Monday, 26 September 2016

Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher

Well, there's good news and there's bad news, I'm afraid. The good news is that the Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis brunneatus that was photographed yesterday in Area A was still present at noon today, allowing me to escape the major 'egg on face' moment that dipping on it would have been. I had driven straight past it on Sunday, thinking (as I normally do these days) that there would be 'nothing' in there. It was 10:30 this morning (Monday) when I found out about it (thanks to an e-mail from Da Chiao Lin), and I had to be at work at 13:00, which left me with just an hour spare to look for it should I be bold enough to ton it out to the coast and try. Fortunately, as it was almost the only bird in there, it only took ten minutes to find, and, as I had it all to myself, I had plenty of opportunity to make sure that I left with some very nice photographs.

Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher is actually quite a mega in Taiwan, especially so away from Qi Gu. It seldom gets reported from other coastal sites, but is annual on my local patch. This makes it a bit of a 'Qi Gu' speciality, and it is furthermore something of a 'me' bird, as I am very much in the habit of coming across them (being one of few people to even have seen one at Yeh Liu). I find this really rather featureless LBJ to be a thoroughly enigmatic thing, and it is very high up there on my list of personal favourites. Perhaps it is its restricted range, its monstrously large bill, or the way in which you tend to come across it (finding one just quietly sitting there) that creates the air if excitement around it, who knows? It is arguably fitting, then, that I should see this bird today, as Typhoon Megi takes aim at Taiwan with the eye forecast to pass somewhere very close to Qi Gu at some point tomorrow. It is normally me that leads the chorus of doomsaying once typhoons line up to start battering Area A, but others now are indicating that they feel this will probably be 'it' for the place. Typhoon Meranti effectively halved what was left of Area A less than two weeks ago, and I'm pessimistic that Megi will take care of the remaining half (hence the bad news). I once said that, given its geographical location, Area A would be worth birding 'even if there were only a single tree there'. After sixteen full years of birding the place (so long I feel I should be stood there when it all crashes into the sea to 'go down' with it), I worry that after tomorrow that might be all I am left with! Above photos taken in Qi Gu, Tainan County 26/9/16.

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