Whos keeping an eye on me....

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Taiwan 2019 Pt4 - Birding to the South

We started off at the Dongshish forestry commission were we easily pick up the target bird. At least 5 Taiwan Blue Magpies, the light was only just getting up so didn't bother attempting pics. Grey Treepies, Grey Cheeked Minivets, Light Vented Bulbuls and a White Tailed Robin made up the numbers in this area. We didn't hang about as we wanted to get to a spot for better view of the Chestnut Bellied Tit and this would be the last chance of the tour.

We arrived at Shaolai Recreation Area. A short walk across the wonderful suspension bridge high above the gorge and river brought us to the Shaolai trail. It wouldn't belong before we got one of yesterdays missed birds, and we got it fairly easily too. A Dusky Fulvetta called and hopped its way along a bank just above eye-level. To get from A-B it had to briefly come out in the open..... while a Black Naped Monarch also gave brief views. We walked along the lower path to a spot at a water dam, we couldn't actually walk any further at this point, I followed a Rufous Capped Babbler through the bushes while Richard heard our target bird way across the valley and tried to call it in. In the mean time a Large Billed Crow patrolled the valley near the dam while a Taiwan Barbet gave great views directly across the valley. We had a few small mixed flocks of Tits and Japanese White-eyes. In amongst one of the small flocks a White Bellied Erpornis gave stunning views allowing everyone to get onto it.
Rufous Capped Babbler

Taiwan Barbet

Immediately behind us called a Black Necklaced Scimitar Babbler, this fella made sure it kept us on our toes for the next half an hour while at the same time a Bamboo Partridge came with a few feet of us yet again, and yet again we all failed to get even a glimpse of it.......

Somewhere in there is a Bamboo Partridge
While all this had been going on Richard had managed to call in a wonderful Chestnut Bellied Tit, eventually three arrived and gave pretty close and stunning views. A big relief as this was our last chance. Happy to say we may get more chances along the way for both the Scimitar Babbler and the Partridge.... we shall see.
Chestnut bellied Tit

A pair of Taiwan Scimitar Babblers flew in close by and eventually retreated across the valley but still gave better views than we had encountered before today and a Crested Serpent Eagle call echoed through the valley before its partner soared into view..... stunning.

Crested Serpent Eagle

While we were walking back to the suspension bridge I witnessed two mini landslides, huge boulders careering down the side of the valley, these were tiny compared to the one yesterday in the mountains, a reminder of how fragile and susceptible this area is.

Yet again we were teased by Bamboo Partridges within two minutes of each oter and in two separate locations we failed to see where the calls came from...... its getting frustrating now!

At the suspension bridge at least half a dozen Blue Magpies showed well. Other birds of the site included, Bronzed Drongo, Fire Breasted Flowerpecker, Black Drongo.
This Blue Magpie sat ontop of the suspension bridge

 Suspension Bridge
We would stop and bird at various places while heading south, a close view of a Perched Crested Goshawk alongside a busy junction was nice, but the most unusual was certainly stopping at the side of a dual carriage way (luckily it wasn't too busy) and walking to the central reservation to find and sat on a nest was this Malayan Night Heron.

Crested Goshawk

The next stop was a location for what was supposed to be another skulkin species. We parked up for tea and snacks and got the tape out, instantly a Strong-footed Bush Warbler (also known as a Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler) hopped out into the open, flew at Jeff, well at his feet for a moment before retreating to the relative safety of the reeds. Easy peasy, we settle down for a snack and watch two pairs of Crested Serpent Eagles soaring high above.
Strong-footed Bush-warbler

Yet another stop along the way bagged us a handful of Vinous Throated Parrotbills..... one came incredibly close and I had left the camera behind in the van, I should have gone back, I told myself  to go back..... I never did. I think it was the thought of running the gauntlet of a feisty dog that looked a little bigger than I could handle, apparently it was quite tame....anyway what a smart bird, you will have to take my word for it. We had time for one more stop along side a park and running track. The area was a mixture of dry scrub along with virtually dry reeds beds. Nick got onto a Golden-headed Cisticola, while I flushed a Savannah Nightjar..... twice. These normally park themselves in the towns on top of any flat roofs, so me and my size 9s weren't going to trouble this individual. It settled back down a hundred yards away.
Update*** photo of Vinous Throated Parrotbill
 (Thanks to trip companion Nick Parker)
The next to last stop was a dash to a Temple....... We had arrived at a temple in Zhushan, here a resident Collared Scops Owl has lived for many years, unfortunately its partner has been missing for a year or two now. It is a genuine free and wild bird. It goes off hunting and does go missing for months on end. Its home is a magnificent temple adorned in red and gold.
Collared Scops Owl

and its home at Zhushan temple
and the architecture including pheasants and the Crane, but the Crane is another story for another day

We finish off with a stop at an Arboretum. Here amongst the gardens were upto a dozen Malayan Night Herons.

We finished late on in the town of Fenggang, ready for dinner and a beer. We have a little lie in tomorrow morning as we meet at 6am for a stroll along the river.


Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

Once again another fabulous selection of birds (all new to me) Dave. This was a wonderful trip and one I would love

Nick Parker said...

This had reminded me to download the pictures of the Parrotbill. I'll email it across to you.