- Zoology Blogs

Zoology Jottings: Area Information to the Birds of Hong Kong and South China: a brand new version

I’ve had time to have a look at my Christmas current from Hong Kong. It’s the new, ninth, version of Area Information to the Birds of Hong Kong and South China, compiled and printed by the Hong Kong Birdwatching Society, of which we have been members within the Sixties.

By overlaying an enormous space of China, from Shanghai within the north to the border with Vietnam and Hainan within the south and from Hunan and Guanxi within the west to Zhejiang and Fujian within the east, the birdwatcher in Hong Kong can discover particulars of many of the birds which may every so often happen there as a uncommon vagrant. Nonetheless, that protection comes at a price. There are complete pages of birds which have by no means been seen nor are more likely to be seen in Hong Kong. Maybe a thinner, lighter model restricted to the avian residents, migrants and uncommon vagrants could be extra appropriate to suit the pockets of these human Hong Kong residents and guests who don’t have any intention of going to mainland China. In different phrases, an version overlaying comparable floor to the early editions of this guide written by Clive Viney and the late Karen Phillipps. The first version was printed in 1977 by the Hong Kong Authorities.

With the superbly-produced re-creation of the Area Information and the Photographic Information to the Birds of Hong Kong, first printed in 2010 additionally by The Hong Kong Chicken Watching Society, Hong Kong birders, of which there are growing numbers—and guests—are very nicely served certainly.

I can’t assist evaluate with what we’ve got now with what we had 50-60 years in the past. Then, till the second version appeared in 1967, we had the primary version of Geoffrey Herklots’s Hong Kong Birds. The primary version was printed in 1953 from articles within the pre-war Hong Kong Naturalist since Herklots had misplaced his private notes throughout the Japanese Occupation. Color printing was enormously costly and the few plates that the publishers (South China Morning Put up) might afford had been painted by Commander A.M. Hughes of the Royal Navy who was stationed in Hong Kong in 1929-1931. Herklots’s descriptions of the birds, ready from skins on the Pure Historical past Museum in London, have been extraordinarily good and we managed to establish many of the new birds we had seen whereas out for a stroll.

In flip, Herklots and his birdwatching buddies have been equally pissed off by the shortage of a reference guide. He famous that La Touche’s Birds of Jap China had appeared in elements and had solely been accomplished in 1934. Herklots revolutionised life the the birdwatcher in Hong Kong within the Nineteen Fifties, adopted by Viney and Phillipps within the late Seventies. The Hong Kong Birdwatching Society has carried on that custom from its basis in 1957 not solely by taking up the preparation and publishing of books but in addition by producing annual reviews and checklists.

Extremely really useful however not low cost in U.Okay. In Hong Kong the guide retails for HK$338 (£36). British booksellers (not but on Amazon) are quoting almost £50.

Lastly, I can’t resist exhibiting the again cowl of the brand new area information. Black Kites over the harbour and concrete areas have been the primary indication to these arriving by air or sea that they’d arrived in Hong Kong, someplace very completely different and someplace very particular. The editors couldn’t have made a better option.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *