Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Goodbye Taiwan

I have failed to mention that we have been subject to a severe outbreak of 'fine weather' here over the past couple of days, and as such the 'rest day' has been put on hold. An e-mail from Bruno Walther and his wife Emily to join them on yet another days birding was too much to resist, and as I was up long before the prescribed meeting a walk along the riverside seemed ideal.

The Taiwanese seem to love their outdoor activities and even at this early hour, 06:00, people were already messing about on the river,

playing Croqette, basketball, cycling, angling but only a single bird watcher thus far.

Some fine statues as well overlooking

men playing what look like 'cards' but with counters.

Among the wildlife were COMMON MYNA,

a whole host of BUTTERFLIES

but with this large species being the only one that perched to feed.


wayside Blooms

plus another Butterfly that look rather familiar.

There was also another BLACK KITE that didn't get too close,

unlike the KNOB-BILLED GOOSE which attacked me

when I strayed too near to the Goslings. There was a very good reason for doing so, but in hindsight now realise I could have gone around them. From within a bunch of what looked like Banana plants there was a familiar 'reeling' sound which, after a lot of patient waiting, manifested itself as a PALLAS'S GRASSHOPPER WARBLER. It has always been a mystery why, given the amount of travel I have undertaken throughout the range of this bird, why it hasn't been recorded already.

Under one of the flyovers was this communial nest, but I have no idea which species. My guess, just by sheer numbers, is that it is the work of Chinese Bulbul? but it was now time to meet Bruno & Co.

Most convenient for me, the meet was at the Xin Dian MRT Station with our destination once again being Ulay. i liked this small town when Vicky and I visited earlier, but 'birding' had been priority on that day plus who wants to wander around town in pouring rain?

Again priority was given to the wildlife and we had been joined on this occasion by Carol Mullens, who husband works in Taiwan for the USA Goverment, she being a keen birder so we headed directly to the

and the river and mountains beyond.

Something of a surprise is that PACIFIC SWALLOW had not yet been recorded on this trip,

and a few more plants to admire before Bruno spotted a


BUTTERFLIES were also well represented as the sun continued to shine, and it wasn't long before we saw the first

TAIWAN BARBET of the day was seen.

The next 'Lifer' GREY-CAPPED PYGMY WOODPECKER was difficult to get focused on,

while this large Butterfly presented a similar problem as they feed while continuing to flutter. Up ahead a Taiwan gentleman was certainly finding something interesting in the dense undergrowth, as he tried to get a photograph. We soon found that it was a


while all the time I was saying to myself, "wish I'd taken the rest day"????

While admiring these 'Chinese Lanterns', Bruno once again came up trumps by alerting us to Orioles playing in the trees, but these were no ordinary Orioles and have gone down as one of the best birds I have ever seen.

In all I reconned there to have been as many as 8


very active and giving very little time for viewing let alone photographing.

However, with the other 3 having had their fill and the birds moving off towards a Buddhist Cemetery, I decided to follow and immediately captured this 'female' at closer quarters.

It was becoming obvious that these birds were 'courting' with the 3 fine 'males'

displaying every so often. It was a fantastic finale to both the days and the trips 'birding', and by now the temperature was up in the 70's, a good time even for me to get in the shade.

has much to offer as it is market, bazzar, meeting place and generally the center of life here, I was so glad to have stuck with the others to take a look.

All manner of food and drinks were available here, but I for one was not going for the

black, sticky, jelly drink.

Carol, Emily, Trollo and Bruno waiting to choose which one they were going to try.

More Stalls

but these 2 lads were making 'shish kababs' into an art form, that's the pot of seasoning flying through the air,

as both danced up and down while deftly skewering, turning, seasoning and cooking the meats.

Looking ahead, I could see the others has their eyes on the Ice Cream Parlour and to be fair I was only too pleased to join them.

Fresh fruit and icecream on a bed of shaved ice turned out to be just what was need on a boiling hot day, with Carol and I both opting for the passion fruit while

Emily and Bruno shared a 'double header' of kiwi fruit and strawberries.

Unlike South Korea I'm not going to write a long script about this and that, just suffice to say TAIWAN (the REPUBLIC of CHINA)
holds something for everyone in a safe, clean and seriously civilised society.

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