Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Former 'Formosa'

Arrived Taipei, capital city of Taiwan, 12:00.

Just a little plug, to say I had never flown Cathay Pacific but very much look forward to doing so again. A fantastic service all round Thanks To You All!

My 127th country visited in the world, the Island of Taiwan is 285 miles long and 88 wide, so I doubt I'll be covering all of during my 10 days stay. Just a few miles from the Chinese mainland, from which it separate politically many years ago, as yet still has not been recognised by the United Nations as a 'country' in its own right. However, far stronger forces than the UN prevail when it comes to accepting countries, IT'S ON MY LIST!

First impressions are that the people, like South Korea, are warm and friendly and a great help when it is needed. The drive from the airport was past acres of wooded areas and all the roadsides are bedecked with shrubs. During reading up on the place it became evident that the

would be a great place to start the 'birding' venture which proved to be true. Not a million species, but enough to get into the swing of hopefully more to come and all quiet easy to get your head around. There is a slight downside, but nothing to stop the activity, the weather forecast for the week ahead is not good, in a nut-shell Drizzle x 7.

Dependant on which authority you choose to follow, there are 26 'endemic' species of bird on the islands plus many, many more 'endemic sub-species'. These of course could one day be afforded 'full species status' so very important to record, but before any of that there was just one other minor hitch........

Getting through this lot! Thousands of people had chosen my first birding day here to carry out what on the face of it was a very serious protest. There were lots of mega-phones, shouting and a hail of rotten eggs while the Police were in attendance, mob-handed and tooled up for any eventuality.

Who better to consult on the matter before running any gauntlet, with one Police Woman assuring me that one everything was under control, while 2 they would keep a special eye on me as I walked through the crowd to the gardens. Just to get the excuses out of the way before we continue, the drizzle was already with us, the light was appalling and I simply never got the grip of the camera setting making for not the best images in the world.

If you don't count Feral Pigeon, then the first bird recorded was one of the Sub-Species mentioned earlier. CHINESE BULBUL (lifer) turned out to be the second most numerous of the afternoon.

While there were many dozens of these

numbers of Japanese White-eye

must have run into several hundreds.

HIMALAYAN BLACK BULBUL is also a contender for full 'endemic'.

Next to be spotted is already in the 'endemic' category and the most attractive bird of the day, the multi-coloured TAIWAN BARBET of which there were considered to be 4 pairs.

A little closer to home, a Little Egret was added to the Trip List

as was Korean Squirrel

as was GREY TREEPIE a tiny member of the Crow family

only two thirds the size of our own Magpie.

It was the rain, now heavy at times, that decided me to head for the hotel, but there was still a protest to negotiate.

To be honest everyone seemed in jocular mood, but there was still no knowing what all of this was about. I did see one placard in English announcing "NO MORE POISONED PORK" so we can blame it on the farmers!

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