Welcome to DocMartin

James Reynolds typhoonhunter and volcano videographer

James Reynolds is a pioneer of travelling to experience typhoons, and has added volcanoes to his specialities.

Old Towns and Snow Peaks inc Shangri-La in Northwest Yunnan

Lots of Places You Absolutely Want to Go

Maasai safari guide Jackson Looseyia

Kenyan born Maasai safari guide, one of the presenters of the BBC’s Big Cat Live series.

Secret World of Hong Kong Water Supply

While it’s all too easy to turn on a tap and take the flow of water for granted, Hong Kong’s water supply system has been vital to its development as a “world city”.

Hong Kong Belching Buffaloes n Bubbling Paddies and the Mystery Methane Rise

Euan Nisbet leads science team to Hong Kong in quest to find why levels of potent greenhouse gas methane are rising in the atmosphere

A Tale of Two Spoon Bills and East Asia Wetland Threats

For all their differences, Black-faced Spoonbill and Spoon-billed Sandpiper have one thing in common. Both are teetering on the brink of extinction.

Fusion Power and Human Failings

There is potential for deriving virtually unlimited clean energy from fusion power, without the severe downsides of nuclear power based on splitting atoms apart.

Goodbye dinosaurs Hello birds

Stunning fossils from Mesozoic Pompeii illuminate the dawn of birds.

DocMartin

Freelance writer, photographer and video maker Dr Martin Williams

I'm a writer, photographer and video maker; also nature tour leader and ecological consultant.

Hong Kong Based English Language Copywriter - Martin Williams

I'm a skilled English-language copywriter, and can help build your brand and boost your profits.

Birding Guide in Hong Kong

I am an experienced birding guide, chiefly for visits to Mai Po in Hong Kong.

Latest on Global Warming n Conservation

Worthwhile article on trying to be realistic but not too darn depre

Time, I think, to start a thread with some info on

More than a billion people are set to be exposed to coastal flooding by 2060 through a combination of sea level rise, storm surges and extreme weather.

Travel articles

Beidaihe, Hebei, China

Beidaihe (北戴河区), 280km east of Beijing, is China's highest-profile seaside resort

Botswana wildlife bonanza in Okavango Delta and along Linyanti River

It’s a scintillating morning in north Botswana, and I’m privileged to be standing within touching distance of an African savannah elephant

Cheung Chau Bun Festival in Hong Kong

Video I shot of the Bun Festival, which is like an carnival cum exorcism.

Cheung Chau, Hong Kong

cheung chau boatsCheung Chau, is a small yet fascinating island in Hong Kong.

Fung Shui - Chinese geomancy in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has held fast to ancient, esoteric beliefs including fung shui

Hong Kong Hiking

ng tung chaiAn overview of hiking in Hong Kong, including a pick of the best trails and areas.

Hong Kong Nightlife - bars n discos

A swift tour round Hong Kong bars, pubs n discos

Javan Jungles inc Ujung Kulon Indonesia

bantengExploring two outstanding national parks that are close to Jakarta, yet take time to reach - well rewarding the effort with splendid forests, scenery and wildlife watching.

Kawah Ijen sulphur mine on Java in Indonesia

The Ijen volcano complex dominates the landscape of easternmost Java. Active craters include Ijen, which for decades has been mined for its sulphur.

Lantau Island, Hong Kong

kwun yam templeHong Kong's largest and most beautiful island: Lantau (爛頭)

Many Splendoured Hong Kong

crooked islandHong Kong has much to offer, including beaches, trails, villages, islands, and the city itself

Mount Kinabalu, Borneo

Rising above lush rain forest to barren peaks, Southeast Asia's highest mountain is a study in contrasts

New Territories Hiking, Hong Kong

Rural Hong Kong has a host of marvellous places to visit, and trails to explore.

North Yorkshire inc Scarborough in winter

Even though Scarborough is my hometown, winter may seem a strange, even crazy time for a holiday on the coast of northeast England.

Old Towns and Snow Peaks inc Shangri-La in Northwest Yunnan

Lots of Places You Absolutely Want to Go

Shangri-La, Yunnan, China

tai zi shangri-laShangri-La, you ask? Can it be that mythical place? That’s what I’m here to discover.

Sri Lanka Wildlife and Culture Travel Tale

leopardAn adventure blending Sri Lanka’s wildlife, scenery, and rich cultural heritage.

To the Spice Islands of Wallacea

Inspired by Wallace's book The Malay Archipelago, and enticed by the Spice Islands and the chance of adventure, I'm travelling to Ternate and nearby Bacan and Halmahera.

Wild side of Cheung Chau in Hong Kong

Scenes of the wilder side of Cheung Chau - an island in southwest Hong Kong, during spring 2010.

Inspirational People

Allen Lien

In October 2002, boxes of clothes began arriving in Burkina Faso, a country in West Africa, and they were all addressed to the

Dinosaur hunter Dong Zhiming

dong zhimingMeet the world's greatest dinosaur hunter

Dr Yang Lihe helping former leprosy patients

Dr. Yang Li-he has spent his life helping cure leprosy. Now he is helping former patients to rebuild their wrecked lives.

Garley fire rescue

A helicopter crew rescues people from the roof of a burning building in Kowloon.

James Reynolds typhoonhunter and volcano videographer

James Reynolds is a pioneer of travelling to experience typhoons, and has added volcanoes to his specialities.

Jessie Yu - Hong Kong Single Parents Assoc founder

The best way to get ahead, says this tireless Hong Kong philanthropist, is to help yourself.

Jill Robinson helping bears

First Jill Robinson was shocked, then she set out to stop the suffering

Maasai safari guide Jackson Looseyia

Kenyan born Maasai safari guide, one of the presenters of the BBC’s Big Cat Live series.

Mother Ko's fight for justice

The more lawmakers ignored her, the more determined she became to seek justice

Mountain Dog and rebuilding schools in China

leo luFormer Hong Kong schoolmaster Leo Lu has hit the road to ensure that some of China’s neediest children receive an education.

Panda expert Pan Wenshi

pan wenshiCreeping through a bamboo forest in the Qin Ling Mountains of China's Shaanxi province, Peking University zoologist Pan Wenshi and his assistant Lu Zhi are about to witness a sight rarely seen in the wild: a giant panda mother and her newborn cub.

SARS doctor Yannie Soo

A mysterious illness was striking the medical staff down one by one. How could they fight back?

Teacher Lin helps kids in Taiwan

Teacher Lin has a dream, in which more and more needy children find their home sweet home

Photos by Martin Williams

Science and Conservation

Turtle Park, Malaysia

Green turtle conservation on Pulau Selingaan, Sabah, Malaysia

Bauhinia - Hong Kong orchid tree

Bauhinia, emblem of Hong Kong, is a tree with beautiful, orchid-like flowers.

Hong Kong Wild Stars

Hong Kong's rare dolphin, spoonbill, tree frog, and a dragonfly

Reptile search in HK

bamboo snakeChek Lap Kok will be levelled to make way for runways, leaving only a token hill... this is the last survey Lazell and Goodyear will make on the island...

Captive breeding Philippine Eagles

Domingo Tadena: Captive breeding Philippine eagles

Healing Power of Pets

Pets can help people heal from illnesses

Black-faced Spoonbill

Birders though Black-faced Spoonbill was common, till they found it was almost extinct.

Openbill Storks

openbill storksVisits to openbill stork colonies in Thailand

Not BB i birding humour

The magazine for the serious birdspotter

Not BB ii

The magazine for the serious birdspotter, Vol II

Not BB III

The magazine for the serious birdspotter, Vol III

Southwest Yunnan birding inc Gaoligongshan and Hornbill Valley

A family holiday, with strong birding - and photography - elements, in Yunnan, sw China.

Wuliansuhai Birds, Inner Mongolia

Birds at Wuliansuhai

Deep Bay wetland in Hong Kong

Deep Bay wetland, Hong Kong - internationally important, especially for water birds

Hong Kong Black Kites

Black Kite is one of Hong Kong's most familiar birds.

Hong Kong Birding intro

Birding in Hong Kong

Basic info on wild birds and H5N1 avian influenza

Notions that migratory birds are responsible for spreading the New n Nasty H5N1 Bird Flu Variant around Asia are quackers (chiefly looking at 2003/2004 outbreaks)

Bird Flu inc H5N1 Info

Info and links re bird flu, especially the nasty H5N1 variant in Asia

Beidaihe - Bird Migration Hub of the Orient

red-crowned cranesBeidaihe is one of the world's migration hotspots.

Beidaihe Autumn Bird Migration Report

Autumn bird migration at Beidaihe, China, 1986-1990

Beidaihe autumn report - species accounts

Beidaihe autumn bird migration report (1986-1990): species systematically treated

Beidaihe autumns conclusions

Autumn bird migration at Beidaihe 1986 to 1990 conclusions

Beidaihe Can Create Exciting Bird Reserve

I believe that at Beidaihe, we have the chance to create the world’s most exciting reserve for migratory birds.

Checklist of Beidaihe Birds

Checklist of the birds of Beidaihe, east China

Conservation Plan for Beidaihe

A conservation plan for Beidaihe, China

Secret World of Hong Kong Water Supply

While it’s all too easy to turn on a tap and take the flow of water for granted, Hong Kong’s water supply system has been vital to its development as a “world city”.

Tick Tock Goes the Population Bomb

It is only unforeseen events like the industrial revolution and the “green revolution” that helped feed many more people and stave off catastrophe.

Unrelenting China eco horror show threatens us all

Although much has since been said and written about the need for China to reverse its environmental decline, recent years have abounded with news reports telling of the nation’s earth lurching from bad to terrible.

Waste incineration alternatives including plasma arc gasification

Can Hong Kong find no better way of dealing with waste than shipping it to a beautiful coastal area and setting fire to it?

Hong Kong Belching Buffaloes n Bubbling Paddies and the Mystery Methane Rise

Euan Nisbet leads science team to Hong Kong in quest to find why levels of potent greenhouse gas methane are rising in the atmosphere

James Hansen Godfather of Climate Change retires yet will be very busy

Instead of aiming for a leisurely life after work, Hansen plans to better focus his time on climate science, along with communicating the science and its policy implications.

A Man for All Sequences Frederick Sanger

Frederick Sanger made pivotal contributions to studying the chemistry of life.

And Man Created the God Particle

World’s biggest machine surely discovers the elusive Higgs boson, helping explain mass. Further quests await.

Anti-science idiocy threatens catastrophic consequences

We humans seem smart yet have a great fondness for irrational codswallop.

Blue light at last wins Nobel for LED titans

While last year’s Nobel Prize in Physics was for an esoteric advance in knowledge — theoretical work on sub-atomic particles, n

Dreamliner Troubles yet Lithium Batteries Flying High

Lithium batteries have proven especially attractive as they produce high power relatively to their size.

Ebola’s inner rampage and praise for dirt plus optimum sex

Though “immune system” is a familiar term, there is still much to be learned about how our bodies defend against diseases.

Fusion Power and Human Failings

There is potential for deriving virtually unlimited clean energy from fusion power, without the severe downsides of nuclear power based on splitting atoms apart.

Genius of the Jungles: Alfred Russel Wallace

Much as Darwin was influenced by his findings on the Galapagos, Wallace drew on discoveries he made on tropical islands where sea level changes played vital roles in determining species distributions.

Goodbye dinosaurs Hello birds

Stunning fossils from Mesozoic Pompeii illuminate the dawn of birds.

Happy 100th Birthday to the Bohr Atom!

Picture an atom, and you may imagine spherical electrons orbiting a nucleus packed with particles like neutrons.

How to Spot a Scientific Dud

Even with science reports, it’s worth remembering the adage: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Laughter n more science in the Xmas season

In this season to be jolly, even normally serious scientists may loosen up a little, perhaps publishing frivolous research, and looking on the brighter side of life.

Leaps of Logic and Faith versus Evolution Science

Like all scientific theories, Darwinism has been questioned and tested wherever possible. Among scientists, it has held up well, becoming a pillar of modern science. But this has not prevented attacks, chiefly from outside the scientific community.

Mapping Our Way to Mind Control?

Beyond producing a pretty music album cover, mapping the brain’s circuitry may lead to significant medical advances

Monster Plants and the Fears of Our Fathers

A field called epigenetics concerns ways the DNA code is actually expressed and implemented.

Of Mice and Men and Memory, Plus the Inception Deception

Our memories play vital roles in defining who we are. Yet can you really trust your memory?

Primordial soup and the life from Mars theory

Did life start in a primordial soup on earth, or with chemicals carried from Mars?

Rise of the Superbugs

The age of the wonder drug seems to be drawing to a close, bringing to an end modern medicine as we know it

Robots Rising

Worldwide, there are many developments in robotics, several of which are weirder and wackier than a talking version of a dead novelist and a robot board member.

Scientific Dieting Cooks Up a Moveable Feast

While we can thrive on a variety of diets, it also makes it very tough or even impossible to recommend an ideal human diet.

Sleep Science plus insomniac fruit flies, angry women and brain-washing

Though we spend almost a third of our lives asleep, sleep science did not really begin till 1953, the same year the structure of DNA was discovered.

So You Want to be a Cyborg?

Off-the shelf headsets and DIY implants can help get you started.

Solar System Weirdness inc Diamond Rain and Ice Volcanoes

Earth’s neighbours are far more than simply gas giants and rocky worlds

The butterfly and the remarkable Professor Hofstadter

Hofstadter’s butterfly is a remarkable spectrum first drawn by a remarkable man.

The Cat in the Box and a Real Eureka Moment

October 2012 the announcements of the Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry, both of which were for work centring on transfers of information.

Thorium can Power the Planet …. Maybe

Thorium, which just might prove key to a new generation of nuclear reactors.

Volcanoes: Where the Earth Screams

From volcanoes on Java, to a supervolcano in Hong Kong, and dormant supervolcanoes today.

Wonderful World of 3D Printing

3D printing is developing rapidly, with applications including rapidly making complex prototypes, and even creating aeroplane parts.

A Tale of Two Spoon Bills and East Asia Wetland Threats

For all their differences, Black-faced Spoonbill and Spoon-billed Sandpiper have one thing in common. Both are teetering on the brink of extinction.

Blog post on holiday in Wallacea

After a holiday in Wallacea - northeast Sulawesi and the north Moluccas - in August, I've written an article on travels and som

Catfish Farm

Catfish at fish farm in Java fed dead chickens - helping show integrated fish farming may play role in spreading H5N1 bird flu.

Confessions of a crazy conservationist

I’m about to confess to long-term crazy behaviour on my part. And then, I will read your mind.

            First, the confession. For over a quarter of a century, I have devoted considerable effort to what may well be a lost cause: trying to encourage far stronger environmental protection.

Forest Conservation in Indonesian Borneo

kalimantan tribeVisiting Borneo to learn about deforestation and imeet people working to save the remaining forests.

Gurney's Pitta in Thailand

Gurney's Pitta back from oblivion

No use captive breeding rare species if there is no habitat left for them

This past summer, a team of biologists scoured Siberian tundra in search of nests and eggs of one of the world’s most threatened species, spoon-billed sandpiper. Aim was for captive breeding; yet this is far from ideal way of saving species.

Philippine Eagle Mindanao

Philippine Eagle conservation on Mindanao, the Philippines

Saving Yunnan snub-nosed monkey

Xi Zhinong - helping save Yunnan snub-nosed monkey

South China tiger

Hunting and habitat destruction have brought these magnificent cats perilously close to extinction. Can the most threatened of the sub-species claw its way back?

Sundarbans in Bangladesh

Here's part 1 of a video I shot, on a trip to the Sundarbans mangrove forest in October 2009:

Taman Negara rainforest, Malaysia

Taman Negara - rainforest national park in Malaysia

TCM and Conservation

Traditional Chinese Medicine and conservation

Wind farms and migratory birds

On wind farms and actual or possible threats to migratory birds, including in China.

Wonders of Bird Migration - and Threatened Asian Wetlands

Birds may undertake marathon flights using astonishing navigation skills – yet are threatened by careless habitat destruction