Our last day in Taiwan! At last, our whirl-wind tour had come near the end. On this day we decided to visit Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園).

(Click on each image to see the high-resolution version)

Actually this day started and ended in Tamsui (淡水), our home base (we stayed at my friend's apartment). In the morning we went through the market and bought coffee and scallion pancake at Tamsui Old Street (淡水老街) for breakfast.

Fish Market

Scallion Pancake Vendor

It was while eating breakfast at the waterfrond in Tamsui that I photographed my first new bird of the day, a beautifully patterned Blue Rock Thrush (蓝矶鸫). It was having its breakfast too. A small flock of Common Myna (家八哥) also posed for me, these noisy birds are pretty in their own way, however, they are an exotic species that displace the native population in Taiwan.

Blue Rock Thrush (蓝矶鸫)

Blue Rock Thrush (蓝矶鸫)

Common Myna (家八哥)

Then we were on our way to Yangmingshan. After metro and bus rides, we arrived in the mountains, and it got cloudy again. We took the Shamao Mountain (紗帽山) Trail. The trail is fairly short (just over 2KM), and very well marked -- in typical Asian neatness, they placed a marker exactly every 0.2KM, and there were benches and interpretive signs along the way.

Shamao Mountain (紗帽山) Trail

Shamao Mountain (紗帽山) Trail

An interpretive sign along Shamao Mountain (紗帽山) Trail

Before long we reached the peak of Shamao Mountain. At 643 meters (or 2,110 feet), it is not particularly high, but on this day it was windy and foggy up there. The mountain was named "Grass Mountain", and you can see why.

At the top of Shamao Mountain

At the top of Shamao Mountain

Again, unfortunately, because of the weather, we saw almost no birds or other wildlife. We did see a lot of plants, whose succulence reminded us that we were still in the subtropics.


A naturally split stalk or stem of a plant

About the only wildlife we saw were a few butterflies, this is one of the pictures I took. Of course, because of its location, Taiwan is in fact well known for its butterflies, even dubbed as the "Kingdom of Butterflies"; I just wish we had more time here.


But that was pretty much all the time we had at Yangmingshan. With its proximity to Taipei and Xinbei, it is easily accessible. I am sure we will be back again sometime.

We went back to Tamsui. Just during a short stop at the wharf, I photographed three new birds, two of which bear the word "Common" in their names, yet I had never seen them before.

Common Ringed Plover

Common Sandpiper

As if to reward us after days of rain and cloud, Tamsui gave us a parting gift: a nice sunset.

Tamsui Sunset

A Grey Heron silhouetted against the sunset in Tamsui

Then it was time to step into the Old Street of Tamsui again to eat a few snacks here and there for dinner.

Tamsui Old Street

Tamsui Old Street

Tamsui Old Street

Tamsui Old Street

And at last, as we were wandering in the Old Street, stumbled into Fuyou Temple (福佑宫, or Temple of Blessings), for the worship of Mazu (媽祖), or the Sea Goddess.

A side door to the Fuyou Temple (福佑宫)

Mazu (媽祖) Statue in Fuyou Temple (福佑宫)

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