This blog records birding adventures of a not-so-secret group of Singapore birders. The main cast is Con Foley, Danny Lau, Lau Jia Sheng and Tan Kok Hui. We mainly bird in Singapore. We also occasionally bird around the world.
Sunday, 15 May 2016
Tuas, Bidadari 02May16
From JS at Tuas
Nothing much at Tuas... 2 Arctic warblers, 2 Tiger shrikes, 1 immature male Mugimaki flycatcher and 3-5 Oriental reed warblers.
If you are trying for the Brown Booby, the resting point of the bird is the bulbous bow of the ship in the photo. From platform 1, the bird flew in from East to West at 9 am, passing through the kelongs. Thereafter, it stayed around the ship. When we left at 11:30 am, the bird was still perched on the bulbous bow for close to 2 hours!
Con, Danny and I went on a week-long Taiwan birding trip with our target being the 26 out of 27 endemics (the 27th endemic, a bulbul, was south of the area we covered). We landed in Taipei in the north at about 12 noon and then spent some days on Dasyueshan in Taichung and the surrounding mountains, and then back up to Taipei Botanical Garden for our final day. By the end of the trip, we scored 25/26, missing the Rufous-crowned laughingthrush.
Upon reaching Taipei Airport, our guide enthusiastically brought us to a nearby padi field to look for Oriental plovers, but we saw none. Nevertheless, there were other waders, some egrets, Red-throated pipits, an Eastern spot-billed duck and an introduced Sacred ibis.
After that, we were off on a few hours drive to Huisun Forest for the endemic Taiwan blue magpie and boy were there many of them. We also managed to tick of a pair of Taiwan bamboo partridges and a Chestnut-bellied tit; these two endemics were not seen again on our trip. The endemic Grey-cheeked Fulvetta, on the other hand, was encountered for the next four days as well, while the Taiwan whistling thrush was seen on all seven days.
Chestnut-bellied tit. Taiwan blue magpie
Taiwan bamboo partridge
Five endemics down, 21 more to go. We also had a few endemic subspecies, namely Crested serpent eagle, House swift, Black and Bronzed drongos, Grey treepie and a heard-only Dusky fulvetta.
We woke up in the morning to the chorus of the Savanna nightjars.
As we worked our way up Dasyueshan, we ticked off some endemic subspecies: Brownish-flank bush warbler, Brown bullfinch, Fire-breasted flowerpecker, White-tailed robin, Rufous-capped babbler, Vinous-throated parrotbill, Light-vented bulbul, Collared finchbill, Eurasian wren, Green-backed tit, Eurasian nutcracker and Black-naped monarch.
However, we were here for the endemics, and we added 9 more today to make 14, namely Swinhoe's pheasant, Mikado pheasant, Taiwan barbet, Taiwan rosefinch, Collared bush robin, White-whiskered laughingthrush, White-eared sibia, Steere's liocichla and Taiwan scimitar babbler. We also heard Taiwan fulvetta and Yellow tit, but would have to wait till next few days to see them.
Male Mikado pheasant
Swinhoe's pheasant (left male, right female)
Male Taiwan rosefinch. Male Collared bush robin
Early morning birding to the Dasyueshan peak gave us Taiwan hill partridge, Yellow tit, Flamecrest, Taiwan cupwing and Taiwan yuhina - 19/26 endemics. We also got heard-only Black-necklaced scimitar babbler and Taiwan barwing.
Taiwan hill partridge
Taiwan whistling thrush
Taiwan yuhina. Flamecrest
White-eared sibia. Yellow tit
Endemic subspecies wise, we got Crested goshawk, Besra, House swift, Coal tit, Yellowish-bellied bush warbler, Striated prinia, Vivid niltava, White-browed bush robin and Plumbeous redstart.
After breakfast, we took a walk around Dasyueshan and saw #20, Taiwan barwings, otherwise we did not see much else. Jared had woke up for pre-dawn birding and got a White-backed woodpecker and possible Eurasian woodcock, both birds we failed to get on this trip.
Steere's liocichla. Taiwan barwing
We worked our way slowly downhill, picking up #21, Taiwan bush warbler, along the way.
Taiwan bush warbler
Then it was off to Shi Zhuo, where we had the endemic subspecies Oriental turtle dove, Black bulbul, Plain prinia and Dusky fulvetta.
Morning birding around Shi Zhuo gave us #22 and 23, Rusty laughingthrush and Black-necklaced scimitar babbler.
After that, we went to Yushan for Taiwan fulvetta and managed to get it; #24 ticked.
The only new endemic subspecies today was White-browed shortwing.
On the way up Sun Link Sea, we encountered another pair of Black-necklaced scimitar babbler.
Early morning walk around Sun Link Sea gave us another chance with the Taiwan barwing, as well as more Taiwan fulvetta, Taiwan yuhina and Taiwan whistling thrush. We also spent some time photographing Taiwan cupwing and Snowy-browed flycatcher.
Then we were off exploring 99 Peaks for Taiwan hwamei.
At Puli, we heard a faraway Taiwan hwamei, but did not see it.
Our final day started at Jinshan for the Pale and Dusky thrushes, Black-faced bunting and Eurasian hoopoe.
At the Siberian crane place, there were some waders, ducks and grassland birds.
On Yangmingshan, we had another go at the Taiwan blue magpie, as well as Vinous-throated parrotbill.
Finally, it was time to head for our last birding spot, Taipei Botanical Garden. We had three endemics from this small patch today, namely Taiwan barbet, Taiwan blue magpie and Taiwan scimitar babbler.