Long awaited post (a.k.a. last post in September 2009)

Sorry for the long waited post. I am just very very busy these days with the paper writing, and stil am.

The draft is more or less complete. So now it's just a lot of deleting, rephrasing, recalculating, rewriting.

A bit of brain exhausted day after day, but it's all part of the learning process and the experiences that I am gaining are just invaluable, especially for my future. So I am taking it all in in good strides.

Long awaited sky-watching
Sky-watch on September 27, 2009 (Sunday) on the top of my work building after a bit tired after working all day.

I'll be leaving Taiwan in a couple of weeks and heading back to Canada. I don't know which place to call home anymore, maybe both are. If so, then I am one lucky person.


Nighttime Taipei Botanical Garden (TBG)

After leaving work and walking through the botanical garden in the evening, I decided to take some pictures of Taipei Botanical Garden (TBG) in the nighttime using long exposures (~8 seconds).

I didn't have a tripod with me, so I just put the camera on my bag and timed the shutter before properly positioning the camera. Pretty impressive results, I must say.

Look forward to more experimentations with the night photography from now on since I am leaving work later and later....Sigh.

TBG in the evening

Align CenterTBG in the evening

TBG in the evening

TBG in the evening

PS - I wonder where I can find some rocks to flip over tomorrow at work...


In a Slump...

In a Slump

Sorry for not posting in a week, but
In terms of picture-taking,
and most importantly
my paper-writing.

I know all this is an experience,
but I do not like it
when people doubt
my enthusiasm or
my loyalty.
How dare you!

I let out an echoing cry
of frustration.
And then I know all of this
is a part of life.
And I just have to take it
one day at a time,
and enjoy every moment of it.

How cliche, I know.
But it works for me.
Seize the day!

PS - Working again tomorrow. And remember it's Rock Flipping Day on Sunday.


Turtles/Tortoise Workshop in Taipei Zoo

This past weekend, my co-workers and I attended a special workshop hosted at Taipei Zoo titled "From the International Cooperation for the Conservation and Reproduction of the Burmese Star Tortoise (Geochelone platynota) - A Discussion of the Links Between In-situ and Ex-situ Conservation Activities for the Endangered Tortoise". Aside from the staff and researchers from Taipei Zoo, other special guests were from: Herpetological Associates, Inc., Kadorrie Farm & Botanic Garden, Behler Chelonian Center, and others.

Entrance sign.

The abstract booklet and other pamphlets that we received.

Mr. Paul Crow from Kadorrie Farm & Botanic Garden giving a presentation on the conservation of the critically endangered Cuora trifasciata in Hong Kong.

My co-workers paying attention to the lecturers.

Besides learning the different types of turtles and tortoises and the steps taken to conserve them, whether In-situ or Ex-situ, I also used the time to visit friends from last year's internship, as well as touring the zoo.

Visiting people at the Wildlife Rescue Center

Animals that I photographed this weekend:

Crab-eating Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) - 馬來猴

Crab-eating Macaque (Macaca fascicularis)

Black-winged Starling (Sturnus melanopterus) - 黑翅椋鳥

Black-winged Starling (Sturnus melanopterus) - 黑翅椋鳥

Black-winged Starling (Sturnus melanopterus)

Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) - 埃及聖鷺

Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) - 埃及聖鷺

Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus)

Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber)

Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber)

Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber) - 大紅鶴

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) - 大紅鶴

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) - 大紅鶴

Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber)

Back to work tomorrow!


Pretty Flowers and Grass Lizards in TBG

Pretty Pink Flowers
Today, while I was photographing these pretty flowers opening along the pathways in TBG, I spotted something squirming in the bushes.

It was a Formosan Grass Lizard! A very small one too, just a little over 10-cm.

Formosan Grass Lizard (Takydromus formosanus) - 台灣草蜥
But then I saw another lizard.

Formosan Grass Lizards (Takydromus formosanus) - 台灣草蜥
It was a larger one with green sides. It came to the smaller, browner one and stayed there for about 20 seconds before the other one crawled away.

Formosan Grass Lizard (Takydromus formosanus) - 台灣草蜥
Photographing the green Formosan Grass Lizard.

Formosan Grass Lizard (Takydromus formosanus) - 台灣草蜥

Formosan Grass Lizard (Takydromus formosanus) - 台灣草蜥
What an handsome animal!

I am not sure if I had mentioned this before or not (because I am having trouble searching it in my older posts), but many weeks ago, one of the Taiwan Barbet's resting cavity had been taken over by ants. Well, my friend today helped me identified it to be Crematogaster rogenhoferi fabricans, a common ant in homes. Pretty cool, I think.


Hungry Black-crowned Night Heron looking for breakfast

Counting the days on the calendar, I realized that I will be leaving Taiwan in 53 days. A very sad small number I guess, although I had already stayed for 120 days.

Feeling gloomy aside, this Black-crowned Night Heron brightened my day a bit this morning by showing up.

Looking for food.

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) - 夜鷺
Changing to a new spot.

Looking around.

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) - 夜鷺
And looking ahead.

Still no fishes to be found? Time to change to another location again.

Let see if standing on top of the vegetation will give me a better view.

Nope. How about the fishes hiding underneath the vegetation?

I think I might go hungry this morning.


Fun & Creative Day in Huashan Creative Park

Today, my friend FH and I went to see exhibitions on the last day of "Taiwan Designers' Week 09" (Chinese website) held at Huashan Creative Park. "Taiwan Designers' Week 09" basically shows off the creative inventions and artistic works of Taiwan's budding new designers (mostly still students), as well as well-known brands. It was an eye-opening experience looking at the actual physical products of the students' imaginations. Bravo!

Light Bulb Bird covered in Wool
Light Bulb Birds covered with Wool was just one of the many many piece of inventions and designs that caught our attention!

Aside from the exhibitions, Huashan Creative Park is definitely a place I will recommend for anyone visiting Taipei. The whole place is just teeming with artistic vibes!

Huashan Creative Park

In the afternoon, the whole place was full with families, youths, and pets checking out the flea market, eating delicious vendors, and listening to live indie bands. What a wonderful experience today was!

Whenever there were dogs, you can bet there was a group of people going crazy over them. I must admit, I was one of those people.

Delicious food sold on these vintage VWs. What an attractive sight to lure-in customers!

I want to thank FH for joining me today of an otherwise lonely day. Thanks, FH!

PS - More photos from this wonderful day are here in my Facebook album.


Full Moon Friday

Work has been very busy these couple of days and with times passing so fast that I ended up wondering if I had done enough in the 8-hour work period. Sigh. I am a bit behind in terms of my paper writing, but I hope that once the data organization and analysis are complete, the progress will pick up.

Anyways, we had an interesting English-only work day in the office today and it was quite fun. Next Monday will be a Taiwanese-only work day, and that should be just as exciting!

After work today, my friends and I were suppose to go to a Bible-reading class, but a sudden rainstorm forced us back to the office and were ended up playing a board game called "Primordial Soup". I think it's a fun game, especially for people interested in games related to biology.

After the game ended, as well as the rain, it was time to head back home.

Walking towards the apartment building, the beautiful full Moon caught my attention, and so I went to the rooftop of our building and took some photos.

Moon watch on 2009-09-04
A moment with worries or frustrations. How I wish I can look at the moon forever.

Have a nice weekend, everybody!

PS - International Rock-Flipping Day will be taking place two weeks from tomorrow (September 20), and it is co-ordinated by Wanderin' Weeta. I hope I will get my first chance to take part this year. See here for more details and guidelines!!!


Pray and wish

Before arriving at work yesterday, I visited my co-workers who were conducting their weekly survey on bird assemblage and noise levels in TBG.

Fallen Plumeria rubra
A beautiful Plumeria rubra flower falling on the ground.

Tree squirrels feasting on the ripe pomelos still on the tree. Some squirrels even dug their heads into the fruit and enjoy the fruity flesh inside. Yum!

Yesterday was the mid-month of the seventh month of the Lunar Calendar. The seventh month is known as the Spirit Month where spirits from the purgatory are free to wonder to the human world, and we have to provide food for them to wish them well and safe travels going back. There are also prohibitions among elders to avoid going to dangerous places such as in the mountains or to the ocean or rivers, as the mountain and water spirits (i.e. people who passed away in these areas) will drag you to purgatory with them. Researchers who deal with animals (wild or lab) also pray and thank the animals that gave up their souls for the greater good of science. Quite an honorable tradition, I think.

We provided lots of snacks and food to thank the spirits.

Burning paper money and lighting incenses.

In the end, it was time to enjoy the food.
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