Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The Witch's Promise - Jethro Tull

A great start to the day as we add the Indian Ocean Island of Guam to the readership.
As ever a Warm Welcome is extended and hope that you may pass the Link on to all other Islanders!

Today was given over to a birding expedition some 30 minutes outside of Taipei City Centre via the very efficient MRT underground rail system and in the company of German ex-pat, Doctor Bruno Walther. Bruno, now married and living in Taiwan, has carried out extensive ornithological research throughout much of South America, has qualifications from a number of world universities (including Cambridge) and currently lectures at both Taiwanese Universities. This link, an interview with Bruno, will give a far better insight than I can.

The bustling little town of Guandu,

the small tributary that runs through the town and empties into the main river before reaching the sea and

the imposing and ornate Buddhist Temple built into the side of the hill.

We were here to take a look around the wetlands, but once again the weather was poor with heavy rain early on giving way to some dry periods later in the day and again everything seen was at great distance.

Among the more common residents here are Black-crowned Night Heron (adults)

along with many juveniles.

Black-winged Stilt is also abundant here with my estimate of about 50/60 individuals seen. During this early period we also recorded Little Grebe, lots of Grey Heron, Great White Egret and a Snipe species as yet unidentified.

This rather pleasing winged insect was followed by the

first of several Black Drongo

and what may well be another 'lifer' an EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL treated as a separate species in the Field Guide. Plain Prinia, Eurasian Teal in good numbers and a juvenile Marsh harrier were next up, with this rather smart looking

Cattle Egret catching us slightly unawares.

Of the 3 possible Mynas at this site we were lucky to see them all

with these Common Myna being the only one close enough to attempt a photo. The other 2 are Crested and JAVAN MYNA which I had not seen before.

This successful Osprey was again a distant but welcome addition,

but as it flew off an even more welcome Besra (an eastern type Sparrowhawk) flew into the same binocular view. This was immediately set upon by the half dozen or so Barn Swallows feeding along the edges of the paddy fields

where 2 Wood Sandpipers were spotted. During this active period we also picked up on Red Turtle Dove, Shoveler, Shelduck, Spot-billed Duck, a lone White-fronted Goose, Common Kestrel and a Grey Wagtail.

Also enjoying the food in the paddies were a couple of Sacred Ibis

which qualified as most obliging birds of the day as they did fly directly towards us. Before the walk was over, 2 Common Sandpiper appeared from nowhere, disappearing in half the time and to continue the wader theme 5 Greenshank and a Green Sandpiper also hit the list. JAPANESE WAGTAIL was a new bird to me but not Plumbeous Redstart, Siberian Stonechat or Yellow-bellied Prinia but there was to be a rewarding finale. At the very last knockings a 'skulking' BROWN-FLANKED BUSH WARBLER put in a few short but adequate views before we left the reserve.

The lunch bell must have sounded, but it was worth lingering for 15 minutes or so to view the temple from within before we headed of for some authentic Taiwanese food.

Bruno suggested the location, and to be fair the food was good especially the eggs, hard boiled in tea,

along with the Squid, Meat and whatever else it was Soup. However, that wasn't all that was good about lunch, a chance remark got us on to the subject of 'Rock 'n' Roll' and what a remarkable knowledge this man has of the subject. Needless to say this was right on my wavelength as we discussed many facets from Howlin' Wolf to Deep Purple and Jethro Tull to IQ. There is a chance that I may catch up with Bruno again next week-end, if so won't know whether to go birding or talk Rock a lot of both I suspect, but until then Thank You so much for your help and guidance Bruno!

Trip List = 126 Taiwan List = 52 World Lifers = 24

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