Welcome to Birdquest
Birdquest's Taiwan birding tour explores an island that is still not that well-established on the world birdwatching map, yet has one of the highest concentrations of endemic birds in Asia. Our Taiwan tour offers comprenehsive coverage and often records every Taiwan endemic including Mikado and Swinhoe's Pheasants, as well as Fairy Pitta.
Thursday 19th April —
Tuesday 1st May 2018
Leaders: Hannu Jännes and a local bird guide
Group Size Limit: 8
Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part and mostly comfortable accommodations
Two hundred kilometres off the eastern coast of China lies the island of Taiwan, nowadays one of the Asian ‘Tiger’ economies and a developed, industrialized democracy with a decidedly uncertain future, given the mainland’s ever-present desire for the return of its errant province. Known to the ancient Chinese, attracted by tales of its natural wealth, as ‘Bao Dao’ (‘Treasure Island’), and to the Portuguese as ‘Isla Formosa’ (‘Beautiful Island’), this mountainous, leaf-shaped, subtropical island set in the South China Sea has moved on from its one-time role as the last stronghold of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Chinese government to its present state as a prosperous independent island with few aspirations to reunite with the mainland.
For the birdwatcher, Taiwan has a great deal to offer. Most exciting of all are the many endemic species (the number of which has already risen to 31 and is probably destined to go higher, following further taxonomic revision), many of which are unusually attractive, but there are also many other interesting birds of wider distribution. This tour has been carefully crafted and is long enough to provide the best possible chance of seeing every one of Taiwan’s existing endemic species and likely future splits. Rain and mist are commonplace in Taiwan’s mountainous interior from March onwards, right through the best birding season, so plenty of time in the mountains is needed if one is to be virtually certain of seeing the two fabulous endemic pheasants. In addition, several of the endemics are quite localized or very shy, requiring time and effort. Relatively few non-Taiwanese birders have visited the island, making a visit still very much a novelty.
During the tour we shall concentrate on the central mountain massif of Taiwan and the wetlands of the southwest coast.
From Taipei, the capital, where we will admire what are surely the world’s tamest Malayan Night Herons, we will head south to explore the high mountains of first the Dasyueshan region and then the Wushe region. This is where we have our best chances for the famed Mikado Pheasant and the gorgeous Swinhoe’s Pheasant, and where we should see other great birds such as the secretive Taiwan Partridge, Taiwan Bamboo Partridge, the beautiful Collared Bush-Robin, Taiwan Bush Robin, the tiny Flamecrest, White-eared Sibia, Taiwan Barwing, Rufous-capped Laughingthrush, the beautiful Yellow Tit and Taiwan Rosefinch. We will also spend some time in the forested foothills to admire the spectacular Taiwan Blue Magpie, Black-necklaced and Taiwan Scimitar Babblers, Chestnut-bellied Tit and the amazing Red Oriole.
We then travel over the Hehuan Shan pass and drop down to the east coast through the awesome scenery of the Taroko Gorge. Birding in the coastal lowlands will focus on Styan’s Bulbul and Taiwan Hwamei (or Taiwan Laughingthrush).
Our next venue will offer a striking contrast to what we have seen so far, for the small volcanic island of Lanyu is home to people of Micronesian or Polynesian origin and holds a series of special birds including Lanyu Scops Owl, Taiwan Green Pigeon and the spectacular Japanese Paradise Flycatcher.
After returning to the mainland, we will check some wetlands for Chinese Egret before heading for the Tainan region in the southwest of Taiwan, home to wintering Black-faced Spoonbills and a superb selection of shorebirds including Great Knot, Broad-billed and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, and Asian Dowitcher.
From the coastal lowlands we will travel eastwards to explore yet another of Taiwan’s jade-green highland areas, Alishan and Yushan, where we have another chance to find the magnificent Mikado Pheasant as well as some high altitude specialities such as the delightful Golden Parrotbill and Taiwan Bullfinch.
Last, but certainly not least, will be the gorgeous Fairy Pittas of the western foothills.
In between looking for Taiwan’s many avian specialities, we will be able to enjoy some magnificent mountain scenery, eat some tasty Chinese food (for there is nothing the Chinese like better than eating) and absorb the eminently Chinese atmosphere of this ‘Treasure Island’.
Birdquest has operated tours to Taiwan since 1990.
Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels/guesthouses are mostly of good or medium standard. The guesthouses on Lanyu are simple, but quite comfortable, and not all rooms have private bathrooms (we will use two guesthouses close to each other if need be, as none have more than a few rooms). Road transport is by minibus or 4x4s and roads are mostly good (albeit very winding in the mountains).
Walking: The walking effort is easy for the most part, sometimes moderate, with some fairly long walks on roads and tracks.
Climate: Conditions will range from warm or hot in the lowlands to cool or even fairly cold at the very highest altitudes. At this season sunny periods alternate with overcast, rainy weather. It is often rather humid.
Bird Photography: Opportunities are quite good.
Can be taken together with: EASTERN CHINA
These are provisional prices
Tour Price: £3340, €3950, $4380 Taipei/Taipei.
Price includes all transportation, all accommodations, all meals, bottled water, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.
Single Room Supplement: £396, €468, $519.
Deposit: £400, €480, $520.
Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.
Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate
Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QYtop of page
Website crafted by the Accent Design Group.