Venturing into the Lamma

It's a cloudy day. The sun is hiding behind the clouds. Yesterday a Red-throated Loon was sighted in Lamma Island. I was hesitating whether I should take photos of it. The coming and going of migrants can be erratic. Several years ago, a Pheasant-tailed Jacana spent less than 24 hours in Shing Mun Valley Park. It is possible that many migrants have been missed this way. Is there an association between the observer frequency and the count of migrants?

There were several things on my desk.
1. An abstract to be refined in order to make an oral presentation in a conference.
2. Three journal articles to be read.
3. A paper to be finished soon for application for publication.

Finally I decided to put them aside and went for the bird. At some moments I feel that I am Walter in the movie "The secret life of Walter Mitty". Bird photography is a risk-taking behaviour for today as the work to be done is overwhelming. The "why don't you finish the work first?" mentality was not applicable. The ferry to Lamma took less than 30 minutes. If you want to go there, make sure you check the schedule beforehand. The bird was not seen when I arrived Yung Shue Wan pier. After setting up my tripod, I located it between some Sampans. Having found a comfortable position, taking photos of it became easier. The overcast and misty weather slows down the shutter speed. A great deal of the photos suffer from motion blur. Nevertheless, some are quite good. According to Guy Miller, the Red-throated Loon swam near the shoreline and was as close as 15 feet to us. He even took a picture of me concentrating on photographing the bird! Some time was spent on Photoshop to make the photos more beautiful.

Hong Kong is such a convenient place. I left HKU at 2:00pm and returned at 5:00pm. Feeling hungry, I reward myself with toast and horlicks. This Red-throated Loon is one of the few ever recorded in Hong Kong. As I mentioned, some individuals may be missed simply because observers do not visit those remote outlying islands.


  1. Great bird and wonderful shots, it will surely be one of the highlight of this Spring!

  2. Sure. I heard that dozens of birders have visited the Lamma for this rarity!