Saturday, 9 January 2016

A week in Taiwan - Dasyueshan, Xitou and Alishan

I will be spending the next week birding in Taiwan for a week. Excluding my Taipei trip in 2013, my only other visit to Taiwan date back to 2002. That was my only proper birding trip to Taiwan, and back in the days things weren't as "developed" in birding terms, where there weren't as many of the most iconic endemics as we know today were difficult to find. Namely Swinhoe's Pheasant and Mikado Pheasant; two of the most exciting endemic pheasants found on the island, these were considered very rare and even a glimpse requires a lot of luck back in the days. Nowadays, stakeout points at Dasyueshan National Park have increased the chances of seeing these two beautiful pheasants immensely, and the two specific spots on the Dasyueshan Lin Dao (23.5K & 47K) have became very well known world wide. No birder can claim they have birded Taiwan without visiting these two stakeout points.

I have delayed this trip for quite some years for various reasons, partly because Malaysian Borneo birds were part of my personal interest in the past years, plus places so easily accessible are sometimes easily neglected as you feel you can go at anytime. So, my Father and I have finally decided it's about time we pay a visit to this endemic rich neighbour once again.

Our plan is to start our journey in Taichung city, drive to the endemic rich Dasyueshan National Forest to find the pheasants, then down to the popular birding spot of Xitou and Shanlinxi, finally to the famous Alishan area to finish off our tour. There are plenty of endemics that I will like to see again, and plenty of new ones that I aim to add to my life list. Wish us luck!

Taiwan Barbet - a newly recognised island endemic, old photo from our 2002 trip.

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