As regular visitors to this blog who venture beyond the Photo Hunt entries know, I've seen my share of interesting critters while out hiking (and sometimes even before the hike proper began!). But what I want to highlight in this entry is how many creatures beyond humans also seem alive and at home outside of Hong Kong's 24 country parks (and one officially designated "special area") and five marine parks and reserves.
For example, when I worked in Wan Chai (firstly in an office up on the 13th floor and then -- after the company moved -- to a second office on the 8th floor of another building), I'd regularly see large black kites (the birds, not the human-made objects!) gliding in the sky, sometimes at around our level, between buildings as well as above them! (A little known fact about Hong Kong: around 500 different species of birds have been spotted in the territory. And Asia's World City most definitely has its share of keen birdwatchers, some of whom I've seen armed with a most magnificent collection of cameras and super sized lenses!)
Additionally, at ground level, more than once now, I have been amused by the sight of a colorful butterfly wending its way along a busy street along with a crowd of human pedestrians. (Alternatively (and touching wood!), I am glad that urban Hong Kong is not home to quite as many mosquitoes as, say, Malaysia, let alone malaria-infested Tanzania where I had to sleep under mosquito nets each night.)
For those who are particularly interested in knowing where I saw the creatures in the photos above: the lizard was spotted right next to the Kwun Yam Temple on the island of Cheung Chau that lies above Kwun Yam Beach (Incidentally, I like how it stayed very still even though it was very much alive... hoping that its camouflage would allow it to blend in unnoticed with its surroundings -- all the easier to take a photo of as a result!); while I saw the two birds resting atop the ruins of the old South Gate at Kowloon Walled City Park.
And yes, strange as it may seem, viewing nature -- be it in the concrete jungle or "wild" -- really does play a part in making me feel thankful to be alive and part of this world along with them. This is because their very -- and continued -- existence gets me thinking that amidst all the doom and gloom discussions of humanity's environmentally destructive tendencies, nature may well be more resilient than we often give it credit for after all. :)