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Cingjing Farm

TAIWAN | Friday, 4 October 2019 | Views [192]

The real Moose and Squirrel

The real Moose and Squirrel

CONNIE SETS OUR COURSE AND AS OFTEN as not she selects birding hotspots.  Where we will lay our heads each night is up to me.  Bird sightings, as it turns out, are not just a factor of where birds congregate, but also of where people congregate.  It’s the old “tree falling in the forest” thing—if there’s no one around to see the birds, are they really there?


        Cingjing Veterans Farm

Take Renai in the central mountains of Taiwan, for example.  People, thousands of people if yesterday’s traffic is any indication, drive the winding road up to Renai for the clean, cool(ish) mountain air, colorful sunsets and Cingjing Farm.  With so many people running around it’s likely someone would report seeing a bamboo quail or two.  

nn     nn

 View from Moose and Squirrel          I don't think so!

With all the sheep grazing the hillsides of the Farm, officially the Cingjing (or Qingjing) Veterans Farm looks like it was modeled after the Agrodome in Rotorua, NZ.  But the story goes back centuries to when groups of minorities from China lived in the area.  Many of them fled to the Burma-Thai-Lao border area and joined the resistance forces in 1949 when the communists took over.  In 1961, after bloody battles in Burma, 250 of the survivors and their dependents returned to Taiwan and settled on Cingjing Farm.


      So many lodging options

Booking.com lists many wonderful “homestays”—think B&B—in Renai, but I couldn’t resist the Moose and Squirrel.  No red-blooded boy raised on PB&J and Rocky and Bullwinkle could.  It was a pleasant place in a wonderful location with a pair of old English sheep dogs as companions.  Neither the dogs nor the owners had a clue as to what I was talking about when I inquired in my best Boris Badinov faux-Russian accent.  That was just one of our communication problems.  She told me the wifi password was “4548,” holding up fingers for emphasis.  Connie finally figured out that it was “55558888”—"four 5, four 8."   


  White-tailed Robin


                    Collared Finchbill


                               Light-vented Bulbul

Birding around the area produced no moose or squirrels but several new species.  Connie got a glimpse of the bamboo quail but no photo.  Its call, however, was unmistakeable. 

We had hoped to drive through Taroko Gorge on the way to our next destination but for some reason the GPS wouldn't show the route.  I didn't really mind—driving these winding mountain roads would be stressing enough without the crazy Taiwanese trying to pass on curves.  We were forced to drive 100km farther which somehow saved nearly an hour.  And perhaps our lives.


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