Monday, April 2, 2012


A two-night trip to Dasyueshan (大雪山, sometimes described as ‘Anmashan’ in foreign birding reports) did not disappoint. It is probably Taiwan’s best birding destination - good infrastructure, and a good range of habitats hold most of the endemics.

Swinhoe's Pheasant
The normal route starts at kilometer mark zero at Dongshr Town (東勢, about 300 meters elevation) in Taichung County and ends at the Tienchr Pond (2600 m elev) near the 50 km mark. Most birders stay at the Forestry Bureau-run lodge (Anmashan) at KM 43. Additional accommodation options at Dongshr, lower elevations, and possibly the recently renovated cabin at km 50.

Excellent options for hiking. The main road is popular with fit road cyclists.

Notable birding locations this trip:

Hwamei and Striated Prinia near bridge at km 4.
Various low elevation species on right-hand lane near km 7
Brown Dipper and Striated Heron at stream on right-hand road at km 15 (turn before the police station).
Rusty Laughingthrush near the Swinhoe's Pheasant spot at km 23 (had great views of Swinhoe’s and Taiwan Partridge 4-6pm).
Cupwing heard on Forest Trail #210, just after the toll station at km34.
Little Forktail at stream crossing road at around 42 km mark.
Various good birds around/below the Anmashan accommodation/restaurant.
Mikado Pheasant at their (heavily photographed) spot at km 47, 2-4pm. Also had great views of male Mikado on the picturesque forest trail (via ‘small sacred tree’) that starts below the accommodation area.
Flamecrest  and other good stuff on the quiet Forest Road that starts behind the restaurant at the 50km mark.

Hard to criticize Dasyueshan, but you really need your own transport, to get there, and between birding locations. Food at the main accommodation area can be hit and miss for foreign palates. Tip: try to eat dinner early at Anmashan - food much better. Finding the start of the Dasyueshan road at Dongshr can be tricky. From Fongyuan. Freeway follow #3 east, then #8 south skirting the town. Turn left and then right around a red-brick forestry building. Road 'scruffy' and urban for the first couple kilometers. Last 7-11 is here.

Birds seen:
Grey-cheeked Fulvetta
Plain Prinia
Striated Prinia
Common Kingfisher
Spot-billed Duck
Light-vented Bulbul
Little Egret
Tree Sparrow
Taiwan Hwamei
Taiwan Scimitar Babbler
Taiwan Barbet
Green Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Black-naped Monarch
Collared Finchbill
Rufous-capped Babbler
Crested Serpent Eagle
Japanese White-eye
Black Drongo
Bronzed Drongo
Scaly-breasted Munia
White-bellied Erponis
Brown Dipper
Spotted-necked Dove
Feral Rock Dove
Eurasian Nuthatch
Ashy Wood-pigeon
Red-collared Dove
Rusty Laughingthursh
Swinhoe’s Pheasant
Large-billed Crow
Green-backed Tit
Little Forktail
White-backed Woodpecker
Black-throated Tit
Taiwan Bush-warbler
Striated Heron
White-tailed Robin
Taiwan Liocicla
Vivid Nilitivia
White-eared Sibia
Rufous-faced Warbler
White-bellied Pigeon
White-whiskered Laughingthrush
Oriental Turtle Dove
Grey-throated Minivet
Coal Tit
Eurasian Nutcracker
White-browed Bush-robin
Collared Bush-robin
Yellow-bellied Bush-warbler
Streak-throated (Taiwan) Fulvetta
Eurasian Jay
Mikado Pheasant
House Swift
Taiwan Barwing
Taiwan Yellow Tit
Plumbeous Water-redstart
Grey Wagtail
White-bellied Munia
Myna sp
Black Bulbul

Birds heard only:

Taiwan Pygmy Wren-babbler (Taiwan Cupwing)
Black-necklaced Scrimitar Babbler
Collared Owlet
Grey-faced Woodpecker
Brown-flanked Bush-warbler
Mountain Scops-owl

Birds reported by others those days - but sadly NOT recorded by us. Grrr...not complaining!

Taiwan Bamboo-Partridge
Grey-capped Woodpecker
Vinaceous Rosefinch
White-throated Laughingthrush
Himalayan Cuckoo
Dusky Fulvetta
White-browed Shortwing
Snowy-browed Flycatcher
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker
Brown Shrike
Varied Tit
Grey-headed Bullfinch

Other creatures:

Formosan Serow. Seen in spotlight below road,west of Anmashan
Muntjac (Barking Deer). Several heard at several locations.
Formosan Macaque (Monkey). Several well seen.
Formosan Striped Squirrel. Several well seen at pheasant feeding sites.
Owston’s Long-nosed Tree Squirrel. A couple seen in broadleaf forest. Also possible Red-bellied.
White-faced Flying Squirrel. Several well seen near Anmashan.
Formosan Giant Flying Squirrel. Probable sighting below Anmashan workers’ dormitories.
Weasel Mustela sibirica taivana. Glimpsed below dormitories, Anmashan.
Formosan Sanbar. Footprints near 50km area.
Cicada, Bats, Butterflies...

New Birds:

Eurasian Nutcracker    Nucifraga caryocatactes    "Endemic subspecies (N. c. owstoni)"
Taiwan Bush-Warbler    Bradypterus alishanensis    Endemic species
Mikado Pheasant    Syrmaticus mikado    Endemic species