Sunday 14 April 2013

Taipei Trip April 2013

A 5 day trip at the beginning of April in Taiwan was more of a leisure trip, me and my friend didn't spend that much time on birding, but Taipei proof to be a city full of surprises. I highly recommend any birder with a tight schedule or on business trip to take a few mornings off at Taipei. Our itinerary includes Wulai, Guandu Nature Park, Taipei Botanical Garden and Huajiang Wild Ducks Sanctuary. All of which are easily accessible by Metro or Taxi and are within an hour journey from the city center. We skipped Yang Ming Shan National Park due to bad weather, but it is also an option for keen birders to explore. We saw a total of 84 species with really just 3 days of actual birding time. Full trip list pdf can be downloaded from here: ... 3%20Full%20List.pdf

Wulai - The most famous site for lowland forest birds near Taipei, it is easily accessible by first taking the Metro to XinDian station, then you can either take a cab (500NT) or a bus (30NT). We chose the first option as it was Ching Ming Festival at the time, which made the roads busy and congested. The cab ride took 20 minutes, while the bus would've took nearly an hour. We followed the road running alongside Tonghou River, a good trail to look for the Taiwan Whistling Thrush and Taiwan Blue Magpie, the two endemic that can be found regularly here. Many try their luck with the Maroon Oriole here, but are proof to be more difficult to find.

Black Bulbul

Taiwan Whistling Thrush

Taiwan Blue Magpie

Taiwan Scimitar Babbler (Split from Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler)

Grey-cheeked Fulvetta (Possible split from mainland birds in future, I think)

White-bellied Epornis

Bronzed Drongo

Guandu Nature Reserve - The famous wetland reserve in Taipei, easily accessible by metro to Guandu Station, then a 10 minute walk to the nature reserve entrance. It is very similar to the Hong Kong Wetland Park, there are not many trails that you can walk and most of the wetland areas are closed off to protect the birds, I managed without but it is better to bring along telescopes if you want great views. Biggest surprise there were two Oriental White Stork that have been in the reserve for a month before our visit, a very great addition to our trip list. Other then wetland birds, the nature reserve is also a great place to observe some common parklands birds of Taiwan that are otherwise difficult to see in Hong Kong.

Pale Thrush

Grey Treepie

Oriental Turtle Dove

Black-faced Bunting

Oriental White Stork

Cattle Egret

Black Bulbul

Taipei Botanical Garden - A great urban park, the park is very well planned and the diversity of plants makes this a heaven for birds of all kind. You will find the famous Malayan Night Heron here, as well as Taiwan Barbet, Black-naped Monarch, Grey Treepie and other goodies. The surprise number two of the trip for us was a beautiful Cinnamon Bittern, stalking fishes in a small pond, the bird congregated a small crowd, though not as big as the one surrounding a lonesome White-rumped Munia not too far away. I guess it must be a rare bird in Taipei.

Asian Glossy Starling

Common Moorhen

Tree Sparrow

Cinnamon Bittern

Malayan Night Heron

Chinese Bulbul

Taiwan Barbet (A full species as of 2006)

Pale Thrush

Black-naped Monarch

White-rumped Munia

Pallas's Squirrel

Huajiang Wild Ducks Sanctuary - Probably a less known site in Taipei for birders abroad, but this is a good place for ducks in the winter, and also a great place for waders and other open country species. We found our third surprise of our trip here, a single Chinese Egret amongst a flock of egrets. This place is accessible through metro, get off at Long Shan Si Station and walk 15 minutes to reach the entrance.

Sacred Ibis

Brown Shrike

Chinese Egret

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