Fig. 3). Plans exist in the future to test larger scale roost designs.

Fig. 3. A selection of artificial bat roost designs currently on trial at KGBF.

(3) Wild Animal Rescue Centre (WARC) - update

The months leading into the winter season are always a particularly busy time for the WARC team. During the winter migration, many birds arrive at our centre in a thin, weak state and in need of respite, especially young birds making the trip for the first time. Others travelling through our city at night are disorientated by our huge, illuminated tower blocks, often suffering concussion, even fractured bones.

However, life at a rescue centre is never dull. Exciting animals received during this period include a new species for our centre a Band-bellied Crake, the third record of this species for HK and the first live specimen (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4. Band-bellied Crake.

Below is a list of just a few of the animals received over the last few months that have been successfully rehabilitated and subsequently released.

SPECIES

LOCATION FOUND

RELEASE DATE

RELEASE LOCATION

RAPTORS

     

Collard Scops Owl
(Otus lempiji)

Unknown

20.09.03

KFBG

Collard Scops Owl
(Otus lempiji)

Aberdeen

20.09.03

KFBG

Collard Scops Owl
(Otus lempiji)

Peel Rise

25.10.03

KFBG

Collard Scops Owl
(Otus lempiji)

Mui Wo

25.10.03

KFBG

Collard Scops Owl
(Otus lempiji)

Quarry Bay

13.10.03

KFBG

Black Eared Kite
(Milvus migrans)

Unknown

05.10.03

KFBG

Brown Hawk Owl
(Ninox scutulata)

Ho Man Tin

15.10.03

KFBG

Oriental Scops Owl
(Otus sunia)

Kwun Tong

21.10.03

KFBG

Common Buzzard
(Buteo buteo)

Kowloon Tong

06.11.03

Mai Po

NON RAPTORS

     

Koel (Eudynamis scolopacea)

Kam Tin

01.09.03

Kam Tin

Yellow Bittern
(Ixobrychus sinensis)

Sham Shui Po

17.10.03

Mai Po

Schrencks Bittern
(Ixobrychus eurhythmus)

Kwun Tong

18.10.03

Mai Po

Chestnut Bittern
(Ixobrychus cinnamomeus)

Wan Chai

22.10.03

Mai Po

White Breasted Waterhen (Amourornis phoenicurus)

North Point

30.09.03

Lam Tsuen

White Breasted Waterhen (Amourornis phoenicurus)

Morrison Hill

22.10.03

Lam Tsuen

Chinese Pond Heron
(Ardeola baccus)

Central

27.10.03

Lam Tsuen

Water Cock
(Gallicrex cinerea)

Cotton Tree Drive

06.11.03

Mai Po

Common Teal
(Anas crecca)

Lok Ma Chau

19.11.03

Mai Po

Band Bellied Crake
(Porzana paykulli)

Mongkok

19.11.03

Mai Po

Moorhen
(Gallinula chloropus)

Peak

21.11.03

Kam Tin

Woodcock
(Scolopax rusticola)

Tsim Sha Tsui

22.11.03

KFBG

MAMMALS

 

   

Greater Short Nosed Fruit Bat (Cynopterus sphinx)

Tai Po

11.11.03

Tai Po

P.15-18

 
   

 

Porcupine!
For more information, contact
ecology@hkucc.hku.hk


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