Wednesday, 27 April 2011

TAIWAN 27-30 April 2011: Wulu & Yushan

Wednesday 27 April (continued).  We drove north to Wulu and finished the day on the Old Forest Road.  It climbed very steeply through what looked like recently cleared agricultural land before becoming more forested.  The mixed habitat made it an excellent area for Chinese Bamboo Partridge, we saw 10, along with Yellow Tit, 5 Black-necked Scimitar-Babblers, Taiwan Whistling Thrush, White-tailed Robin and 4 Little Buntings.  Steve got us another good deal at Wulu's only hotel, the rather posh Chief Spa.

appropriate sign on the old road!
large toad

Yellow Tit

Taiwan Barbet
Thursday 28 April.  We birded around the hotel at Wulu seeing a pair of Red Orioles, 6 Formosan Blue Magpies and 7 Taiwan Whistling Thrushes before driving on to Siangyang.  Siangyang was at a higher elevation and on the trails we saw Besra, Taiwan Wren-Babbler, 2 White-whiskered Laughingthrushes, 2 Steere's Liochiclas, 6 Taiwan Barwings, Flamecrest, 2 Taiwan Shortwings, 2 Collared Bush-Robins and male Taiwan Vivid Niltava.   No pheasants or partridges was disappointing but we'd arrived later than would have been ideal.  We continued along the Southern Cross Island Highway to find a tunnel through the mountains closed - collapsed due to an earthquake some years before but not marked as such on the tourist map we'd picked up at the airport.  There only alternatives were to go north and through the Taroko Gorge again or back towards Kenting and around the southern tip of the island.  We chose the latter – a section of road we were now becoming far too familiar with - and got as far as Fangliao by early evening.  With nowhere to stay on the main road we decided to go into town but directions to supposed hotels were very vague and nowhere was apparent.  We found the station and decided to hire a taxi to show us the way.  We followed it back to the main road and on no more than two kms to an obvious motel we would have found if we’d kept going, although it was a minor detour compared to our recent zig-zag progress around southern Taiwan!

Barry near the Chief Spa Hotel at Wulu
Taiwan Whistling Thrush
Grey-chinned Minivet

Red Oriole

Formosan Blue Magpie

Steve (a.k.a. the Invisible Man) looking for Taiwan Wren Babbler at Siangyang
Taiwan Barwing
Southern Cross Island Highway, no more ...
Andy and Steve returning to the car
and back the way we came
Friday 29 April.  We left Fangliao early and drove to Alishan stopping in a few bits of reasonable habitat on the way but seeing nothing of note with a migrant Yellow-browed Warbler best.  We found a cheap guesthouse near the park entrance and drove on to Yushan spending the afternoon in the Paiyun Visitor Centre/Big Hemlock area which was excellent for passerines.   Here we saw 5 Yellowish-bellied Bush Warblers, 2 White-whiskered Laughingthrushes, 2 Steere's Liochiclas, 8 Golden Parrotbills, 5 Flamecrests, 2 Taiwan Shortwings, 3 White-browed Bush-Robins, Collared Bush-Robin, 2 Ferruginous Flycatchers and 6 Grey-headed Bullfinches.

The Big Hemlock

Barry (just) and Andy at Yushan
me at Yushan
Taiwan Shortwing
Taiwan White-browed Bush-Robin
Grey-headed Bullfinch

Saturday 30 April.  We left Alishan at dawn to drive to Huisun and stopped at the km 132 rest area as we were leaving Yushan.  Birds here included 2 Taiwan Bamboo Partridges, Black Eagle, 6 White-bellied Pigeons and 5 White-whiskered Laughingthrushes.

White-bellied Pigeon

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