Sunday, June 1, 2014

Butterfly and damselfly-sighting hike highlights

Do please click to enlarge this photo of this usually difficult
 
 When this damselfly spread its wings for me, 
I thought that I had got my pic of the day... :)

...but then I spotted and managed to snap a photo
of this blue spotted beauty! :b

When I checked the Hong Kong Observatory's Weather Information for Hiking and Mountaineering pages this morning and saw that visibility was around 40 kilometers, I knew I had to go on the Lantau Island trek that I had planned for this afternoon -- this despite my two usual hiking companions bailing out of today's excursion.  
 
After thinking some more though, I changed the end section of the hike -- as, to be honest, I find certain sections of the South Lantau Trail west of Pak Kong Au to be on the hairy side.  So, while I did begin my hike from Lantau's Ngong Ping plateau, I ended up heading downhill all the way to Tung Chung town via Shek Mun Kap and Wong Ka Wai (a village I've long wanted to say I've been to just because its name is so similar to Wong Kar Wai's!), with a stop along the way to check out Tung Chung Fort.
 
Although I expected to see a number of other people along this popular -- and entirely paved -- route, I guess today's very hot weather warning scared off many folks.  Consequently, I spotted a whole lot more insects on this hike than humans -- and perhaps because of the lack of people (and the attendant loud noises they are liable to make) about, these often colorful critters seemed much more willing to stop and pose for pictures than is usually the case!
 
Over the course of a few hours, I spotted many spiders (but, maybe because it's still early into the summer, none that were all that big!), a few beetle-type bugs and, especially, a variety of butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies.  Interestingly, many of the butterflies I saw this afternoon were of the same species as many that I spotted while hiking up and down Ma On Shan Country Park's Ngong Ping plateau last week. And while I didn't spot a single dragonfly or damselfly last week, I was treated to the sight of quite a few of them this afternoon -- and of different colors and species in the bargain!
 
I consider the damselfly spottings to be the highlight of a very enjoyable hike -- for unlike butterflies (which really do like to flutter and flit about), damselflies (and dragonflies) often stay in one place long enough for one to really gaze at -- and take unhurried photos of -- them. And even while the long distance views to be had this afternoon were indeed pretty beautiful, it also is the case that those small creatures that many people often simply walk by without noticing often present pleasing sights that I truly treasure. :) 

11 comments:

The Fragrant Harbour said...

HI YTSL -- Yes your dragonfly pics are quite amazing! When are you going to start that insect blog!!!

YTSL said...

Hi The Fragrant Harbour --

Make up your mind: you want a separate insect blog, critter sex blog or beer blog? Teeheehee!

More seriously though, I'm happy to have a "catch all" blog. This way I have material to regularly put up entries. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

The past few days had been very good days. The sun had been fierce but there are also strong breeze that cancelled out the head when you are under shades. If I wasn't on 7 X 24 standby duty I would have gone up one of the taller peaks despite the heat.

I hope visibility of the coming weekend would be as good as today.

Thanks & Best Regards,
T

Dragonstar said...

You always have such amazing insect photos! I love the colours in your first picture - the butterfly contrasts beautifully with the flowers.

YTSL said...

Hi T --

Yes, indeed re the nice breezes. Sorry to hear that you're on 7 X 24 standby duty. Hope you get to have some free time soon and that when you do, the days will (still) be beautiful.

Hi Dragonstar --

I only put up the nice insect photos. Have too many that are blurry and I end up deleting! ;)

Bill said...

Hi Yvonne,

Thanks for brightening my day with the colorful photos of these representatives of Hong Kong's insect kingdom...Enjoyed your embedded links to previous Lantau hikes. Your Feb '09 photo of Po Lam Monastery looks like a must-see alternative to the themepark atmosphere of Po Lin...Lantau seems to be an island for which you have a special fondness...I think it is the backdrop of the mountains which adds to the mystical allure of this island.

Bill

YTSL said...

Hi Bill --

I guess I can count on you to check out the links I take care to embed in my blog posts -- thanks for that!

Re Lantau: yeah, I do like spending time there... and have found hiking trails but also interesting towns and villages, and good places to eat on Hong Kong's largest island. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi There,

A point concerning the Po Lam Monastery, the monks & nuns there are a bit allergic to photography. I have seen signs in Chinese nailed onto road side trees saying no shooting and films would be confiscated.

Thanks & Best Regards,
T

YTSL said...

Hi T --

I think I've only seen any denizens of Po Lam Monastery once -- and I must have passed by on that trail three, even four, times now. More often, I hear what sounds like recorded chanting.

In any case, do get the experience that they aren't seeking publicity. OTOH, I haven't found them aggressive in trying to stop people from taking photos of their buildings and crops -- thank goodness!

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

They are not generally aggressive, just allergic. Yes, someone are either playing recordings of their prayers/chants.

Last time I passed by I took a photo of a flower (I think), in plain sight of a couple of the nuns, right next to their vegetable rolls.

I think as long as you are not making noice and not shooting them and if you do it discretely, it should usually be fine. Under normal circumstances they are quite friendly and would respond to general greetings.

Oh, BTW, quite a few of former TV celebrities become monks or nuns there in the past few decades.

Thanks & Best Regards,
T

YTSL said...

Hi again T --

Interesting info re former TV celebrities having become monks or nuns there -- you mean temporarily, right?

BTW, have to say that I've not been sure if Po Lam is a nunnery or monastery. Sounds like it's both!