Hehuan and Blue Gate Trail.
starting on the Blue Gate Trails we made a short trip up to Hehuan
Mountain. Some snow was next to the road and on the nearby peaks, but
the it was shorts and t-shirt temperature. Target birds (2 Vinaceous
Rosefinch, 5+ confiding (as usual) White-whiskered Laughingthrush, 1
Alpine Accentor) were
very easily found on the scrubby road running parallel to the entrance
to Songxue Lodge. Bonus single Winter Wren in the Dwarf Bamboo below the
toilet block. Alpine Accentor between high pass and Songxue Hotel.
Perfect! Like clockwork!
the way down briefly used playback for Taiwan Bush Warbler near the
Taroko NP marker car-park to no avail. Also hoped for, but missed, Coal
Blue Gate Trail.
famously know in birding circles as the Blue Gate Trail, this is a
forest road (at about 2,200 meters elevation) divided into two sections -
Blue Gate #1, and Blue Gate #2. It runs through a section of Rueiyan
River Wildlife Habitat. The official name of the road is Shuiguan Road -
or Pipeline Road as the water pipes supplying to Chingjing run (and
leak...be ready for wet feet) alongside this overgrown track. Its
reputation for being good for pheasants and other birds seems to be not
as great as in the past. Some bits of #2 is suffering from erosion and
landslides. The first (southern-most) entrance to it starts before km
mark 16 on Highway #14a and runs through good forest before crossing a
paved road - to the ‘Continuation Trail’ or BG#2. This time we explored
the northern section (which actually still has a blue gate). To get to
it, drive down the steep road next to the police station at km mark 18.
After about 600 meters there is a good place to park next to the famous
path is wet and rough in places. The landslides become tougher and
riskier to traverse, after about 2 kilometers we came to an impassable
seen: 1 White-browed Bush Robin, 1 Grey-faced Woodpecker, 10+
Black-throated Tit, 2 Collared Bush Robin, Little Owlet (heard only),
20+ Grey-cheeked Fulvetta, 10 Barwing, 5 White-whiskered Laughingthrush,
5+ Rufous-faced Warbler 2 Ashy Wood-Pigeon, 6 Sibia, 1 Barbet, 10+
Streak-throated Fulvetta (see left), 3 Liocichlas...but no Pheasants or Wren
Babbler, maybe the weather was too good... Catherine also found
New Birds at Hehuan and Blue Gate #2:
Vinaceous Rosefinch Carpodacus vinaceus "Endemic subspecies (C. v. formosanus)"
White-whiskered Laughingthrush Garrulax morrisonianus Endemic species
Eurasian Wren Troglodytes troglodytes "Endemic subspecies (T. t. taivanus)"
Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris "Endemic subspecies (P. c. fennelli)"
White-browed Bush-Robin Tarsiger indicus "Endemic subspecies (T. i. formosanus)"
Gray-faced Woodpecker Picus canus
Collared Owlet Glaucidium brodiei "Endemic subspecies (G. b. pardalotum)" (heard only)
Ashy Wood-Pigeon Columba pulchricollis
Taiwan (Streak-throated) Fulvetta Alcippe formosana Endemic species
Rufous-faced Warbler Abroscopus albogularis