Saturday, October 31, 2009

Biking the Gaomei Wetlands

Took my friend Karl, who first came to Taiwan sometime in the Qing Dynasty and who actually invented 555 cigarettes and Taiwan beer, out to the Gaomei Wetlands today, his first serious bike ride in about twenty years. It's always great to show a close friend new places in Taiwan by bike, and Karl responded enthusiastically with cogent commentary on law, medicine, and saltwater structural engineering. Here he is attempting to exorcise the demon Hu Jintao from its palace in Beijing.

The Gaomei Wetlands are located off of Gaomei Rd in Chingshui, a pleasant bike ride through rice farms and small factories, betel nut stands, breakfast shops, and the dian mian housing that comprises so much of Taiwan's residential stock.

I waited for Karl out by the airport, and snapped this pic of wood drying in front of a shop.

South of the wetlands are wind machines, dead today on a slow wind day.

Large flocks of herons and egrets and other waterbirds may be seen.

The seawall here cuts through the wetlands....

...but wherever there is a small stream and plenty of mud, animal life may be found.

Here a crab attempts to disappear into the oily muck that passes for water in the local streams. The mud flats are lined with tiny holes, testimony to the thousands of crabs that live in the area.

From the top of the bridge there are good views of the area, unfortunately overwhelmed with haze today.

Egrets look for breakfast.

Tadpole? Catfish? Lungfish? Mud puppy?

A crab makes its way across the inevitable litter at the mouth of the stream, in this case a burlap sack.

As we rode along next to the seawall, two men on bikes were parked in front of a brown fence. Excitedly they waved us over so we could experience the high point: a site of important biological interest. Apparently this is one of the few locations where this plant, "discovered" by the Japanese in 1917, occurs.

Here is an image of the plant. Impressive, eh? In the grip of fierce emotions, Karl and I were forced to leave after thirty seconds.

I took Karl back through one of my favorite rides, the rice fields north of the river to Jiushe and thence to Houli.
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1 comment:

Andrew Rathmann 雷思蒙 said...

My wife used to call those fish 彈塗魚, which I see translates as mudskipper.

http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/彈塗魚