Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Chinese New Year 2019 Springtime in a Tropical country

Pacific Swallow pair roosting for the night outside my family house
Chinese New Year 2019, Year of the Earth Boar/Pig has arrived and we bade farewell to the Dog. Plus Highway Travel Time Advisory was only covered in Paul Tan's blog HERE. Was on the lookout for Plus Highway's 10% discounts for 10 of their highways but no further information about this in Plus highway website at all. The pair of Pacific Swallows came home to roost in the evenings on this nest which their predecessors have built over the course of a few years. Thank goodness this pair of swallows were not frightened by the fireworks set off at my neighbourhood in Johor on the eve of Chinese New Year  - they were seen every night resting on this mud nest which was built on top of our electricity meter. Quite a deep nest and any hatchlings would be having a tough time climbing out of it. The parent bird would have to lift the chick out from base of this nest. Have never seen adult swallows lift their baby chicks out of this nest before. Have seen baby chicks before in the car park of my sister's former condominium residence in Bukit Jalil, and that nest was much smaller since the babies extend their necks and could peek out of it. Swallows were the theme behind Ben Independent Grocer's Chinese New Year 2019 decor in Publika mall. The giant-sized swallows "flying" in mid-air near the giant-sized nest and eggs decor with tagline "Home is where the Heart is", had me all  homesick this time of the year. The Pacific Swallows showing up when I was back home in Johor during Chinese New Year week, was a real bonus for me:) My 2018 blog on this species of swallows can be read HERE. The 2019 Plus Highway Advisory below was confusing!  

Friday, February 1, 2019

Memorable Farewell from Northern Lapwings of Taiwan

Northern Lapwing, Yunlin County, Taiwan
Northern Lapwings were stunning and this particular species was one of the migratory birds featured in Roald Dahl's book "Boy", in which he recollected the days of his childhood growing up in the rural countryside of England. Wadertales blog described a study on the Northern Lapwings of Buckinghamshire by David W.Snow and Barbara Snow in 1976, and the strangeness of these lapwings, can be read HERE. It was truly astonishing to see this species of Lapwing flourishing in the ricefields of southwestern Taiwan. The lapwings' emerald green plumage were particularly striking especially when the afternoon sun shone on this flock. EBird Checklist for Yunlin County, Taiwan can be viewed HERE. Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vallenus) is listed as Near Threatened by IUCN. Northern Lapwings were a birding dream come true for me. This flock of Northern Lapwings are very different from the Grey-Headed and Red-Wattled Lapwings that I've seen in Peninsular Malaysia. The former's "Pee-Wit" high-pitch calls are hauntingly melodious.    
Star Bird of Yunlin County, Taiwan
pop-up cardboard was visible throughout the Asian Bird Fair 2018
at High Heels Park exhibition venue 
It was truly a memorable farewell gift to see and hear this flock of Northern Lapwings as we departed Yunlin and headed to the High Speed Rail station to catch our night flight back to Kuala Lumpur from Taipei Taoyuan International Airport. Special thanks to Schumi Wu and his friends, for such a memorable birdwatching adventure in Taiwan. The food was amazing and the lifers were extraordinary. Beautiful video by Taiwanese birdwatcher below features a flock of these beautiful Northern Lapwings in flight and congregating in the rice-fields of Taiwan below. Brings back good memories of our time with friends and Lapwings:)

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