I Remember Hong Kong page 3 我記得香港之三
REMINISCENCES EVOKED BY IMAGES OF BIRDS PERCHING IN HONG KONG
Updated 19 July 7月19日更新
My Reminiscences 我的回憶
Photos, videos & info by 以下各位提供的照片視頻資訊
Professor Stephen Matthews 馬詩帆教授
My old friend Benson Wong 老友王玉泉
Graham Ekins 鳥類攝影專家格蘭·艾堅士
During all the years I spent in the densely populated Hong Kong, I mostly lived in overcrowded areas with tall buildings so close to each other that one could hardly see the sky from the windows. I could only remember seeing a few sparrows very occasionally. Professor Stephen Matthews of Hong Kong U and CUHK, my old friend Benson Wong, and Graham Ekins - a wildlife photographer who has visited Hong Kong, enlightened me that there is a variety of birds in Hong Kong if you go to the right places. In the Photo Galleries and mini videos are some of these birds captured by their cameras, with info and reminiscences. If you like these birds, visit their blog/links below for more.
I am working on a music video of birds called Fly Wild... Fly Free.
19 July It's done! . 7月19日做好了：
Prof STEPHEN MATTHEWS 馬詩帆教授
Stephen Matthews : "Yes, birdwatching is a very British thing, although we have exported it to Hong Kong with some success. The RSPB has over a million members, which is far more than any political party. I like to think this shows we take our birds more seriously than our politics!
Hong Kong is actually quite rich in birds, especially at the moment when migrating birds are passing through. CUHK is a favourite haunt. This is a recent visitor ― a Slaty-backed Forktail at Chung Chi stream (see Photo Gallery below). Maybe you can compose it!
HK may actually have become richer in birds since you left. As the mainland has become less hospitable so HK (especially Mai Po and much of the New Territories) has become a refuge. Also the forests have regenerated, attracting birds to re-colonise the area. (See map under Graham Ekins)
I wrote a blog about this at Tai Po Kau:"
More about Stephen Matthews: Comments on ,
Stephen Mathews Photo Gallery
CLICK EACH PHOTO TO ENLARGE 点擊小圖放大
Updated 3 Feb 2月3日更新
New: 3 Feb 2月3日新加
BENSON WONG & birds he befriended in Hong Kong
My old friend Benson Wong (, ) on seeing Stephen Matthews' Birds in Hong Kong sent me photos and mini videos of spotted doves and sparrows that he feeds daily on his balcony. Where he lives was once the site of a private reservoir and beauty spot called Chai Sai Woo. I visited Chai Sai Woo once in my early teens ― some school picnic I think, but cannot remember seeing birds there ― perhaps they were frightened off by noisy school girls!
Two photos of spotted doves below, followed by three mini videos.
New: 14 Feb, updated 10 Apr 2月14日新加, 在4月10日更新
GRAHAM EKINS 格蘭·艾堅士
world wildlife photographer 世界野生動物攝影家
One thing leads to another... my uploading a photo gallery of birds in Hong Kong as captured by Professor Stephen Matthews inspired my friend Benson Wong to send me videos of the sparrows and spotted doves that daily visit his balcony. The latest addition is a Graham Ekins Photo Gallery, with info and reminiscences.
Graham Ekins is an ecological consultant and world wildlife photographer who gives talks on ornithological and natural history topics based on his worldwide trips. His talks are mainly to County Naturalist Trusts, County Birdwatching Societies, RSPB Groups and University of the 3rd Age Groups. In 2013 I went to his lecture on Wildlife in Thailand and particularly liked some bird images that showed a sense of humour, which aroused my desire to make a bird-humour music video. Making a music video requires a lot of images and I asked Graham whether he had more photos of "funny birds". As a friendly gesture, I gave him a copy of my CD & book.
Graham kindly spent an afternoon listening to the music of Music is Happiness, and read the accompanying booklet while listening. He then commented that I have had a very interesting life that has also been full of trials & tribulations. He found my music at times both haunting and peaceful, and was very impressed by the way I have involved so many gifted musicians and artists in my work. I was impressed by what he said. Graham said he could find time to help me with my photography and I was welcome to any images that he may have. I lost confidence in driving after a frightening incident on a motorway that involved two huge trucks and three cars (one was mine). It was difficult to get to his place by public transport. I had good and bad days because of my health, and Graham's busy with this and that and was often away. We didn't manage to meet up. I googled his photos but didn't find "funny birds" images.
In 2015, I saw Graham again at his talk to the local wildlife group. He told me he was currently finishing a presentation on Northern Territories Hong Kong and Taiwan for the Essex Bird Watching Society. In the next two years I kept in touch with Graham and he said kind and encouraging words to me, such as I was amazing to have survived cancer three times then to complete a Ph.D; wished me success in attempting to use cyberspace for artistic endeavours; and congratulated me on my website which he thought included some great images. I liked all he said.
At the beginning of 2022, I told Graham about Stephen's Birds in Hong Kong on my website. He replied: "I have spent some time birding in Hong Kong on the way to Indonesia and visited Mai Po, Tai Po Kau, the fish ponds, vegetable growing areas and marshes of New Territories, all superb. So many fabulous bird species and lovely parks and gardens."
In the following Photo Gallery there are some photos he took in Hong Kong.
Graham supplies world wildlife images for research organisations, NGOs and private researchers, and was involved in surveying offshore for the MARINElife Charity based in the UK, and was appointed to the Council of the Neotropical Bird Club. He has thousands of images of bird species linked to the AVIBASE world birding web site, thousands of images of Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Fish and Invertebrates in 60 well-classified folders from around the world on the following Flickr site. He has also added images to: Neotropical, Oriental and African Bird Clubs.
After seeing so many amazing birds in Hong Kong through the lens of Stephen, Benson and Graham, I wonder how come I only have recollection of sparrows?! The more interesting birds (sorry, sparrows!) I remember were all in cages. As a small child I had spent some time in a village in the New Territories, but only saw hens, cockerels, chicks and ducklings (funnily, not ducks), and not even pigeons though large amount of squabs (young pigeon meat) are consumed in Hong Kong. In fact, I often thought perhaps the reason of only seeing sparrows (which Hong Kong people don't eat) was that the other birds were all eaten, as Cantonese (the majority) are notorious for eating everything ― I once heard they would eat anything with legs except tables and chairs (not dogs though, because that's illegal under British law). It dawns on me that I have never visited places where these birds dwell. As a small child I often roamed the streets and explored on my own, but these were places over-crowded with low-income people, and probably not bird-friendly. When I grew older, many unfavourable happenings prevented me from roaming free. I had not been to many places in Hong Kong, especially to less populated areas that are bird-friendly. The Hong Kong I remember was free, with freedom of speech etc.. Yet even during the time when Hong Kong was free, because of a very controlling person, for years I was deprived of my freedom and missed out on many valuable experiences. In an authoritarian society many will be restricted in the knowledge they can gain and the experience they can have. Perhaps that's why I would always prefer freedom. Perhaps that's why I only remember seeing sparrows in Hong Kong ― a bird known to love its freedom and difficult to keep as a caged bird.
As for the sparrows, Martin Singleton of the local wildlife society said to me:
"...interesting to see that the common Sparrow here (HK) is the Tree Sparrow not the House Sparrow that we have in our towns (UK). I remember this is also true for many Indian cities, especially in the Himalayas. In fact, its scientific name is Passer montanus – “sparrow of the mountains” although it's much more widespread than just in mountain areas."
No wonder I kept wondering why the sparrows I see in England where I live look paler then those I saw in Hong Kong – they are not the same kind!
COVID restricted Graham Ekin's travels so digging this pond was his Lockdown project.
The map below shows the locations in Hong Kong referenced in his Photo Gallery.
Graham Ekins Photo Gallery
All images taken in Hong Kong.
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Updated 10 Apr 4月10日更新