Tag Archives: Birds

A Splash of Sunshine….

Reflections on the water bamboo field in Sanzhi early this morning….

‘Each day I seek a sunbeam,
a luminous moment of grace,
be it a poetic passage,
a compassionate glance,
an affirmative word.
Just a single sunbeam,
nothing more.
This morning while walking,
a splash of sunshine
fell upon a maple tree.
It was too much,
like the Mount Tabor epiphany,
and I turned away, overwhelmed.
I walked on
asking God to turn down His glory
lest I, like Milton,
too soon would lose my sight.’

(‘A Splash of Sunshine’ by Robert F. Morneau)

And late this afternoon, a rainbow over the building that, when finished, will be the new Sanzhi Presbyterian Church….

So, two splashes of sunshine in a single day ~ God is good!

PS: Updated today, Monday May 22, with this baby owl found today at St. John’s University – minus its parents….  it is a Collared Scops Owl (Otus lettia) 領角鴞

Isn’t it gorgeous?  Yes, another day, another splash of sunshine!

Thanks be to God again, and again!

Sanzhi Swallows Nightly Rendezvous!

Yep, out of all the places in this northern Taiwan town of Sanzhi 三芝 for swallows to choose to gather for their nightly rendezvous, they choose the main intersection right in the centre of town, where life goes on more or less non-stop 24/7 – this was the scene there last night!

In the evenings there’s a shop selling fried chicken right here under these lights, and next door is a breakfast shop, so there’s not many hours when people aren’t lining up right here to buy something!

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Swallows are regarded as auspicious birds in Taiwan and people go to great lengths to help swallows make and keep a nest – even in the most inconvenient of places, like right above the main entrance to their house….

These are barn swallows ~ check out this article in Taiwan Today and it explains why we see them all year round – some nest here and migrate south for winter, others nest in Japan and further north and spend winter here, and others are just passing through….

Pretty amazing eh?  And in fact, just across this road junction is a central reservation of trees which hosts a roost of birds that look a bit like a starling, there are thousands of them flying in there at night – and the noise is deafening!

Kendal, Cumbria

Kendal, Cumbria is a beautiful town on a sunny day!  Happened to be there today, down by the parish church, and along the river where there were tons of seagulls getting fed….

Then for the last 20 minutes I raced up to Kendal Castle and back –  it took 7 minutes to run around the top of the castle and in and out of every ruin – and then back down to the town to get to the car before the parking ran out!

Never been to the castle before, it’s best-known for being the ancient home of the Parr family, the most famous of which was Catherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s 6 wives, 3 of whom were called Catherine – only glad I wasn’t one of them.  Catherine Parr was the only 1 of the 6 to outlive her husband, and Henry VIII was already her 3rd husband ~ and after his death she went on to marry a 4th husband, who ended up outliving her.  Just a bit complicated!

Great views from the castle of the whole town, and in the 7 minutes I was there, even got to see a rainbow over Kendal.  Pretty spectacular!

Warmly welcomed by St. James, Taichung ~ as always!

A non-stop 3 days at St. James’ Church, Taichung – it’s always non-stop action!  Straight off the flight from Penghu, and in at the deep end!  Mike and Harriet, my always-ready-for-action visitors, spending the last few days of their trip visiting all my old friends and colleagues at St. James.  And what a great time we had!

An 8-course (or was it 9?) welcome dinner with Luanne and Samuel at ‘Tasty’, followed by a night city tour….

On Tuesday the weather was amazing, thanks be to God ~ and my good friends Jerry and Jean kindly took us to Sun Moon Lake for the day, including a visit to the Peacock Collection, walk around the lake, coffee at the famous temple-with-the-view (stunning views while Harriet shared her ppt about her family and Durham City life!), lunch and then a visit to the beautiful Paper Dome (Paper Church) where there was also a high school wind band performance…

And back to St. James in time for Tuesday evening’s Kindergarten Graduation, and what an event it was…. I even met 2 girls I had taught when they were 5-6, and now here they were attending their younger brothers and sisters graduation…. gosh time flies!

Note Harriet at the end of the evening….!

IMG_4989And so to Wednesday and Mike and Harriet’s last day in Taiwan…..

A birthday party for Lauren, one of our English teachers – at lunch time and lots of food kindly provided by my good friends!

And then to the Taichung Science Museum Greenhouse…

and so off into the sunset to the airport for a midnight flight home!

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Goodbye Mike and Harriet, we’ve loved welcoming you, and come again soon!  And many thanks to all who gave of their time and energy to welcome us and treat us like kings and queens, your kindness truly appreciated!