Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Butterfly Photo Added to the Huben-Hushan Butterfly Gallery

A photo of a Common Albatross Appias albina semperi has been added to the Huben-Hushan Butterfly Gallery.

The Common Albatross is a lowland species found from sea level to about 800m. It occurs in forests and often flies rapidly through the canopy. The photo is of a male. Males are mainly white with pointed fore-wings. The underside can appear yellowish. The females have black margins and rounded apexes on their wings. They often show some yellow particularly around the basal of the fore-wing. Wingspan 50-60mm. Common Albatross are usually seen in the Huben-Hushan area between May and October.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Crested Goshawk & Crested Serpent Eagle

Three photos of the Crested Goshawk, a common resident of the Huben-Hushan area.

The Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus is a common resident raptor in the Huben-Hushan area. The Crested Goshawk is widespread across south and Southeast Asia but race formosae is endemic to Taiwan only. The Crested Goshawk along with the Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela are the two most common resident raptors found in the area.

Two photos of the Crested Serpent Eagle, also a common resident of the Huben-Hushan area.

Huben Bird List

Friday, August 14, 2009

Typhoon Morakot: The Writing's on the Wall

A huge landslide in the mountains of Kaohsiung County in southern Taiwan.

A government rescue helicopter flying through the the clear early morning skies before the afternoon rain and mist roll in.

As the fog of incapacitating shock clears, many people in central and southern Taiwan are becoming angry. Both of Taiwan's leading English newspapers carry criticisms of the government's top leadership in their editorials. The Taipei Times editorial is titled The price of incompetent leadership and the Taiwan News editorial is named Morakot's harm to Taiwan worsened by KMT hubris. None but the most mindless Chinese National Party (KMT or Kuomintang) supporter couldn't help but be angered by President Ma Ying-jeou's pathetic display of leadership during this national tragedy.

As the President and his men point fingers, it is everyone else but them to blame for how the response to Morakot and its aftermath have been mismanaged. Even the authoritarian and aloof leadership in China managed a better performance in the wake of last summer's devastating Sichuan earthquake.

Despite the lack of presidential leadership through this horrendous week the true spirit of compassion and love has shined through as a light above the devastation below, as people; be they rescuers, conscripted soldiers, volunteers or just a stranger offering a hand; have given their all through the mist, rain and mud, along treacherous slopes and through raging waters to save and bring comfort and hope...and lead the nation through this devastating tragedy.

It is also a time to reflect. We need to ask how much of this tragedy has resulted from decades of poor land and water management policies that set up some regions as ticking time bombs? As forests were stripped away leaving nothing to bind the soils and rocks of mountainsides together and uncontrolled and irresponsible construction became a standard, it turned many mountain areas into a tragedy waiting to happen. It is time to take a long hard look at land and water management policies and put an end to short-term "make-a-quick-buck while tearing up the countryside" type of policies and replace them with real sustainable land and water management policies that don't cost lives and billions of dollars in repairs when big typhoons blow in.

See today's Taiwan News editorial titled Taiwan must heed Morakot`s warning for more reflection on Taiwan's land and water management policies.

Also see:
The proof of the pudding is in the eating: The Chingshuei River after Morakot (includes photos).
Air quality worsens from Typhoon Morakot's dust

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In Morakot's Wake

Typhoon Morakot has carved a path of destruction across the Philippines, Taiwan and China. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the victims of this tragedy, human and non-human alike. We wish strength to those who have watched their homes, villages and environment swept away. We pray for the safety of those involved in the rescue efforts as they make their way to Hsiaolin and other devastated villages.

Also see: Typhoon Morakot: The Writing's on the Wall

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New Butterfly Photo Added to the Huben-Hushan Butterfly Gallery

A photo of a Double-branded Crow Euploea sylvester swinhoei has been added to the Huben-Hushan Butterfly Gallery.