Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Hong Kong: Life Finds a Way!

Posted by Amanda Gallinat

In January I traveled to Hong Kong, the city in which I grew up. Every time I return, something new strikes me about the city. For instance, my last visit, five years ago, was my first time returning as a birder, and I was delighted to see even common birds like the Black-collared Starling.

Black-collared Starling, photo by Sam Roberts (2011)

On this visit, I was struck by how much plant life is able to grow in Hong Kong's urban habitat. For instance, one of the regions of Hong Kong with the highest air pollution is the Central/Western district, where we saw banyan trees growing along the roadside.

Banyan trees on the roadside in Central, Hong Kong

Since the 1970's a common landslide prevention technique in Hong Kong has been to cover hillsides with concrete. However, in some areas such as the Tai Tam Reservoir, plants have grown atop or through the concrete. Incidentally, this has resulted in some of the best birding in Hong Kong!

Plants growing on a mountainside that has been covered in concrete and fencing, in Tai Tam Reservoir Park