Monday, February 6, 2012

Beidongyen Mountain

Beidongyen Mountain.

Beidongyenshan (Bei-dong-yen Mountain) is a marvelous place but is down Taiwan’s worst road (Taiwan’s roads are usually in great condition), and could be be much better if it was normally easier to access the last few km by car - and stay overnight. The mountain is owned by Chung Hsing University, and like Meifeng is dedicated to researching high elevation horticulture.

Most of the mountain is excellent secondary forest and well protected from abusive development. In sharp contrast, the road to, and beyond Beidongyenshan is shameful - the rotten condition of the road is largely due to reckless farming methods. Be prepared for deep ruts, mud and blockages in wet weather. Also possible (if brave enough) to access via #? that bisects the Blue Gate Trail.
Access is on #89 (Lising Road 力行產業道路) which starts 4km up from Wushe. It has signposts (and maps) indicating this is a sensible route to Lishan and Fushoushan Farm - DON’T - if you need to get to Lishan, go via Hehuan Mountain and Dayuling. The entrance to Beidongyenshan is on the left, 8.5km in from #14A. After 1.5km you come to a locked wooden gate, park here and walk up the good concrete road.

3.5 km from the wooden gate you come to the first tea plantation and lower ‘dorm’ with great views of the Xue (Snow) Mountains. Another 1.5km gets you to the upper greenhouses and plantations. At multiple stages of the walk up we were encountering Swinhoe Pheasants - almost (well not really at all) became a trash bird The area up to and around the communications tower was sensibly managed, and was very productive for birds and Muntjac (Barking Deer). Why couldn't all agriculture work like this!

Birds seen: 30+ Yuhinia, 10+ Yellow Tit, 5 Taiwan (Hill) Partridge, Mountain Scops Owl (heard only), 5+ Green-backed Tit, 1 White-backed Woodpecker, 3+ Collared Bush Robin, 10+ Sibia, 20+ Golden Parrotbill (can be tricky, very pleased to for them to run into us), 1 Arctic Warbler, 2 White-browed Shortwing, 2 Ashy Wood Pigeon, 2 Crested Serpent Eagle, 10+ Black-throated Tit, 5+ Rufous-capped Babbler, 20+ Grey-cheeked Fulvetta, 1 Eurasian Nuthatch, about 10 Asian House-martin (probably overlooked before), Swallows, 4 Flamecrest (relieved to get - can be tricky. See right.), 1 Strong-footed Bush Warbler (heard well at close range for long time, but terrible views)

On the way there from #14A:  Bronzed Drongo, Plumbeous Redstart, 1 Taiwan Whistling Thrush.

If possible arrange (I may be able to help) to stay in the stunning located wooden cabin ‘dorm’ on the farm.

New Birds:

Taiwan Partridge    Arborophila crudigularis    Endemic species
Golden Parrotbill    Paradoxornis verreauxi    "Endemic subspecies (P. v. morrisonianus)"
Arctic Warbler    Phylloscopus borealis
White-browed Shortwing    Brachypteryx montana    "Endemic subspecies (B. m. goodfellowi)"
Eurasian Nuthatch    Sitta europaea
Asian House-Martin    Delichon dasypus
Flamecrest    Regulus goodfellowi    Endemic species