So we were ahead of the game and decided to change our itinerary and head down to the coast and the wetlands of Aogu this morning. By the time we arrived it was getting quite hot and upon arrival at the Information Centre we were told that there had been no sightings of Black-faced Spoonbills for over a week. Great! But we decided to drive around these extensive wetlands anyway and a good move it turned out to be as at our first stop to scan one of the lagoons we found 4 Black-faced Spoonbills!
Our first waders here were Wood Sandpiper, Kentish and Pacific Golden Plovers, whilst a few Intermediate Egrets were also present. Overall I was slightly disappointed with the low numbers of waders present when compared to last year but we still managed a reasonable selection.
|Pacific Golden Plover|
Some small fish ponds nearby held groups of breeding-plumaged Curlew Sandpipers, along with Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Whimbrels, more KP’s and a few Yellow Bitterns, whilst there were lots of Black-crowned Night-herons flying around and perched at the water’s edge.
Moving on we found another group of BFS, as well as Garganey, Northern Pintail, Shoveler and Eurasian Wigeon, whilst Greater Sandplover and Red-necked Stints were the wader highlights. A Caspian Tern flew past, and some Little Terns were spotted perched a while later, whilst Black-shouldered Kite and some other commoner species were found.
By the time we’d done a complete circuit it was after 1pm so we headed into a nearby town for lunch and ice-cream, passing a field full of Oriental Pratincoles along the way before heading up into the hills and the lower regions of Alishan.
|Swinhoe's Pheasant - female|
Arriving just in time for some later afternoon birding we got lucky with a Taiwan Hill-partridge and a pair of Swinhoe’s Pheasants feeding in a secluded corner of the bamboo forest.
And to round off the day how about magnificent looks at this Mountain Scops-owl that took all of 1 minute to call in and landed in the tree right in front of us. A little later we also spotlighted a Collared Scops-owl but that didn’t hang around and all too quickly flew off.