I have just returned from an epic four day birding trip to Taiwan. I birded my socks off from dawn to dusk and am totally shattered. I didn't see everything, that would have been miraculous, but I had a bloody good go and saw the vast majority of the endemics that make this island so special.
I have nearly completed my trip report, 7,500 words rattled off with ease. At university I had to write a dissertation on some vague aspect of french art and literature. It was 10,000 words and at the time seemed to be torture. I can't remember exactly how long it took, but it was weeks and weeks, eking out a hundred words at a time. Writing about Taiwanese birds took no effort whatsoever, a matter of hours. I guess if you are interested in what you are writing about then it simply flows. How do I get paid for birding? As it is I am heading back to banking tomorrow, however I am doing so in a state of extreme satisfaction. Birding a brand new location with nothing but a field guide is the pinnacle of birding enjoyment as far as I am concerned - back to square one, no preconceived knowledge, no assumptions, nothing taken for granted. Careful observation and graft, piecing together glimpses and sounds, putting together a trip list. You can't beat it.
I'll publish the report soon, but in the meantime here are some Swinhoe's Pheasants, one of the stand-out special birds high on the list of desires of visiting birders.