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


I’ve had time to take 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 revealed by the Hong Kong Birdwatching Society, of which we have been members within the Sixties.

By masking 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 a lot of the birds that may every now and then 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 prone to be seen in Hong Kong. Maybe a thinner, lighter model restricted to the avian residents, migrants and uncommon vagrants is perhaps 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 masking comparable floor to the early editions of this e-book written by Clive Viney and the late Karen Phillipps. The first version was revealed 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 revealed in 2010 additionally by The Hong Kong Chook Watching Society, Hong Kong birders, of which there are rising numbers—and guests—are very properly served certainly.

I can’t assist evaluate with what we now have 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 revealed in 1953 from articles within the pre-war Hong Kong Naturalist since Herklots had misplaced his private notes through the Japanese Occupation. Color printing was enormously costly and the few plates that the publishers (South China Morning Put up) may 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 a lot of the new birds we had seen whereas out for a stroll.

In flip, Herklots and his birdwatching pals have been equally annoyed by the shortage of a reference e-book. He famous that La Touche’s Birds of Japanese China had appeared in components and had solely been accomplished in 1934. Herklots revolutionised life the the birdwatcher in Hong Kong within the Fifties, adopted by Viney and Phillipps within the late Nineteen Seventies. The Hong Kong Birdwatching Society has carried on that custom from its basis in 1957 not solely by taking on the preparation and publishing of books but additionally by producing annual experiences and checklists.

Extremely advisable however not low cost in U.Ok. In Hong Kong the e-book retails for HK$338 (£36). British booksellers (not but on Amazon) are quoting practically £50.

Lastly, I can’t resist displaying the again cowl of the brand new subject 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 totally different and someplace very particular. The editors couldn’t have made a more sensible choice.

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