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10th Taipei International Birdwatching Fair

10th Taipei International Birdwatching Fair
November 7-9, 2008
Guandu Nature Park, Taipei
by Teresa Cervero

This is the 4th consecutive year the WBCP has participated in the Taipei International Birdwatching Fair (TBIF) , now on its 10th year and organized by the Wild Bird Society of Taipei (WBST) in cooperation with the Taipei City government. As in the past years, the event was held at the beautiful Guandu Nature Park. This year’s theme is “Global Warming” and its impact on the enviroment and consequently, the life of both man, plants, birds and other creatures.

This time around, the WBCP was represented by no less than six (6) members - Alex Tiongco, Nicky Icarangal, Melanie Tan, Justice Ricardo Pronove (and his wife Alma), Goh Yue Yun and Tere Cervero – the biggest delegation among the foreign birding/nature socities.. And our beloved President Mike Lu had to give it a miss because he joined the DOT’s blitzkrieg in London.

This is also the first time 3 WBCP members joined the optional birding tour, led by Stone and 2 other bird guides of WBST. The other foreign organizations and number of representatives who graced the event : Birdlife South Africa (1), Golden Gate Audubon Society (2), Wild Bird Society of Japan (2), Malaysian Nature Society (1), Nature Society of Singapore (4), Hong Kong Birdwatching Society (2), Wild Bird Society of Shanghai (1) Bird Conservation Society of Thailand (2); The Sabah Nature Tours/Promoter of the Borneo Birdfestival 2009 (3).

At the Welcome Dinner hosted by the Taipei City government, the WBCP presented a copy of the book, Birdwatching in the Philippines Volume 1 to the deputy mayor of Taipei. Copies of the book were also presented to the different participating organizations.

Most of the organizations which participated in this event featured mainly the bird species and birding sites in their home country as well as novelty items, books and souvenirs which were given away or sold to the general public. There were a few birding societies from other counties in Taipei who gave away flyers and items for free to foreign guests who visited their booth.

I had a basketful of different items after making one round plus a collection of “stamp marks” of the different orgs (the activity which kept the kids and boothwatchers super busy ). Prizes were for the taking, for those who completed at least 12 stamp marks on a sheet of paper.

Prominent companies like Swarovski, Olympus, Nikon and Minox, displayed their spotting scopes, binoculars and sports optics. The local organizations were selling a variety of merchandise -- birding gear, teeshirts, accessories, vests, etc – which kept Melanie busy as a bee with the “window shopping”. Nicky and Alex were in their most mischievous behavior.

Only four organizations made an audio-visual presentation, one of which was done by our premier Filipino bird guide, Nicky Icarangal. Nicky talked about “Birds and Birdwatching in the Philippines” . Pictures of the best birding sites in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and brilliant shots of some of our endemic birds were viewed in awe by the audience. It was a very well-done and informative presentation. This powerpoint presentation was created by Adri and Trinket. (I may be biased but I think the WBCP presentation was the best).

In spite of the overcast sky and rainy weather during the 2 days we were stationed in Guandu, it did not dampen the spirits of the organizers, participants and park visitors. Children and their parents gamely waddled through the muddy grounds, not minding the thick brown cake of mud on their shoes – to visit the booths and actively take part in the event.

Although the inclement weather brought down the number of guests compared to the previous years, visitors armed with umbrellas and dressed in rain gear still arrived in big numbers. They stayed in Guandu Nature Park for many hours to try the activities such as “paint-a frog on a rock”, face-painting of Taiwan birds; stamp mark collection; watch the exhibits and listen to the talks, look at the birds from the viewing deck and hides with spotting scopes. It was refreshing to see their eagerness and keen interest not just about birds but all creatures and natural science.

Their enthusiasm was much like the enthusiasm displayed by the Palawenos during “Aba, Kakaiba!” 4th Philippine Bird Festival – but on a much bigger scale. Wouldn’t it be nice to have this replicated in the 5th bird festival in Balanga in 2009? And perchance, to dream of a nature park in the mangrove area of the Coastal Lagoon, by the Manila Bay.