Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Acres Down - 2nd June

I had a couple of hours wandering around the woodlands and heathland at Acres Down this morning. I parked in the main carpark and walked west along the main track through the woodland. It seemed fairly quiet at first but then distantly I heard a singing Wood Warbler and gradually got closer to this bird until I was underneath it. I spent the next hour with this stunning bird as it showed down to around 10m and sang nearly constantly. These are certainly the best views I have had of this species, one that is declining rapidly in the New Forest. After the woodland area I wandered onto the heathland south of the car park where the highlights were a Woodlark gathering food, Spotted Flycatcher (my first of the year) and a distant male Goshawk perched in the tree tops.

My eBird checklist can be viewed here, this list includes additional images and sound recordings.

Wood Warbler - Acres Down, New Forest

 Wood Warbler - Acres Down, New Forest

Wood Warbler - Acres Down, New Forest

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Pennington Marsh - 15th May

After eight weeks of Covid-19 lockdown I had set aside a few hours to visit Pennington Marsh. It was a fantastic still and sunny day but with an early morning frost and a chilly north-east wind blowing. I walked a loop around Fishtail, Butts and Keyhaven Lagoon with a short wander along the first section of the Ancient Highway.

At Efford Lagoon a pair of Great Crested Grebe were displaying and Whitethroat and Reed Warbler chattered from the ditches and scrub. A Cuckoo called from the back of Efford and then later from the Brambles on the Old Tip where I saw the bird investigating brambles probably hunting for caterpillars. This bird regularly calls with a slightly odd three note 'cuk-cuk-oo'.

Fishtail Lagoon was alive with birds, there are currently around 15 pairs of Avocet nesting on the lagoon and many now have chicks and so the parents are actively and noisily defending them against possible threats including the local Lapwing. A pair of Little Ringed Plover fed around the waters margins and eight Black-tailed Godwit slept in the shallows. A flock of eight Whimbrel accompanied by a single winter plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit flew east along the shoreline, I got the impression that these might have been late passage birds moving through the site.

I wandered out to Keyhaven Lagoon but there were few birds, I spent some time watching a pair of Common Tern, the female perched on a fence post and the male fishing over the lagoon and returning to the female to feed her small prawns. A pair of Little Tern began hunting on the lagoon but the Common Tern objected to this and rapidly chased them away.

I left the site just gone 09:00 after a lovely mornings walk.

My eBird checklist for the morning can be viewed here.

Avocet - Pennington Marsh

Avocet - Pennington Marsh

Avocet - Pennington Marsh

Avocet - Pennington Marsh

Redshank - Pennington Marsh

Common Tern - Pennington Marsh

Common Tern - Pennington Marsh

Common Tern - Pennington Marsh

Little Egret - Pennington Marsh

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

South Korea and Taiwan - 11th February (Day 17)

After a rather sleepless night on the eco-lodge due to barking dogs we were up 05:15 for our final days birding. We headed the short distance to Pintung University for the two remaining targets of the trip. We walked down the track through forest and secondary growth and set-up on the bund between the two lakes and began scanning. Black Drongo and Light-vented Bulbul began to appear in the tree-tops and then I picked up a bird of different shape and squinting through the gloom of the early morning I could make out some deep red colouration; Maroon Oriole, our first target and one that we had missed earlier in the trip. I shouted and the others got onto the bird fairly quickly. Our first target down. Over the next few minutes we approached the oriole more closely and eventually got great views. Next Ian found a green pigeon perched in a dead tree which was soon joined by others. We identified two species the larger White-bellied Green-pigeon and our final key target, Whistling Green-pigeon. These two species were remarkably similar even when perched together but the orange forehead, heavily marked ventral area and more uniform dull green appearance of the Whistling Green were good pointers. Over the next 45 minutes we had fantastic views of the pigeons eventually seeing 13 Whistling and seven White-bellied. My eBird checklist for the morning can be viewed here.

Maroon Oriole - Pintung University, Taiwan

White-bellied Green-Pigeon - Pintung University, Taiwan

White-bellied Green-Pigeon (lower three birds) and Whistling Green-Pigeon - Pintung University, Taiwan

Whistling Green-Pigeon - Pintung University, Taiwan

Whistling Green-Pigeon - Pintung University, Taiwan

Whistling Green-Pigeon - Pintung University, Taiwan

Chestnut-tailed Starling - Pintung University, Taiwan

Common Kingfisher - Pintung University, Taiwan

 Elated by our early morning success we decided to head north and to the west coast of the island for some wader watching. We arrived at the Qingkunshen IBA at just gone 10:00 and began scanning the large number of waders. The masses were dominated by Dunlin of one of the long-billed races, probably sakhalina. Amongst these were Pacific Golden PloverBar-tailed GodwitKentish PloverLesser Sand-ploverRed-necked StintCurlew SandpiperMarsh SandpiperBlack-winged Stilt and Avocet. The star birds were Great Knot some of which were beginning to enter summer plumage and the star, a Nordmann’s Greenshank which eventually gave excellent views . This species is a rare vagrant on Taiwan, this bird has been present at the site since at least the end of 2019. Also at the site we recorded Caspian TernGull-billed TernLittle Tern and Whiskered Tern. It was now 12:15 and we decided that we should start our journey towards the Taipei. A short stop at a lagoon further along the road produced a Black-faced Spoonbill and a rice paddy a little further on was smothered in WigeonShoveler and Pintail. My eBird checklist for the site can be viewed herehere and here.

The drive north took around 4 hours with a couple of brief stops. We checked into a hotel to change and shower and after some dinner headed to our international flights. Mine departing at 00:20.

Lesser Sand Plover - Qingkunshen IBA, Taiwan

Caspian Tern - Qingkunshen IBA, Taiwan

Pacific Golden Plover - Qingkunshen IBA, Taiwan


Black-winged Stilt - Qingkunshen IBA, Taiwan

Kentish Plover - Qingkunshen IBA, Taiwan

Whiskered Tern - Qingkunshen IBA, Taiwan

The naturalised African Sacred Ibis - Qingkunshen IBA, Taiwan

Marsh Sandpiper - Qingkunshen IBA, Taiwan

Intermediate Egret - Qingkunshen IBA, Taiwan

Great Knot - Qingkunshen IBA, Taiwan

Nordmann's Greenshank - Qingkunshen IBA, Taiwan

Nordmann's Greenshank - Qingkunshen IBA, Taiwan

Nordmann's Greenshank - Qingkunshen IBA, Taiwan

Nordmann's Greenshank - Qingkunshen IBA, Taiwan

Black-faced Spoonbill - Qingkunshen IBA, Taiwan
 
Black-winged Kite - Qingkunshen IBA, Taiwan

Black-winged Kite - Qingkunshen IBA, Taiwan

List of Birds Recorded in Taiwan
We recorded 153 species in Taiwan of which 33 were new for me (shown in bold). 

Taiwan Partridge
Taiwan Bamboo-partridge
Mikado Pheasant
Swinhoe's Pheasant
Tufted Duck
Northern Shoveler
Chinese Spot-billed Duck
Mallard
Common Teal
Little Grebe
Great Crested Grebe
Ashy Woodpigeon
Oriental Turtle-dove
Red Turtle-dove
Eastern Spotted Dove
White-bellied Green-pigeon
Taiwan Green-pigeon
House Swift
White-breasted Waterhen
Common Moorhen
Common Coot
Black-faced Spoonbill
African Sacred Ibis
Yellow Bittern
Malay Night-heron
Black-crowned Night-heron
Cattle Egret
Grey Heron
Great White Egret
Intermediate Egret
Little Egret
Pied Avocet
Black-winged Stilt
Grey Plover
Pacific Golden Plover
Little Ringed Plover
Kentish Plover
Lesser Sandplover
Bar-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit
Great Knot
Red Knot
Curlew Sandpiper
Red-necked Stint
Common Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper
Common Greenshank
Nordmann's Greenshank
Common Redshank
Marsh Sandpiper
Black-headed Gull
Little Tern
Common Gull-billed Tern
Caspian Tern
Whiskered Tern
Collared Owlet
Collared Scops-owl
Mountain Scops-owl
Osprey
Black-winged Kite
Oriental Honey-buzzard
Crested Serpent-eagle
Mountain Hawk-eagle
Black Eagle
Crested Goshawk
Besra
Black Kite
Common Kingfisher
Taiwan Barbet
Grey-capped Woodpecker
White-backed Woodpecker
Peregrine Falcon
Maroon Oriole
White-bellied Erpornis
Grey-chinned Minivet
Black Drongo
Black-naped Monarch
Brown Shrike
Grey Treepie
Taiwan Blue Magpie
Plain-crowned Jay
Southern Nutcracker
Large-billed Crow
Coal Tit
Chestnut-bellied Tit
Green-backed Tit
Yellow Tit
Plain Prinia
Taiwan Cupwing
Asian House Martin
Red-rumped Swallow
House Swallow
Barn Swallow
Asian Plain Martin
Black Bulbul
Collared Finchbill
Light-vented Bulbul
Styan's Bulbul
Yellow-browed Warbler
Arctic Warbler
Rufous-faced Warbler
Brownish-flanked Bush-warbler
Yellowish-bellied Bush-warbler
Black-throated Tit
Taiwan Fulvetta
Taiwan Yuhina
Japanese White-eye
Taiwan Scimitar-babbler
Black-necklaced Scimitar-babbler
Rufous-capped Babbler
Dusky Fulvetta
Grey-cheeked Fulvetta
Taiwan Hwamei
Rufous-crowned Laughingthrush
Rusty Laughingthrush
White-whiskered Laughingthrush
White-eared Sibia
Taiwan Liocichla
Taiwan Barwing
Eurasian Nuthatch
Northern Wren
Brown Dipper
Crested Myna
Common Myna
White's Thrush
Taiwan Thrush
Eyebrowed Thrush
Brown-headed Thrush
Pale Thrush
Dusky Thrush
Small Vivid Niltava
White-tailed Blue Robin
Orange-flanked Bush-robin
White-browed Bush-robin
Collared Bush-robin
Little Forktail
Taiwan Whistling-thrush
Snowy-browed Flycatcher
Plumbeous Water-redstart
Daurian Redstart
Flamecrest
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker
Alpine Accentor
White-rumped Munia
Scaly-breasted Munia
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Olive-backed Pipit
Grey Wagtail
Eastern Yellow Wagtail
White Wagtail
Taiwan Rosefinch
Brown Bullfinch
Grey-headed Bullfinch

Monday, 10 February 2020

South Korea and Taiwan - 10th February (Day 16)

We headed back up to KM108 at Alishan Forest Recreation Area again this AM for our final mornings birding in the area. We wandered up and down the road and also a short way up the track to the visitor centre seeing much the same as yesterday and missing all remaining targets for the site. Highlights were a pair of Yellow-throated Marten foraging around the car park, great views of Steere's Liochichla, Taiwan Rosefinch and White-browed Bush-Robin. At around 10:00 we began the long drive south to Kenting National Park. My eBird checklist can be viewed here.

Yellow-throated Marten - Alishan National Forest Recreation Area, Taiwan

Steere's Liochicla - Alishan National Forest Recreation Area, Taiwan

Taiwan Rosefinch - Alishan National Forest Recreation Area, Taiwan

Taiwan Rosefinch - Alishan National Forest Recreation Area, Taiwan

Taiwan Rosefinch - Alishan National Forest Recreation Area, Taiwan

White-browed Bush-Robin - Alishan National Forest Recreation Area, Taiwan

Taiwan Fulvetta - Alishan National Forest Recreation Area, Taiwan

Taiwan Fulvetta - Alishan National Forest Recreation Area, Taiwan

Taiwan Fulvetta - Alishan National Forest Recreation Area, Taiwan

We arrived at Kenting National Park in the far south of the island just before 14:30. The park is just above sea level and this was the first lowland birding we had done on the island and it was noticeably warm and with a strong sea breeze blowing. We quickly located our target here, the now rare and localised, Styan's Bulbul but it took some time before we all had obtained satisfactory views. Other species here included a range of familiar wildfowl seen from the very plush hide. My eBird checklist for the site can be viewed here.

After Kenting we headed back north to Pingtung University arriving just as it was getting dark at 17:30, we sussed out the site for tomorrows birding and had some nice views of Savanna Nightjar as darkness fell. After dinner we headed to our accommodation at the Hakka Eco-Farm where we heard more Savanna Nightjar and a booming Malayan Night-Heron. My eBird checklists for these two sites can be viewed here and here.

Brown Shrike - Kenting National Park, Taiwan

Scaly-breasted Munia - Kenting National Park, Taiwan

Styan's Bulbul - Kenting National Park, Taiwan

Styan's Bulbul - Kenting National Park, Taiwan

Black Drongo - Kenting National Park, Taiwan