Of course it depends on what the hobby is. All the same, I am grateful for Matthew 6:26 where Christ calls for us all to be at least casual birdwatchers. Regardless of how busy I am, I happily find that I am always able to see the local birds and call to mind His admonition: “Behold the fowls of the air for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”
This is a command that every person can follow because birds live virtually everywhere in the world, inhabiting areas cold and warm, urban and rural. And Taiwan’s subtropical climate affords a greater number of species than anywhere I’ve been before, except maybe North America as a continent. Because of the friendliness and kind efforts of those on staff with the Wild Bird Society of Taipei and the advice of a reporter friend, I had the privilege of being a part of Taipei’s annual bird fair this year at Guandu Nature Park in the northern part of the island. It was great to be in the field again.
What I enjoyed most was that it was not a solo trip. Nathan and Eric accompanied me for the day out and we had a great time together browsing bookstores in Taipei and having lunch at a Korean restaurant on the way. Once at the park I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Dr. Tim Appleton, co-organizer of the British birdfair. I also met my first Little Grebe, a dark black and red version of our Pied-billed Grebe!
They had some excellent books for sale as well and with the help of the outstanding illustrations in a Chinese guide, I’ve been able to verify a few identifications of common birds including the Barn Swallow, Brown Shrike (a brown version of the Loggerhead Shrike in the Character Sketches), the Chinese or Light-vented Bulbul and Black Drongo.
Without the relationships being built on the team and elsewhere, not a single one of these identifications could have been made. This Thanksgiving I am grateful to each of you who have invested in my appreciation of wildlife in general and now the rich birdlife there is to see in Taiwan! Thank you so much.