Long Valley and Ho Sheung Heung Update (August 2021)
Weather was very unstable in the past two months. Rainfall in June exceeded monthly average by almost 30%. Furthermore, Hong Kong has been affected by a few tropical storms. Extreme weather in this period continuously challenged the flood prevention and drainage capability of the irrigation channel. In the recent regular field checking in Long Valley, the Long Valley team found no signs of serious flooding in the construction site (Picture 1), whilst we found the contractor has broken up a few farmland bunds near the irrigation channel to divert water to the channel. At the moment, we think that the irrigation channel has no problem in preventing flooding under adverse weather (Picture 2).
Our members have recently expressed concern over the potential risk of amphibians and reptiles being trapped by the vertical gabion walls of the irrigation channel and birds having difficulties in foraging in the irrigation channel. In fact, the Long Valley team is also concerned about how the ongoing construction works could have affected all wildlife living in Long Valley. Animal passage devices will be installed into the gabion wall alternatively on both sides of the irrigation channel with a 50 meters distance between two devices (Picture 3). The animal crossing device is a simple, inclined concrete block with a rough surface which will become exits for animals accidentally fallen into the channel. (Picture 4).
As mentioned in the last #Long Valley Regular Update, the contractor has suggested using excavators with a hydraulic breaker to remove the concrete platform of the substandard structures (https://www.facebook.com/hkbws/posts/3890337117722298). After further discussions, the contractor has changed to use small excavators to crush the concrete platform into pieces and removed the debris with tracked carriers. The move significantly reduced noise and disturbance to diurnal birds.
Lastly, we have bad news from the Ho Sheung Heung Management Agreement project. Large patches of paddies collapsed after weeks of heavy rain and tropical storms in June. The situation has improved after staffs from CA and HKBWS tied up the paddies into bundles to provide more support. However, rain storm hit again during harvest days in July. That did not only slow down our harvesting pace, but also triggered the early rice germination (Picture 5). This year, our harvest is only one fifth of the amount of normal years. We are now preparing for the second round of rice planting and looking forward to seeing the Yellow-breasted Buntings return.
My concern is that when LV turns into a wetland park, it would be disturbed, as more people without proper knowledge of birding visits, potentially causing disturbance such as pollution and noise. When I first started birding, I had no knowledge about disturbance, resulting me to walk directly past a rice field and disturb yellow breasted buntings. My concern is that similar things would happen. Are there any solutions about that?
Welcome to HKBWS Forum 香港觀鳥會討論區 (http://www.hkbws.org.hk/BBS/)