Friday, December 21, 2018

Fairy Pitta Inn

Taiwan Barbet (looks similar to our Black-browed Barbet)
This quaint inn in Huben, Taiwan had a giant wooden sculpture of Fairy Pitta in its front lawn, to remind birders that it is indeed home to this unique pitta species. It was also our accommodation for 2 nights as we went looking for birds throughout the southwest coast and mountainous regions of Taiwan. My last trip to Taiwan was to Taipei and that was in 2008 for a work-related event. I have heard and read so much about the popular home-stays in Taiwan, and this Fairy Pitta Inn was a comfortable, quiet and cosy home-stay. The inn had a lovely courtyard where we had our alfresco breakfasts and at night, it got quite chilly when the winds blew in from the hills. Very tempting to go out and search for owls but we had to get up early at 4.30am every morning for our birdwatching trips to the Big Snow Mountain (Daesyushan) and Aogu wetlands. Fairy Pitta inn is run by a lovely couple, Mr and Mrs Chen Jia Hong, and we were the only occupants during those 2 nights there. A lively Japanese husky puppy named "Five Dollar" lived in this inn with the young couple. Mr Chen Jia Hong is one of the top eBirders in Taiwan so it was a real delight to have him accompany us in our birdwatching sessions led by our Taiwan sifu, Schumi Wu. We were joined by lady birder friend of Schumi's whom they call "Big Sister" and Mr Chien, a generous host who treated us to a buffet dinner at a hotpot Shabu-Style restaurant in town. Jia Hong brewed coffee for us on our last day in Fairy Pitta, the lovely aroma wafting into the courtyard which was still dark, before sunrise. Pity we couldn't order any meals from the Pitta cafe since we were out birding whole day, having our dinners in town and it was already bedtime by the time we reached the Inn. We manage to have bubble tea on our last night:) Bubble tea originated from Taiwan and the variety of flavours was astounding. Inn is named after a migratory pitta which only turns up in the right season. Fairy Pitta is categorized as vulnerable according to IUCN website HERE.

Mrs Jia Hong with her owls-themed design.
Towels and door curtains etc were for sale

This checklist of birds was made from wood!
Giant Wooden Fairy Pitta anyone?
Glutinous rice dumpling and pork ball soup for breakfast
Frog on a concrete pond - love hearing them croak at night

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