Let's go to country park

On 1st Feb we went to Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park. The main attraction is that the reservoir is open for rowing and pedal-boating. We paid $100 for the latter and navigated along the edge of the reservoir. Unfortunately, the park will soon be out of commission and become a piece of collective memory of Hong Kong. Several birds were seen at the perimeter of the reservoir.

The reservoir park looks like a resort.

One grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea, 灰鶺鴒) jumped from rock to rock.

Black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax, 夜鷺)

A common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis, 普通翠鳥) was seen catching fish.

Pine trees around the reservoir are good perches for jungle crow (Corvus macrorhynchos, 大嘴烏鴉).

Then we headed for the Violet Hill (紫羅蘭山) for an afternoon walk. We walked part of the Tai Tam Country Trail. I would say the trail is an all-encompassing one. We enjoyed the encapsulating views of the Victoria Harbour and the south-east side Hong Kong Island. It is practically a "twofer" hike. We easily reached the peak of the hill. For some hikers, the satisfaction of reaching the peak is immense. The satisfaction for us was the Indian Red Admiral (Vanessa indica, 大紅蛺蝶) on the hill top.

Let's escape from the densely populated urban in weekends and holidays!

Heading for the top

We saw an Indian Red Admiral (Vanessa indica, 大紅蛺蝶).

The trail has huge educational potentials. First is the debate on the preservation of country park against ill-planned housing development. The sight of The Hong Kong Parkview (陽明山莊) provided a hint for the impact of housing development in the heart of a country park. Not only do its residents enjoy the luxurious flats and the lavish clubhouse, but the dynamic scenery of the natural landscape which must have fueled the property price there. However, to the hikers, a residential complex in such vicinity may be in awkward contrast to the lush green hill. Urban dwellers whose flats facing the Tai Tam Country Park may also prefer the charm of a completely natural landscape. 

Bird waves passed us. The commonest species seemed to be Greater necklaced laughingthrushes (Garrulax pectoralis, 黑領噪鶥). We also spotted two Hwamei.

Black kites (Milvus migrans, 麻鷹) were seen circling the sky. Some may be winter visitors to Hong Kong.

The integrity of country parks is in our hands. To preserve our country parks is to preserve our identity. Talking about identity, Hongkongers are made up of what Hong Kong has gone thorugh. The second educational highlight of this trail is the modern history of Hong Kong. The Royal Rifles of Canada was deployed near Tai Tam in The Battle of Hong Kong in WWII. Recently, relic hunters have found usable Japanese grenades near Hong Kong Parkview. The educational values provided by country parks are yet to be truly understood.

We went down the hill and waited for bus to North Point. Some black kites were seen resting on the buildings nearby. 

A black kite was seen shaking its tail. But we realized it was a mating pair.

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