Golden Orb Weaver

I sighted a female spider this moring about 8am in Tai Lam Country park. The web was anchored to a tree brach about 1m from the undergrowth and of the same diameter. The spider was about 4 cm in length with a plumb coloured body and yellow stripes. It had 7 legs (one missing) banded black and yellow and about the span of my hand. I believe it was Nephila Maculata. She was feeding vigorously - it was probably breakfast! Are they common in Hong Kong?
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No these creatures are not common.
They're bloody unavoidable!

Don't get me wrong, I love all nature and will often stop and watch an orb weaver if it's a nice specimen.
But my enjoyment of them nearly ended one evening when I stayed too long without a torch on an isolated beach, forgetting that the forest trail was inundated with particularly startling specimens of these large spiders.
A long stick waved about wildly didn't stop at least two from getting on me.
The desperation they caused did remind me that I had a paper lantern buried somewhere in my pack. But that was after I was close to tears, and think of having a good cry.
Incidentally a lantern blinds you to everything but what is right in front of your nose, as I discovered later when I blundered into the 500 cows that used the trail to make their night trip over the ridge. The trail was about 3ft wide through dense scrub so I wasn't very happy.

You'll be pleased to know that you can get cheap LED torches that fit on a key-ring these days. There's two on mine.

I'm rural out in wild places after dark (well, save the short stretch of path to my place on Cheung Chau - where get occasional snakes).

Once, tho, down Sharp Peak in Sai Kung in the dark (after enjoying sunset from the top).
Had a keyring torch just as Simon mentions; and on path down to Chek Keng, saw a pangolin on the path just in front of me: had good look at it before it scuttled off into undergrowth.

as to the spider: I dunno; must see if can get more wildlife experts to have a look at this forum at times. (I know birds pretty well; otherwise often hazy)

from Simon D - you'd think folk around here would have more respect for the webmaster of this site! ;)

You little......, Martin.
That Pangolin trumps all my sightings in 20yrs.
Left on my list of HK mammals is Pangolin at the top, Ferret Badger and Muntjac (in the wild, though I still haven't seen the one in the aviary at HK Park. I think they are teasing us on that). The South China fox is also one I hope to see but fear it no longer possible in HK.
I sound depressingly like a 'twitcher' (bird-watcher who collects sightings like baseball cards).

[I've seen Muntjac - tho very briefly, running away from me in Tai Po Kau; last summer, heard them in ne New Territories]

Is the attached what you saw?

Giant wood spider (Nephila maculata) as far as I can make out. I think it is common, I saw > 10 individuals on a short walk from PoLin to Tai O. [img width=448]http://www.hkoutdoors.com/images/fbfiles/images/wood_spider.jpg[/img]