Earlier this month, I discovered that there were Taiwan Barbets [Megalaima nuchalis (五色鳥)] inhabiting the same nest that I photographed last year. Last year, I found out about the nest when I was commuting to work noticed a dozen photographers standing in the road taking pictures. I inquired with who I thought was the leader of the group [based on the price of his tripod] what they were photographing and was delighted to find out that a nest of such beautiful birds was right in the neighborhood and low enough for my 55-200mm zoom lens to take decent shots.
This year, a pair of barbets came to this nest completely under the radar and subsequently with no fanfare. I didn’t even notice they were there until one evening I was driving home from work and noticed one of the parents fly over my car and into the tree. The next morning I arrived to check things out and discovered that not only did a pair come and lay eggs, but they had also hatched and that the chicks were almost ready to fly out of the nest.
I witnessed one of the chicks fly out of the nest. Of course, I didn’t capture it because I was in the middle of changing lenses after a few botched attempts at capturing the parents in-flight while entering and leaving the nest using my shorter focal length but faster prime lens. The chick peaked its head out, flew awkwardly to the nearest branch, let out of few chirps to see if anyone was watching, then flew off after its sibling had peaked its head out of the nest. One of the parents was making noise at an adjacent tree while all this was transpiring.
One of the days I was photographing, a reporter came out from the shadows. I told him to look up, that there’s a Taiwan Barbet in the tree, but he seemed more interested in taking pictures of me instead. Turns out he wrote an article titled, Aim Lenses! Taiwan Barbets Catch the Eyes of the Foreigner. According to the article, the couple that were here previous years haven’t come back yet, that the ones this time were the chicks from last year that had come back to start a nest. I didn’t know about the article until one of my student’s parents cut it out and gave it to me:
Speaking of articles, I teach a weekly Travel English course at Nankai University [南開科技大學]. The course is only six weeks long and I’ve been getting more and more lax in my appearance with every class. Anyways, one day I walked in and everyone was wearing ties and I was informed that a lot of their students were taking part in a mock job fair and that the media was invited to record the event. Being the only presentable foreigner that day I was paraded out in front of the cameras to conduct a short interview for a news broadcast and pose for a few pictures. I was a little embarrassed wearing jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt, but at least I shaved [Full article at Yahoo.TW]:
When I’m not under-dressed for television interviews, I’m busy filling out questionnaires. Here I am splashed on page 89 of the April/May edition of JetStar Magazine, the in-flight magazine of Jetstar Airways opposite Wirote Ongzine, the legendary GM of Legacy Suites:
Also a while back I did a short piece for CNNGO meant to introduce Taipei to first time visitors. Although it’s not paying any bills, it has been fun to see my face in other places.