Sunday, September 5, 2010

More Hong Kong wildlife

Spotted this afternoon by the side of
Tai Tam Reservoir Road: a lizard perched so still
it seemed like it was posing for a photo!

In contrast, this colorful snake-like lizard was moving about
so quickly, so it really was hard to spot and photograph

And it's really hard to understand why this crab was
scurrying about in the same vicinity as the second lizard!

Before anyone asks: Yes, I went hiking earlier today -- and I'm so glad I did not least because the afternoon turned out to be one with beautiful blue skies and clear air as a result of the rain of the past few days, nights and this morning having finally washed away the air pollution of the previous week or so.

Because of the recent rains, I elected to hike on a trail through Tai Tam Country Park that was mainly paved but knew also would offer up beautiful views -- including of a couple of the Tai Tam Reservoirs -- as it took us from Wong Nai Chung Gap to Kornhill via Quarry Gap, Mount Parker Road and the Quarry Bay Tree Walk. However, little did I know beforehand that this Hong Kong Island hike would also yield quite a number of interesting wildlife sightings -- including not only spiders and snails but also a couple of very different lizards and... a crab!

With regards to the lizards: the first one (which the AFCD's HK Species guide identifies as an agamid known as the changeable lizard) looked like a tiny descendant of a dinosaur while I initially mistook the second one for a snake -- so tiny were the skink's limbs! But while they were more eye-catching in shape, the crab truly was the most unexpected creature sighted this afternoon -- seeing as this afternoon's hike took my regular hiking companion and I nowhere near the sea.

Finding it really hard to believe that someone would carry the crab all the way into the middle of a country park to release it, I think that another hiker's hypothesis may make the most sense: i.e., that the crab was caught by a bird that somehow contrived to drop it as it was flying overhead and a few kilometers inland... In any case, it seems to provide proof positive that wonders never cease, especially those of nature! ;b


Anonymous said...

What an interesting trio of critters to meet all in a day's hike!

And it's always nice to learn something new: namely, the skink (not be confused, as Wikipedia so humorously warns, with skank).

Regarding that crab, could it have come from the reservoir? In any case, it must have been quite a surprise, especially with that gaze that seems to say "What are you looking at!"

ewaffle said...

Continuing in the anthropomorphism vein regarding Mr./Ms. Crab--it does seem to have a bemused expression--to the extent that a crustacean can have an expressive look--which would make sense if it was picked up and dropped by a bird.

Maya said...

I love how the first lizard and the little crab look like they were posing for you.

Anonymous said...

Hi The crab is nanhaipotamon hongkongense, Hong Kong's local woodland crab. They come out of their burrows when it rains or just after rain. I saw one the other day and had to look it up!

YTSL said...

Hi duriandave --

Definitely re it having been interesting to encounter those critters while out hiking in Hong Kong! And hehe re skink not being something one should confuse with skank... or skunk or skint! :DDD

Hi ewaffle --

Re the crab: personally, I thought it was more in an alert kung fu pose/mode and about to say "don't come near me or I'll attack"! :D

Hi Maya --

The first lizard WAS so still I really did feel like it was posing for me. As for the crab: the first couple of photos I took of it weren't so good - the one I put up was photo attempt number three. :)

Hi Anonymous --

Thank you so much for the ID and identification! Where did you see nanhaipotamon hongkongens? It wasn't near Repulse Gap too, was it?

Horsoon said...

It's amazing you spend time finding such facinating wildlife. This is one post I'm bookmarking it ;)

YTSL said...

Hi Horsoon --

The surprising thing about (hiking in) Hong Kong is that I actually don't spent that much time going out of my way to spot wildlife. Rather, often times, it's just... you know... there! :b

Anonymous said...

More about the was hanging around in the woodland between the French school and Parkview on Jardine's Lookout. I guess there must be quite a few of those, but since they only come out after the rain, we don't see them often!

Keep posting! Great read.

YTSL said...

Hi again Anonymous --

Since you last visited, talked to a hiker friend who mentioned she's seen those crabs on Bowen Road (and also, at various other times, a porcupine, snakes and a civet cat! :O). So I guess there are quite a few of them... on Hong Kong Island no less!

And thanks for reading and appreciating -- do keep on visiting and commenting. :)