Wild Taiwan

A lady of leisure writes about wildlife in Taiwan.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

cool escape

Nowadays, Taipei is blessed with clear blue sky and amazing winds. Unfortunately it's still like an oven in my apartment and in the street where my apartment is.

I escaped to Yang Ming shan yesterday as it's much cooler there. 26 degrees or so. It was windy too. I took the feeder bus, got off at the second last bus stop thinking that it's nearer to the waterfall as it appeared so in the map. However, there was no path leading there. I had to walk to the next stop and continued to the waterfall. Along the way I saw some really huge stink bugs with thick hind legs. They were really abundant on the trees.

It seemed stinkbugs are quite seasonal. I saw a different one earlier in May, smaller, with bright red bodies on the Machilus trees in Taipei city. They had a habit on landing on the ground and some got stepped on. When one was dead on the ground, the others woulld congregate around it, touching the dead companion. I really didn't know what they were doing but it sure looked mournful!

I walked along the trail with a waterway constructed beside it. It was constructed during the Japanese occupation. Apparently after the waterway was created, it changed the whole landscape, rice cultivation became possible. There was a very common herb along the way, Begonia formosana, 水鴨腳秋海棠, http://www.ymsnp.gov.tw/web/webpage.aspx?f=data_file/plant93/plant93_c3-106.htm

It seemed it's also mating season too. There were lots of dragonflies mating and depositing eggs in the water. And of course, there were lots of butterflies.
http://www.ymsnp.gov.tw/web/webpage.aspx?f=data_file/animal93/animal93_d4-121.htm, http://www.ymsnp.gov.tw/web/webpage.aspx?f=data_file/animal93/animal93_d4-127.htm, http://www.ymsnp.gov.tw/web/webpage.aspx?f=data_file/animal93/animal93_d4-152.htm

I didn't have to try very hard to look out for birds, they were very comfortable around me. There were a number of white eyes (popular songbirds) darting among the foliage. http://www.ymsnp.gov.tw/web/webpage.aspx?f=data_file/animal93/animal93_d3-2139.htm. There was a pair of Bambusicola thoracica, 竹雞, crossing the path http://www.ymsnp.gov.tw/web/webpage.aspx?f=data_file/animal93/animal93_d3-2123.htm
and a pair of Lesser Scimitar Babbler http://www.ymsnp.gov.tw/web/webpage.aspx?f=data_file/animal93/animal93_d3-212b.htm

There was even an earthworm which jumped about 8 cm high when I tried to move it away from the walking path! I didn't know they have this ability!