5th November 1993 - 9th November 1993
The previous day I had boarded a flight from Heathrow to Hong Kong, but, towards the end of the flight it was announced that the plane was being diverted to Bankok. Apparently a Chinese Airways plane had skidded off the end of the runway at Hong Kong Airport and it was closed until it could be moved! We landed at Bankok Airport about 4pm local time, where we sat around for a while, then we boarded coaches to take us to a hotel in the centre of the city, on the way seeing my first Asian Elephant. Our luggage followed soon after, we were allocated rooms and then given vouchers for diner.
The reason for my trip was to sound record for several BBC programmes, in New Zealand and Australia, although primarily for a series on insects. I had booked a few days holiday, to break the journey in Hong Kong, to stay with friend Neil Hispkiss, who formally worked with me at the BBC in Bristol and now worked here.
I was woken around 2am and told that the coach to take us back to the airport would be leaving in 30 minutes. There was smooth passage through the airport and boarding the plane, and, we continued to Hong Kong. Flying into Hong Kong Airport was quite an experience, the plane only a few feet over the buildings and then stopping on a really short runway, no wonder the Chinese plane had misjudged it and landed up in the bay. I'm told that the new airport is much better.
Neil was there to meet me and had sensibly checked before setting out for the airport, so he knew all about the incident, saying it had happened before and usually with that carrier. New birds will be in bold, On the way to Neil's flat on Hong Kong Island I saw several Black-eared Kites, 3 Crested Mynas and 2 Oriental Magpies, now split from Magpie.
At Neil's place I met Ella his girlfriend, now his wife, and, called Albert Cheung who had been on my first Wingspan Tour to Point Pelee, Ontario in 1982. Later, Albert joined us for a ferry trip to Lamma Island, where we saw Black-collared Starling, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Tree Sparrow, Crested Myna, Grey and White Wagtails, Blue Rock Thrush and Light-vented Bulbul.
Neil, Ella and Albert on Lamma Island.
Sightseeing and relaxing in Hong Kong.
View from Neil's flat, across Kowloon Bay.
A very early start, I had persuaded Neil to come with me to Mai Po Marshes, we only had permission for the morning so I wanted to make the most of the time. The train to the boarder took about an hour, then we had a taxi to the reserve. I had brought some recording gear with me, so was grateful Neil was along to help carry it. At Mai Po we saw Light-vented Bulbul, lots of Eurasian or Great Cormorants, Tree Sparrow, Chinese Pond Heron, Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Spotted Dove, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Brown Prinia, Dusky Warbler, Eastern Marsh Harrier, Japanese White-eye, Spotted Munia, White-breasted Kingfisher, Common Sandpiper, White-vented Myna, Spot-billed Duck, Spotted Redshank, Spotted Eagle, Pied Kingfisher, Greater Coucal, Jungle Crow, Kestrel, Cinnamon Bittern, Rufous Turtle Dove, Black-faced Bunting, Little Bunting, Night Heron, White-breasted Waterhen, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Red-rumped Swallow, Red-whiskered Bulbul and Stejnager's or East Siberian Stonechat.
We were only able to walk along a few trails, and, the tide was out so no waders viewable, around lunchtime we returned to the entrance where we met Albert. Neil decided to take the train home, while Albert and I drove to Lamchuen Valley where we saw Light-vented and Red-whiskered Bulbuls, Long-tailed Tailorbird, White Wagtail, Koel, Masked Laughing-Thrush, Magpie Robin, Oriental Magpie, Green Sandpiper, Black-collared Starling, Spotted Munia, Yellow-breasted Prinia, Chinese Pond Heron, Dusky Warbler, Great Tit, Black-faced Bunting and an Oriental Rat Snake.
Calls with insects, bulbuls and distant people.
Calls in roost with insects, bulbuls, Black-collared Starlings and others.
Calls with insects, bulbuls, herons and others.
Calls from many with insects, warblers, herons, crows, starlings and others.
It was Monday and Neil had to go to work, so I went for a walk in nearby Victoria Park, the area was full of bird song coming from the bird cages hung in the trees, each owner sat close to his cages. Overhead there were Black-eared Kites and a White-bellied Sea Eagle flew over heading to the harbour. I also saw Japanese White-eye, Light-vented and Red-whiskered Bulbuls, Tree Sparrow, Spotted Dove, Black-collared Starling, Magpie Robin, Crested Myna, Oriental Magpie and introduced Java Sparrows.
With Neil at work, I explored The Peak, taking the funicular tram to the top was quite spectacular, then there was a narrow road/path which went around the summit through some excellent woodland.
During my walk I saw Japanese White-eye, a Pallas's Squirrel, Long-tailed Tailorbird, 2 Hwamei, 3 Black-throated Laughing-Thrushes, Light-vented Bulbul, a Blue Magpie, a Crested Goshawk, Great Tit, Red-whisked Bulbul, 4 Grey Treepies, Black-eared Kite, a Yellow-bellied Tit, a Sulphur-breasted Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler and a Black Bulbul.
The rest of the time and the next two days was spent with Neil and Ella, then on a flight to Aukland, New Zealand and on to Dunedin in the South Island.
Views from and around The Peak.