Trip report: Taiwan: Formosan Endemics (Apr 2019, Group B) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Charley Hesse and Keith Barnes. This was a set departure tour, and it included the Matsu Migration extension. We ran two concurrent tours that shared the same extension; to see the trip report from the other tour, click here.

This was our first new, streamlined Taiwan tour with added Matsu migration extension. The Asian migration occurs along the Chinese coast, and the perfect place to see migrants are the Matsu islands of Dongyin and Nangan where we saw some fantastic birds like Yellow-breasted & Yellow Buntings, Mugimaki, Blue-and-white, Narcissus & Yellow-rumped Flycatchers, plus numerous species of thrushes, pipits & wagtails. After our successful pretour, we began the main endemics tour in style at Shimen dam with the spectacular Taiwan Blue-Magpie and tricky Black-necklaced Scimitar-Babbler. The first 3 days of the tour were spent at Taiwan’s premier birding site, Daxueshan. The majority of Taiwan’s endemics are found here, the foremost of which were the Mikado & Swinhoe’s Pheasants. The mammals were fantastic too with Taiwan Serow, Masked Civet and Red-and-white Flying-Squirrel. We later visited a ‘bat museum’ where we also added 3 bat species including the Formosan Golden (or Hodgson’s) Bat. Other mountain sites of Qingjing & Yushan finished off most of the endemics plus some great scenery too. One day we went up and over the Wuling Pass which is the highest road in the region and down to the scenic town of Tianxiang for the endemic Styan’s Bulul. We finished off the tour with some great shorebirding including Black-faced Spoonbill around Tainan and the amazing Fairy Pitta at Huben. We even went to see a Collared Scops-Owl roosting in the ceiling of a temple. Taiwan was an enjoyable and eye-opening tour for all, with a wonderful mix of migration & endemic birding, great food and beautiful scenery. It was also one of our most successful Taiwan tours to date with a whopping 233 species.

Click this link to view the full report in PDF format (3 MB file).