|Got up the latest after I came to Taiwan at 8:00am. Last night I could not fall into sleep, probably too excited to go home today. Fortunately, all my laundry was dried. After packing up and tidied the apartment I contacted the host Sally. She said her son will help me with my luggage and I should contact her once I get on the MRT back from Dansui about 3:00pm. I went to the 7-11 across the street to get some breakfast. Then, took MRT to Dansui. The first stop is the Red Mangrove Forest. It is a massive red mangrove forest and there is a path for pedestrian and another for bike. My friend Jean who grew up in Taiwan recommended it. Indeed, it is a very natural and nice place to walk. It is not far from the big city of Taipei but felt a world away. The red mangrove grows in the estuary where the river empties into the sea. From the elevated path I could see hundreds of fiddler crabs and mud skippers, but it is very quiet, no birds, especially the waders! The fiddler crab has a big single claw in red. I remembered that I saw from Nature program that the trick for a male crab to be successful to attract a female is to find a crab that has a smaller claw to stand by. So, it is not the absolute size but the relative size matters. Finally, I saw a Prinia (not sure what kind) on a branch, a couple of Little Egrets and a Wagtail (possibly a Gray Wagtail) on a rock.
Took a ferry ride to get to the Fishman’s Warf. It gave me another view of the skyline and the water. After we landed, I saw a cute shop called Coolife Café. It is an owl specialty shop with arts and serves coffee with desert. Walked in to take a look. It was run by a couple in the 50th. I loved the shop immediately. It was full of different arts of owls. There was a plank with 12 kind of owls who live in Taiwan. The man chatted with me for a while. His wife’s sister works for Microsoft in Seattle area and his daughter works in Silicon Valley of San Jose. Last year he visited Seattle and CA. He loved Leavenworth and Mt. Rainier. They decided to retire in the 40th and opened this shop. He loves owls and his shop has a splendid view of sunset. Unfortunately, it was cloudy today. When I was leaving, I bought a hand made saucer with two cute owls.
Took a bus to Red-haired Castle named after Dutch by the locals. It was originally built by Spanish in 1628 with wood and named Fort San Francisco. When they were defeated by Dutch in 1641, they burnt the fort. Dutch rebuilt with brick 1646. It was on a small hill over looking the river and estuary and is still in good shape. In 1800 it was taken over by Qing Dynasty after a General over throw the Dutch. In 1863 it was leased by Britain as consulate until 1942. It was interesting to see the jail cell inside used for housing foreigners suspected of crime. The cell is small but there is a courtyard and a bathroom connected to each one. Last year during my visit to South Africa I learned that the Dutch East Indian company imported many southeast Asians as slave. Perhaps this building was used to organize such trade. I felt the connection between Asia, Europe and Africa at this place, though it was for an evil course. Next to the castle is the Oxford University originated in 1889 by a Canadian minister Dr. Mackay. He came to Taiwan in late 1800 and married a Taiwanese. He devoted all his life to education and built schools and first western hospital. In mainland China everyone knows a Canadian physician who joint Mao and died in China in 1930th. It is a shame that the relationship between China and Canada is very bad now.
Hurried back to get my luggage to head over to the airport. My host Sally and her son helped me with luggage and called a taxi to the airport express metro station. Got to the airport on time and went through passport control and luggage inspection smoothly. The flight of Air China to Chengdu took off on time. My sister and brother-in-law are meeting me at Chengdu airport. Looking forward to seeing my Mom and them.
Now, my trip to Taiwan is over. I felt so comfortable with the food, culture and language here. As for birding I saw a total of 111 species, and out of it 49 lifers. Out of 27 endemic species I met 22. All my hosts were very friendly and helpful. I will miss them all. Definitely I will return in the future. Next time I will visit the places that I could not go on this trip such as Kenting, Tainan and Taidon, and try my luck to find the other 5 endemic species. After I edited and uploaded the photos, I will send out a link to all to share the birds, scenery and people.