Thu, Oct 23, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Bird watchers expected to flock to Kuandu Reserve

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The 2003 Taipei Birdwatching Fair starts Saturday at the Kuandu Nature Reserve. The two-day event will focus on the black-winged stilt, a migratory bird that has settled in Kuandu since June instead of returning to its habitat in Siberia and Hokkaido.

The Kuandu Nature Reserve provides an ideal location for migratory birds to rest, and is also the best spot to watch birds in Taipei, said Ou Sheng-yun (歐聖運), convener of this year's fair.

"Every year the fair draws over 60,000 people, including national and international ecological groups who are concerned about bird and wetland conservation," Ou said.

This year, ecologists and conservation officials from Singapore, Britain, Australia, Hong Kong and the Philippines will attend the fair, Ou added.

"Water, Wetland and the Migratory Bird" will be the theme for this year's fair, said Watson Liu (劉華森), co-director of the Wild Bird Society of Taipei.

"The black-winged stilt is the leading attraction in the fair," Liu said.

With mostly white plumage and black wings, lanky pink legs and a straight black bill, the black-winged stilt is a large wader, 35cm to 39cm in length and 50cm tall, whose habitat extends to Australia, Central and South America, Siberia and Hokkaido. It lives in freshwater and saltwater marshes, mud flats, and the shallow edges of lakes and rivers.

In June, two black-winged stilts that flew from Siberia hatched two young birds in Tainan and migrated to Kuandu, which offered abundant food and an agreeable habitat, said Liu.

"They've just settled down in Kuandu and seem to have moved in for good," Liu added, adding that birdwatchers are very excited about the news.

"If you are patient, you can also spot the Chinese pond heron, the grey heron, the mallard, and the bluethroat in Kuandu," Liu said.

Those interested in the fair can visit the nature reserve located at 55 Kuandu Rd, Kuandu, in the Peitou District of Taipei (北市北投區關渡路55), a 15-minute walk from the Kuandu MRT station.

You can call the society at (02) 2325-9190, or visit their Web site (www.wbst.org.tw) for details.

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