Orchid Island Revisited (Aug 18 - 20, 2008) - Part 1

Well, I have 171 photos at Flickr right now and it says that when I hit 200, only the latest 200 photos will show up. What happens to the rest? Well, they are hidden away (on Flickr) from the user himself, unless I can dish out $24.95/year to upgrade to Pro version. Well, sorry that I don't have enough money to spend after the stupid student loan took all of earnings this last couple of months.

Anyways, pointless rants aside, I decided to put some of my summer pictures (from Taiwan) here, so they aren't completely hidden away and I can access them here if I want. Plus, it's a nice way for me to tell my story about the trip I took to Orchid Island in Taiwan, and to share those sunny and extremely hot summer pictures!

After my bat internship ended in Taiwan, I stayed behind for about a month since I didn't have school to return to anymore here in Canada. During this time, I backpacked to a few touristy spots in Taipei by myself. In addition, I went on a trip with one of my co-workers from the internship to Orchid Island to visit one of the assistants who used to work in the zoo with us. He recently became a Master candidate and his study topic was somewhere along the line of how global warming affects the invasion rates of butterflies from the Philippines to Orchid Island. The reason being that Orchid Island is about halfway between Taiwan mainland and Philippines, and it is sort of like a stepping stone for animals migrating through the area. And he was there to collect some butterflies while we were there mainly for sightseeing.

Anyways, my friend and I arrived on the island on August 18, 2008.

This was the plane we took.

That's how big the cabin is. Two person per row and only ten rows.

Arrival at Orchid Island (a.k.a. Lanyu).

Once we arrived, our friend (the Master student) came to pick us up and he had already rented our transportation for us to travel around the island with.

Mopeds - the major transportation on the island! There are very few cars and the was only one road around the entire island (without any stoplights at all) so it's quite safe....until our last day!

After we drop off our luggages at the hostel, our friend immediately gave us a short tour of the island. There are three things very common on this island - strange rock formations, water taro farms, and goat!

Common rock formations. There are names to each of these formations. Mainly physical descriptive, such as Double Lion Rock, or something like that.

The infamous common feral goats. Actually they aren't feral, but the villagers let them wonder around freely on the island, and there are marks on the ears to indicate whose goat it is. The penalty is pretty hefty if you hit one of these with your mopeds.

Around the island once takes about 90 minutes (by mopeds). Afterwards, we went to the island's weather station where the Master student and his professor and assistant were collecting their samples. The views were incredible from the top of the mountain!

Weather Station.


A cloud that looked like a dragon with a club (or smoking a pipe), your choice!

Unknown moth. Very blue and pretty though.

After some greets and meets, we tagged along to another of their sampling sites. We came across some pretty neat creatures.

Swinhoe's Japalura (Japalura swinhonis) - one of the most common lizards in Taiwan. I really miss these guys because they were almost present everywhere - in villages, parks, and so on. Really fulfill my thirst (as a naturalist) of needing to see animals somewhere everywhere.

I found an empty exoskeleton of the beetle below, I think. The color is different once the yellow powders are gone.

Name: Coraebus sauteri. Beautiful!

Near there, I poked around and saw a dead frog in a ditch. Using a stick to lift it up, I believe it was a Rice Field Frog (Rana limnocharis) - another common frog in Taiwan and its islands.

While they headed to another collecting site, my friend and I decided to separate from the group and go check out the beaches.


Came across many small hermit crabs on the beach, which we later found out were used as fish baits by local fishermen.

When we headed back to the hostel, we came across this roadkilled skink on the side on the road. With only one road and high mopad traffic, casualities are not uncommon.

Arriving at the hostel, the owner (a local First Nation's people) had caught some exotic tropical fishes and will graciously barbecue them for us as dinner.

While dinner and lots of drinks later, I poked around underneath the street lights to see what animals are attracted by it. I came across these impressive insects. I hope I identified them correctly since it's been a while since I looked at these photos.

Anomala expansa lutaoensis

Setenis sulcigera

More on the next two days on a later post!

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