1. Day 1 Depart UK

    • We arrive in Taipei during the late afternoon and transfer to our hotel for the night. If there’s any daylight left we may get a chance for a quick visit to a city park as an introduction to the wildlife of Taiwan.
    • Accommodation: Taipei hotel, 1-night on bed and breakfast basis.
    • We start the day with a brief visit to the Botanical Gardens in Taipei. One of our main targets is the Malayan night heron as it quietly goes about its business despite the crowds in the gardens.
    • In the afternoon, we board our train to Hualian for a three hour scenic journey along the east coast. From there we drive a short distance back north along the coast and inland to the lodge, in the hope of seeing Styan’s bulbul on the way.
    • We overnight near Taroko National Park and its famous gorges at Leader Village in Bulowan, a simple but comfortable lodge with outstanding birdwatching on its doorstep. Located in indigenous Taroko aborigine land, with beautiful mountain views, we hope to see Taiwan fulvetta, yellow and black-throated tits, grey-chinned minivet and plumbeous redstart among other species.
    • Accommodation: Leader Village in Bulowan, 1-night on full board basis.
    • In the morning we go birdwatching around Bulowan, targeting the striking yellow tit, varied tit, and collared owlet. We now begin to climb to higher altitudes to explore the forests around Aowanda. Today we reach the highest point of the tour as we drive up to Hehuan Shan with an altitude of over 10,000 feet. Hopefully the mountain will not be shrouded with mist so that we can enjoy the spectacular scenery and birds to be found around the summit.
    • Our leader’s favourite bird of Taiwan is found here, the beautiful collared bush-robin. Near the top of the mountain, we should be rewarded with views of the endemic subspecies of alpine accentor searching for food.
    • When we cross the Sendai River we could see common sandpiper, common kingfisher and if very lucky crested kingfisher and long-billed plover.
    • Accommodation: Guesthouse in Aowanda / Wushe, 1-night on full board basis.
    • In the morning, we explore further the rich biodiversity around Aowanda, before driving a short two hours to Huisun Forest Recreation Area, which is at a much lower elevation. Huisun is the best place to see Malayan night heron, grey treepie and bamboo partridge to name just a few.
    • Accommodation:Huisun, 1-night on full board basis.
    • Early in the morning we go birding around Huisun Forest Station to look for any species that we may have missed yesterday. We also keep a lookout for raptors.
    • Later in the day, we go on a short drive eastward to Puli, the geographic centre of Taiwan. This area is particularly good for maroon oriole, black-naped monarch, babblers and pygmy woodpecker.
    • Accommodation: Puli hotel, 1-night on full board basis.
    • We drive further along the mountains to Alishan National Park where we will find some of the species from the previous day. This is another beautiful area and a good place for rufous-capped babblers, plumbeous redstarts and raptors including oriental honey buzzard and crested goshawk.
    • Accommodation: Alishan House, 1-night on full board basis.
    • Today we descend to the west coast and visit several wetlands for shorebirds, pheasant-tailed jacana, terns and wintering migrants. This area also holds an important wintering population of black-faced spoonbill.
    • Accommodation: Sun Link Sea, 1-night on full board basis.
    • We now spend three nights in possibly the best area for Taiwan’s endemics.  The montane forests of Dasyueshan are rich in birds and the varied altitudes provide different species. Mammals could include Formosan macaque and Formosan striped squirrel.
    • Accommodation: Anmashan/Dasyueshan Recreational Forest, 3-nights on full board basis.
    • The forested valleys of Wulai hold the Formosan magpie and it is a captivating experience when a tiding of these stunning birds are encountered.
    • After a morning exploring Wulai, we head back to Taipei and explore the lowlands for any species we may have missed – as well as winter migrants.
    • Accommodation: Taipei hotel, 1-night on bed and breakfast basis.
    • Our final day begins with a visit to a coastal promontory on Taiwan’s north coast: the Yeliu Geopark, a good place for migrants. It is also a popular tourist destination because of the unusual rock formations.
    • In the afternoon we transfer to Taipei International airport and board our overnight flight to the UK.
  2. Day 14 Arrive UK

All prices are per person and include:

  • Services of the naturalist leader
  • Flights
  • Transfers
  • Train journey
  • Accommodation
  • Most meals
  • Guided activities

Accommodation

Mid-range hotels and guest houses, simple and comfortable, located close to the birding sites. All rooms have an ensuite bathroom.

Meals

All meals are included. Breakfasts and dinners are generally in the hotels, whereas lunch is usually an informal sit-down meal at a roadside restaurant or a picnic.

Birds

There are 24 endemics in Taiwan, and several of the endemic subspecies are likely to become full species in future years – such is the uniqueness of this island.There is also an array of interesting non-endemic species to see in winter.

  • Swinhoe’s pheasant
  • Taiwan blue magpie
  • Black-faced spoonbill
  • Flamecrest

Scenery

We travel along the eastern coastline and in the lowland forest from Taroko National Park, before climbing to the highest point of the tour – Heshuan Shan, over 3.000 metres high, with a stunning view of the mountain range around. The area is characterized by rolling green hills that often disappear in a sea of clouds.

We also explore the mountainous area of Alishan National Park, and visit Augu wetland on the west coast.

Walking

Most of the walking can be described as easy and an average level of fitness is required. At times in the lowlands and the far south there will be occasional steep steps and paths to negotiate at altitude.

Other excursions

Visit the Botanical Gardens in Taipei.

Ground transport

We travel by train from Taipei to Hualian, a three hour journey long the scenic eastern coast of Taiwan. The train is clean and comfortable and offers a unique way to explore the country.

Otherwise we travel with a private minibus and local driver.

Flights

Price includes return scheduled flights London – Taipei – London.

Altitude

We travel to over 3,000 metres above sea level very briefly. While in the highlands we mostly stay between 1,500 and 2,000 metres.

Climate

November in Taiwan is cool with temperatures in the range of 18-26C. It is cooler in the early morning and evening, but mostly pleasant and sunny with little rain.

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