Maia Tañedo and Jops Josef represented the WBCP at the Taipe International Birdwatching Fair in October 2012.
14th Taipei International Birdwatching Fair: Birdsanity! by Maia Tanedo
The Taipei International Birdwatching Fair was held last October 13-14 at the Guandu Nature Park. Organized by the Wild Bird Society of Taipei (WBST), this year’s theme was “Birdsanity.” It was well-participated by both local and foreign birding clubs and organizations with delegates coming from Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Greece, New Zealand, and of course the Philippines.
Scattered in the Guandu Nature Park were booths of the various participating birdwatching organizations, wetland conservation groups, and nature societies. Another portion featured companies selling optics and other birdwatching-related merchandise.
A section of the exhibits focused on arts, crafts, and cultural activities and this was where the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines’ booth was located. Jops Josef and I were the representatives of the WBCP and we had fun helping kids with the coloring activities and felt owl crafts we brought along. The kids were very proud of their work as evidenced by their smiles and proud faces as they showed their parents their finished artwork. We also sold club merchandise: t-shirts, canvass bags, and the well-loved bird stickers. The shirts were sold out on day 1!
Jops and I, being the only delegates from the WBCP, had to take turns to go around the fair while the other stayed in the booth. It was fun visiting the booths and seeing other clubs’ merchandise and also talking to friends, old and new. There were a lot of local organizations and it was interesting hearing about their different advocacies. One group’s project was focused on supporting the local blue tea farmers and even let us have a taste of the delicious tea.
Of course, we also did a bit of birdwatching in the area, we were in the Guandu Nature Park after all! The area is a major stopover site for migrating birds, particularly waterfowl and waders, but I think most of the migrants have passed through already during the time we were there. The park has a main building which housed very nice exhibits and, for the bird fair, educational stations which focused on information about birds. The first floor also had a small auditorium where we had a film showing on raptors at the end of the first day. The second floor of the building was mostly an observation deck with mounted scopes looking out onto the wetlands.
A number of observation decks and bird hides can also be found in strategic places throughout the park. We would have loved to bird in the view decks but we were short of time and just promised ourselves we would bird some more the next chance we get. We were happy enough though to see the structures and even see a Spot-billed Duck as a lifer in one of the observation posts.
As always, it is a great experience meeting and connecting with fellow birdwatchers. No matter what part of the world you are from, when a flock of Sacred Ibis fly past, heads look up and binoculars are raised to see the birds, and smiles are exchanged as the birds fly out of view.
This being the first time we participated in an international bird fair, Jops and I feel that it is something every member of the WBCP should try out. The club encourages that as well and we now understand the richness of the whole experience, not only the birdwatching part, but also meeting fellow birdwatchers, exchanging stories, and finding similarities in each other.
The WBST did a good job organizing the various activities, from the welcome dinner to the actual bird fair, and they made us delegates feel very much welcome and at home in Taipei. We encourage more members to sign-up and join next year’s Taipei Bird Fair. It’s something to really look forward to.