Saturday, October 1, 2011
Taipei Botanical Gardens, Taiwan (pt 2)
Mostly ornamental, pleasantly shady in the intense urban heat, and incorporating small ponds, flower gardens, a museum and a cast of locals from visiting schoolkids to exercising elders, the Botanical Gardens still managed to host a variety of species, from ground level to canopy.
Amongst others, Himalayan Black Bulbuls and Taiwan Barbets used the mid to upper levels, while others were seemingly well adapted to sharing the limited space available with plenty of humans. Of these, White-breasted Waterhens and Black-crowned Night Herons (above) were far more tolerant than their more rural counterparts, but the show-stealers were Malay Night Herons (below) - one of several lifers, and in the unexpected circumstances of wandering around within inches of the paths while deftly picking off small prey from the ground.
Adjusting to common species is often a steep and fast learning curve in a new country, and here in urban Taipei, these included Eurasian Tree Sparrows (as in Japan, inescapable and in plague-like proportions), Japanese White-eyes (any tree or bush will do), Chinese Bulbuls, Grey Treepies, House Swifts, and Oriental Turtle Doves and Spotted Doves (the latter two challenging Feral Pigeons for street ubiquity).
Just the kind of avian introduction required, and with two weeks on the island, a mere sliver of what was to come.