In November 2005, WBCP participated in the 7th
Taipei International Birdwatching Fair. It was the first bird watching
club from the Philippines to do so, and was the youngest among the clubs
The festival is held yearly during the migratory
season and attracts thousands of visitors. It is hosted by the Wild
Bird Society of Taipei (WBST).
Nature Center of the Guandu Nature Park in Peitou, Taipei
The two-day event took place in its usual venue,
Guandu Nature Park in Peitou, Taipei. The 57-hectare park has freshwater
and brackish ponds, mangrove swamps, reed beds and rice paddies. It is an
important stopover site for migrating birds and is host to almost 230 species
Among the other foreign participants were birding societies
from Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka and
Thailand. The Philippine booth manned by WBCP members Mike Lu, Anna Maria Gonzales,
Leni Sutcliffe and Mark Villa, displayed posters on Philippine birding and sold books,
postcards, caps and shirts with Philippine bird prints. The other bird clubs also
gave out brochures, displayed books, birding ware and provided information on birding
in their respective countries. Other exhibitors featured birding sites in Taiwan,
including Matsu Island, where the Chinese Crested Tern, once thought to be extinct
has recently been seen.
Leading optics manufacturers, like Swarovski and Zeiss, displayed
top-of-the-line binoculars and spotting scopes. Camera manufacturers exhibited their
latest digital cameras.
Leni Sutcliffe manning the WBCP booth
At the Fair's opening ceremony, WBCP president Mike Lu delivered a
speech on behalf of the delegates. At another session, Mark Villa gave a presentation
on the Coastal lagoons of Paranaque and WBCP plans to promote the area as a sanctuary.
Anna Gonzales provided additional insights into the Philippine birding situation.
WBCP President Mike Lu gives a speech on
behalf of the foreign
delegates during the opening ceremonies
The year's theme for talks inside the Park's Nature Center was water
management. Scientists and researchers discussed wetland management plans and water
quality improvement programmes for Taiwan's river sites. Elsewhere in the Park, trained
volunteers taught young visitors about bird ecology and the importance of the environment.
The youngsters looked at the roles that birds such as the Dunlin play in the environment
and carried out activities emulating how a bird might feed in the wild.
The one negative note of the event was the significant drop in the
number of visitors. Parents and schools have chosen not to take children to the Fair for
fear of Avian Flu. The WBST past president attributed the drop in attendance to the lack
of proper public information on bird flu and its causes.