8             ECOLOGY

8.1          Introduction

8.1.1       Ecological Assessment Objectives

8.1.1.1       This chapter covers ecological issues arising as a consequence of the proposed   improvement works to Tung Chung Road between Lung Tseng Tau and Cheung Sha.  The objectives of the ecological study are as follows:

¨              to establish an ecological baseline for the study area, focusing on identifying key areas and key species present;

¨              to assess the ecological impacts of the road alignment;

¨              to develop feasible and effective mitigation measures for significant impacts;

¨              to determine whether residual, post mitigation impacts are acceptable; and

¨              to assess the post mitigation acceptability of the road alignment.

 

8.1.2       Study Area

8.1.2.1       As described in Section 1 of this report, the proposed alignment has been selected on the basis of a comprehensive option assessment of four northern and four southern alternative option combinations. At the commencement of the study, the Study Area was determined to be 500m from the outermost alignments.  For the purpose of completeness, the baseline surveys of each alignment option, including the selected alignment, were undertaken for during both the wet and dry seasons.  As the northern alignments were all within close proximity to each other, surveys in this area are relevant in the assessment to the off-line section of the northern section of the new road.  Information gathered on the broad southern study area, including options not selected (see Appendix B for option assessment), namely S2A, S2B and S3, has been provided in Appendix H in order to provide data on the species present in SE Lantau for reference.  However, only the area within 500m of the selected alignment is relevant for impact assessment purposes.

8.1.2.2       The habitat losses associated with the selected alignment option have been calculated based on the layout of the Project and associated works areas presented in Section 2. The losses include both the footprint of the permanent works and temporary losses which include the haul road and all works areas and working space required along the alignment (including that for the proposed permanent site drainage system).

8.2          Literature Review  

8.2.1       Background

8.2.1.1       The purpose of the literature review is to identify existing information on the habitats and species present within the study area.  Various reports and studies were consulted to extract relevant data on the flora and fauna present in the Study Area. Relevant books and scientific papers were also consulted to determine the impacts associated with road projects on fauna and these have been cited where appropriate. Much of the Study Area lies within Lantau South Country Park, with a small area falling within Lantau North Country Park. The broad corridor of the Study Area passes between the two highest peaks on Lantau (Lantau Peak, 934m, and Sunset Peak, 869m), and consequently drainage features are an important component of the landscape. There is only limited native secondary woodland within the Study Area, as the area is largely dominated by a grass–shrubland mosiac, tall shrbland and plantation woodland. Many of the streams draining the Study Area are steep due to the nature of the catchment and are of high water quality which is reflected in the fauna inhabiting them. The recent study Environmental Impact Assessment Report for Lantau North-South Road Link between Tai Ho and Mui Wo (Mouchel, 2000) provides a wealth of relevant information on the ecology for the current study and was, therefore, extensively consulted.

8.2.1.2       The existing literature provides a good baseline for species assessments of vascular plants (Siu, 2000; Wu and Lee, 2000; Xing et al., 2000) and avifauna (Carey et al., 2001). Standard references for the groups which were the subject of the present study include Goodyer (1992) and Reels (1996) for mammals, Karsen et al. (1998) and Lau and Dudgeon (1999) for herpetofauna, Chong and Dudgeon (1992) for freshwater fishes, Wilson (1997) for odonates and Walthew (1997) and Reels and Walthew (1998) for butterflies. These sources variously provide assessments on local species status, but, with the exception of Walthew (1997), invariably fail to provide clear criteria or definitions, which makes comparisons across groups somewhat subjective. None of the aforementioned literature fully addresses the question of regional or global species conservation status.

8.2.1.3       An attempt to provide information on conservation status has been made by Fellowes et al. (in press) ‘Wild animals to watch: terrestrial and freshwater fauna of conservation concern in Hong Kong’, which will be published in a forthcoming number of Memoirs of the Hong Kong Natural History Society. This paper is designed to facilitate ecological evaluations based on faunal species, conforming objectively and more accurately than has previously been possible with certain criteria in the Technical Memorandum (TM) of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (TMEIAO). The paper examines the local (Hong Kong), regional (southern China) and global restrictedness of native fauna species occurring in a wild state in Hong Kong, combined with an assessment of the vulnerability of populations, using the most reliable and up to date information available, and assigns a rating to each species accordingly. Thus, a species of ‘Local Concern’ may not be particularly threatened globally or regionally, but is rare or restricted in Hong Kong. A species of ‘Regional Concern’ may not be particularly threatened globally, but is rare or restricted in the region, while a species of ‘Global Concern’ is globally restricted to Hong Kong and southern China. Some species are regarded as being of ‘Potential Regional Concern’ or ‘Potential Global Concern’. While it is acknowledged that it is not fully satisfactory to utilise an unpublished baseline source, the paper has been adopted in the present study in order to complement to species evaluations derived from the published literature, as specified in the TMEIAO.

8.2.2       Fish

8.2.2.1       The only illustrated booklet on freshwater fish in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Freshwater Fishes (Man and Hodgkiss, 1981) is somewhat dated and covers only a small number of species (40) present locally. The text also contains a number of misidentifications and gives little information on local species distributions or conservation status.  A more informative source is the comprehensive checklist produced by Chong and Dudgeon (1992), which gives details of 96 indigenous fish species, including limited information on distribution and conservation status. More recently, Chan (2001) has added twenty more species to the Hong Kong list, and refined knowledge of species’ conservation status.

 

8.2.2.2       Freshwater fish have been relatively well-studied in the North Lantau area. Chong and Dudgeon (1992) reported that the Tung Chung Stream is the second-most species-rich stream in the Territory (after Tai Ho Stream, also on north Lantau), with 23 species of indigenous freshwater fish. The stream was until recently the only known site in Hong Kong for Beijiang Thick-lipped Barb Acrossocheilus wenchowensis beijiangensis.  However this fish has recently been recorded in the nearby Wong Lung Hang Stream (Chan, 1998).

 

8.2.3       Avifauna

8.2.3.1       Hong Kong has more than 400 naturally-present bird species, including several that are protected under international legislation (Carey et al., 2001), and all native bird species are protected in Hong Kong under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap. 170) (WAPO). Bird surveys were conducted during the previous feasibility study for the Widening of Tung Chung Road in 1996 (Mouchel, 1998).  Only a small number of species were noted although the birds were relatively abundant. Mostly widespread and common species which are resident were recorded including the Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis and Chinese Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis and Common Magpie Pica pica. Winter visitors in the form of the Common Buzzard Buteo buteo were also noted, as were summer visitors the Large Hawk Cuckoo Cuculus sparverioides and Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus.

 

8.2.3.2       The Hong Kong Birdwatching Society bird surveys between 1993 and 1995 noted a total of 33 species of birds and evidence was found of 9 species breeding.  The birds were mainly centred around the lowland areas in the North Tung Chung Valley and in the south nearer Cheung Sha.  Relatively rare species recorded included a juvenile Eurasian Eagle Owl Bubo bubo and a Bonelli’s Eagle Hieraaetus fasciatus. Reference has also been made to the recently published Avifauna of Hong Kong (Carey et al., 2001), which provides comprehensive information on the status and distribution of bird species within the SAR.

 

8.2.4       Herpetofauna

8.2.4.1       About 100 native species of reptiles and amphibians have been recorded in Hong Kong, including the endemic Romer’s Tree Frog Philautus romeri which is restricted to islands  (Karsen et al., 1998). Romer’s Tree Frog from Chek Lap Kok were, however,  bred in captivity and released at selected sites in the New Territories in the early 1990s. A number of rare and/or restricted species of native herpetofauna are known to occur within or adjacent to the Study Area. These include the Hong Kong Newt Paramesotriton hongkongensis, previously recorded from Sunset Peak (Lau and Dudgeon, 1999), which is globally restricted to Hong Kong and Guangdong (Karsen et al., 1998), and protected under WAPO. Also present is the endemic Romer’s Tree Frog, also protected under WAPO, which has been previously recorded in Tung Chung, Sunset Peak and Cheung Sha (Lau and Dudgeon, 1999), while the probable endemic Short-legged Toad Megophrys brachykolos has been recorded on Sunset Peak, Lantau Peak, Cheung Sha and Tong Fuk.

 

8.2.4.2       Other notable herpetofauna species previously known from within or adjacent to the Study Area include the Tokay Gecko Gekko gekko recorded from Tung Chung and the protected (WAPO) Big-headed Terrapin Platysternon megacephalum from Sunset Peak (Karsen et al., 1998), the Leaf-litter Toad Leptolalax pelodytoides, Lesser Spiny Frog Rana exilispinosa, and the Chinese Bullfrog Rana rugulosa (Lau and Dudgeon, 1999).

 

8.2.5       Mammals

8.2.5.1       Hong Kong has a number of native large mammal species, such as Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Chinese Porcupine, Chinese Leopard Cat, Seven-banded Civet, Masked Palm Civet, Ferret Badger and Chinese Otter (e.g., Hill and Phillipps, 1981).  With the exception of Wild Boar, all of these species are locally protected under WAPO, along with squirrels and all species of bat. Previous studies (Goodyear, 1992; Reels, 1996) have, however, found that most of Hong Kong’s larger mammal species are either very scarce or absent across Lantau Island. Barking Deer (Muntiacus sp.) are occasionally recorded on the island, although the majority of records are from the Mui Wo area (Reels, 1996).

 

8.2.6       Insects (Dragonflies and Butterflies)

8.2.6.1       The odonate fauna of Hong Kong extends to over 100 species, including several that are endemic, and has been described and assessed for conservation status by Wilson (1995; 1997). Wilson (1997) identified a forested area at 600m altitude on the northern slope of Sunset Peak as one of 23 key dragonfly sites in Hong Kong (two other key dragonfly sites were also located on Lantau, around Keung Shan). Streams on Sunset Peak are known to support populations of the endemic Rhipidolestes janetae (for which Sunset Peak is presently the only known site used by this species of damselfly in the world) and the near-endemics Sinosticta ogatai and Drepanosticta hongkongensis. S. ogatai and D. hongkongensis were previously considered Hong Kong endemics, but were recently discovered on one mountain in Shenzhen, adjacent to the Hong Kong border (Reels, 2001). Another species known to be present in the Study Area, the damselfly Agriomorpha fusca, was previously considered restricted to Hong Kong and Guangdong, but has recently also been recorded from Hainan (Wilson and Reels, 2001).

 

8.2.6.2       Over 200 species of butterfly have been recorded from Hong Kong (Bascombe, 1995; Bascombe et al., 1999). A useful account of the local status of butterfly species in Hong Kong was provided by Walthew (1997) later updated by Reels and Walthew (1998). There are no endemic species and, although data on regional rarity are scant, the majority of local species, including most of those that are considered rare in Hong Kong, appear to be widely distributed within southern China and the Asian tropics (Chou, 1994; Bascombe, 1995; Bascombe et al., 1999). The Birdwing Butterfly Troides helena is the only species of insect currently protected in Hong Kong. The species is well-established between Po Lin and Tung Chung (Young and Reels, 1998).

 

8.2.7       Vegetation

8.2.7.1        The local status of Hong Kong’s more than 2,000 species of vascular plants has recently been usefully summarised by Siu (2000), Wu and Lee (2000) and Xing et al. (2000). However, there is little literature available on the vegetation in the Study Area. Previous studies in the area have revealed that naturally developed woodland was present in the ravines along Tung Chung Road and these wooded areas represented old stands (Mouchel, 1998).  However, the majority of the vegetation in the area along Tung Chung Road was found to comprise a grassland and low shrubland mosiac, abandoned cultivation dominated by Ipomea spp. and natural tall shrubland with sometimes dense patches of native pine Pinus massoniana (Mouchel, 1998).

 

8.3          Field Survey Methodology

8.3.1       Background

8.3.1.1       The programme of field surveys was designed to close the data gaps identified during the literature review and, therefore, enable a detailed ecological assessment of the road alignment.  Field work focused on habitats and species identified in the literature review where adequate data were not available and on the habitats and species singled out as important in Annex 16 of the Technical Memorandum on Environmental Impact Assessment Process (TMEIA), specifically “important habitats where an ecological assessment will be necessary” and “species of conservation importance” (Technical Memorandum, Annex 16, Appendix A, Notes 2 and 3).  Other habitats and species groups were also surveyed to characterise the ecology baseline of the study area.

 

8.3.1.2       The surveys comprised both wet and dry season surveys between April 2001 and January 2002.  The scope of the surveys has included the following key faunal and floral groups:

 

¨              fish;

¨              birds;

¨              reptiles;

¨              amphibians;

¨              mammals;

¨              dragonflies;

¨              butterflies;

¨              vegetation; and

¨              marine intertidal survey.

 

8.3.1.3       The purpose of the ecological surveys has been to focus on the optimal census technique and survey period when each animal group is likely to be encountered. The overall quality of the Study is dependent on selecting the correct survey period and survey technique.

 

8.3.2       Fish 

8.3.2.1      The fish surveys were spread across the 9 month survey period, covering both wet and dry seasons. All streams likely to be impacted by the project were surveyed. Many freshwater fish in Hong Kong breed in the spring and the presence of large numbers of small loaches (Balitoridae and Cobitidae) and gobies (Gobiidae) in hillstreams during July and August indicates that reproduction in these species is initiated on or before the onset of the summer monsoon (Dudgeon and Corlett, 1994). Observations of fish are, however, easier during the dry season when streams are easier to survey. The rationale behind the timing of the fish surveys was as follows:

 

¨              Wet season - breeding season for many secretive species. Many fish are more visible during this time, which assists in their observation, even though stream discharge is high.

¨              Dry season - generally a better time to survey fish, since streams have less water in them and, therefore, it is easier to wade in and observe species present and less water leads to fewer refugia for fish which also improves observations.

8.3.2.2      At least one highly restricted fish species Beijiang Thick-lipped Barb Acrossocheilus wenchowensis beijiangensis is known to occur in streams in the vicinity of the Study Area. Streams occurring within the Study Area were walked and their fish fauna identified with the aid of a hand-net of 1mm diameter mesh size. Underwater observation using a diving mask and snorkel was also employed on the larger streams. The observer remained at each stream until satisfied that all species present had been recorded.

 

8.3.2.3      The fish surveys were spread throughout the 9 month survey period covering both the wet and dry seasons, as follows: June, August, September, November, December 2001 and January 2002 comprising at least 1 day in each survey month. Wet season fish surveys were conducted on 21 June 2001, 11 August 2001, and 14 and 17 September 2001. An additional late wet season survey of Fong Yuen marsh was conducted on 1 October 2001. Dry season surveys were conducted on 18, 25 November 2001, 1, 29 and 30 December 2001 and 19, 20, 27 and 29 January 2002.

 

8.3.3      Avifauna

8.3.3.1       The majority of avifauna surveys were conducted in the early-morning onwards as bird activity is generally higher during this period and both activity and singing decrease later in the day, particularly during hotter periods (Gibbons et al., 1996). A combined use of both line transects and point count methods were used to accurately survey the avifauna present in the Study Area. In addition, night surveys were conducted in order to assess the activity of nocturnal species. It should be noted, however, that most bird species are active during the day and only a limited number of nocturnal species such as owls, nightjars and species that frequently call at night including the Slaty-legged Crake (Rallina eurizonoides ) are likely to be encountered after sunset.

 

8.3.3.2       To achieve an optimal census of birds present, approximately bi-monthly bird surveys were scheduled over the 9 month period as specified in the Brief. It should be noted that 2 surveys were conducted in each month of May, July, October and November and one survey in both December 2001 and January 2002 (total of 10 survey days) together with a further 4 surveys conducted at night during May, July, October and December (total of 4 nights). Slightly more effort needs to be spent on the avifauna surveys compared to the other animal groups that are either relatively sessile or confined to a particular habitat (for example, herpetofauna and fish) as birds are relatively vagile and many species are only present in Hong Kong or in particular habitats at certain seasons. The greater focus on bird surveys is, therefore, due to higher variability in species present over time rather than greater anticipated impacts due to the road improvement on this highly mobile animal group. There were, therefore, a total of 14 survey days over the 9 month period. 

 

8.3.3.3       The rationale for conducting the avifaunal surveys during the months of May, July, October, December 2001 and January 2002 was to ensure that resident species, summer visitors, autumn migrants and winter visitors are detected (note that these seasonal terms are used for reference only and although they follow the terminology used in the majority of local bird studies, they are not strictly correct in Hong Kong where the terms wet or dry season are applicable). The periods of the year that are notable for avifauna activity and/or migration patterns in Hong Kong are detailed below (adapted from Viney et al., 1996) and adjusted to reflect patterns in shrubland and forest from observations by Kwok (1996) and Leven (2001) as well as previous surveys on Lantau Island (Mouchel 2000):

 

¨              January-March: wintering species are present and cold weather can lead to the migration of birds from Mainland China. However, both numbers and diversity of bird species in shrubland and forest declines progressively.

¨              April- May: spring passage of many migrant bird species. By mid-April the breeding season of resident species and newly-arrived summer visitors is underway.

¨              June-July: hot and humid period; numbers of local breeding birds are highest  but overall species diversity is at its annual low point.

¨              August-October: autumn passage of birds starts in mid-August and continues until early November. Arriving winter visitors are present from mid-October.

¨              November-December: resident and wintering species are present and species diversity in shrubland and forest is highest.

8.3.3.4       On each monthly visit, the Study Area was surveyed so that the entire alignment was adequately covered. Methodology involved randomised point counts (Bibby et al., 1992) and line transects. Point counts were undertaken at 17 locations in woodland, shrubland and plantation woodland at sites representative of the whole Study Area. At each point count location, birds were recorded (either seen or heard) and associated habitat noted for 10 minutes within an approximately 300m wide radius. Any signs of nesting or breeding were also recorded. Daytime wet-season surveys of the Study Area were conducted on 19 and 26 May, 14 and 28 July 2001. In order to accurately assess the presence of nocturnal species, night surveys were conducted on 31 May and 30 July 2001 with binoculars and a powerful torch. Daytime dry-season surveys of the Study Area were conducted on 6 and 20 October,  3 and 25 November, 15 December 2001 and 12 January 2002. A night survey was conducted on 23 October 2001 and also on 28 December.

 

8.3.3.5       For the purpose of the avifauna assessment, the Study Area was divided into two broad areas, namely:

 

¨              northern section of the alignment (Pak Kung Au to Tung Chung); and

¨              southern section of the alignment (from beyond the crest to YWCA at Cheung Sha).

8.3.3.6       The following literature were consulted to provide information on the status of existing avifauna present in the Study Area and provide an indication of the rarity of species present both in Hong Kong and Southern China.

 

¨              Birds of Hong Kong and South China (Viney et al., 1996);

¨              A Field Guide to the Birds of China (Yen et al., 1996);

¨              A Field Guide to Birds of China (MacKinnon and Phillipps, 2000); and

¨              The Avifauna of Hong Kong (Carey et al., 2001).

8.3.4       Reptiles and Amphibians

8.3.4.1       Several restricted amphibian species have been recorded previously from locations within the Study Area. These include the Hong Kong Newt Paramesotriton hongkongensis, the toads Leptolalax pelodytoides and Megophrys brachykolos (possibly endemic), and the endemic Romer’s Tree Frog Philautus romeri (Lau and Dudgeon, 1999). Of these, Hong Kong Newt and Romer’s Tree Frog are protected under Hong Kong legislation. With the exception of Hong Kong Newt, these important species are very difficult to detect unless they are calling. Breeding season for these species tends to start in late winter or early spring and continue until late summer (Karsen et al., 1998). It was critical that the scheduling of the herpetological survey coincided with this period. This component of the survey was, therefore, conducted in the late spring and early summer predominantly during the day but also at night when certain species can be heard calling. The vast majority of records obtained for Romer’s Tree Frog, Short-legged Toad and Lesser Spiny Frog were of breeding males.

 

8.3.4.2       Wet-season surveys were conducted on 13, 14, 19, and 29 June 2001. Additional dry season surveys, aimed primarily at reptiles, were conducted on 19 and 27 October, and 4 and 29 November 2001. Surveys included both day-time and night-time visits during which the Study Area was covered on foot. Reptiles and amphibians were detected by active searching in all habitats, with particular attention given to streams and watercourses. Frogs and toads were surveyed by auditory, as well as visual detection.

 

8.3.5       Mammals

8.3.5.1       Mammal surveys did not include any element of trapping, since this is an intrusive and potentially harmful technique, and the main conservation interest lies in larger mammals, which appear to be scarce on Lantau (Goodyer, 1992; Reels, 1996). Hence, a simple non-intrusive survey methodology of day-time searches for mammal signs (prints, burrows and scats), and night-time spot-lighting or auditory detection of larger mammals (most of which are primarily nocturnal) was adopted. Experience suggests that some small carnivores such as Seven-banded Civet have the habit of defecating at exposed sites such as on top of large boulders or on the aprons of hill-side graves. Areas of damp exposed soil, which commonly occur along unpaved hill footpaths and along the banks of streams, are good areas to search for prints, many of which can be identified to species level. Burrows are easier to detect after hill-fires have cleared the vegetation, or when recent excavation has left a visible mound of earth. All such signs were looked for during the surveys. These were spread across the 9 month survey period, covering both wet and dry seasons, and were undertaken on 13, 20 and 28 July,  14, 15 and 17 September, and 30 November and 3 December 2001 and 16 and 22 January 2002. In addition to these designated mammal surveys, any signs of mammal activity were also recorded during the insect and herpetofauna surveys.

 

8.3.5.2       There is no a priori reason to assume that larger land mammals will be more active in any particular month of the year, but there are good reasons for scheduling surveys in both wet and dry seasons. In the wet season, there is a greater likelihood of finding paw or hoof-prints in wet mud, whereas in the dry season there is a higher chance of encountering droppings before they are washed away by rain, and of observing mammal burrows which may have been exposed by hill fire. 

 

8.3.6       Insects

8.3.6.1       The focus of the insect surveys was on dragonfly, damselfly and butterfly groups. These insect groups are generally known to be indicators of a high quality habitat and the dragonflies and damselflies require clean freshwater for the successful completion of the larval stages of their lifecycle. Where large numbers of these insect groups are present, they can provide a useful indication that the habitat is of high quality and can also be utilised by other insect groups: different butterflies have different larval food plants (and therefore high butterfly diversity is a good indicator of high floral diversity), while dragonflies and damselflies are exclusively predaceous on other arthropods.

 

Dragonflies and Damselflies

 

8.3.6.2       Dragonflies and damselflies (odonates) tend to have adult stages which are restricted to a few months of the year. Most species begin to emerge as adults in April or May. Some have a flight period (during which it is easiest to survey them) which lasts only a few weeks. These tend to be species which are dependent on lotic (running water) habitats such as streams. Since the majority of aquatic habitats within the Study Area are streams or catchwater channels (as opposed to marshes or ponds), it is reasonable to suppose that there may be species occurring within the Study Area which have a short flight period, ending by mid-summer. It was, therefore, necessary to focus the surveys for adult dragonflies in the early summer, in order to maximise the chances of recording such species before they disappeared as adults.

 

8.3.6.3       In addition, many dragonflies (particularly in the family Libellulidae) which are less restricted to lotic habitats, have a flight period lasting throughout the summer and through until November. Hence, further surveys were conducted in September and October, to try to ensure that any species which may have been missed in the earlier surveys were recorded. Also, during this period, fieldwork is less likely to be adversely impacted by rainy weather, during which many dragonflies are difficult to survey. Note that surveys later than November are of little value because most dragonflies will no longer be on the wing.

 

8.3.6.4       Three endemic or near-endemic damselflies occur in the vicinity of the Study Area: Sinosticta ogatai, Drepanosticta hongkongensis and Rhipidolestes janetae; the latter is currently known only from Sunset Peak (Wilson, 1997). Flight periods of these important species tend to be restricted to late spring or early summer, while larger odonates likely to be present at the Study Area would have a somewhat more extended flight period, lasting until autumn (e.g., Wilson, 1995). It is, therefore, additionally important that this component of the survey be conducted in late spring or early summer and, for the late-season species, up to but not beyond November. Wet season surveys included day-time visits during which the entire Study Area was walked, so far as access allowed. Special attention was given to habitat often frequented by dragonflies such as streams and riparian shrubland/woodland. Within these broad habitats, various micro-habitats (riffles, pools, small cut-off ponds, mossy banks, seepages, and overhanging vegetation) support different dragonfly species, so all such micro-habitats were investigated.

 

8.3.6.5    Dragonflies were identified with the aid of binoculars, and a telescopic hand net was also used to capture specimens for identification in the hand (when necessary). Four full days were spent in the early wet season (20, 21, 23 and 30 June) although additional less intensive surveys were also conducted on 13, 14, 19 and 29 June 2001 (total of 8 early wet season survey days). A further four days were spent in the late wet season (14, 15, 17 and 27 September) for a total of 12 days on the wet season dragonfly survey. Dry season surveys were conducted on 14, 16, 17, 19 and 27 October, and 4, 26, 27 and 29 November 2001.

 

Butterflies

 

8.3.6.6    Several locally rare or uncommon species are known to occur in the vicinity of the Study Area. These include Taractrocera ceramas, Graphium cloanthus, Ypthima motschulski, Troides aeacus and the Birdwing Butterfly Troides helena. The latter is the only insect species currently protected under Hong Kong legislation. Butterfly surveys were conducted in tandem with Dragonfly surveys, using similar methodology. Although most butterflies are readily observed if present, some species are cryptic and stay close to the ground in shady wooded areas. Others tend to stay on top of the canopy, making only short rapid flights before settling out of view. Accordingly, both of these microhabitats were investigated, by ground searching and by sweeps with a long-handled (5m) butterfly net. Four full days were spent in the early wet season (20, 21, 23 and 30 June) although additional less intensive surveys were also conducted on 13, 14, 19 and 29 June 2001 (total of 8 early wet season survey days). A further four days were spent in the late wet season (14, 15, 17 and 27 September) for a total of 12 days on the wet season butterfly survey. Dry season surveys were conducted on 14, 16, 17, 19 and 27 October, and 4, 26, 27 and 29 November 2001.

 

8.3.7       Habitats and Vegetation

8.3.7.1       A habitat survey was conducted to identify and delineate the distribution of different ecological habitats found within the Study Area, making use of the latest available aerial photographs from the Lands Department and supplemented by a reconnaissance field survey. Reconnaissance field surveys were undertaken to field check and verify the information with focus on those areas to be directly affected by the proposed development. General habitat attributes such as vegetation type, structural complexity, or degree of disturbance were noted with photographs from the field taken during the field study. A habitat map of the Study Area was prepared at a scale of 1:5000.

 

8.3.7.2       A floral survey was conducted to identify the presence within the Study Area of any plant species of conservation interest. The surveys were mainly conducted during the early stage of the study, but supplemental field surveys were conducted later in the year. Surveys used a stratified sampling technique and covered all representative habitat types found during the habitat mapping. Stratified sampling involves dividing the Study Area into sub-areas (strata) that differ in vegetation density and then these sub-areas are randomly surveyed. The sub-area is selected prior to the field investigation through preliminary data and aerial photographs. This method is an efficient means of sampling habitat types present and provides better results than by simple random sampling.

 

8.3.7.3       Standard sampling techniques such as transect or quadrat sampling were adopted to provide a quantitative/semi-quantitative estimate, and all species found within the sampling unit were identified and recorded to species level whenever possible. The location of rare or protected plant species was also noted, and the number of individuals present counted. Floral characteristics including species list, species richness, relative abundance and community structure were established for each habitat type found within the Study Area. During the wet season, a floral survey was conducted on 22, 23, and 27 to 29 July (five days) and a habitat map of the whole extended survey area produced. A detailed vegetation survey focussing specifically on the selected alignment (the Study Area) was conducted on 29 and 30 October, and 5 and 10 November 2001.

 

8.3.7.4       The evaluations of conservation status of plant species from the field surveys are derived primarily from the comprehensive studies published by Siu (2000), Wu and Lee (2000) and Xing et al. (2000).

8.3.8      Intertidal Survey (Pui O Wan)

8.3.8.1       The project will have an operational drainage system which will collect all road runoff and discharge it at either end of the scheme.  In the southern section, the drainage channel will run from South Lantau Road down the slope to the rocky shore at Pui O Wan and the pipeline will be built in advance in order that it can be used during the construction phase to discharge site runoff from part of the soutehrn sectionof the road.  In order to determine the impacts of the construction and operational discharges on the ecology in this area, a shoreline intertidal survey was undertaken on 1 March 2002.

8.3.8.2       Marine intertidal biota show distinct patterns of zonation on the shore. In order to quantitatively assess the flora and fauna present, a baseline intertidal ecological survey was conducted at the proposed location of the drainage channel at Pui O Wan.  The species present on the lower shore are typically marine-dependent whereas those species found higher up the shore are better adapted to a terrestrial habitat and this causes distinct patterns of zonation on intertidal shores. In addition to showing zonation patterns, rocky shore flora and fauna are also typically distributed patchily. In order to survey the shoreline accurately, the sampling method employed belt transects at different vertical heights up the shore and randomly placed quadrats in order to ensure that an accurate (non-biased) assessment was made of the species present.

8.3.8.3       At the outfall location, three 10m belt transects were laid (perpendicular to the shoreline) at 1mPD (TM3), 1.5mPD (TM2) and 2mPD (TM1) up the shore. Owing to the condition of the tide, transects further afield from the outfall location were placed at 2mPD.  These two additional 10m belt transects were laid at ~ 30m apart to the left (TL1) and to the right (TR1) of TM1. Ten 0.25m2 quadrats were placed randomly along each transect. Substrate type, faunal species abundance and percentage cover of macroalgae were recorded within each quadrat.

8.4          Baseline Ecological Conditions

8.4.1       Habitats

8.4.1.1   Habitats in the Study Area were dominated by tall shrubland, shrubland-grassland mosaic and plantation woodland, with some relatively extensive patches of secondary woodland. Numerous streams, many of them pristine, traverse these habitats throughout the Study Area. A summary of the overall coverage of habitat types in the Study Area is shown in Table 8.1 below and photographs of the different habitats present are shown in Figures 8.1 to 8.3.

 

              Table 8.1      Coverage of the Different Habitat Types Within the Study Area 

Habitat Type

Area (ha)

Secondary woodland

193.6

Plantation woodland

81.4

Tall shrubland

131.7

Shrubland-grassland mosaic

115.3

Grassland

43.5

Stream and riparian

5.7

Agricultural land

3.4

Wasteland

3.12

Freshwater marsh (Fong Yuen)

1.12

Village area

23.0

              Note: Area calculated as broad alignment 500m either side of the Works Area

 

Secondary Woodland 

 

8.4.1.2       The distribution of secondary woodland within the Study Area as a whole is patchy and fragmented. As indicated in the habitat map (Figure 8.4), this habitat type is mostly found in the northern part of the Study Area, on the west side of the existing Tung Chung Road, whereas on the southern side of the Study Area secondary woodland patches are mainly confined to the vicinity of rural villages (Cheung Sha Ha Tsuen and Cheung Sha Sheung Tsuen) or within valley ravines. There is also a patch at Wong Ka Wai in the extreme north of the Study Area.

 

8.4.1.3       The habitat characteristics of the secondary woodland patches within the Study Area vary with their location and the growth form (such as canopy shape and foliage-coverage) of the dominant species. In general, all of the patches have a semi-closed to closed canopy and an average height ranging from 5 to 14m.  The under-storey of the habitat is mostly well developed and densely vegetated with a range of shrubby and herbaceous plant species, including saplings of native tree species. For those secondary woodland patches located around rural villages, their canopy is mostly closed and has an average height of over 8m.  The sub-canopy is in general complex in structure with numerous climbing species intermingled; and the under-storey growth is vigorous with thick leaf litter.  The dominant tree species found within this habitat type are mainly native (such as Ficus microcarpa, Litsea glutinosa, Microcos paniculatus, Celtis tetrandra and Bridelia tomentosa), and some economically important tree species such as Dimocarpus longan and Litchi chinensis could be found on the edges of some forest patches, particularly close to villages. It is noted that disturbance in this type of secondary woodland is generally minimal, and the majority of the plant species are in good condition.

 

8.4.1.4       For the secondary woodland areas located along the side of the existing Tung Chung Road, these are mostly elongated in shape with a high edge-to-area ratio, and the species found are composed of a mix of native trees and other shrubby or grassy species that are commonly to be found in the understorey of secondary woodland and on the shrubland-grassland mosaic on the surrounding hill-slopes. Nevertheless, trees of considerable size such as Celtis tetranda, Ficus variegata, Schefflera octophylla and Microcos paniculatus (> 12 m in height) were quite common within this type of secondary woodland habitat. 

 

8.4.1.5       The secondary woodland areas established on the hillslopes or within ravines have generally similar habitat characteristics to those in the lowland areas, in which the canopy is closed and the sub-canopy is well-stratified with dense under-storey growth; except that the structural complexity is related to the topographic location of the patch and the patches on hillsides or in ravines usually have a higher abundance of climber and fern species in the sub-canopy layer. In addition, this type of secondary woodland is comparatively more natural with little human disturbance because of the steepness and remoteness of the area.

 

8.4.1.6       Several plant species of conservation interest were found within the secondary woodland (see Section 8.4.10) and all of them were located in higher altitudes where human disturbance is minimal.  It should be noted, however, that the secondary woodland type to be affected by the proposed route alignment is limited to those patches located along the northern section of the existing Tung Chung Road (from Lung Tseng Tau to Pak Kung Au) and around the villages located at the south-east of the Study Area, on or near the South Lantau Road (Cheung Sha Ha Tsuen and Cheung Sha Sheung Tsuen).

 

               Plantation Woodland

 

8.4.1.7       Plantation woodland, in this study, is defined as areas planted and dominated with exotic tree species which are naturalized in Hong Kong, such as Acacia confusa and Tristania conferta.  Within the Study Area, this habitat type is mainly located at the hill slope around Pak Kung Au, along the water catchment, on the eastern hill-slope of the current Tung Chung Road (on the southern side), and along the South Lantau Road. The plantation forest patches within the Study Area are mainly planted with Acacia confusa and Tristania conferta, and occasionally with Pinus massoniana and Casuarina equisetifolia. All of these species are widely planted in Hong Kong because of their adaptability to poor soil. 

 

8.4.1.8       With respect to the size of the trees and the habitat characteristics of the plantation woodland, they can be differentiated into three types according to their age.  Those patches which are located along the water catchments and on both sides of the South Lantau Road are more mature and have a canopy height ranging from 12 to 14m. Many native tree species of considerable height (>8m) were found established in the sub-canopy of these mature plantations. The habitat characteristics of this plantation forest as a whole resemble those of secondary woodland where the under-storey growth is densely covered by a mix of native woody and herbaceous species; except that the dominant species in the canopy layer is the planted exotic Acacia confusa.

 

8.4.1.9       For the plantation woodland established on the hill-slope around Pak Kung Au, the woodland is dominated by Acacia confusa and has a semi-open canopy at the height of around from 6 to 10m.  The structural complexity of the sub-canopy of this plantation patch is relatively simple and the size of the native tree species such as Litsea glutinosa and Mallotus paniculatus are on average usually below 5m. Nevertheless, the under-storey growth of this plantation woodland is quite dense and vigorous.

 

8.4.1.10   The plantation woodland found on the hill-slope on the east of the existing Tung Chung Road on the southern side of the Study Area, below the plantation woodland described in the foregoing paragraph, is mainly planted with Tristania conferta and the age of the habitat is in general younger compared to other plantation patches at lower elevations, as reflected by the size of the trees (ranging from 6m to 14m) and the habitat complexity of the woodland which is relatively simple and open with few native tree and climbing plant species.  It is noted that the sub-canopy of the woodland is mainly covered by shrubby and grassy species that are commonly found in open shrubland. 

 

 Tall Shrubland

 

8.4.1.11   Tall shrubland within the Study Area is patchy and scattered across the hill-slopes. This habitat type has a height ranging from 2m to 4m, and is densely populated with a mix of native tree and shrubby plant species.  Since this habitat type is an intermediate stage in the succession pathway, the species composition was found to be very similar to other secondary woodland established within the Study Area. Species found commonly in this habitat type included some pioneer tree species such as Sapium discolor, Rhus chinensis and Mallotus paniculatus; the shrub Litsea rotundifolia and Rhaplolepis indica, the climbers Embelia ribes and Dalbergia hancei; as well as the herbs Dianella ensifolia and Dicranopteris pedata.

 

Shrubland-grassland mosiac

 

8.4.1.12   The shrubland-grassland mosaic is composed of a range of plant species showing  various growth forms (from herbaceous ferns to woody tree species) that are patchily distributed on the hill-slopes within the Study Area. Generally, this habitat type is open in structure and has a height ranging from 0.2 to 2m. Erosion of the hill-slope where the shrubland-grassland mosaic is established is minimal, but rocky outcrops are a common feature on the hill-slopes.  Moreover, it is believed that part of this mosaic may be disturbed frequently by hill-fire as evidenced by the presence of patches of the fire-resistant fern Dicranopteris pedata, especially in the area behind the burial ground in the northern part of the Study Area where hill-fire was observed during the detailed survey. Common species found in this habitat included the grasses Ischaemum sp. and Cymbopogon sp.; the herbs Helicteres angustifolia and Hedyotis acutangular; the climbers Embelia laeta and Mellitia nitida; as well as the shrubs Backea fruticosa, Ilex asprella and Rhodomyrtus tomentosa.

 

Grassland

 

8.4.1.13   Grassland within the Study Area is mainly located at higher elevations on the hill-slopes.  The structure of this habitat type is in general open and depending on the species, local topography and season, the height of the vegetation ranges from 0.3m to 1.5m.  This habitat type is differentiated from the shrublnad-grassland mosiac becuase woody plant species within the habitat, if present, were mostly in small patches and restricted to areas sheltered from the wind.  Species diversity of the grassland as a whole was found to be poor and dominated by Arundinella setosa, Ischaemum sp. and Cymbopogon sp.

 

Stream and Riparian

 

8.4.1.14   Typical freshwater habitat types within the Study Area include rocky, reasonably steep and pristine hillstreams, with steep cascades, riffles, pools and occasional small cut-off ponds. In addition there are numerous small seepages with damp mossy banks, particularly in well-wooded areas, which also provide habitat for certain aquatic fauna (such as Romer’s Tree Frog, Short-legged Toad, and a number of stenotopic damselfly species). The streams pass through various vegetated habitats such as secondary woodland, tall shrubland and shrubland-grassland mosaic, and vegetation in the riparian habitat (i.e., along the banks of the streams) is generally contiguous with that of the surrounding habitat (but where streams pass through grassland at higher more exposed elevations, there is invariably a riparian corridor of more shrubby vegetation established, due to the relatively moist and sheltered location). In order to facilitate the description of species-habitat quality on a stream by stream basis, individual streams were numbered (Figure 8.5).

 

8.4.1.15   Some tree species are more closely associated with stream banks, and common riverside trees in the Study Area include Adina pilulifera, Saurauria tristyla and Glochidion zeylanicum. There is also a small freshwater marsh at Fong Yuen in the north of the Study Area (see Section 8.4.1.19 below) which is drained by the Tung Chung Stream, and a long concrete-enveloped catchwater channel intercepting streams in the southern part of the Study Area at an altitude of approximately 100m, although several of these streams (e.g., Cheung Sha Sheung Tsuen Stream) retain flow to sea level.

 

8.4.1.16   The Study Area is bisected by an east-west  watershed running between Sunset Peak and Lantau Peak, which divides the area into a northern and a southern drainage system. Drainage in the north is dominated by the relatively large (in Hong Kong) Tung Chung Stream. This stream has several tributaries and is one of the few larger watercourses in Hong Kong that has not been subjected to significant pollution impacts (Dudgeon and Corlett, 1994). Tung Chung Stream is also considered to be an important habitat for numerous species of freshwater fish, some of which are of conservation importance. The stream primarily passes through secondary woodland and tall shrubland in its upper reaches. In its lower reaches the stream is a broad (6-8m) low-gradient watercourse, draining through agricultural and rural  habitats. There is a small marsh draining into this stream at Fong Yuen, near the northern end of the proposed road development. It should be noted, however, that Tung Chung Stream has been channelised over the lower stretches, although the channelised section is currently the focus of ecological restoration works by the TDD.

 

8.4.1.17   Drainage in the southern part of the Study Area includes a relatively large natural catchment in the west, occupied by the Cheung Sha Stream. To the east, natural drainage has been considerably disrupted by a catchwater channel, which intercepts and diverts drainage of several small streams. The largest streams remaining are the Cheung Sha Sheung Tsuen Stream and the Shek Mun Kap Stream. These streams pass through shrubland-grassland mosaic, tall shrub, plantation and, in the lower reaches, secondary woodland.

 

8.4.1.18   Many of the numerous watercourses within the southern part of the Study Area had depauperate fish fauna due to being too small and steep (resulting in exceptionally rapid flow rates), or conversely, with insufficient discharge to support fish life on an annual basis. Although fish were present in the concrete channels and pools, these habitats are artificial and not considered important habitats for the stream fish fauna native to the Study Area which are typically found in rocky stream beds with cool, fast flowing, well-oxygenated water.

Freshwater Marsh (Fong Yuen)

 

8.4.1.19   A patch of freshwater marsh is located at Fong Yuen on the west of Tung Chung Road near Lung Tseng Tau. This marsh habitat is believed to have originated from an abandoned agricultural field with hard-pan development, which becomes flooded with water during the wet season. Several small natural drainage channels (~ 30 to 50cm in width) were found within the marsh, however, and the presence of fish indicates that the marsh is permanent rather than seasonal. It should be noted that although the vegetation within the marsh is mainly grassy and only has a height range from 0.3 to 1m, it is relatively structurally complex in terms of the micro-habitats present, such as running water, standing water and presence of vegetation of different forms. Species found to be common in this freshwater marsh include the herbs Panicum typheron, Digitaria sp. and Cyperus sp., the climbers Mikania micrantha and Ipomoea sp., and the shrub Ludwigia adscendens.

 

Wasteland

 

8.4.1.20   Wasteland is dominated by mainly weedy herbaceous vegetation which is ruderal in nature, and is mostly to be found in heavily disturbed or previously developed areas. Within the Study Area this habitat type is restricted to the extreme northern part, which has been disturbed as a consequence of activities associated with the Tung Chung new town development. In general, the species diversity of this habitat is poor and its structural complexity is simple.  Dominant species are mainly herbaceous; such as the grasses Panicum maxima, Miscanthus sinensis, Apluda mutica and Neyraudia arundinacea; as well as the climbers Mikania micrantha and Ipomoea cairica. 

 

Agricultural Field

 

8.4.1.21   Agricultural fields are mainly scattered among the rural areas in the northern and southern ends of the Study Area.  It is noted that most of the agricultural lands are actively farmed, with those established around Shek Mun Kap planted with fruit trees and ornamental plants such as Litchi chinensis, while those established along the South Lantau Road are planted with vegetables such as Brassica chinensis, Brassica alboglabra, Musa paradisiaca, and Saccharum officinarum.  Species diversity of the agricultural habitat is found to be poor as a whole because of the management practices applied.

 

Village Area

 

8.4.1.22   The village area habitat mainly includes those areas around rural villages in the northern and southern part of the Study Area (Wong Ka Wai, Shek Mun Kap, Cheung Sha Ha Tsuen, Cheung Sha Sheung Tsuen) as well as the burial ground and service reservoir along Tung Chung Road. This habitat type has received intensive anthropogenic influences and natural ecological resources were virtually absent.

 

8.4.2      Fauna Background

8.4.2.1   A summary of the faunal survey results from the Study Area is presented in this section, with raw data together with data from the non-preferred alignment options provided in Appendix H for reference. The specific grid reference, Countryside Series map of Lantau (Editon 2, 1996), for certain faunal groups (species of conservation interest) is provided on Figures 8.14 to 8.18  m,to facilitate locating these species to individual sites in the study area. The summary covers the Study Area as a whole. However, in order to assess the quality of the habitats present, species are placed in the context of the different habitats within the Study Area in Section 8.5. Location plans indicating the broad areas surveyed in the northern section of the alignment is presented in Figure 8.6. The areas surveyed in the southern alignment are presented in Figures 8.7 to 8.12. Photographs of the ecological characteristics and species present in the Study Area are presented in Figures 8.13a to 8.13b.

 

8.4.3       Fish

8.4.3.1   Typical freshwater fish habitat types within the Study Area include rocky, relatively steep hillstreams, which are common on both the northern and southern sides, although the largest stream in the Study Area, Tung Chung Stream in the north, also has an extensive downstream stretch through gentle gradient. This stream has several tributaries and is one of the few larger watercourses in Hong Kong that has not been subjected to significant pollution (Dudgeon and Corlett, 1994). Tung Chung Stream is also considered to be an important habitat to numerous species of freshwater fish. There is a small marsh draining into this stream at Fong Yuen, near the northern end of the proposed road development. The stream has been channelised over the lower stretches, although the channelised section is currently the focus of ecological restoration works by the TDD. There is a concrete-lined catchwater channel in the south of the Study Area, and pools formed by impoundment of streams. Many of the streams in the southern part of the Study Area drain into the Cheung Sha Stream, which is also known to support an important fish fauna, as detailed below and presented in Appendix H.  The Cheung Sha Sheung Tsuen Stream in the southeast of the Study Area (Stream No. 40) supports the same important fish species as Cheung Sha Stream. All streams crossed by the alignment, as shown in Figure 8.5, were surveyed but due to no flow or apparent seasonal flow in many, fish species were not detected in most of them. Streams where no fish were recorded during the surveys were 1-7, 9-14, 16-20, 25, 31, 33-39, 43 and 44. A total of 18 fish species were recorded, of which four are of significant conservation interest, as summarised below in Table 8.2.

 

Table 8.2         Fish Species Recorded in the Study Area, June  2001 to January 2002

Common Name

Scientific Name

HK Status

Abundance

Remarks

Beijiang Thick-lipped Barb

Acrossocheilus wenchowensis beijiangensis

Rare

***

 

Conservation interest. Tung Chung Stream, Stream No. 15

Black-headed Thick-lipped Goby

Awaous melanocephalus

Rare

**

Conservation interest. Cheung Sha Stream, Stream No. 40

Half-banded Barb

Capoeta semifasciolata

Common

**

Fong Yuen Marsh, Tung Chung Stream

Chinese Catfish

Clarius fuscus

Uncommon

*

Fong Yuen Marsh

-

Ctenogobius duospilus

Common

***

Cheung Sha Stream, Tung Chung Stream, Stream No.s 8, 22-24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 40, 42

-

Ctenogobius giurinus

Common

***

Stream No. 40

Brown Sleeper

Eleotris fuscus

Uncommon

*

Cheung Sha Steam

-

Liniparhomaloptera disparis

Common

***

Cheung Sha Stream, Tung Chung Stream, Stream No.’s 29, 30, 40, 42

Paradise Fish

Macropodus opercularis

Uncommon

**

Fong Yuen Marsh

-

Monopterus albus

Common

**

Tung Chung Stream

Banded Loach

Noemacheilus fasciolatus

Common

***

Tung Chung Stream, Cheung Sha Stream, Stream No.’s 15, 22-24, 26, 40, 42

Mountain Loach

Oreonectes platycephalus

Very common

**

Stream No.’s 32, 40

Ricefish

Oryzias curvinotus

Rare

**

Conservation interest. Fong Yuen Marsh

Predaceous Chub

Parazacco spilurus

Common

***

Listed as ‘Vulnerable’ in China Red Data Book. Tung Chung Stream

-

Pseudogastromyzon myersi

Common

***

Cheung Sha Stream, Tung Chung Stream, Stream No.’s 15, 21-24, 42

-

Silurus cochinchinensis

Common

**

Cheung Sha Stream, Tung ChungStream, Stream No’s 15, 27

Philippine Neon Goby

Stiphodon atropurpureus

Very rare

***

Conservation interest. Tung Chung Stream, Cheung Sha Stream, Stream No. 40

Swordtail

Xiphophorus helleri

Locally common

**

Exotic. Fong Yuen Marsh

Total No. Species

 

 

18

 

* = 1-10 individuals; ** = 11-30 individuals; *** >30 individuals

Note: nomenclature follows that in Chong and Dudgeon (1992)

 

8.4.3.2       Of the fish species recorded, four species were of significant conservation interest: the Beijiang Thick-lipped Barb Acrossocheilus wenchowensis beijiangensis, the Philippine Neon Goby Stiphodon atropurpureus, the Black-headed Thick-lipped Goby (Awaous melanocephalus) and the Ricefish (Oryzias curvinotus). The locations where these fish were recorded are shown in Figures 8.14a to 8.14d.

 

8.4.3.3       Beijiang Thick-lipped Barb was abundant in Tung Chung Stream, and was also noted in one tributary (stream No. 15) both above and below the concrete-lined bridge for the existing Tung Chung Road. The species was first reported in Hong Kong by Chong and Dudgeon (1992), and was until recently known only from Tung Chung Stream within the Territory. However, this fish has recently also been recorded in the nearby Wong Lung Hang Stream (Chan, 1998).

 

8.4.3.4       The Black-headed Thick-lipped Goby was first recorded in Hong Kong in 1999 (Chan, 1999) and has been recorded in only three other sites in the SAR. It was present in one stream in the south of the Study Area, Cheung Sha Sheung Tsuen Stream (stream No. 40), below the catchwater. It was also present, in the lower reaches of the main Cheung Sha Stream, two tributaries of which (stream No.’s 25 and 26) are within the Study Area.

 

8.4.3.5       The Philippine Neon Goby was present in Tung Chung Stream in the north of the Study Area and Cheung Sha Sheung Tsuen Stream (stream No. 40) below the catchwater in the south. It was also present, in the lower reaches, of the main Cheung Sha Stream, two tributaries of which (stream No.’s 25 and 26) are within the Study Area. It was only very recently discovered in Hong Kong and was previously known to occur in only one other site locally (Chan, 1999). It has recently been recorded at Tong Fuk and San Shek Wan in Pui O (AFCD, pers. comm.).

 

8.4.3.6       The Ricefish, which were present in Fong Yuen Marsh, is globally-restricted and highly endangered locally (and endangered globally) (Chong and Dudgeon, 1992). It is known from three other sites in the SAR: Chi Ma Wan on Lantau and Sam A Tsuen in the North-East New Territories (Chong and Dudgeon, 1992), and a locality in Sai Kung (B. Chan, pers. comm.).

 

8.4.3.7       Two other species recorded at the Fong Yuen Marsh (Chinese Catfish Clarias fuscus and Paradise Fish Macropodus opercularis), despite still being widespread in Hong Kong, are of moderate conservation value due to the rapid loss of suitable habitats (e.g. freshwater marshes and slow-flowing streams). The locally common Predaceous Chub Parazacco spilurus is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ in the China Red Data Book. However, this is more a reflection of lack of fish research in the region than of the real vulnerability of the species concerned (B. Chan, pers. comm.).

 

8.4.3.8       The remaining fish species recorded are generally common and widespread in the SAR and are of limited conservation interest.

 

8.4.4       Avifauna

8.4.4.1        A total of 46 species of birds were recorded in the Study Area over the period May 2001 to January 2002. A summary of the species recorded in each location within the Study Area is given in Table 8.3.

 

Table 8.3         Bird Species Recorded in the Study Area, May 2001 to January 2002

Common Name

Scientific Name

Local Abundance

Status

May – Jul

2001

Oct – Nov

2001

Dec 2001 – Jan 2002

Little Egret

Egretta garzetta

A

R*

 

 

+

Crested Goshawk

Accipiter trivirgatus

R

R*

 

 

+

Black Kite

Milvus migrans

A

R*

+

 

 

Common Kestrel

Falco tinnunculus

C

W, PM

 

+

+

Peregrine Falcon

Falco peregrinus

R

R*

 

+

 

Spotted dove

Streptopelia chinensis

A

R*

+

+

+

Rufous turtle dove

Streptopelia orientalis

C

W

 

 

+

Large Hawk Cuckoo

Hierococcyx sparverioides

C

S*

+

 

 

Common Koel

Eudynamis scolopacea

A

R*

+

 

 

Greater Coucal

 

Centropus sinensis

A

R*

+

+

 

Lesser Coucal

 

Centropus bengalensis

C

R*

+

 

+

Collared Scops Owl

Otus lempii

C

R*

 

+

 

Grey Nightjar

 

Caprimulgus indicus

R

S, PM*

+

 

 

Grey Wagtail

Motacilla cinerea

A

PM, W

 

+

+

White Wagtail

Motacilla alba

A

W, R*

 

+

+

Olive-backed Pipit

Anthus hodgsoni

A

W

 

+

+

Red-throated Pipit

Anthus cervinus

C

PM, W

 

+

 

Red-whiskered Bulbul

 

Pycnonotus jocosus

A

R*

+

+

+

Chinese Bulbul

 

Pycnonotus sinensis

A

R*

+

+

+

Sooty-headed Bulbul

Pycnonotus aurigaster

A

R*

 

+

+

Chestnut Bulbul

Hemixos castanonotus

C

R*

 

+

+

Red-flanked Bluetail

Tarsiger cyanunus

C

W

 

+

 

Long-tailed Shrike

Lanius schach

A

R*

 

+

+

Common Stonechat

Saxicola torquata

C

PM, W

 

+

+

Blue Whistling Thrush

Myiophonus caeruleus

A

R*

+

+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Masked Laughing

thrush

 

Garrulax perspicillatus

A

R*

+

+

+

Hwamei

 

Garrulax canorus

A

R*

+

+

+

Magpie Robin

Copsychus saularis

A

R*

 

+

+

Daurian redstart

Phoenicurus auroreus

C

W

 

 

+

Fantail Warbler

Cisticola juncidis

C

R*

 

+

 

Yellow-bellied Prinia

 

Prinia flaviventris

A

R*

+

+

+

Chinese Bush Warbler

Cettia centurians

C

W

 

+

+

Common Tailorbird

Orthotomus sutorius

A

R*

+

+

+

Dusky Warbler

Phylloscopus fuscatus

C

PM, W

 

+

+

Yellow-browed Warbler

Phylloscopus inornatus

A

W

 

+

+

Fork-tailed Sunbird

Aethopyga christinae