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) ...

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