Taiwan Whistling-Thrush and Striated Prinia, Wutai, April 24th.

River valley near Dawu.
River valley near Dawu.

A beautiful and enjoyable Thursday morning with a non-birding friend in the mountains of Wutai, although I failed to see either of my two target birds – Savanna Nightjar and Russet Sparrow.

The first good birds were two Taiwan Whistling-Thrushes beside Highway 24, at about Km 35. Our first stop was at the landslide beyond Km 45, where we clambered down the steep scree slopes in the hope of encountering a roosting Savanna Nightjar. No luck, but two Striated Prinias were singing and briefly glimpsed as they engaged in a territorial dispute.

Steep rocky slopes where I saw roosting Savanna Nightjars in December ... but not yet in 2014.
Steep rocky slopes where I found roosting Savanna Nightjars in December … but not yet in 2014.

Next, we made our way back to Wutai village, then took the occasionally steep and badly-surfaced road down to Dawu village. This is a small, remote settlement reached by a beautiful suspension bridge over a gravel-bedded river. Plumbeous Redstart, Collared Finchbill, Blue Rock Thrush and several Black-eared Kites didn’t quite make up for the lack of Russet Sparrow, but it was enjoyable nonetheless to wander around this aboriginal village, looking at the view and listening to the local tribal language being spoken. It’s amazing how different life can be, just ninety minutes drive from Kaohsiung City.

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