Saturday, December 22, 2018

Birding in Huben and Meeting with An Owl

Orange grove in a temple in Huben, Taiwan was where we started our morning to look for birds on our second day of birdwatching in Huben, Taiwan. Black bulbuls were flying around and perched on some of the trees, their songs mixed with those of the prinias, Taiwan barbets and Light-vented (Chinese) bulbuls. The orange grove reminded me that Chinese New Year 2019 was just around the corner, and the celebration of which would not be complete without Mandarin oranges symbolising the golden taels used as currency in imperial age.
Our next star bird was to be the Collared Scops Owl (Otus Lettia). Arkive website described this owl species as declining in population across Europe. Imagine looking for owls in a Taoist temple. Collared Scops Owl to be specific. Temple's mural paintings depicted stories from religious text, and a pair of owl was featured in one of these paintings, with writings directly translated to mean "Double perfect pair". Accurate description of the Collared Scops owl which is known to mate for life. The monogamous lifestyle of this owl species cannot even be emulated by some human beings, some of whom are celebrities whose infidelity and adulterous affairs make headline news worldwide.

We had local Taiwanese meat dumplings with noodles and vegetables for lunch, before making our way to the mountains. There were many stalls alongside the road in town selling local snacks such as rice cakes with black sesame. We bought some of these crunchy rice cakes for our afternoon tea in the mountains.
The three deities on the temple are known to be forbears of fortune, luck and longevity

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