Trip report: Far East Odyssey: Japan, Taiwan, and SE China in Winter by Tropical Birding

Guided by Keith Barnes. This was a custom tour that visited parts of three different countries: Japan, Taiwan, and China.

Perhaps one of the best parts of this job is designing super-cool custom itineraries that do extraordinary things. As far as I am aware no birding trip like this has been attempted before. It was essentially a mop-up trip of all the marquee bucket-list birds anyone could want to search for in the Far East during the winter. It ended up being a veritable smorgasbord of stonking great megas! The 270 odd species we saw may not sound like much, but considering that 60% of the time we were surrounded by snow and ice, it isn’t bad. Of course, if we had spent a lot of time list loading by looking for clients’ non-lifer alcids in Hokkaido, or non-target shorebirds elsewhere, we could have easily cracked 300. But this was not about list-loading, it was simply about getting clients exactly what they wanted out of their custom trip! I think this report is a great example of why Tropical Birding does this better than anyone else in the industry. We listen to our clients, and then execute what they want to get the perfect experience. Besides, this trip was about enjoying amazing experiences with quality birds rather than simply glimpsing rare species. Despite this some very rare birds were seen well including 14 globally threatened species (1 Critically Endangered, 4 Endangered and 9 Vulnerable).

This trip report is quite a big download due to the sheer number of photos. If you have a slow connection, you can read the low-bandwidth version, which is exactly the same but with reduced photo quality. If your connection can handle it, we recommend viewing the larger file.

Read the full trip report (39 MB)
Read the low-bandwidth version (3.5 MB)