Wednesday, 24 February 2016

24th February

A little look at Venus Pool in the afternoon produced some good duck numbers highlighted by an excellent count of 67 Shoveler – the highest count I’ve had here; other counts included 9 Pintail, 11 Shelduck, 6 Gadwall, 110 Teal, 30 Snipe, 2 Curlew and 2 Oystercatchers.


Lapwing - I think I read most of the ring from the photographs, we'll see!




Tuesday, 23 February 2016

TAIWAN - 20th February

A dull, cold, windy morning but I spent a few hours back around the river mouth and rice paddies near Luodong; there were still 200+ Black-tailed Gulls loafing around while Black-headed Gull, Great White Egret, JAPANESE CORMORANT and Osprey were added to my Taiwan list.   The Bull-headed Shrike was still in the same place (with attendant twitchers!) while a BROWNISH-FLANKED BUSH WARBLER was in the bushes before I drove back over the bridge and along the southern bank of the river where there was a few different bits including a drake FALCATED DUCK with some Wigeon and Teal, single SWAN GOOSE and GREATER FLAMINGO (also with attendant twitchers!) and a Richard’s Pipit.

                A drive round some more rice paddies for a while produced a pair of Garganey with some more Teal and more waders including good numbers of Long-toed Stints with more Little Ringed Plovers, Kentish Plovers, Wood Sandpipers, Greenshank and Green-headed Yellow Wagtails.

Green-headed Yellow Wagtails

Long-tailed Shrike

Bull-headed Shrike

Funky leucistic Little Ringed Plover

Wood Sandpiper

Cattle Egret

Eastern Spot-billed Duck

Long-toed Stint

philippensis Blue Rock Thrush

TAIWAN - 19th February

Spent a few hours from first light with the nets open where we managed a few new birds including Collared Finchbill, Black-throated Tit and Rufous-faced Warbler while a little group of RUSTY LAUGHINGTHRUSHES moved along the edge of the forest; otherwise it was just the wintering birds up there including Little and Black-faced Buntings, Dusky and Pale Thrushes and Tree Pipits.   After packing up all the stuff by mid-morning we drove down the valley to the Taroko NP Headquarters where we added a pair of genuine looking STYAN’S BULBULS and a high soaring CRESTED SERPENT-EAGLE with a Yellow-browed Warbler calling in the carpark.

                We then drove north up the coast for a while until we reached Luodong where we had three hours birding around the rivers, rice paddies and estuary until dusk (not really sure where we went!) but I saw a good number of new birds for me including (in no particular order) a single adult VEGA GULL with an excellent flock of 90+ BLACK-TAILED GULLS of all ages at the river mouth, a female BULL-HEADED SHRIKE also near there (a rare winter visitor to Taiwan – there were a few twitchers watching it!), a few stunning LONG-TAILED SHRIKES dotted around, a few EASTERN SPOT-BILLED DUCKS on the river, a couple of WHITE-CHEEKED STARLINGS, many GREEN-HEADED YELLOW WAGTAILS all over the place, a few CRESTED MYNAS, a smart M. s. philippensis race BLUE ROCK THRUSH, a smart TAIWAN SCIMITAR-BABBLER also at the river mouth, a PLAIN PRINIA in a reedbed and a few GREY-THROATED MARTINS hawking over the river.

                A good range of other birds were also seen adding to my mountainous based Taiwanese list including a few waders on the rice paddies with Little Ringed Plover (including an all-white leucistic bird), lots of Wood Sandpipers, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Temminck’s Stint, Kentish Plover and a single Long-billed Plover (at the river mouth) with Grey Heron, Little Egret, Night Heron, Moorhen and White-breasted Waterhen also around the river, a Peregrine over the estuary along with a couple of Caspian Terns and some Red Collared Doves while at least 6 Dusky Thrushes were along the river.

Taiwan Yuhina

Rufous-capped Babbler

Black-throated Tit

Collared Finchbill

Rufous-faced Warbler

Tree Pipit

Styan's Bulbul

1st winter


Adult and 1st winters

1st winter

1st winter

1st winter

2nd winter

A selection of Black-tailed Gulls

Monday, 22 February 2016

TAIWAN - Black-faced Buntings

Black-faced Buntings were the commonest wintering bird we saw and caught on Taiwan; there was a right across the board mixture of ages and sexes which allowed excellent comparisons to be made in terms of feather shape and wear which, in terms of long distance migrants was one of the more interesting things to see for me during the ringing sessions.   I haven't really got too much experience catching long distance migrants on their wintering grounds, just when they return later in the spring so here's a selection of them that we caught.

Cracking adult male

1st winter male (probably)

1st winter female (probably)