Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Eastern comfort.

Various good birding spots on the east coast.

Coastal Hualien. (swimming only safe in certain locations)
This is not an exhaustive list of good birding sites - just some I have had the pleasure of exploring recently. Some easily accessed with public transport, some much more difficult! From north to south along Highway #9 ('rift-valley') usually. Links to Google maps.

Tsuochang Forest Trail.
Just outside Hualien City (see nearby Taroko), complements visits to the Hualien rivermouth and Fenglin (Maple) Trail. Starting next to a pleasant stream, the surfaced pedestrian-only zigzags steeply uphill. From downtown Hualien, take Jhongshan Road to the very end, turn right, then second left.

Liyu (Carp) Lake.
As well as having lots of tourism-orientated facilities nearby, the trail around the lake, and the Baibao Stream just to the west of Pinghe train station can have very good birds.

Fataian (Fataian) Wetlands.
A very pleasant family oriented wetland area not far from Guangfu Town. An easy way of exploring every element of wetland ecology.

Fuyuan Forest Rec. Area.
A very pleasant forest area, superb for low-mid elevation birds, reptiles, and butterflies. Excellent (but very expensive, and maybe overdeveloped now) resort facilites.

Walami Trail.
Even if not ready for the 2-11-day hikes starting here over the Batongguan Trail, it is worth hiking an hour or two of this great trail starting from Nanan (in turn near Yuli). Great forest, views and suspension bridges.

Wulu Forest Road.
This excellent birding forest road starts not far from the Big Chief Hotel on Southern Cross-Island Highway (#20, not passable at highest points). Also great mothing and butterflies along the public road/fort/steep path starting from across suspension bridge.

Lijia Forest Road.
The first [just about] drivable 15 km are rubbish due to extensive betel-nut and ginger farming. After clambering over a closed gate the mid-elevation birding is great.

Zhiben (Jhihben) Forest Road
Before entering the main hot-spring hotel area this forest road starts from %%% Hotel on the right. Excellent.

Zhiben Yaoshan Road.
Follow the signs in the main part of Zhiben to this road that takes you high up. Great at raptor migration time. Of course don't let the hot-spring hotel zone ugliness put you off visiting the still good Jhihben Forest Area.

Taidung Coastal Area.
A rough-looking, but sometimes bird-rich, coastal area just south of Taidung City.

Shuangliou Forest Recreation Area
Closed for a couple years after Typhoon Morakot now open again (hope Tembin does not reverse that tonight!!!). A good foresty area on the part of Highway #9 that crosses the Taiwan East-West.