Friday, 20 April 2012

Taiwan Tour Day 3

Following a night of heavy rain the day dawned much better with the clouds much higher and the mountain tops becoming visible once again. The main purpose of our early morning walk was to try and find the diminutive Taiwan Cupwing, a recent split from Pygmy Wren-babbler and a rather secretive denizen of the higher elevation forests. As luck would have it, within 5 minutes we had a pair performing extraordinarily well beside the trail. At one stage both birds paused their circuit of our position on a mossy log on the forest floor and began calling just a couple of metres away – amazing! Along the same trail we had a Snowy-browed Flycatcher, whilst a Taiwan Shortwing again played hardball and somehow remained invisible just 2 metres from our feet in the dense vegetation. After breakfast we drove up to the top car park and in the clear weather found the bird life much more active than on our previous visit. No sooner had we arrived and piled out of the minibus than Nigel had a fine male Vinaceous Rosefinch teed up in his scope, as it sat on top of a pine tree. In fact we found several of these little beauties, which apparently have been split by the Taiwanese as Taiwan Rosefinch now, so added a little extra spice to our ticking! We then hit a ‘purple patch’ when along a narrow trail we scored with Taiwan Bush-robin, Taiwan Fulvetta and finally Taiwan Shortwing, as well as a showy Flamecrest and Ferruginous Flycatcher all in quick succession. A poor view of  a bullfinch species hidden in the shade of the dense canopy may well have been Brown Bullfinch, but we had inconclusive views. 

White-whiskered Laughingthrush

As well as the ultra-confiding White-whiskered Laughingthrushes, Yellowish-bellied and Taiwan Bush-warblers and Collared Bush-robins, we also came across a couple large flocks which held Coal and Green-backed Tits, more Flamecrests and fulvettas, Black-throated Tit, Taiwan Yuhinas, and a few other common species. Then we birded our way down the mountain for the rest of the afternoon seeing White-bellied Green-pigeon, another 3 male and a female Swinhoe’s Pheasants, Steere’s Liocichla, White-eared Sibia, Little Forktail, White-tailed Robin and confiding Rufous-faced Warbler amongst others. We ended up at an open area where Taiwan Scimitar-babbler and Collared Finchbills were coming down to drink at a roadside drain, and there was also Brownish-flanked Bush-warbler and a perched Crested Goshawk to keep us entertained. The last good bird of the day was a Savanna Nightjar spotlighted flying around us before we headed to our next mountain base.

Taiwan Bush-robin

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