Sunday, 28 July 2013

The botanical gardens, Taipei

On my third day in Taipei, I visited the botanical gardens in the morning. This was another place which is easy to visit using only the Metro.

It was smaller than usual because whole sectors were closed off presumably to deal with storm damage created by a typhoon that struck 10 days before. There were certainly plenty of broken branches around.

Adult and young white breasted waterhen

Nevertheless a few more species were added to my embryonic Taiwan list. First off was the sighting of a tame family of white breasted waterhen on the island in the centre of the main lily pond. 

young white breasted waterhen

This was a lifer for me. Indeed well over half the birds I expect to see on my tour should be lifers too.


One that wasn't was common moorhen. I guessed it should be there but it was only after a second visit to the lily pond that I finally picked one up.


The picture of the lily may be pretty but the pond was not. I suspect it is the wrong time of year. Most of the leaves were withered and brown.

part of the gardens

A bird I had been told to expect was Malayan night heron and it was duly present. I had also been told that it had adapted well to man and was very tame at least in Taiwan. Well, this certainly proved to be the case with the bird I saw which allowed me within 2 metres until I lost interest. It didn't fly off even then.

Malayan night heron

The main activity in the trees was provided by bulbuls: both Chinese bulbul and Himalayan black bulbul. However there were also Taiwan barbet present including a breeding pair that kept returning to a hole in a tree where I presume they had young.

Taiwan barbet

Mobile flocks of Japanese white eye were also present.

Japanese white eye

Speaking to Bruno the day before, I said that it didn't look like Taiwan has many garden birds. He agreed and thinks its will take time as part of an involving process of colonisation and of habituation.  After all the Malayan night heron used to be a shy bird.

Oriental magpie robin

One bird which is increasingly colonising gardens is oriental magpie robin. This used to be only a mainland bird. Most birders think it was introduced or escaped but the distance to the mainland isn't great and it could have come here naturally. Its still not common and I was pleased to see a couple in the botanical gardens.

local squirrel

In the next blog, I'll write about by morning visit to Guandu water fowl park. It can also be travelled to by Metro without much trouble. 

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