Whos keeping an eye on me....

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Taiwan 2019 Pt 6 - Mopping up Lanyu and back to mainland Taiwan

We woke to continued rain, it looked like the morning would be hard work and we only had 4hrs before our ferry departed. A quick coffee and breakfast while hundreds of Pacific Swifts fed in the bay directly in front of us, we packed up our luggage and we drove the mile or so back to the bridge. We needed to mop up the remaining birds on the island that we missed yesterday, this would be our last chance. We were now standing in large roadside puddles awaiting any sort of movement  in the valley below us. It didn't take too long when we got onto one of our remaining targets.

A russell in the tree tops and out popped a very smart Philippine Cuckoo-Dove.  Jeff and myself missed this in the Philippines so was good to get it second time round. It didn't look like it was going to be in a hurry and pretty much stayed in sight for the next hour as we continued to look for the Pigeon. During this time the weather started to pick up, rain disappeared and the sun shone down. Richard got sight of a distant Whistling (Taiwan) Green Pigeon flying way off at the back of the valley, by now the Philippine Cuckoo-Dove had been joined by its partner, putting on excellent views.

Philippine Cuckoo-Dove

The Whistling (Taiwan) Green Pigeon eventually perched up, it was only really going to be scope views but a few record shots are attached ..... just for the record. Would have liked it to have flown a little nearer, but we gave it as long as we could. In the mean time a pair of Minivets flitted and perched in a similarly distant set of trees, again scope views were all we would get, on inspection they turned out to be Ashy Minivets, new for the trip, but not the Ryukyu Minivets that we hoped for.

We decided to walk along the road past the bridge, Lowland White-Eyes, Pacific Swifts were plentiful, an Eurasian Sparrowhawk flew past and into the wooded area that we walked last night. We came to a section of the road that ran alongside a section of allotments. A short wait and plenty of activity started, a few Thrushes flew across to get our attention, these were Pale Thrushes, then a new bird showed along a fence line, female Daurian Redstart. A nice find, pity it was the female, we lost sight of it and just managed another short glimpse before we lost it all together. Two Olive Backed Pipits, a new species for me, searched for food in a vegetable garden and three more were seen a short walk further back along the road. A Bunting species would seen very quickly, Richard suggested Yellow (Japanese) Bunting, after a little searching we got reasonable views to confirm this.

Taiwan Whistling Green Pigeon (somewhere in there)
Honestly ......... a very heavy crop, was much better view in the scope.

Ashy Minivets (equally distant in the valley and heavily cropped)


Grey Wagtails and Brown Eared Bulbuls by now were pretty much everywhere. This turned out to be a nice area, I am sure a days birding along this road could pick up some additional nice species, we couldn't afford too much time. We walked back to the bridge hoping for a better or nearer view of the pigeon, without luck and gave the road one last walk. Straight away we got onto a wonderful pair of Philippine Blue Rock Thrushes, stunning red bellied variety, posing nicely. One stayed put for long enough to allow Nick a video. Back at the allotments we picked up a Red Throated Pipit , at least one Black Winged Kite surveyed the area and perched on the wires for a moment and another Lesser Coucal and plenty of Common Mynas were now in the area enjoying the baking sunshine.

Richard heard a Siberian Rubythroat, then another. One bird was in a dense bush ten foot in front of us but didn't show, while a second bird called in a much larger bush nearby, the briefest glimpse showed a glorious Male, a stunning creature, a lifer for Nick and myself and a great end to the island of Lanyu.
Philippine Blue Rock Thrush

Olive Backed Pipit

Brown Eared Bulbul


We had already packed this morning so headed straight off towards the ferry. Richard mentioned to keep a look out for Pacific Reef Herons, right on cue we passed three. A quick stop at a small beach got a Red Throated Pipit and a Rock Thrush. We left Lanyu with all targets accounted for and a bonus with the Siberian Rubythroat
Looking out for the Daurian Redstart
Pineapple garden
Lanyu Butterflies
Magellan Birdwing 

The ferry left on time with only ourselves on board, again Nick and myself spent the whole three hour crossing on the deck, the birding was worse that yesterdays crossing, we only had a flock of six egrets and a single Brown Booby that came to check us out, other than that it was birdless, but at least the sun shone down making it a very pleasant boat trip.
Leaving Lanyu island

Back on dry land we stopped at the fruiting tree of yesterday morning. The same species as yesterday, Black Bulbul, Styans Bulbul, Brown Headed Thrushes, Japanese White-eyes, White Shouldered Starlings, this time two small flocks of nine and seven and Grey Treepies. Today they were joined by an Eyebrowed Thrush and five Asian Glossy Starlings, both new species for the trip. After Coffee and about an hour in this spot we birded short distances in the area seeing what we could pick up. Common Snipe and Long Tailed Shrike, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe and Plain Prinia were about all we saw, we headed back to yesterday mornings hotel, to pick up cases. We would now head a little further north towards the highlands.
The fruiting tree that gave us hours of entertainment

Asian Glossy Starling

Styans Bulbul

Our last stop was a camp site. Late afternoon the happy campers were settling down around the stoves as we wandered off around the woods and margins looking for Maroon Oriole. It took about 2 minutes to find one, two three, at least four individuals. I got a very quick Glimpse of Bamboo Partridge as hit flew across a path, unfortunately it was never going to count. This was a hot spot for Taiwan Barbet, a few perched up directly above the campers while during the next hour dozens upon dozens called out of perched out, a lovely bird.
Maroon Oriole

Before we really got going in search of other birds we came across a rather creepy crawly. This spider was by far the biggest bugger I saw all trip, not my thing I am afraid, and Richard reminded me for the rest of the afternoon.......
Creepy crawly

Taiwan Barbet

Black Kites in very good numbers and circling overhead throughout the campsite, the usual Light Vented and Black Bulbuls and a few Black Naped Monarchs giving nice sunlit views.


A Crested Goshawk was on the hunt as it moved along a hedge line stopping in every alternate tree, while a White Bellied Green Pigeon flew over.  We finished in a small copse and added a Yellow Browed Warbler and a new trip bird in an Asian Brown Flycatcher.

White Bellied Green Pigeon

We stopped for dinner in the town of Majia before booking into the very comfortable Indigenous Peoples Cultural Development Centre and theme park.

1 comment:

Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

Great post. Love the Blue Thrush and that spider is pretty if one can call a spider pretty. I see he has yellow kneww pads!