Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Zeiss - A window to the world of birds

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.
Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 14:54   #1
Mark Bruce
Super Moderator
 
Mark Bruce's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Taiwan, Yunlin County
Posts: 23,659
My local patch is a temple with fairies- Huben, Taiwan.

Your Local Patch?It got me thinking.I had never really thought of having a local patch in Taiwan.I knew immediately that I did have a local patch in my native country of South Africa,but here in Taiwan....can an expat have such a thing?.....Well,I guess he can....and my local patch is a temple.I do more birding around the Tian-sheng Gong Temple than any other place around,so it must be my local patch,and now that I think of it,I really like the idea.

This afternoon at 3:30 I headed out of the small town where I live to my LOCAL PATCH.It takes 15 minutes to get there.I parked my red scooter in the temple grounds,looked up and scanned the sky.I looked and looked,they weren't there.Looking for the resident pair of Crested Serpent Eagle is kind of a "starting to bird now"ritual before I head off into the forest.If I see them soaring above,I feel good and think the birding is going to be good.Well no eagles!

I get into the forest and it's quiet,too quiet.The forest is quiet sometimes.I've noticed that it can be very noisy and then silence.When this happens,I've often seen one of the small raptors put in an appearance a few moments later.I guess everyone kind of disappears when a Japanese Sparrowhawk or Crested Goshawk is seen looking for a meal.

Well the silence went on for quite sometime,and I didn't see any raptors.When there are no birds around,the low altitude forests of Taiwan can be very uncomfortable places.I think the name low altitude forest is a name that they put in field guides because they don't want to scare birders.The truth is these low altitude forests are a 35 degree in the shade jungle with about a 100% humidity factor and full of starving mosquitoes.

I walked up and up,I was cursing and puffing.All I had seen by the time I got to the top of the hill was a Black Bulbul,a few Chinese Bulbul and two Grey-cheeked Fulvetta.I turned around and started to walk back down.

I must have been about a third of the way down when I heard it....it was a Fairy Pitta.Now,the area is famous for Fairy Pitta,but I still get blown away every time I see one.Instantly I was transported from the state of birding in the *@#* mosquito jungle to the Utopian state of looking for forest Fairies in low altitude forest.The Pitta was close.I could hear by the call.I stopped to listen and look.The calling stopped.I didn't move.I listen....and wait for the calling to start.I'm standing next to a tree.A moment later there's a movement and the Pitta lands not more than 3m from me.It has no idea that I'm there.It hops from perch to perch.It must have spent two to three minutes hopping about in front of me before moving off ,and so ended the best sighting I've ever had of Taiwan's Forest Fairy.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Fairy Temple.jpg
Views:	372
Size:	48.1 KB
ID:	45266  

Last edited by Mark Bruce : Friday 5th May 2006 at 03:06.
Mark Bruce is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 15:50   #2
Katy Penland
Registered User
 
Katy Penland's Avatar

 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Pine Mountain Club, California, USA
Posts: 10,754
Thanks for this lovely story, Mark. Truly a lesson in patience and perseverance, well rewarded!

Hey, where's the photo?
Katy Penland is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2010 2014 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 16:00   #3
Mark Bruce
Super Moderator
 
Mark Bruce's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Taiwan, Yunlin County
Posts: 23,659
Unhappy

Hey, where's the photo?

Kinda knew the question would be asked.

The answer is,my camera was at home.I'm trying to convince myself that if I had tried to raise my camera I would have spooked the Pitta.
Mark Bruce is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 16:17   #4
Katy Penland
Registered User
 
Katy Penland's Avatar

 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Pine Mountain Club, California, USA
Posts: 10,754
You're undoubtedly right about that. Anyway, Murphy's Law dictates that as soon as you pack your camera along, no birds show up. I've also found that some of my most memorable wildlife encounters are those where I didn't have the camera in hand. Those images are burned indelibly into my brain.
Katy Penland is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2010 2014 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Sunday 12th June 2005, 01:34   #5
Dave B Smith
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: N.E. Florida, USA
Posts: 7,089
Mark,
Great post. Made me feel like I was "there".
__________________
Dave Smith
Dave B Smith is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Sunday 12th June 2005, 03:23   #6
Mark Bruce
Super Moderator
 
Mark Bruce's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Taiwan, Yunlin County
Posts: 23,659
Mr.Chang and the Shamas.

I'm walking along one of the many little forest tracks around the temple and as I round a corner I run into Mr.Chang.Mr.Chang is the local birding guide.He was a hunter for most of his life,but when the area became famous for Fairy Pitta and some other birds he was able to reform himself into a Birding Guide.Now he's the Pitta's most faithful protector.Meeting up with Mr.Chang if he is out checking on the well being of his Fairies is a wonderful stroke of luck,because you get invited to come along.

After about 30 minutes,as we are watching a Malayan Night Heron,I hear a strange call which I don't recognise.Mr.Chang imitates the call and the bird calls back.Off we go in the direction of the call.We stop and Mr.Chang points to a bird in a tree.The light is not that good,but I know that I've never seen this bird before.I see another movement and it appears that there is a second bird partly obscured by foliage near by.There are not that many birds in Taiwan with very long tails.I know I'm not looking at a Treepie or a Paradise Flycatcher.I can see a clear white patch on the rump.I get a good look at the bird,and then turn to Mr.Chang.I take out my field guide and Mr.Chang laughs and says it's not in there.I ask what it is and he says he doesn't know,but the pair live there.I look again and realise that the bird I'm looking at appears to be a White-rumped Shama(which to my knowledge isn't found in Taiwan).

I head back home and have a good look at pictures of White-rumped Shama and conclude that it is indeed the bird in question.I know that the White-rumped Shama is a popular cage bird in China.I guess that this pair must be escapees that have established themselves in my local patch.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Malaysian_Night_Heron_2A.jpg
Views:	361
Size:	71.4 KB
ID:	45272  

Last edited by Mark Bruce : Friday 5th May 2006 at 03:26.
Mark Bruce is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Sunday 12th June 2005, 09:47   #7
oscarcwc
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Taiwan
Posts: 25
Wow! You are so lucky to see fairy pitta. I'm jealous of what you have seen there.
Good article!!!
oscarcwc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 12th June 2005, 09:55   #8
Mark Bruce
Super Moderator
 
Mark Bruce's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Taiwan, Yunlin County
Posts: 23,659
Ni hao Oscar,
Don't be jealous,come visit and see them.Better be in the next few weeks though,because they'll be leaving soon.

Cheers

Mark
Mark Bruce is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Sunday 12th June 2005, 13:41   #9
florall
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: south east england
Posts: 760
Wonderful accounts Mark. Please keep them coming.
florall is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Sunday 12th June 2005, 14:14   #10
Mark Bruce
Super Moderator
 
Mark Bruce's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Taiwan, Yunlin County
Posts: 23,659
Can't believe that I never spotted it!!!

Been raining most of the day.I think you could swim all the way to Taipei at present.

Down at the Fairy Temple I see Mr.Chang.He points to this big tree next to the stream.I look,but can't make out what he's pointing at.The tree is rather old and doesn't have that much foliage.I look at him and he's laughing at me.I look back at the tree,and then I see it.It's a very young Malayan Night Heron standing in the"nest".I was shocked,Malayan Night Herons and their"nests"are not exactly small.I can't believe that I didn't notice it before,especially considering that I must have looked at birds in that tree at least ten times in the last fortnight.
Mark Bruce is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Sunday 12th June 2005, 14:16   #11
birdpotter
Registered User
 
birdpotter's Avatar

 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: oregon!!!
Posts: 1,337
Loved your words.
The place you speak of sounds fantastic.
__________________
"Groove is in the Heart" --Dee-Lite
birdpotter is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Sunday 12th June 2005, 14:55   #12
Mark Bruce
Super Moderator
 
Mark Bruce's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Taiwan, Yunlin County
Posts: 23,659
Thanks birdpotter,
There's a picture of the temple and a review on the location.Go to locations,and see Hu-ben,in the Taiwan reviews.

http://www.birdforum.net/thedirector...cat=500&page=1

Cheers
Mark
Mark Bruce is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Monday 13th June 2005, 14:34   #13
Mark Bruce
Super Moderator
 
Mark Bruce's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Taiwan, Yunlin County
Posts: 23,659
A pair of Little Ringed Plover.While very common in winter,it's rather special seeing them this time of year in Taiwan.
Mark Bruce is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 14th June 2005, 02:15   #14
Mark Bruce
Super Moderator
 
Mark Bruce's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Taiwan, Yunlin County
Posts: 23,659
There's a little stream that winds its way through my local patch,it passes the temple and makes its way through the quaint village of Hu-ben before it joins a larger river.I was just leaving the the temple and following the road that runs parallel to the stream.I was on my scooter.The movement of a Crake like bird,and a flash of something reddish in the reeds brought me to a sudden stop.It turned out to be a White-breasted Waterhen.The bird saw me and disappeared into the reeds.A common sight in Taiwan,but the first sighting of it on my local patch.As I was about to get back on the scooter the site of a something black running across a sandbank caught my eye.I spotted more movement and glassed the area.It was a "family" of White-breasted Waterhen,two adults and two juveniles.A rather unusual sight of a bird that is generally solitary.I watched them feeding while the sun was setting,and then headed home.I think I need to spend more time watching the reeds along the stream.
Mark Bruce is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Friday 17th June 2005, 14:23   #15
Mark Bruce
Super Moderator
 
Mark Bruce's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Taiwan, Yunlin County
Posts: 23,659
With all the rain and flooding we are having in Taiwan I haven't been able to get to the local patch.I'd like to see the sun,too.
Getting a little cranky.
Mark Bruce is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 21st June 2005, 14:18   #16
Mark Bruce
Super Moderator
 
Mark Bruce's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Taiwan, Yunlin County
Posts: 23,659
The rain had stopped...for the moment.I was able to get down to the Fairy Temple this morning.The forest was steamy and muddy after all the rain.Not to much happening.The Bronzed Drongos and Black Bulbuls seemed to be playing catch in the trees.Groups of between 4-6 birds chasing each other through the trees.Had a great sighting of a Malayan Night Heron.It was in the path in front of me eating a worm.I got within 2m of it before it WANDERED off.When I came back along the same track we had a repeat performance.Apart from the Malayan Night Heron the highlight of the morning's birding was falling off a little bamboo bridge into a stream....and then the rain came back!
Mark Bruce is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Wednesday 22nd June 2005, 22:59   #17
FeistyRdHd
Virginia is for Bird Lovers
 
FeistyRdHd's Avatar

 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: SE Virginia
Posts: 95
Mark,

Thank you for taking me along on your walk. It prompted my to do a web search for a photograph of the fairy pitta. What a beautiful bird! How wonderful that you were able to see it up close for such a length of time.

Lydia
FeistyRdHd is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 23rd June 2005, 04:37   #18
Mark Bruce
Super Moderator
 
Mark Bruce's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Taiwan, Yunlin County
Posts: 23,659
Hi Lydia,
Yes very beautiful,it's hard not to fall in love with this little forest Nymph.They will be leaving during August,so not long left to watch them.I guess that's one of the reasons they are so special,we only have them for a few short months each year.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	A Hushan stream A.JPG
Views:	352
Size:	144.8 KB
ID:	45275  Click image for larger version

Name:	Huben forest 2A.JPG
Views:	352
Size:	145.4 KB
ID:	45276  Click image for larger version

Name:	Huben forest 1A.JPG
Views:	332
Size:	147.2 KB
ID:	45277  

Last edited by Mark Bruce : Friday 5th May 2006 at 05:39.
Mark Bruce is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 28th June 2005, 02:22   #19
Mark Bruce
Super Moderator
 
Mark Bruce's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Taiwan, Yunlin County
Posts: 23,659
I have a colleague,a non birder who has been wanting to see the Fairy pitta.I agreed to take him last Sunday morning.He arrived at 6,with wife and kid....this was going to be interesting.We got to Hu-ben and went for a short walk.After about twenty minutes of mud,mosquitoes and a Banded Krait the wife and kid returned to the car.We carried on.We met up with another "birder"who tagged along.My colleague and him chatting away very loudly.We finally spooked a juvenile pitta.The juvenile lacking the colours of an adult appeared very drab.I don't think they believed me when I told them it was indeed a pitta.By this time my colleague had had enough and I thankfully headed back to the car.
Mark Bruce is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 28th June 2005, 04:07   #20
Mark Bruce
Super Moderator
 
Mark Bruce's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Taiwan, Yunlin County
Posts: 23,659
Unhappy A sad tale

While out birding in my local patch I witnessed a mob of Black Bulbul(Hypsipetes leucocephalus) chasing a Grey/Himalayan Treepie(Dendrocitta formosae).The Black Bulbul were having a real go at the Treepie.It appeared more like an all out fight than a case of mobbing.The Treepie disappeared from sight and I carried on walking.Black Bulbul are really aggressive when they encounter Grey Treepie.My wife had recorded a mixed mob of Chinese and Black Bulbul mobbing a Grey Treepie about two months ago,too.When I got home I was about to tell my wife about the Black Bulbul when she told me a very sad story.

There is a very small school in a village very close to where my wife teaches in another small rural school.The school has a resident pair of endemic Taiwan/Formosan Blue Magpie(Urocissa caerulea).The Taiwan Blue Magpie is really a magnificent bird.Taiwan Blue Magpie generally are very social and live in small groups but I have seen them in pairs which was the case with these two.The pair would frequent the school in the early morning and the late afternoon and sometimes put in appearances during the day.The pair became very well known.

Sadly,this all changed yesterday.Early yesterday teachers were alerted to a great commotion outside.A mob of Black Bulbul were attacking the pair of Blue Magpie.The attack was relentless.In absolute desparation the pair of Blue Magpie were trying to get away from the mob.In the course of this aerial combat the one Blue Magpie flew straight into the wall of the school building and fell to the ground dead.The other Blue Magpie disappeared into the forest followed by the mob and has not been seen since.

A web-link to a picture of a Taiwan/Formosan Blue Magpie and other Taiwan birds is http://www.gio.gov.tw/info/ecology/E..._e/birds_e.htm
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Taiwan Blue Magpie S.jpg
Views:	347
Size:	58.0 KB
ID:	45273  

Last edited by Mark Bruce : Friday 5th May 2006 at 03:31.
Mark Bruce is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 28th June 2005, 05:36   #21
florall
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: south east england
Posts: 760
That's a great link, Mark, and what a beautiful bird the Blue Magpie is. But it's much bigger than the Black Bulbul, why would they attack a pair? Maybe it's like the sort of behaviour where smaller birds attack a bird of prey/owl over here?
florall is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 28th June 2005, 06:05   #22
Mark Bruce
Super Moderator
 
Mark Bruce's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Taiwan, Yunlin County
Posts: 23,659
Quote:
Originally Posted by florall
Maybe it's like the sort of behaviour where smaller birds attack a bird of prey/owl over here?
Hi Floral.Yes,exactly that kind of behaviour.The most aggresive smaller birds around here are the Bronzed Drongos.They are always after the Jungle Crows and Crested Serpent Eagles.
Mark Bruce is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 5th July 2005, 04:50   #23
Mark Bruce
Super Moderator
 
Mark Bruce's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Taiwan, Yunlin County
Posts: 23,659
Pheasants???

Went birding at the Fairy Temple this morning with a good friend.We had a great sighting of a pair of Malayan Night Heron within minutes of starting our walk.We were after Fairies.For my friend,a sighting of a Pitta would be a lifer.After about 30 minutes of hard walking along muddy paths we climbed an embankment.We paused to take a breather.I was beginning to feel the pressure.I really wanted to find a Pitta for my friend but I hadn't even heard a call yet.We carried on and the path was leading up the side of a hill.I caught sight of a bird disappearing into the undergrowth up ahead.The size of the bird was right but that didn't mean it was a Fairy.I knew that the bend in the path about 20 metres away would give us a good view of the undergrowth.We stopped and waited.We saw nothing.We moved on a few metres to get a better view.As we looked down over the undergrowth a Pitta broke cover and flew off through the trees.We waited and within minutes we had several good sightings of a pair.I felt very good.

We then decided to take a steep path that lead up a smallish mountain to go and see some Tree-frogs .We got to where we wanted to go.While we had a breather we had a chat about some Bamboo Partridge I had seen in the area the week before.I was now getting very hot and the mosquitoes were buzzing around us in clouds.We decided to head home for breakfast.The path down was very slippery.We had seen our Pitta and I was concentrating on not falling.Ahead I noticed a movement.My view was obscured by leaves and it was quite dark in the forest.I lifted my bins and I could make out a grey silhouette of a bird.My first impression was Bamboo Partridge.The tail was kind of long for a Bamboo Partridge but I didn't really think about that.The bird looked up and it looked a little like a Malayan Night Heron for a moment but I knew it wasn't.A second bird came out of the undergrowth and walked across the path.I didn't get a good look at it but could see it was a game bird."Bamboo Partridge" I said not really thinking.Bamboo Partridge are common in the area and I was concentrating on my footing.The pair of birds had disappeared into the undergrowth.Suddenly my mind cleared."The Tail"I shouted!The tail was too long for a Bamboo Partridge."The size!"For a moment I had thought the bird was a Malayan Night Heron.There are a few Swinhoe's Pheasant in the mountains around the Temple.I have never seen them but I know that they are seen from time to time.In all probability a pair of female Swinhoe's Pheasant had walked in front of us and we hadn't even realised.
Mark Bruce is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 5th July 2005, 07:29   #24
AdrianB
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 155
Amazing tales. Thank you for sharing Mark.
AdrianB is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 5th July 2005, 08:19   #25
Katy Penland
Registered User
 
Katy Penland's Avatar

 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Pine Mountain Club, California, USA
Posts: 10,754
More like "amazing tails" in this case! Looking forward to the next adventure!
Katy Penland is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2010 2014 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How local is your local patch? RockyRacoon Sussex 49 Wednesday 21st November 2007 22:26
What would happen if you didn't have your local patch? RockyRacoon Sussex 29 Saturday 5th June 2004 22:26
A Breydon Water local patch Karl J Norfolk 50 Monday 6th October 2003 11:39
local patch!! sparrowbirder Birds & Birding 8 Friday 4th July 2003 13:50



Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.25966597 seconds with 35 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 06:18.