Day 1 - Arrival
Our Taiwan birding tour begins with arrival at Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei. We meet for dinner to get acquainted with our fellow participants and discuss the upcoming adventure. Night near the Taipei airport.
Day 2 – Wulai and transfer to Anmashan
Our first full day of birding will concentrate on some target species – Taiwan Whistling Thrush, Taiwan Blue Magpie, Streak-breasted (Taiwan) Scimitar-Babbler, Taiwan Barbet, Gray-cheeked and Dusky Fulvettas and Japanese White-eye. Leaving Wulai, we drop in, time permitting, to Hsinchu for waterbirds that could include Broad-billed and Terek Sandpipers, both species of sandplovers, and Intermediate Egret. We then drive to Dasyueshan National Forest Recreation Area in the Anmashan Mountain Range, birding along Mt. Tahsueh Road on the way. Overnight at Dasyueshan NFRA.
Day 3 - Dasyueshan National Forest
We spend the day in this delightful national forest, birding at about 2000 m/6600 ft. Our target birds included both Swinhoe’s and Mikado Pheasants, Taiwan Hill Partridge, Steere’s Liocichla, White-eared Sibia, Taiwan Barwing, White-tailed Robin, Collared Bush-Robin, Green-backed Tit, Brown Bullfinch, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Varied and Black-throated Tits. Overnight at Dasyueshan NFRA.
Day 4 - Hsiaolaishan
We spend the early morning birding at Hsiaolaishan (Shiaosyueshan), at about 2600 m (8,530 ft.), altitude, looking for White-whiskered Laughing Thrush, Taiwan Bush-Warbler, Vinaceous Rosefinch, Gray-headed Bullfinch, Streak-throated Fulvetta, Blyth’s Parrotbill and other species of high elevation. We then transfer to Yunlin. Owling here may reveal Mountain and Collared Scops-Owl and Northern Boobook. Overnight in Yunlin.
Day 5 –Kwanghua
We spend the morning looking for Chinese Bamboo Partridge, Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Ashy Wood Pigeon, White-eared Sibia, Taiwan Yuhina, Yellow Tit, Taiwan Hwamei, Fire-breasted and Plain Flowerpeckers. Black Eagles soar overhead. We then drive to Kwanghua where we have a chance of Mountain Scops-owl and Red and White Giant Flying Squirrel in the evening. Swinhoe’s Pheasant and Taiwan Hill Partridge are also possible. Overnight in Kwangha.
Day 6 – Huben Ecovillage and Tainan
This morning we visit the Huben Ecovillage looking for Swinhoe’s Pheasant and with luck Fairy Pitta. Malay Night-Herons are also here, as are Taiwan Blue Magpie, Emerald Dove, Maroon Oriole, Black-necklaced Scimitar-Babbler and Collared Finchbill. The Pheasant-tailed Jacana reserve is close by, and we’ll visit the reserve and should see lots of jacanas. Then we transfer to Tainan, and we bird the Zengwen River Estuary (Cigu), Tainan, looking for shorebirds such as Great Knot and Curlew Sandpiper, Little Tern and Black-faced Spoonbills: early May is late for the species but sometimes a lingering pair can be found. Overnight in Tainan
Day 7 – Zengwen River Estuary and transfer to Taitung
Depending on our success yesterday, we may spend the early morning birding the Zengwen River Estuary (Cigu), once again. We then transfer to Taitung, stopping en route for species such as Crested Serpent Eagle and Whiskered Tern. We likely will arrive in time to visit the Forest Park in Taitung, for Styan’s Bulbul and White-bellied Green Pigeon. Overnight in Taitung.
Day 8 - Lanyu Island
We catch our 20-minute flight to Lanyu (Orchid) Island about 90 km (56 miles) east of the southern tip of Taiwan. After transferring to Hungtou village, we spend the rest of the day birding this fascinating island and we look for island specialties: Philippine [Brown] Cuckoo Dove, Whistling Green Pigeon, Japanese [Black] Paradise-Flycatcher, Brown-eared Bulbul, Blue Rock Thrush, and Lowland White-eye. After dark, we search for “Lanyu” Scops-Owl, a subspecies of Ryukyu Scops-Owl endemic to Lanyu Island. Overnight in Hungtou.
Day 9 – Lanyu Island and transfer to Hualien
We spend the morning looking for species we may have missed yesterday, perhaps Pacific Reef Egret or Barred Buttonquail, and then we catch the 20-minute return flight back to Tainan. We pick up our vehicle and drive along the coast to Hualien City where we spend the night.
Day 10 – Taroko Gorge and Cingjing
We leave the coast and head inland, passing through the Taroko Gorge and Taroko National Park, (2000+ m/6600+ ft). Species we look for include Styan’s Bulbul, Common Pheasant, Vivid Niltava and Formosan Rock-monkey. As we pass through the gorge, we visit the spectacular Taroko “Marble Gorge.” Here we watch for Brown Dipper, Plumbeous Redstart, Little Forktail, and Fork-tailed Swift among hundreds of House Swifts. As we wind our way through the gorge and at high elevations of the Hehuanshan Forest Recreation Area, 3275 m (10,750 ft.), the highest elevation of the tour, just inside the western edge of Taroko National Park, possibilities include Rusty and White-whiskered Laughingthrushes, Yellow Tit, Flamecrest, Collared Bush-Robin, Alpine Accentor and Vinaceous Rosefinch. We arrive in Cingjing in late afternoon. Overnight Cingjing.
Day 11 – Blue Gate Trail and transfer to Aowanda
We plan on walking the so-called Blue Gate Trail, looking for Yellow Tit and White-backed Woodpecker, and with luck Taiwan Shortwing. Other nearby areas could produce Vinous-throated Parrotbill and Brownish-flanked Bush-Warbler. We then transfer to Aowanda. Overnight Aowanda.
Day 12 - Return to Taipei
We spend the morning birding in Aowanda looking for species we may have missed –a Vivid Niltava, perhaps, or a Fire-breasted Flowerpecker and then we head north and back to Taipei. Dinner at Shihlin night market. Night in Taipei (or evening departure flight).
Day 13 - Departure home
The Taiwan birding tour concludes today. Participants can depart anytime.