To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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Hong Kong

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Hong Kong Moth photo by MIDDLBURGH Hong Kong Moth photo by MIDDLBURGH Hong Kong Moth photo by MIDDLBURGH Hong Kong Moth photo by MIDDLBURGH Hong Kong Moth photo by MIDDLBURGH Hong Kong Moth photo by MIDDLBURGH Hong Kong Moth photo by MIDDLBURGH Hong Kong Moth photo by MIDDLBURGH Hong Kong Moth photo by MIDDLBURGH Hong Kong Moth photo by MIDDLBURGH Hong Kong Moth photo by MIDDLBURGH This week I had an unrecoverable hardware failure on an external hard drive and I lost ALL my photographs. I was gutted Normally I have a back up on a second drive but on this occasion it had just been reformatted and I only discovered the problem when I went to create a new back up from the failed drive. Amongst those lost were 5 year old holiday snaps taken in Venice, Florence & Rome (Quess where I am going next year!!) and my comprehensive(?) "buttterfly" collection and recent photos of Larry the Lizard. Fortunately my mother has pictures of the three kids in her photoframe.

Now I understand that some people have a phobia about butterflies and enclosed spaces.The nearest I have ever got to that was a bad nightmare when I was about 4. I dreamt that my bedroom was full of ducks (mullards - not the squeezy yellow ones!!) and they kept pecking at me (mum must have taken me to feed the ducks that day !!)

Now the UK and Ireland have NEVER been famous for their range of butterflies and in my youth although I had the Observers Book of Butterflies a butterfly to me meant the common Cabbage White : anything else was comparatively exotic and rarely seen. I undertand that now with changing weather patterns etc butterflies in England are under great "threat" with a 76% decline in numbers over the last 20 years.My undertanding is that the UK only has about 60 species of butterflies including visitors. Compare this with Hong Kong which has 235 species

The fact we have a rich variety of butterflies doesn't mean they are safe. Recently there has been protests in Hong Kong where a developer is proposing to build 122 country houses, 56 village style hotels, a golf court around the 5 million square meters wetland at Ha Pak Nai 下白泥)Yuen Long. This apparently will devastate a key breeding area.

Even nearer the Hong Kong Electic Company has been proposing running a shuttle bus on lLmma island to it's Wind turbine on the north side of the Island. The last time I visited this windmill was in December 2006. The weather was glourious and in the bushes and trees arround that road were HUNDREDS of butterflies flitting in out out of the sunlight. Frankly it would be criminal to run a bus down that road.

At the time I had my old Canon IXUS 400 and I took shot after shot of the butterflies pushing the camaera to its limits. I must have spent about 3 hours just taking butterfly pictures with at least 1 hour spent in a 20 metre stretch of road. When I got home I spent hours with Photoshop and Picassa extracting and refining shots of individual butterflies and making them web ready.(To my shame I failed to load them to Flickr) I went to library to get the books to identify them and spend ages on the . HK biodiversity databasePersonally I recommend ot as a source of information on HK flora and fauna Of the 235 species of butterfly listed on the data base that afternoon I must have photographed about 15.

Unfortunately they are all gone (the photo's - hopefully not the butterflies) - so this December you will find me on Lamma at weekends with my new camera!! (throwing stones at passing buses - maybe!!)

I also lost my smaller moth collection: Moths are not so glamourous as butterflies but in UK 60 species of moth have become extinct in last 100 years and getting photos is definately more exciting. When I am not in China I work in an office block in Wong Chuk Hang, HK. Depending on the weather moths of all types seem to take up temporary residence in the gentleman's toilet on the 20th floor (which coincidently has an excellent view of Aberdeen harbour). I have tried snapping them with my phone camera (poor resolution) and also with my Cannon. The challenge of course and hence the excitement lies in the concept of taking photos in the gents ... Think about it... Guy standing by urinal doing the biz. Bloke walks in with camera and says "don't mind me .. just here to photograph moths... " or guy in the cubicle working on his hernia. Camera appears over the partition ... ""don't mind me .. just here to photograph moths... ".

Anyway as chance would have it there were 4 different moths in residence yesterday ... and no one minded .. even when I used the flash !!

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