Saturday, 4 May 2013

Taiwan Migrants

Yet another early start saw us at the southernmost tip of the island in search of some migrants, which turned up hardly anything apart from a calling  Yellow-browed Warbler – plus a group of Taiwan Scimitar-babblers

Taiwan Scimitar-babblers

So we left here and returned to Longluan Lake but the conditions were the same as yesterday with a howling gale. A few thrushes were heard calling from the entrance road, around a large fruiting tree which were most probably all Eye-browed Thrushes, yet one bird that did perch out in the open was a Brown-headed Thrush…… So we decided to call it quits here and packed our luggage onboard the minibus and headed north to Tainan and the Tsengwen Estuary area. The weather by now had become a lot calmer, but with low cloud and light rain which didn’t help things, although I was hopeful it would ground some migrants....... 

But at our first stop from another decent hide we picked up our first Terek Sandpipers of the trip, as well as a group of 18 Caspian Terns, both Gull-billed and Common Terns, as well as an Osprey. We then followed the road around a large lagoon and picked up yet more waders, with at least 10 Grey-tailed Tattlers, 15+ Terek Sandpipers, both Greater and Mongolian Sandplovers, Red-necked Stint, and a few more commoner species. As we drove further along a cracking male Siberian Rubythroat flew up from beside the road and we tracked it down along the beach where it showed amazingly well. I always get excited when I see this species, despite having seen loads over the years. In fact, we found another two at a small wood nearby. 

Siberian Rubythroat

This small patch of conifers along the beach proved to be a little goldmine with somewhere approaching 100 Eye-browed Thrushes, a Blue Rock-thrush, 3 Oriental Cuckoos, both Arctic and Yellow-browed Warblers, plus maybe 20 Brown Shrikes to add to the already considerable fall of this latter species we had witnessed so far. With that done it was time for dinner before boarding the Bullet Train to the airport and a short taxi transfer to our hotel for the night. 

And that was it - tour over. Taiwan had produced once again. I would like to thank Richard Foster for setting the tour up and our excellent driver, Lief, for looking after us so well. So bring on the house and office move and my next trip to Canada..............

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