Trip report: Taiwan: Formosan Endemics (April 2013)

Guided by Charley Hesse. This was a set departure tour with a slightly different itinerary to the one currently being offered.

This year’s Taiwan Set Departure tour was our most successful to date, with an impressive 217 bird species recorded. We saw all 23 Clements endemics easily thanks to our ever-growing knowledge base with some great new stakeouts for some of the more difficult species. With our Taiwan office up and running, logistics went smoothly and last minute changes due to internal flight cancellations were handled with ease, even netting us some unexpected additions like Japanese Yellow Bunting. With fine weather at Dashueshan at the beginning of the tour, we accumulated endemics quickly, leaving us extra time to search for more difficult birds. Highlights were many and aside from the spectacular Mikado & Swinhoe’s Pheasants, we found the threatened Black-faced Spoonbill and Fairy Pitta, and enjoyed great views of attractive endemics like Taiwan Partridge, Flamecrest, Formosan Magpie and Formosan Whistling-Thrush as well as a full house of endemic laughingthrushes and scimitar-babblers. We were also lucky enough to find the rarely seen Formosan Serow, a kind of mountain goat. We birded everything from mountain forests, grasslands, mudflats and the rugged island of Lanyu and we were treated to breathtaking scenery, delicious food and charmed by the wonderfully friendly people of this island. Taiwan has a surprising amount to offer and never fails to leave a lasting impression.

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