Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Matsu Fall Migration

Matsu Fall Migration

September 20th to 25th I joined Taipei Wild Bird Society again for a 4-day trip to Matsu for fall migration (that’s birds coming from the north heading to warmer places further south).

Despite being a bit early for many birds (a week or more later may have been better) and encountering wet weather one day (NE front and distant typhoon) it was a very pleasant and rewarding trip in good company. Many thanks to the inspiring ‘Teacher Luan’ (阮錦松) and his team.

As with the Spring migration, and Summer Tern trips we took the overnight Taima Ferry from Keelung to Dongyin for the first day’s birding, Day 2 and 4 were on Nangan and Beigan, flying to Taipei from Beigan. Plans to land on Gaodeng Island on the Day 3 were canceled due to heavy seas.

Favorite spots:

The scruffy area near the distillery on Dongyin. Several lurking wonders will be found next time.

On Dongjhu (the eastern Jhuguang Island) the best birdy location was a mosquito-infested area behind another Chiang kai-shek statue. Suggested route: from harbor, walk up hill birding towards the village, instead of turning right into village continue up the hill, at the big letter wall (see picture) turn left. This area was busy with warblers, cuckoos and more. Don’t forget the recycling center!

Some excellent photos of birds taken on this trip can be seen on the Flickr page of David Irving.  

The Crew - Mr Luan in rear in red-checked shirt
next to, equally brilliant, Miss Su.

2013. The bird society have provisionally planned a spring migration trip for late May and fall migration late september. Both are recommended. Expect good organization, welcoming Taiwanese people, and excellent Matsu food. The main language will be Chinese, but expect to survive very well if depending on English. The focus is usually 90% on looking for birds and 10% on the many excellent historical/scenic sights along the way. Contact the Bird Society directly, or me if needing assistance booking. If available I may be able to co-lead - not confirmed yet.

Birds seen: Green-winged Teal, Little Grebe, Yellow Bittern, Grey Heron, Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, Little Egret, Pacific Reef-Heron, Cattle Egret, Chinese Pond-Heron, Striated Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Chinese Goshawk, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Eurasian Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Common Moorhen, Pacific Golden Plover, Lesser Sand-Plover, Greater Sand-Plover, Kentish Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Common Sandpiper, Grey-tailed Tattler, Wood Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Red-necked Stint, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Dunlin, Common Snipe, Eurasian Woodcock, Black-tailed Gull, Black-naped Tern, Great-crested Tern, Spotted Dove, Red-collared Dove, Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Himalayan (Oriental) Cuckoo, Fork-tailed Swift, House Swift, Common Kingfisher, Dollarbird, Eurasian Hoopee, Bull-headed Shrike, Brown Shrike, Long-tailed Shrike, Black-naped Oriole, Black Drongo, Japanese Paradise-Flycatcher, Eurasian Magpie, Barn Swallow, Great Tit, Light-vented Bulbul, Dusky Warbler, Pallas’s Leaf-Warbler, Yellow-browed Leaf-Warbler, Arctic Warbler, Eastern-crowned Leaf-warbler, Oriental Reed-Warbler, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Plain Prinia, Dark-sided Flycatcher, Grey-streaked Flycatcher, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Oriental Magpie-Robin, Stonechat, Grey Bushchat, Blue Rock-Thrush, Blue Whistling Thrush, Scaly Thrush, Japanese White-eye, Crested Myna, Red-billed Starling, White-cheeked Starling, Yellow Wagtail (Eastern and Western), Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Richard’s Pipit, Pechora Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Yellow-browed Bunting, Yellow-breasted Bunting, Black-faced Bunting, Eurasian Tree Sparrow,  

New Birds:
Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris
Lesser Cuckoo Cuculus poliocephalus
Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike Coracina melaschistos
Ashy Minivet Pericrocotus divaricatus
Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus
Asian Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi
Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana

And two (weak) new species for the Taiwan (well Matsu anyway) list probably. Both ID-ed by Mr Luan. Look forward to seeing if accepted. I’m counting them as I saw the relevant field marks fairly well.
Hartert’s Warbler Phylloscopus reguloides goodsoni
Kloss’s Warbler Phylloscopus davisoni ogilviegranti