The final part of my southern Taiwan trip (2009-10-17)

Doing some internet surfing on Flickr when I came across this picture and chuckled at myself at the caption below "...in BC if you're waiting for the rain to stop before you go out, there's every chance you'd die of old age first." Very true.

I have been putting off writing the last few parts of my southern Taiwan trip, and I think I will continue today (from last month). One of the things that we were there to do was to find some Taiwan Barbet nest cavities, as well as to witness and gather some information about the famous raptor migration occurring during the beginning of autumn. It is a spectacular sighting to see tens of thousands raptors flying and gliding on currents of hot airs rising through the peninsula.

On October 17, we woke up quite early, had simple breakfast, and rode our scooters back to Sheding Nature Park where many bird-watchers and photographers gather to see and capture this phenomenon.

Shortly after leaving the dormitory, we saw a Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker (Dendrocopos canicapillus). It was definitely to find a lifer for me, as well as the idea of another cavity-nester sharing the same habitat as our Taiwan Barbet. I wonder if there are direct competitions between the two species in terms of cavity resources.

Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker (Dendrocopos canicapillus) - 小啄木

Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker (Dendrocopos canicapillus) - 小啄木

Later on, we also came across a group of Formosan Rock Macaques which are pretty common in the area.

Formosan Rock Macaque (Macaca cyclopis) - 台灣獼猴

On the way to the platform of the highest point in the park, we encountered a few more interesting animals/plants.

Plank Root Tree (Heritiera littoralis) - 銀葉樹
Plank Root Tree (Heritiera littoralis). From its root system, you can probably guess that this is a species that live near mangroves with fluctuating tides.

Taiwan Giant Cricket (Brachytrupes portentosus) - 台灣大蟋蟀
Taiwan Giant Cricket (Brachytrupes portentosus) - it was already dead but I uprighted it for a documentation.

Xiao Huang (小黃)
A friendly dog belonging to the person in charge of the dormitories.

Candidiopotamon rathbunae - 拉氏清溪蟹
Candidiopotamon rathbunae with my shoe stopping it from moving for a second. C. rathbunae is a freshwater crab and has the widest distribution in Taiwan. Even though both pincers are about the same size, the left is slightly larger. They are the largest and most fierce freshwater crabs in Taiwan, and they can be found underneath rocks or leaves alongside streams, as well as in muddy holes.

Athyma cama zoroastres - 台灣單帶蛺蝶
Athyma cama zoroastres.

Unknown species from Family Pompilidae
An unknown species from Family Pompilidae.

Once we arrived at the platform, there were probably tens of photographers and birders there. Even though I can see many birds flying in the sky, there were too unfamiliar for me to identify right away (and plus they were just too fast). I didn't capture any images of the must-see Grey-Faced Buzzard. Instead I got a couple of shots of bird-in-flight (one of the reasons why I would like to own a DSLR) and identified only after I sat down and opened my field guides. Needless to say, they are all lifers for me!

Besra (Accipiter virgatus) - 松雀鹰
Besra (Accipiter virgatus)

Oriental Honey Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus) - 蜂鷹
Oriental Honey Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus)

Oriental Honey Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus) - 蜂鷹
Oriental Honey Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus) - a honey-feeding accipiter. I believe this is a male because it is lighter in color.

After lunch, we headed to the Manzhou Eagle-watching Expo, but it was too far away and by the time we got there, the expo already came to an end.

Near dark, we scootered back towards our dormitory (along the windy waterfront and the dangerous encounter of a bull out-of-nowhere in a dark road) to pack up our luggages and prepare heading to Taipei.

Along the dark roads, we came across a roadkilled Taiwan Green Snake (Cyclophiops major). RIP.

Roadkilled Taiwan Green Snake (Cyclophiops major) - 青蛇

Roadkilled Taiwan Green Snake (Cyclophiops major) - 青蛇

As well as finding a stickbug (Entoria koshungensis) right outside or dorm. So cool! The people that helped me id this believe it is a male.

Male Entoria koshungensis - 恆春長肛脩 雄蟲

After dinner, we took a taxi ride to Kaohsiung (about 2 hours). Spend another hour or so in Kaohsiung waiting for the shuttle bus to Taipei. We left Kaohsiung just past midnight, and when we woke up in Taipei, it was almost 6-am (of October 18th, Sunday)! We ate some early breakfast and said good-bye to each other and headed to our own homes - because we have a get-together later that night in a friend's home again.

Taipei Morning Sun while on MRT
So early...and so tiring!

That concludes my work-trip to Southern Taiwan which was both memorable and important (to me) at the same time. I miss it so much.

366 days ago (2009-01-29) ...


And the dyin' is easy too.

Just as Hugh of Rock Paper Lizard mentioned this being a good (warm) month for critters, including squirrels, I came across a dying squirrel in front of our road where squirrels like to run back and forth all the time.

At first, I noticed a crow in the middle of the road. Then I saw it was beside something. As I got closer, I realize it was a furry animal, most likely to be a squirrel.

I ran back home to grab my camera and took a few shots. Apparently the squirrel was still alive because its tail was still twitching. There were two squirrel on the neighbor's tree yipping and watching this dying squirrel. I wonder if they are family.

Life and death. Both are easy, I guess. RIP, little squirrel.

365 days ago (2009-01-28) ...


What's that pink cabbage called?

My mother accompanied me (halfway) in this relatively grey day out to the dyke.

Watching the harrier fly by.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Great Blue Heron (one of the many of them that I saw today). My mother headed home around this point while I continued on.

A Snow Goose adult protecting the juveniles around it.

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)
Ring-billed Gulls seem to like hanging around in the same soggy areas as the Snow Geese.

Spotted Towhee. One of the birds that enjoy the easy food provided in this feeder.

Winter Kale
Saw this Winter Kale in the Terra Nova Share Farm. Took me a couple of searches in Google before finding out what this pink cabbage is actually called. A few interesting information about kale here (not sure if accurate or not).

Droplet on Kale
Droplet on kale leaf.

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
A Red-tailed Hawk. Probably the same one as yesterday.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
A handsome heron standing close to me.

Snow Geese spooked by eagles (I think).

Bald Eagle again. My mother says it's more likely to see them later in the afternoon; hence, the reason why she didn't see them this afternoon (around 3-pm).


Photographic Post: Great Birding Day

Warning: I think I caught the shutterbug during my bike ride to the dyke today, so this is a lengthy post full of pictures. You have been warned.

Sunny day

Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)
Surprising capture of a Northern Harrier flying searching for food.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
A juvenile Great Blue Heron standing near the trail hoping it won't be spotted by anyone.

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Konk~la~reee - Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
Red-winged Blackbirds are back and konk-la-reeing!

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Hiding in the grasses was a Short-eared Owl.

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Think this is my first real sighting of Bald Eagles of the year. I was beginning to worry that they are not coming to Terra Nova this year.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Many sleepy heads, the heron was the only one awake.

Snow Geese taking off.

Biking towards the Terra Nova slough, I suddenly saw something big perched out of the corner of my eye. Using a tree as cover, I peeked and it was a Red-tailed Hawk - at my eye level and just a few meters away from me! What a chance! I put on the TCON-lens and started shooting away!

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
There was a ditch below this bridge and I suppose the hawk was looking at the critters running around below.

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
It looked at me a couple of times but wasn't concerned at all - I gave it a safety distance and with a tree in the middle.

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
What a handsome bird!

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
The hawk went into this position when a couple with two dogs came near us. The man took off his DSLR and started clicking away loudly. And then the hawk flew away. Go figures.

I saw a small furry critter went under this patch and I biked past it.

The only birds on the slough was two pairs of this species. Are they Gadwalls? I don't remembering them having the dark ear patch. HELP PLEASE?

A panoramic view of the setting sun.

The sun cutting the trees in half.

Two Bald Eagles. Hooray!

One more shot of the sunset.

Moon watch on 2010-01-26
And a moon watch image. That's all, I am going home now!

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