Married and beautiful

Filed in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Wildlife, Photo of the DayTags: , , ,

I'm always trying to get good photos of some of the birds around our home. I'd love to get a photo of the owls that live here but I've only seen one of them once in the two years we've lived here, and I've only heard them; a pair of them calling out to each other; once on another night.

Apart from sparrows, there are only a few species of birds living here. There are pigeons which are difficult to photograph because they're so easily unnerved by onlookers, and there is another species of bird, one with red behind its eye and more red under its tail. I find them especially attractive and try to photograph them whenever possible. Both the pigeons and these 'red' birds live in pairs, always with the same mate.

Hong Kong also has a very healthy population of kites (a predatory bird, similar to eagles) and I really hope to get good photographs of these birds in the future no matter how difficult it might be. Luck and timing will be a big part of my success.

For those of you not familiar with birds, the male can usually be identified by its colours. The male's colours are often brighter and stronger than the female's colours.

Married birds

Red-whiskered Bulbul 紅耳鵯

(Pycnonotus jocosus)

Date: 4 December 2005, Location: Clear Water Bay

Some birds mate for life. In this case, the male is the one looking at us from behind.

For a closer look at the pair, click here.

I hope you like the photograph. More will follow next year, especially now that I've added a 2x extender to my lens collection allowing me to get closer to the birds. I have become the proverbial hunter.

While searching for Canon links for this article, I came across references to the first cameras I ever owned. The Canon AE-1 was the first camera I remember owning, and was probably one of the best cameras I've ever used. The Canon EOS 620 was my second camera, purchased after my arrival in Hong Kong, sometime between 1988 and 1989. My EF 70-200mm F2.8L USM lens was purchased soon after and still works flawlessly today 16 years later.


Comments (Comments are closed)

23 Responses to “Married and beautiful”
  1. Jason says:

    I actually own a Nikon 250 for years and a n80. Both are really good cameras for what I do. I mainly use the N80 since the 250 is pretty much a collector's item these days.

    I currently use two lenses which are AF Zoom 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6d and a Zoom Nikkor 70 - 300mm f/4-5.6d ED. I find these lenses suits my needs for my shots. I find that digital photography has really taken presence and considering getting a Nikon Digital SLR at the moment.

  2. Rowan says:

    I have heard that Hong Kong has many species of birds. However, I can only recognize sparrows and pigeons. How did you learn to recognize them?

  3. Elizabeth says:

    So you're a Canon fan too? I just purchased a Canon Rebel XT digital camera this past Monday. I was between this and the Nikon D70, but I'm a Canon fan since I have a smaller Canon S400 camera I really like. It is my first SLR camera & hoping I will be able to do some nice things with it. I have the 17-85mm f/4-5.6 lens & also the 50mm f/1.4 lens. I hope these will be the only 2 lens I ever need because lens are very expensive. I've already spent a ton getting this starting kit :)

  4. yoyo says:

    yes,really bautiful bird.......

    but i don't know if you really mention the bird ?

    or our life.........

    Really intreseting.

  5. TL says:

    Hi Greg,
    I don't think you would remember me; I just came across your site when I was googling for "Hong Kong dog shows"...I'm not sure how your site is related to the topic though. I am one of your acquaintances back at Baxter College, UNSW. I actually stayed at Basser but I remembered you trying to chat with us in Cantonese back then (1987?) when you were working part time there and we started to challenge you with "箭豬之箭尖刺穿燒焦之蜘蛛" which I'm sure you can master pretty well now.

    Anyway, it's great to see you on TV !


  6. KATZ says:

    Hi,Mr Rivers!
    I am a 14-year-old girl,
    and this is the first time I leave a message here~

    This kind of birds is called Crested Bulbul紅耳鵯,
    they are really cute;)
    Also,they are common in Hong Kong
    I have seen a baby crested bulbul before at a flower bed,
    the mother(father perhaps) was flying around nervously,
    luckily the baby get back on the tree later^^

    Actually this kind of bird is really hard to classify male and female,
    as they look the same....
    The pair in the photo is just sub-adult,
    as they havent have the red marks behind the eyes yet

    anyway,nice photo!~

  7. 河國榮 says:


    that brings back memories, the days of dish-washing at Baxter College, saving money to come to Hong Kong ;-)


    thank you for identifying the birds. there is red behind the eyes but you need to click on the close up photo to see the colour. it's not easy to photograph the red without decent lighting; i.e., it's almost impossible to see the red in the shade. I'll have better photos later.

    I was just walking around the bush in our neighbourhood looking for birds. I found possibly 6 or 7 other varieties, some of them quite stunning. no need to go to Mi Po (米埔). no photos yet. it'll take time and patience to them on 'film' but it'll be an interesting endeavour.

  8. sapphire says:

    Hi! Mr Ho,

    Merry Christmas! Are you now here in Scotland? Have a nice trip! Talk to you later.

    Sapphire from Sony Store in Caesar Palace, Las Vegas

    2:06 pm, Christmas Day

  9. Vicki says:

    Dear Kok Wing,

    Hello, I am from Hong Kong but currently living in New Zealand. You are the only actor I can remembered that are willing to write own's msg to the public. I am so suprised to see you are so friendly to us! =D

    The photo shown above is really nice. I want to purchase a cheap but good SLR, do you have any good recommandaions?

    We are looking forward to see more good casting from you and wish you have a happy new year with your family.

    Sorry about my poor grammer.


  10. KATZ says:

    Hi Mr Rivers,
    me again~

    I didnt notice that there is a close up photo:P
    thx for telling me thatXD

    I think u should go to Mai Po if u get a chance~
    I hv been to Mai Po with my brother before
    (he is keen on bird-watching),
    there are really lots of birds at the marsh!
    But they are mainly water birds,less colourful.
    There are also common kingfishers,
    their blue-green feathers would shine under the sunlight~
    If u are lucky,u may see a hoopoe戴勝,
    a weird-looking bird.
    here's a photo I found from Yahoo!
    But I dont think I would go to Mai Po again,
    Actually it's quite tired to look up to the sky all day long...
    and many birds look similar,
    it's quite confused to go bird-watching with senior bird-watcher,
    when they are discussing about what kind the bird is but u know nothing about it...

    Anyway,it's nice to simply watch the birds but not classifying them^^

    Hope to see more photos of birds that is taken by u~

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Greg, I'm just wondering do you like fountain pens? You just seem like one of those intellectuals who use fountain pens. I think they're old-school but so cool in today's fast-paced world.

  12. Angela says:

    Hi Greg!

    Nice blog you got here! and love to see your pictures. I'm a fan of photography myself! ^-^ I'm using Sony DSC-H1. Hope to see more of your pictures here in the future. Btw, I was so surprised when I found out that you actually from QLD. :p I lived in Brisbane for a couple of years but now I'm living in Melbourne.

  13. Kayin says:

    Ah ha! Found it!

    LOL, I had to Google your name in order to find this blog again, because I kind of forgot the link ... and then I went straight to the Scottish Christmas page and dropped you a comment there without realising that it wasn't your latest entry. Oh well.

    Anyways ... I'm back!

    Hmm, that's a very pretty pic of the birds. They look really peaceful up there on the tree by themselves.

    Oh yeah, I skimmed through your merry coffee Christmas entry and I just want to say, you poor thing! I really like ham, but I can live without it. But still, if I wanted to eat it, I could just pop out and buy it. =) How much is HK$100 in Aussie dollars?

    Mm, I had something else I wanted to say ... but I can't remember it ... oh yes I can! Yeah, I wanted to know whether or not you watch TVB series?

  14. kelvenlit says:

    Hi All,

    There are many Canon fans here, right? Among all cameras' brands... i think canon is probably the best.... considering color, shuttering speed and etc..

    p.s. River.. appreciate you a lot after watching the drama 'Always Ready'.

  15. Wing Liu says:

    Great Photo. If you got a NIKON 200-400mm lens, of course then you can get a closer crop. Nice shot anyhow.

  16. neniwidiastuti says:

    marry christmast,i like your trip.give me more your information important.sorry poor grammar

  17. Elizabeth says:

    This is off topic, but I wanted to ask if SLR camera lens prices decrease over time or whether it is pretty much the same price, unlike computers & camera bodies whose prices decrease over time. Thanks!

  18. hey says:

    Hello, I just passed by and leave a message here. It's so surprised that you share your life here. Keep on friend~ I'll come more often. The birds called "Crested bulbul". They're the most abundant species in Hong Kong instead of tree sparrow. haha..enjoy your life.

  19. Silly Smurf says:

    Hi Mr. HO

    I was just watched the PCM & just knowing that you've been writing Blog on the web, it's great!!! It's great that I can know more about you!!!!!!! Yeah~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I've been watching you on the TV since I was young, I like your acting very much!! (don't know why, I like watching u.... hehe!!)

    How's your life recently?? How about your wife and the lovely dogs with you??? You're really kind to take care of all those poor dogs. Such a Kind man you are!!!!!!!

    Hope I can see you face by face once in the future.

    P.S. Sorry for my poor English >.

  20. 河國榮 says:


    what's PCM?

    your English is fine ;-)

  21. Joe says:

    Hi Greg, I stumbled into your Blog website when I was looking up TVB. I'm from Canada but my family came from HK, so I watched a lot of TVB series when I was growing up and you were in a lot of them. Unfortunately, I haven't watched a TVB series in over five years. However your performances always stood out from the rest. I remember I was always impressed by your fluent Chinese and good acting.

    Knowing that Chinese is your second language, as English is to mine, do you think in English or Chinese? For me, I do my math in Chinese but everything else in English.

    I'm also impressed by how multi-talented you are after reading through you blog. Keep it up; I'll be sure to visit again.

    All the best,


  22. Frankie Chu says:

    Hi Mr.HO
    You Like take the Bird Photo is Very Good .

  23. Alfredo says:

    Hello Gregory,

    This is a wonderful photo.

    I am a Canon fan, I had an EOS Rebel and EOS Elan cameras, nice equipments, but the most importan part of the photo work is the point of view: the photographer, who has the eyes to see and the ability to catch those precious moments.

    I wonder if I can have your permission to use part of the picture with the birds, for a baner composition for the web site of a friend.

    Thank you very much in advance.
    Best regards
    Alfredo C.