Taiwan

  1. 2020
    Thursday, April 30, 2020 to Tuesday, May 12, 2020
    Tour Duration: 
    13 days
    Tour Starts/Ends: 
    Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei
    Guide: 
    Number of Persons Limit: 
    12
Highlights

• Lots of endemics, some surprisingly numerous

• Exquisite native pheasants!

• Safe, welcoming country, good infrastructure, strong conservation movement, classic mountain scenery, friendly people, wonderful food and much to offer visitors.

 

Overview

To Portuguese sailors in the 16th century, Taiwan was Ilha Formosa,”Beautiful Island”, because of its lush forests and the jagged peaks of its mountainous spine. Taiwan lies 175 km (110 miles) off the coast of China, and still has beautiful forested mountains as well as rich tidal estuaries, wetlands, lowland mixed forests, and montane deciduous broadleaf and coniferous forests.

Our Taiwan birding tour will focus on the endemics, from 15 to 29, depending upon source: Taiwan Partridge, Swinhoe’s and Mikado Pheasants, Styan’s Bulbul, the delightful Flamecrest, Formosan Whistling-Thrush, Taiwan Bush-Warbler, Collared Bush-Robin, White-Whiskered Laughingthrush. Steere’s Liocichla, Taiwan Barwing, White-eared Sibia, Taiwan Yuhina, Yellow Tit, and Formosan Magpie.

We will be alert for the fairly common Black-browed (Muller’s) Barbet and uncommon (Taiwan) Hwamei, probably the next Taiwan endemics, as well as the Fairy Pitta, a beautiful and uncommon migrant. Lanyu Island is very different from Taiwan, and hosts some very special birds: Philippine (Brown) Cuckoo-Dove, Japanese (Black) Paradise-Flycatcher, Lowland White-eye and Lanyu Scops-Owl. Taiwan is a safe, welcoming country, with good infrastructure, a growing conservation movement, classic mountain scenery, friendly people and wonderful food.

 

Itinerary View Short Itinerary

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.  

 

 

 

 

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