Tuesday, 28 October 2014

TAIWAN 15th November-29th November, 2013 (Part 2)

Taiwan Blue Magpie Urocissa caerulea
This Taiwan endemic species of low montane forests, proved to be an early highlight of our trip. With four seen arriving during the evening near the entrance gate to the Huisun Forest Reserve, with seven the following morning including a party of 6 at dawn around our accommodation block at this Forest Reserve where they came in attracted by the lights and were looking for moths etc. and gave close superb views.
Eight were seen as we were driving along the river leading into Wulai on the 29th.














Taiwan Blue Magpie around the accommodation block at the Huisun Forest Reserve.
These pictures were taken just before dawn in half light.

Grey Treepie Dendrocitta formosae
Recorded in small numbers almost daily with the daily maximum of 20 on the 22nd.



Grey Treepie at the  Huisun Forest Reserve.


Spotted Nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactes
Two races can occur in Taiwan the nominate race and also an endemic race owstoni which is less spotted and was the race which we saw in the highlands. Two were seen on the 21st at the summit at Km50 road marker at the  Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve, with 6 near this site on the 23rd. Three gave good views at the summit at  Yushan National Park on the 25th.


 

Nutcracker of the race owstoni at the summit of the Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve,


 


 

Nutcracker at the summit of the Yushan National Park

                                                                                  
Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos
Recorded on just seven dates with never more than 4 on a day.

Green-backed Tit Parus monticolus
Taiwan endemic race insperatus was very much a flock bird with one or two seen with most flocks. Recorded in small numbers on 10 dates but never more than 3 on a day.


Green-backed Tit in the Huisun Forest Reserve

Coal Tit Periparus ater
Taiwan endemic race ptilosus was only seen at the Yushan National Park where we had at least 20 in a large mixed flock of birds.








Coal Tit at Yushan National Park.

Yellow Tit Parus holsti
This delightful resident is a Taiwan endemic of mid-elevation of montane forests. We recorded it on just five days with a daily maximum of just 4 on the 19th chiefly along the Beigongyueseshan trail.

(taken by DC)

(taken by DC)



Yellow Tit at Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve

Varied Tit Poecile varius
This distinctive Taiwan endemic race castaneoventris often considered by some authorities to be a full specific specie known as Taiwan Varied Tit was only seen on three dates all singles on the 15th and 16th at the Huisun Forest Reserve, and on the 29th in the forests near Wulai.




Varied Tit in the Huison Forest Reserve
not the easiest bird to photograph, high up in a dark pine forest.

Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica
Race japonica  was just recorded in small numbers on two dates with 10 on the 20th where they appeared to be breeding near Wushe and 1 on the 26th at Chung Yung Farm.

Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica
Race namiyei was recorded daily with the exception of when we were at the Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve. Our daily maximum was around 50 on the 28th.


Pacific Swallow at Firefly Lodge

Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus
Race nigrimentale was recorded on 10 dates with birds visiting their nests at Little England near Wushe and also seen from the summit at 10,000 ft at Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve. Daily maximum was 50 on the 24th.

Black-throated Tit Aegithalos concinnus
This striking tit was recorded on 10 dates often in reasonable size parties which quickly moved through the area. Daily maximum was 30 on the 19th.


Black-throated Tit at Km 4 near Wushe.

(taken by DC)
Black-throated Tit at Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve.
Striated Prinia Prinia crinigera
Just a single bird of the Taiwan endemic race striata was seen on the 26th above Wushe at Km 4 road marker in scrub.

(taken by DC)
Striated Prinia at Wushe

Plain Prinia Prinia inornata
The Taiwan endemic race flavirostris was recorded on 3 dates chiefly behind the yellow lodge at Wushe where we were staying.

Collared Finchbill Spizixos semitorques
The Taiwan endemic race cinereicapillus is chiefly restricted in the South of Taiwan, and we recorded it in fair numbers on 5 dates as follows: 14 on the 18th at Chun Yang Farm, 15 on the 22nd at the agricultural plot at Km 12 below the Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve, 6 on the 25th near the Firefly Lodge, 15 at Km 4 road marker above Wushe on the 26th  and 3 on the 27th again at Chun Yung Farm.



Collared Finchbill at Chun Yang Farm


Collared Finchbill near Wushe,
Chinese Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis
Race formosae was recorded in fair numbers on 10 dates but mainly missing from the montane forests. Daily maximum of 25 on the 28th.



Chinese Bulbul at Firefly Lodge
Taiwan Bulbul Pycnonotus taivanus
Endemic to S and E Taiwan but unfortunately hybridisation with Chinese Bulbul has made this endemic specie to be classified as vulnerable. Whilst we were in the East on the 28th we checked out one stake-out, but we could only find hybrids, so we quickly drove on to a second site which was a small village on an agricultural plain and soon located around 15 Taiwan Bulbuls without seeing any hybrids which was encouraging.


Flock of presumed mainly Taiwan x Chinese Bulbul hybrids at Taroko Gorge.


 

One of the more convincing Taiwan Bulbuls at Taroko Gorge.



Taiwan Bulbul c.8km south of Taroko River
The Taroko River is estimated to mark the boundary of the hybrid swarm, so as 
with birders before, we travelled c.8km south in an attempt to guarantee 
seeing pure birds

Himalayan Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus
This Taiwan resident race nigerrimus was recorded on 9 dates in fair numbers often in parties which seem to migrate off high. Daily maximum of 30 on the 15th.


Party of Himalayan Black Bulbuls at Wulai
Korean Bush Warbler Cettia canturians
Race borealis - Singles were recorded on two dates behind the yellow lodge at Wushe coming out of the roost site at dawn on the 27th and 28th and probably related to the same individual on both dates.

(taken by DC)
Korean Bush Warbler at dawn as it was leaving its roost site at Wushe

Brown-flanked Bush Warbler Cettia fortipes
The endemic Taiwan resident race robustipes which is often considered specifically as Strong-footed Bush Warbler was just seen on two dates with 1 on the 26th above Wushe near Km 4 road marker and 3 on the 27th again in the Wushe area.

Yellow-bellied Bush Warbler Cettia acanthizoides
Taiwan endemic race concolor was recorded at various sites on 9 dates but only in small numbers with a daily maximum of 3. It would re-act well to tape play-back.




Yellow-bellied Bush Warbler along the Blue Gate trail.

Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus
Although a number were heard calling at various sites, just two singles were seen the first on the 16th and the second on the 17th. Both appeared to be adult birds.

(taken by DC)
(taken by DC)
Yellow-browed Warbler at Wushe.

Rufous-faced Warbler Abroscopus albogularis
Race fulvifacies was recorded on 6 dates in the mixed bird flocks in the montane forests, it was extremely active usually keeping quite high in the trees and we found virtually impossible to photograph. Generally just odd birds were seen in the mixed bird flocks although 8 were seen on the 19th along the Beigongyueseshan trail.

(taken by DC)
Rufous-faced Warbler at Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Resrve.

Taiwan Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus musicus
This resident endemic of Taiwan was heard calling on a number of days but proved very difficult to see even when calling at close range. We finally caught up with it on the 22nd when 2 were seen in a mixed bird flock at the agricultural area at Km 12 below the Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve. One was seen on the 26th again in a mixed bird-flock near the Firefly lodge and 2 on the 27th at Chun Yung Farm.

Formerly placed within Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler P. ruficollis this species was split in Forktail 22 (2006) A partial revision of the Asian Babblers (Timaliidae) by N.J. Collar and that treatment was followed by Brazil (2009)

(taken by DC)
Taiwan Scimitar Babbler at Chun Yung Farm

Taiwan Wren Babbler Pnoepyga formosana
Endemic resident in the montane forests of Taiwan. After hearing it singing and a brief untickable view along the Blue Gate trail on the 17th, we knew we had to make a real effort to connect with this very skulking species, but we also knew that if we were to connect with it, it would prove to be one of the highlights of the trip and in the end we were not disappointed. We first saw it along the Blue Gate trail on the 20th with several brief but satisfactory views at the start of the trail, and then one suddenly sang close to a leaking pipe across the pathway and David with careful tape-playback managed to encourage this mega to come and sit on the pipe right out in the open some 10ft from us. We looked at it not daring to move, what a view. We tried again with tape-playback with our cameras duly ready, but needless to say no second view, but we all left very happy.
Much to our surprise, one showed well at dusk as we were leaving the tree-nursery trail on the 26th and 2 more were singing nearby, but the light had gone and just blurred photographs, but still excellent views. We were leaving this area the next morning, so we were back up along the tree-nursery trail on the 27th and as it was beginning to get light 2 showed in the same place as yesterday evening and although the light was very poor, we did manage between us to obtain a few unblurred pictures. When the light improved, unfortunately the two birds had melted away back into the thick undergrowth. An unforgettable bird.




Taiwan Wren Babbler behind the tree nursery at the office
block at Anmashan Forest Reserve.

Rufous-capped Babbler Stachyris ruficeps
Taiwan distinctive endemic race praecognita was seen on 7 occasions in small numbers with a daily maximum of 6 on the 27th chiefly along the Blue Gate trail. Although chiefly seen in forest areas, we also saw it in the gardens of Firefly lodge.

Rusty Laughingthrush Garrulax poecilorhynchus
This Taiwan endemic resident was just seen on one date around our accommodation block at the Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve on the 23rd. We have my upset stomach to thank for seeing these, as I had to return somewhat hurriedly to my chalet to use the facilities and suddenly David was banging on the door with news that 19 of these skulking but nosy birds were opposite the chalet. We spent an hour trying to photograph them before they suddenly and nosily flew off and were not seen again.





Rusty Laughingthrush at the Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve

Taiwan Hwamei Garrulax taewanus
This secretive and elusive Taiwan endemic were seen on two early mornings leaving their roost sites on the 27th and 28th behind our yellow lodge at Wushe with 3 on the 27th and 2 on the 28th. On both dates, they briefly sang as they left their roost before they disappeared into the thick scrub, and we did not see them later in the day.



Taiwan Hwamei  behind our yellow lodge at Wushe

White-Whiskered Laughingthrush Garrulax morrisonianus
Another Taiwan endemic which we only saw at altitude but was always very tame and approachable. Recorded in fair numbers on 8 dates often seen around the car parks at the summits with a daily maximum of 15 on two dates.



White-whiskered Laughing Thrush at the the Hehuanshan Pass.

Steere's Liocichla Liocichla steerii
This Taiwan endemic was recorded almost daily in small numbers and could be seen in a number of different habitats with a daily maximum of 12 on the 18th.



 

Steere's Liocichia at Wushe


Steere's Liocichia taken before dawn in the Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve
Taiwan Barwing Actinodura morrisoniana
This endemic is restricted to the montane forests of Taiwan and can often be seen in bird-flocks. We recorded it on 6 dates which included a superb flock of at least 25 birds at the start of the Blue Gate trail on the 18th.



 

(taken by DC)


Taiwan Barwing at the start of the Blue Gate trail 

Taiwan Fulvetta Alcippe formosana
This Taiwan endemic prefers clearings in upper montane forests where it feeds in thick scrub. We recorded it on four dates with 3 on the 17th, 2 on the 19th, 2 on the 21st and 4 on the 28th.




Taiwan Fulvetta at the summit of the Anmashan Forest Reserve road.

Dusky Fulvetta Alcippe brunnea
This Taiwan endemic race brunnea appears to feed chiefly on the ground amongst ferns and other vegetation in forests and can be difficult to see. We saw 1 along the Beigongyueseshan trail on the 19th which responded to tape play-back, 4 on the 24th and they showed well from the hide at Firefly lodge and 1 on the 25th near the Firefly lodge.


Dusky Fulvetta taken at dusk from the bird-hide at the Firefly lodge.

Grey-cheeked Fulvetta Alcippe cinereiceps
Another Taiwan endemic race morrisonia and is the main mixed bird-flock species. Good numbers seen almost daily with a daily maximum of 70 on the 21st.





Grey-cheeked Fulvetta - the common flock species and seen almost daily.

Taiwan Sibia Heterophasia auricularis
Endemic to Taiwan. Recorded in fair numbers on 11 dates. On the 19th we came across a superb flock of at least 60 birds moving through the forest trees along the Beigongyueseshan trail, they just kept coming over the track virtually over our heads.





Taiwan Sibia at the Chun Yang Farm 
Taiwan Yuhina Yuhina brunneiceps
This attractive Taiwan endemic which was common in small numbers in the hill forests. We recorded it on 12 dates with a daily maximum of 15 on the 19th.





Taiwan Yuhina a common resident in the hill forests.

White-bellied Erpornis Erpornis zantholeuca
This endemic race griseilors appeared quite scarce and we only recorded odd birds on four dates in the hill forests. It was usually seen in mixed bird-species flocks with a daily maximum of 5 on the 29th at Wulai.

Vinous-throated Parrotbill Paradoxornis webbianus
We were lucky to discover a roost of this Taiwan endemic race bulomachus in thick scrub behind the yellow lodge where we were staying at Wushe. They came out of the roost just before dawn and spent around 20 minutes in the bamboo and scrub before departing down into the valley and lost to view. We had 15 on the 27th and 20 on the 28th.

(taken by DC)


Vinous-throated Parrotbill at Wushe.


Japanese White-Eye Zosterops japonicus
Small parties were recorded on just 4 dates in the hill forests with a daily maximum of 15 on the 22nd.

(taken by DC)
Japanese White-Eye at Chun Yung Farm, Wushe

Flamecrest Regulus goodfellowi
This delightful Taiwan endemic species which is found in pine at or near the summit of mountains was seen by ourselves on just three dates with 2 on the 17th at the Hehuanshan Pass at 10,000 ft., 1 on the 19th at Km47 at the Mikado Pheasant stakeout in the Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve and finally a nice party of at least 10 and possibly many more in a large mixed species bird flock on the 25th at the summit of the Yushan National Park allowing us some excellent views.



(taken by DC)
(taken by DC)

(taken by DC)
Flamecrests at Yushan National Park, Size of a Firecrest, but usually stays near the top of pine trees.

Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
This Taiwan endemic race taivanus which is resident in the high mountains was just seen on three dates with 4 on the 19th at the summit of the Hehuanshan Pass at 10,000 ft.


Looking down on a Wren at 10,000 ft on the Hehuanshan Pass

Nuthatch Sitta europaea
The race sinensis was recorded on just three dates with singles on the 19th, and 25th and two on the 26th. 

Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
Reasonable numbers of mynas were seen on the various drives from one site to another but no attempt was made to identify the majoriy from the car, but we did see 2 Common Mynas on the 26th.

Taiwan Whistling Thrush Myophonus insularis
This endemic Whistling Thrush was seen on 8 dates chiefly at dawn or dusk when we were driving, but also occasionally during the day with a daily maximum of 5 on the 26th chiefly in the Ailshan area.



Taiwan Whistling Thrush near Ailshan.
White's Thrush Zoothera dauma
There are three different races of White's Thrush which can be seen in Taiwan, we recorded it on 10 days usually singles often on the forest roads with daily maximums of 6 on the 19th and 4 on the 22nd. Some allowed extra close views which was simply superb.






White's Thrush at Km.18 above Wushe.



DC photographing the White's Thrush.

Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus
Recorded on 11 dates with a daily maximum of 65 near Alishan on the 26th.


White's and Eye-browed at Km 18 above Wushe




1stYr. Eye-browed  Thrush along the Waterfall trail near Wulai.

Pale Thrush Turdus pallidus
A single bird showed well on the 19th at the summit of the Hehuanshan Pass.


Pale Thrush along the Beigongyueseshan trail.

Brown-headed Thrush Turdus chrysolaus
A single bird was seen on 22nd and 23rd at the summit 50km marker at the Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve, and another single was seen on the 26th at the fruiting trees near Alishan. The race which winters on Taiwan is chrysolaus.

Taiwan Shortwing Brachypteryx goodfellowi
This Taiwan endemic proved very difficult to see even thou several were heard singing at very close range along the Blue Gate Trail. At long last, one re-acted to tape play-back on the 18th and we then manage to see at least 2 and possibly 3 birds in total. They were very secretive showing briefly and occasionally in a dark gully along the Blue Gate trail, but proved impossible for us to photograph them.

Siberian Rubythroat Luscinia calliope
Always exciting when one sees a  Rubythroat, with a pair on the 26th showed well near Km4 above Wushe, one on the 27th at Chun Yung Farm, and finally an adult male on the 28th near Wushe.

White-browed Robin Luscinia indica
This very distinctive Taiwan endemic race formosana, which a number of authorities consider it to be specifically distinct as Taiwan Robin, was only seen on the 21st when a pair gave crippling views in a waterfall gully just below the Mikado Pheasant stakeout in the Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve.


 




Adult male White-browed Robin of the Taiwan endemic race formosana 
which may be specifically distinct, in the Robin gully at Km45. Dasyueshan 
Amnashan Forest Reserve


Female White-browed Robins can be extremely difficult to separatefrom the female 
Collard Bush Robin. The above pictures show the bird with a longer less unbroken 
supercillium, and a slightly different jizz which seems to fit White-browed Robin, 
but I may be wrong.

Collared Bush Robin Luscinia johnstoniae
This striking Taiwan endemic in montane forest edges and clearings was seen on 6 dates, but never more than 3 on a day. A pair showed down to a few feet in the waterfall gully in the Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve and was one of the highlights of the trip.





Adult male Collared Bush Robin in the Robin gully at Km45



What I considered to be a female Collared Bush Robin in the Robin gully at Km45.
Note the more broken supercillium than the White-browed Robin

Red-Flanked Bluetail Luscinia cyanura
Singles recorded on just four dates: 19th, 21st, 27th and 28th.


Female Red-Flanked Bluetail at Km18 above Wushe.

Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus
Recorded in small numbers on 7 dates with a daily maximum of 6.


 


Male and Female Daurian Redstarts at the Chun Yang Farm 
Plumbeous Redstart Rhyacornis fiulginosa
This Taiwan endemic race affinis was recorded on six dates with a daily maximum of 10 on the 28th along the river in the Taroko Gorge.



Adult female Plumbeous Redstart of the Taiwan endemic race 
affinis on a stream around Km40 at Anmashan Forest Reserve.


Male Plumbeous Redstart at Taroko Gorge
White-tailed Robin Myiomela leucura
This Taiwan endemic race montium which favours shady forest areas was seen on no fewer than seven days, all were adult male birds with two seen on the 19th and 22nd  and many were singing and appeared to be holding territory.

 



Male White-tailed Robin at Wulai



Male White-tailed Robin at Wushe 
Little Forktail Enicurus scouleri
On the 28th, we stopped at a parking bay to look along the river running through the Taroko Gorge and saw 2 adults along this river and this proved to be our only sighting.

Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
Recorded on just two dates with a pair on the 26th and a single bird on the 28th.

(taken by DC)
Male Blue Rock Thrush at Wushe.

Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki
A 1stW male which showed very well, and an adult male, was found on the 29th in the forest at Wulai.




First-winter male Mugimaki Flycatcher at Ulay

(taken by DC)
Male Mugimaki Flycatcher at Ulay

Snowy-browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra
Just a single male of the Taiwan endemic race innexa showed briefly but well to DC on the 19th along the Beigongyueseshan trail.

Vivid Niltava Niltava vivida
The distinctive Taiwan endemic race vivda, which may be a separate species and known as Taiwan Niltava,
was seen on 5 dates with a daily maximum of 6 on the 26th at the fruiting trees at Alishan. Odd birds were also seen in mixed bird flocks.


Female Vivid Niltava at Wulai 



Male Vivid Niltava at the fruiting tree at Km24
The Taiwan bird has a grey throat and paler underparts

Brown Dipper Cinclus pallasii
Just one was seen on the 15th on the river at the entrance gate to the Huisun Forest Reserve

Fire-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum ignipectum
The Taiwan endemic race formosum was seen on four dates with 3 juveniles/females and 2 ad males at secondary growth areas including  Chun Yung Farm.

Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
Recorded when driving through villages etc, but not seen in the forests or mountains.

White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata
Race swinhoei was recorded in small parties on four dates chiefly around agricultural areas.



White-rumped Munia at the agricultural area at Km12 below Anmashan Forest Reserve

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
Race melanope on nine dates but only in small numbers.



Grey Wagtail on the hillside at Ulay.

Amur (White) Wagtail Motacilla alba leucopsis
A number of the race leucopsis were seen on four dates with a daily maximum of 6 on the 26th.


Amur Wagtail at Firefly lodge.
Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni
Just small numbers of this attractive pipit were seen on 5 dates with a daily maximum of 6 on the 24th and 27th.

Vinaceous Rosefinch Carpodacus vinaceus
The very attractive male of the Taiwan endemic race formosanus which occurs in the upper montane areas was recorded on five dates with 2 males and 1 female on the 17th on the Hehuanshan Pass at 10,000 ft, 6 on the 19th again at the Hehuanshan Pass  feeding in bamboo and on berries, 1 male on the 20th feeding on the road verge at the Mikado Pheasant stake-out in the Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve, 4 on the 21st at the 50Km summit of the Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve and 3 on the 28th as we drove up to the Hehuanshan Pass.




(taken by DC)
Female Vinaceous Rosefinch at  the Hehuanshan Pass



Adult male Vinaceous Rosefinch at the Hehuanshan Pass


(taken by DC)
JFC photographing Vinaceous Rosefinches at Hehuanshan Pass

Brown Bullfinch Pyrrhula nipalensis
An untidy dull looking Bullfinch of the Taiwan endemic race uchidai which is a resident of the mid to upper elevation slopes was recorded in small parties on four dates with 5 along the Blue Gate trail on the 18th, and 7 also along the trail on the 20th. and 3 on the 26th and 27th.

Beavan's Bullfinch Pyrrhula erythaca
A much smarter looking Bullfinch than the previous species of the distinctive Taiwan endemic race owstoni,
which some authorities treat as a full specie known as Owston's Bullfinch. We recorded it on three dates, the first an obliging adult male almost at the summit of the Hehuanshan Pass on the 19th, Two on the 21 near the summit at Km 50 at the Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve, and 3 on the 25th above Wushe.


(Taken by DC)
Adult male Bevans Bullfinch of the race owstoni at the Hehuanshan Pass

Black-faced Bunting Emberiza spodocephala
We recorded this bunting on three dates all in the scrub behind the yellow lodge where we were staying at Wushe, with 4 on the 26th, 12 on the 27th and 1 on the 28th.

(taken by DC)
Black-faced Bunting behind our lodge at Wushe.


Formosan Rock Macaque along the Waterfall Trail at Wulai



Formosan Rock Macaque with young at Yushan National Park



Muntjac Deer at Dasyueshan Amnashan Forest Reserve.



Pallas's Squirrel from the bird hide at Firefly Lodge.



Pallas's Squirrel





Formosa Striped Squirrel at Dasyueshan Amnashan, in the Robin gully at Km 45



Common Sailor Butterfly at Huisun










Blue Pansy at Chun Yung Farm, Wushe





Common Tiger at Chun Yung Farm, Wushe





Chestnut Tiger at Chun Yung Farm, Wushe



Large Spider at Chun Yung Farm





Skimmer at Chun Yung Farm.



Taken at Chun Yung Farm.



Damselfly sp. at Huisun Forest Reserve.



Sunset over the Hehuanshan Pass.

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