- Black Eagle 1
- Crested Serpent Eagle 2
- Black-eared Kite 6
- Oriental Turtle Dove 5
- Daurian Redstart 1 male
We drifted south on the 185 from Maolin to Sandimen, negotiating road works and hundreds of half-marathon runners, before joining Highway 24 and making our way deep into the mountains towards Wutai. Near Sandimen, an emergency stop was required when we spotted an adult Black Eagle soaring close to the road; in keeping with sightings of some other birds this winter, I was surprised to see this montane species so low down at probably only a couple of hundred meters above sea level.
A few raptors were in evidence around Wutai village, with Black-eared Kites omnipresent around the surrounding hills, and a pair of Crested Serpent Eagles seen. The abandoned village turned up few birds except for a splendid male Daurian Redstart. The villages along this road are good for Oriental Turtle Dove, and about 5 were seen. I also spent some time looking for Russet Sparrow but to no avail. This is a rare bird in Taiwan and one that I have never seen, even when I lived in Korea. It’s turning into a major gap on my East Asian list and one I am getting more and more desperate to see.
Last weekend, I saw and photographed several Savanna Nightjars on a steep scree slope beyond the km44 marker on Highway 24. Today we didn’t have time to revisit the area, but I will for sure be heading there again in the next few weeks – watch this space!