Sunday, October 14, 2012

Taiwan Bulbul at Kenting National Park

On 10 Oct 2012, I visited Kenting National Park for the annual event of the massive raptor migration. Kenting National Park is located at the southern tip of Taiwan, it is the first national park of Taiwan.

The migratory raptor species stop at Kenting in October are mainly the Gray-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus, 灰面鵟鷹), Chinese Goshawk (Accipiter soloensis, 赤腹鷹) , Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus, 遊隼) and Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus, 紅隼). Besides the raptor, Brown Shrike is also one of the common migrants in Kenting, especially the subspecies of lucionensis.

Kenting is also one of the birding sites for the Taiwan Bulbul (Pycnonotus taiyanus, 烏頭翁), an endemic bird species of Taiwan. This species of Bulbul can only be seen in the lowland forest of the east or southern tip of Taiwan, whereas the Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensisis 白頭翁) is the dominant species on the island.

Taiwan Bulbul

Light-vented Bulbul

Gray-faced Buzzard, Chinese Goshawk, Eurasian Kestrel, Great Cormorant and Chestnut-cheeked Starling were my lifers in Kenting.

Happy Birding.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

White-browed Bush Robin, My Lifer.

Taiwan has three recorded species of Bush-Robin, the endemic species of Collared Bush-Robin, sub-endemic species of White-browed Bush-Robin, and the migrant species of Orange-flanked Bush-Robin. All these three species of Bush-Robin are the montane bird, they have the same physical size and almost similar plumage, especially the female.

White-browed Bush Robin (Tarsiger indicus formosanus, 白眉林鴝) is one of the three lifers I sighted and the only lifer I managed to digiscope in my birding trip in Dasyueshan on last Saturday. 


Collared Bush-Robin (Tarsiger johnstoniae, 栗背林鴝), which I sighted in 2009 in Alishan National Forest Recreation Park. I would like to share again in this blog for the purpose of species comparison.


and besides the bird, Montane Wild Lily is also one of my lifers, haha...

Hope this blog provides sufficient information to differentiate both endemic and sub-endemic species of Bush-robin in Taiwan. Happy Birding.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Nutcracker With Perfect Camouflage

On last Saturday (14-7-2012), I visited Dasyueshan in Taichung for a birding day trip. I have three lifers on that day, they are the Coal Tit, Brown Bullfinch and White-browed Bush Robin. Coal Tit and Brown Bullfinch were sighted at the location near to Tianchih.

Tianchih (Sky Lake, 天池) is actually located on the southern slope of the Siaosyueshan at 2600 meters above the sea level, it is the last accessible section by car in the Dasyueshan National Forest Recreation Park.

Tianchih 天池 

The Eurasian Nutcracker or Spotted Nutcracker ((Nucifraga caryocatactes, 星鴉) was the only bird I digiscoped at Tianchih (Sky Lake, 天池). It was my first up close sighting of this bird. 
The Eurasian Nutcracker

I was really amazed to learn that the plumage of this bird is perfectly camouflaged in the montane forest, a forest mainly with lichen covered pine trees. If without following it's call, I wouldn't be able to locate the bird effectively. Finally, I got the answer from my observation, for the question why the plumage of the Nutcracker is not in black or white, like most of the Corvidae. Nutcracker is indeed a beautiful and a smart bird.
The perfect camouflage.  
(click on the pictures for the enlarged view)

Happy Birding.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Empty Nest

On 21st June, the nest was emptied after the typhoon. I searched around the NCKU campus with the hope to see the fledglings and adults again, but I didn't find any of them. However. I was lucky to find this precious adult feather of the Malayan Night Heron under one of the empty nests.

From my weekly observations, the complete nesting period from hatchling to fledgling is about 4 to 5 weeks.

Click HERE to read my previous report about the hatchings/fledglings of the Malayan Night Heron.

Happy Birding. Keep Watching, Keep Listening and Keep Exploring.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Two Chicks Left the Nest

On 15 June, I went back again to check the nest. I noticed two chicks had left the nest but prefer to perch on the nearby branches, and one chick still resided inside the nest. Besides that, the white feathers on their head were also less noticeable. At this moment, only one adult was still around and actively foraging on the nearby ground, the feeding session has also less frequent.

Click HERE to read the previous report about the hatchings of the Malayan Night Heron.

Happy Birding. Keep Watching, Keep Listening and Keep Exploring.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Grey Treepie Feeding on Cicada

On 10-June, I spotted a Grey Treepie (Dendrocitta formosae formosae, 樹鵲 ) feeding on a cicada at NCKU (National Cheng Kung University) in Tainan.

Grey Treepie is an endemic sub-species in Taiwan. The cicada is identified as Cryptotympana atrata  (紅脈熊蟬).

Grey Treepie feeding on cicada (click on the pictures to enlarge)

Remaining parts of the Cicada, the wings and abdomen shell.

Happy Birding. Keep Watching, Keep Listening and Keep Exploring.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Parents Left the Nest

On 10 June, I went back to observe the nest, I noticed the parents had left the nest and were foraging on the nearby ground, but occasionally one of them would fly back to the nest to feed the chicks. 

All three chicks had grown stronger and bigger with the distinguishable white feathers on their head. I also noticed one of the chicks had started leaving the nest and perched on the nearby branch, the other two chicks still resided inside the nest.

Click HERE to read the previous report about the hatchlings of the Malayan Night Heron.

Happy Birding. Keep Watching, Keep Listening and Keep Exploring.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Three Chicks Survived

On 2nd of June, I noticed only three chicks survived. The last date I saw the fourth chick was on 27 May.

They were provoked by the squirrel.
Click HERE to view the fourth chick which I photographed before 27 May.

So, will all these three chicks survive?

Happy Birding. Keep Watching, Keep Listening and Keep Exploring.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Malayan Night Heron Hatchlings

After about a week of rainy days, I went back to check the nest on 21-May. Surprisingly, I saw four hatchlings on the nest. I believe two hatched on mother's day (click HERE to view the hatched egg shells), and another two hatched after mother's day. 

The hatchlings look healthy and strong, they were aggressively competing with their siblings and begging for food from their parents. Both parents are very experience in parenting, they take turn to feed and care their chicks, they protect their vulnerable chicks by covering them with their body and wings after every feeding session.
Feeding session, so can you find all four hatchlings in the picture?

Will all these four chicks survive? let's wait patiently for the next update.

Happy Birding. Keep Watching, Keep Listening and Keep Exploring.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Malayan Night Herons hatched on Mother's Day

Found these two hatched egg shells of the Malayan Night Heron on Mother's Day. Glad to see these two new born lives arrived to this wonderful world, successfully.

Length is ~3.5cm, Width is ~3.5cm, 
the complete egg is approximated as 5x3.5cm.

Keep Watching, Keep Listening, and Keep Exploring.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Birding on the eve of Mother's Day

I had my birding trip to Sinhua area in Tainan on the eve of mother's day, together with three members of NCKU Bird Club. We started our journey at 4.30am and reached the destination at about 5am, it's dawn in the summer in Taiwan. 

I was lucky to have a chance to see my lifer, a Bamboo Partridge (Bambusicola thoracicus, 竹雞), it is an endemic sub-species of Taiwan. The call is loud and easily distinguished, as "kee-koo-koo" repeatedly.

Partridges are usually shy and hard to be found and digiscoped, unless you play "hide without seek" with the bird. Then, how did I locate it? It's partly due to luck and "bird-sense" as well. I patiently and calmly followed the source of the call from the higher ground as possible. Surprisingly, the bird was actually calling on a tree branch at the same ground level as me, at about 20m away, without missing the opportunity, I just shot it, digitally. 

Therefore, I would like to dedicate these partridge pictures to my mom. Happy Mother's Day!

(click on the picture to enlarge)

Here are the bonuses of the day:
Taiwan Scimitar Babbler (Pomatorhinus musicus, 小灣嘴)
an endemic species of Taiwan.
Maroon Oriole, an endemic sub-species of Taiwan. 
The maroon colour is closely similar to the red colour of the 
Trogon in Malaysia.
White-bellied Green Pigeon

Happy Birding.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mikado Pheasant of Taiwan

Dasyueshan National Forest Recreation Park is also known for it's high concentration of the Mikado Pheasant and Swinhoe's Pheasant, it is a preferred birding site among the birders to look for these endemic pheasants in Taiwan.

Mikado Pheasant (Syrmaticus mikado, 帝雉), also known as an Emperor Pheasant, is an endemic species of bird in Taiwan. The male has very beautiful striking blue plumage with an elegant pheasant tail, a majestic pheasant that a birder must not miss while birding in Taiwan. It is one of the beautiful, elegant and majestic pheasants that I have ever seen.

Both male and female were my lifers on 15 April in Dasyueshan.(click on the pictures to enlarge)
The majestic male Mikado Pheasant

The female

Happy Birding.

Swinhoe's Pheasant of Taiwan

Swinhoe's Pheasant (Lophura swinhoii, 藍腹鷴) is an endemic Galliformes in Taiwan. It's my lifer on 14 April in Dasyueshan National Forest Recreation Park, it's a male Swinhoe's Pheasant. (click on the pictures to enlarge)

front view

back view

side view

Besides the Swinhoe's Pheasant, I also spotted a Spotted Nutcracker (nucifraga caryocatactes, 星鴉) at the same spot. Nutcracker is belong to Corvidae family, they are adaptive birds and as smart as the crow.

Happy Birding.

Taiwan's Endemic Laughingthrush and Sibia.

Dasyueshan National Forest Recreation Park is one of the birding sites with high concentration of endemic species of birds in Taiwan. I spotted eight endemic species in my recent birding trip to Dasyueshan on 14/15 April, namely the Mikado Pheasant, Swinhoe's Pheasant, Collared Bush Robin, Taiwan Barwing, White-whiskered Laughing-thrush, White-eared Sibia, Steer's Liocichla, and Taiwan Yuhina.

Taiwan has 24 endemic species of birds. Taiwan Huamei, Taiwan Bush-Warbler, Taiwan Wren-Babbler, Rufous-capped Babbler, Rusty Laughing-Thrush, Taiwan Fulvetta, Black-necklaced Scimitar-Babbler and Taiwan Hill Patridge are the endemic species of Taiwan that I have yet to encounter.

Here are my digiscoped pictures of the endemic species of White-whiskered Laughing-thrush, also known as Taiwan Laughing-thrush (Garrulax morrisonianus, 台灣噪眉), and White-eared Sibia, also known as Taiwan Sibia (Heterophasia auricularis, 白耳畫眉).

White-whiskered Laughingthrush

White-eared Sibia
White-eared Sibia (rear view)

Happy Birding.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Little Forktail at Dasyueshan, Taiwan.

(15-4-2002, Dasyueshan, Taiwan.)

Little Forktail (Enicurus scouleri, 小剪尾) is one of my lifers on today's birding at Dasyueshan National Forest Recreation Park, Taichung, Taiwan. It is an endemic sub-species of Taiwan, and the only Forktail species exists in Taiwan, with the average size of 12cm, which is smaller than Forktail species that I had seen in Malaysia.

Little Forktail is rare and also known as one of the four celebrities of stream birds in Taiwan. It took me almost two years to find this Little Forktail. I finally spotted and digiscoped it in Dasyueshan on 15 April.

(Click on the picture for an enlarged view). 

The other three popular stream birds of Taiwan are:

Taiwan Whistling Thrush (Myiophoneus insularis, 紫嘯鶇), it is rare and endemic species of Taiwan. I spotted this bird in Taroko, in 2009.

Plumbeous Water Redstart (Phoenicurus fuliginosus, 鉛色水鶇), an endemic sub-species of Taiwan. It's very common in Alishan Recreation Park, I spotted it in 2009. But, now it is hardly seen in Alishan due to the park is over crowded by tourists, or perhaps you have to be there before the crowd. 
Male Plumbeous Water Redstart
Female Plumbeous Water Redstart

Brown Dipper (Cinclus pallasii, 河烏), I spotted this bird in Wulai in 2009, and it is still easily spotted there.

Happy Birding. and
Keep Watching, Keep Listening and Keep Exploring.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Crested Goshawk Guarding Its Nest.

Today, I spotted a male Crested Goshawk in NCKU, perching on a tree branch and seriously guarding its nest with one of its legs hiding inside its belly feathers. The breeding plumage is pale and grayish in color, especially the grayish head plumage.

glimpsed at me....
then, turned its head, starring at the nest, 
and ignored me.

Click HERE to view my last year pictures of Crested Goshawk.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

White Wagtail at NCKU, Tainan.

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba, 白鶺鴒) was my lifer on 24 December, 2010 in Tainan, Taiwan. 

28 March, 2012 was a fortunate date for me to digiscope this beautiful bird at NCKU (National Cheng Kung University) in Tainan City. There were three of them foraging food on the ground, two adults and one juvenile with the summer plumage, the juvenile was very shy and hard to approach nearer.

All pictures shown in this write-up are the adult with summer plumage. (click on the picture for enlarged view)

Keep Watching, Keep Listening and Keep Exploring.

Video clip of White Wagtail, digiscoped by Steen Heilesen: