Thursday, 30 September 2010

I visited Taiwan in September for 9 days on behalf of the Taiwanese Tourist Board - I was not to be disappointed. Taiwan or 'Ilha Formosa' means the 'beautiful Island' and indeed it is, from lowlands to high mountain peaks up to 3000m and many large scale national parks offering a wealth of bird life including over 24 Endemics and numerous Island subspecies. I was surprised just how intact the majority of Taiwan's natural habitat still is and the warm, friendly Taiwanese people who seem to have a good grip on conservation and the importance of the habitat, wildlife and bird life the country has to offer. We started in Taipei, the countries capital in the North and travelled through the central and West parts of Taiwan to the Southern tip before returning to Taipei. Our first and last mornings at Wulai not far from Taipei and the Taipei botanical gardens were great locations to get stuck into the birds, with nearly every species a new one for me on day one I did not put my bins down for a second! Wandering through the Shilin Night market was an incredible sight and smell and real eye opener to the Taiwanse culture and love of food (the second best thing about Taiwan after the birds!). Highlights included visiting the Daxueshan National Forest and Mt Anmashan area and Huisun Forest Station. Here we tasted true Taiwanese mountainous forested habitat and the unforgettable Swinhoe's Pheasant and several Mikado Pheasants.
The true highlight for me however came with finding my own most wanted bird of the trip, the 'Flamecrest', surely the king of all 'Regulus' species in the world! flitting about within trees drenched in lichen and with wisps of cloud floating through the canopy - (just my kind of habitat) in the Yushan National Park area. The South saw us on the wooded and scrub dense coastline, on raptor platforms, where we were surrounded by Taiwanese raptor counters. Here we had a taste of migration as over 450 Chinese Goshawk in various groups, circled on thermals overhead, a male Eastern Marsh Harrier cruised past us at eye level, a Besra made an appearance along with a Dollarbird and butterflies the size of dinner plates floated past. In all we saw over 130 species in 8 full days, 22 of which are Endemic to Taiwan and many more Endemic subspecies with further splits in the pipeline. I will be making a full report of this extraordinary trip and will be running future bird tours to what was an exciting new location and one I can't wait to return to . . . .here are a few more images from a great many taken!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

In Pursuit of East Rares . . . .
I am extremely excited to be going on a birding and photographic trip to Taiwan for 10 days on behalf of the Taiwan Tourist Board. It is set to be a packed trip covering the major nature reserves the Island has to offer as well as numerous endemic species! I may well not have internet access during my expedition but will catch up with my blog and Taiwan news on my return . . . . and before we head up to Shetland for a month! Can't wait!
Top New Publications Out Now . . .

At the Birdfair I received copies of two superb, long-awaited new publications of which I am proud to be a contributing photographer for. The first is 'Facing Extinction - The World's Rarest Birds' a T & A D Poyser publication by Donald, Collar et al. The second is a breathtaking photographic guide 'Nightjars of the World', a Wildguides publication by Nigel Cleere.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Summer Catch Up!

Where have the last 2 months gone!? I can't believe how quickly the Summer seems to race along and before long, we are heading into another exciting Autumn with migrants dotted along the east coast.

This Summer has been particularly busy, mainly due to the Birdfair in mid-August where I again had a highly successful and enjoyable 'Rebecca Nason Photography' stand in the Art marquee. Thanks go to the hundreds of people who popped in to say hello over a mad 3 days and especially those who purchased some of my prints, canvases, framed work & greeting cards!

Before the Birdfair preparations began, in early July, we ringed numerous Swallow chicks locally (now standing at 145 this Summer at one location!) and caught a fine, healthy adult Swift in the roof next door! This was a ringing tick for Phil as we did not ring the injured bird Phil freed from meshing earlier in the Summer (which incidentally after a good feed and a little time, took off and disappeared into the horizon! after we had placed it in a hanging basket in the garden!).

It is not every month I get both a British mammal and butterfly tick - however I saw both during July. I saw a beautiful little Dormouse in Surrey and a stunning White Letter Hairstreak. I found and photographed this uncommon and striking species whilst out walking along a field margin near Bath!