Originally from England, I have been living and working overseas since 2005, with long periods of time spent in New Zealand (3 years), Taiwan (2.5 years), South Korea (2 years) and Thailand (1.5 years), interspersed with extended birding/backpacking trips throughout SE Asia and Central America. I’ll be moving to Texas, USA, in early 2017.
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Hi, nice posts! I am currently staying Kaohsiung for six weeks while studying Mandarin at NSYSU. I also like to combine riding with birding and have doe a fair bit of both (though with a rented scooter) on weekend rides up Taroko Gorge to Hehuanshan-Lishan-Wushe birding spots and back down to Hualien, as well as Walami Trail and Siangyang Shan this past weekend in Taitung county. I have some successes finding target endemics and other species away from conventional stakeouts, but havent had any luck so far with babblers such as Golden Parrotbill, the three laughingthrushes or Black-necklaced Scimitar Babbler.
Given the proximity of Tengjhih though, I should give it shot! I was going to go today, but the wind and rain warnings from the typhoon made me put it off. I will also be going to Lanyu next weeknd, so your location photos should be very helpful.
I have also checked out the Shoushan area behind Hamasen. If you’d like to meet sometime to talk shop, I’d appreciate it!
Thanks for the great blogging,
Gabriel (staying near Cultural Center)
Hi Gabriel, thank you for your comment. I have replied via email. Cheers and happy birding!
Very inspiring posts. I spend a few weeks a year in Taiwan, usually around the “holidays”. A birder for 6 years now, I have a decent list for Taiwan. My wife’s family is in Kaohsiung and we stay with family in the Zuoying area. I am very intrigued by your nearby birding spots, some of which I was not aware. I have some questions about some of these spots. If you are up to it, some details on these locations would be great, much appreciated.
1. I cannot for the life of me find Cheting marshes on a map or mention in google, aside form your mention of it. Can you tell me where it is exactly? I see where 17 turns to the coast as you say, but can’t find anything in that area that seems to match for “cheting”
2. You mention coastal pine forest at Cigu. Looking at Google earth, I see what looks like a small forest patch on a spit that is at the end of the road (where it turns north) that runs past the spoonbill blinds. Is that correct?
3. You mention Tengjhih forest. This is a new one on me as well. We have been to Sandimen and Maolin, so know the general area. I see the forest on Google maps, but not sure where one would bird. Where do you bird there?
4. You reference trails behind De-En Gorge guesthouse Do you mean up the mountains from there on the communication roads? Or down towards the river behind the guesthouse?
5. You mention birding in Wutai. Where exactly there do you bird? I assume you are getting past the gate at Sandimen.
Any response you can make is much appreciated!
Thank you for your comment and I’m delighted you found my blog inspiring!
In answer to your questions:
1) Cheting is often spelled Qieding on maps, and on road signs too. To get there from Kaohsiung, take the 17 north until it turns left at a traffic light controlled intersection at about Km 195 (this is the intersection where highway 28 terminates). Turn left (continuing to follow the 17), pass a gas station, then turn right at the next intersection. There are a couple of sharp bends in the road, then another set of traffic lights at about Km 192. Turn right here. After here, the whole area is “Cheting Marshes”. There is an obvious viewing tower on the right after a sharp left hand bend. The whole area is worthy of exploration, including the scrub and pools on the opposite side of the road to the viewing tower, and the roads and trails along the eastern and western edges of the main marsh.
Near the village of Cheting/Qieding, a large pool can be viewed from a minor road and currently has large numbers of birds (it varies because of the changing water levels). Continue along the road past the viewing tower for another kilometer or so, heading west, then turn right on a minor road at the next set of traffic lights.
I have a couple of reports on eBird, the pin on the map on my reports is in the general area of the viewing tower: http://ebird.org/ebird/country/TW/activity?yr=all&m=
2) Yes, that’s the place. I’ve had a few really fantastic days in there in spring and autumn, and other times when I haven’t seen much in there at all. Definitely worth regular visits in April/May and September/October, though.
3) Tengjhih is a really outstanding place to bird, especially at this time of year. Turn right onto the minor road off highway 27 at about Km 9 (it’s a pronounced fork in the road, half a kilometer or so north of the turning to Liugui Children’s Home and the red bridge).
Once on the Tengjhih road, I usually focus on two areas: the trail network at Km 15, and the trail to the old park HQ that starts at the end of the road at Km 18.
For the first area: turn left in the village at Km 15 (there’s some sort of mosaic traffic circle painted in the road, and a trail map is on a board at this intersection). The dark blue trail is especially good, but they’re all worth checking.
For the second area, park at Km 18 (the paved road ends here) and continue up the dirt road until a signposted path on the left to Tengjhih National Forest HQ. This path goes through some excellent mountain forest and is the most reliable area for Taiwan Hill Partridge. Once at the park HQ (unfortunately there’s still no access to Tengjhih National Forest proper), you can continue along the old road. Just before the second landslide (which is impassable), take a dirt road on the left, through a farm (it feels like you are walking through someone’s backyard but it’s OK), and the trail continues for a while until a park substation and a gate. All areas worth birding.
4. I mean the communication roads above De-En Gorge guesthouse. At the entrance to the De-En Gorge driveway, continue uphill instead of going down the drive to the guesthouse. It is possible to make a 4km loop along these communication roads. I was there yesterday and the birding was very good, I always see Maroon Oriole here and usually Taiwan Blue Magpie (4 of them yesterday).
5. Yes, pass the Sandimen gate (you have to fill in a form at the office there), and continue to about Km 44 where the road becomes gravel and crosses a landslide, Just after here is a left hand turn. I park here and walk down to an abandoned village, the old road can produce some good birds. Back on the main road, the big landslide a little further on can be good too, with Striated Prinia and Savanna Nightjar here. I’ve never ventured further than this although the dirt road continues.
I hope this info is useful. Are you in Kaohsiung now? I’m probably going to head up to Cheting Marshes tomorrow morning for a few hours, some company in the field is always good!
Very helpful!!! Yes, we are in Kaohsiung now through January 13. A number of family activities over that time including Wuling next week for 2 days.
We went out to the zoo this afternoon for one of my nemesis birds, the Hwamei. Your directions in the blog were impeccable. Found three just before the peacock enclosure on the trail to emerald pavilion.
OK, I found Qieding. Also called Jiading. Gotta love all of the different pinionizations!
We will definitely hit Maolin/Tengjhih one day in the next couple weeks; the Magpie is another one of my nemesis birds. My wife and I, and maybe my more birding focused son were thinking of a half day up to Cheting and Yuanfugang one of these mornings. I think we will try Cigu/Aogu one other morning, we’ll see if we have enough free days to fit that in.
Tomorrow (12/30) we are actually taking my father-in-law down to LongLuan to look at waterfowl from the nature center then on down to Kenting to eat a late lunch of seafood.
It would be great to hook up with you for Cheting trip, always good to have someone who already knows the area and stuff seen. If you were thinking of another trip up there that lines up. Feel free to use my email address (I assume you can see it) if that makes conversation easier.
I stumbled upon your blog after seeing you document a number of birds seen for the first time this year at Edith L. Moore. Nature Sanctuary. I actually think we may have been there at the same time today. I’ve picked up the hobby over the last year and have kind of been learning on my own as I go. I look forward to seeing what you find in the Houston area while you’re here, and if you’re willing do divulge any advice to a beginner I would greatly appreciate it. Welcome to Texas!