Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The wonders of nature on view at Kadoorie Farm & Botanical Garden

A sleepy owl spotted one afternoon at the 

Uncaged as well as caged creatures abound at this facility
located on the northern slopes of Tai Mo Shan

So do a variety of flora, including these bleeding heart flowers :)

Some years back, when hiking in Tai Lam Country Park, I spied the distinctively shaped Kwun Yam Shan in the distance and decided that it was one of those Hong Kong hills and mountains that would be too steep for me to climb up.  After consulting an area map, my hiking companion that afternoon pointed out that there were toilets located near the summit of the mountain (that's been variously listed as being 546 and 552 meters high) and remarked that surely that was a sign that Hong Kong's 33rd highest peak wasn't that difficult to ascend!

Consequently, she, another friend and I went about going up to the very top of Kwun Yam Shan one winter day in 2011.  What with the hill being located within the boundaries of the Kadoorie Farm & Botanical Garden, that day also marked my first visit to the fabulous 148-hectare-sized conservation and education center that I tell myself I should visit more often every time I go there.

On that first visit to Kadoorie Farm & Botanical Garden, our main goal was to venture up to Kwun Yam Shan and enjoy the panoramic views from there -- and we did go ahead and do so, and not only from that mountain but also the even higher up, at 602 meters above sea level, Kadoorie Brothers Memorial Pavilion.  But before we did so, we also spent time in the lower area of the facility, where such as a raptor sanctuary and a wildlife pond (which is home to flamingos, turtles and crocodiles) are to be found.  

On my most recent visit to this New Territories locale with a different friend, I didn't trek up to the upper section of Kadoorie Farm & Botanical Garden -- and still easily found enough to keep us occupied for much of the afternoon.  Also, in view of how steep many of the paths on the hillslope facility are, we were glad that we had on our hiking boots, even though we technically did not go hiking that day! 

As before, the fauna found at this conservation and education center left me enthralled.  It's not every day, after all, that one gets to behold the live sight of a leopard cat and barking deer, even though they are indeed native to Hong Kong!  And although I have spotted kites in the wild, it's not usually up close -- so there is a thrill to being able to do so with those magnificent birds, related predators, and owls that I know are wild but also think are so cute that, when they stay still, could easily be mistaken for huggable plushies!  

In addition, the flora on view are often beautiful and interesting too.  More than once, I found myself saying to my friend that if a child drew a picture of this flower and that leaf in an art class, I could imagine him/her being told by the teacher that what they had drawn was not realistic because it was too unusual or unlikely looking!  Put another way: a visit to Kadoorie Farm & Botanical Garden will get one marvelling at the wonders of nature, and exulting over how incredibly creative Mother Nature can be. :)

7 comments:

peppylady (Dora) said...

Interesting owl it looks so soft...Coffee is on

duriandave said...

What a beautiful owl! Seems like you've visited Kadoorie more than a couple of times. Must make a point of going there next time I'm in HK.

YTSL said...

Hi peppylady --

I agree that that owl looks really soft. I wish I could pet it but understand that I shouldn't/couldn't since it IS a wild animal!

Hi duriandave --

Yes, I've visited Kadoorie Farm more than twice -- but I really should go there more as I always enjoy my visits! The thing is that it seems so far away from where I live... though, really, it's not that bad, especially when you couple the visit with roast goose dinner at Yat Lok in Tai Po! ;)

On another note: hope you've read my "Our Little Sister" review; and FYI, I do intend to write a review on "Lost in Hong Kong" (which I seem to have liked more than you) at some point in the near future. :b

Bill said...

Hi YTSL,

I would include the top photo of the owl as among the best in your archive of Hong Kong's creatures of the natural world. According to hkoutdoor.com, this is a "Brown Fish Owl." When I look at your photo, the eyes of the owl express a keen observational intellience, scrutinizing the human visitors to its home. I don't know how Puppet Ponyo would react if she visited the owl, but I expect she might be quite fascinated.

Bill

YTSL said...

Hi Bill --

Is it just me or does that owl's eyes look human-like to you too? And hmmm, now you've got me thinking maybe next time I visit Kadoorie Farm, I should bring Puppet Ponyo along... ;b

Bill said...

Hi YTSL,

Yes, the owl's eyes do look "human-like" - that is what I find really striking about your photo. When I look at those eyes, they seem to draw me into them, as if the owl has some kind of intelligence or perception that I cannot quite comprehend.

Bill




YTSL said...

Hi Bill --

I've looked into the eyes of many animals and been surprised to see intelligence as well as what appeared to be human qualities in them. It's not just other primates but also creatures as diverse as horses, dogs and, yes, now also owls.