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Taiwan The Beautiful Isle

A 14-day birdwatching tour to Taiwan

Our autumn tour to Taiwan will introduce you to some of the loveliest parts of the 'Beautiful Isle, with the emphasis on finding its endemic birds of hill and forest. From sublime Swinhoe’s and Mikado Pheasants stalking through mist-laden oriental woodlands, to exotic Taiwan Blue Magpies cavorting in the subtropical canopy, Taiwan boasts 27 endemic birds - all but two of which were seen on our 2016 tour. November also brings a host of alluring winter visitors and East Asian specialities, including the endangered Black-faced Spoonbill, many waders, Dusky and other thrushes, and Black-faced Bunting.

Tour Dates

2017

Spaces
4

2018

Spaces
6

Leaders
Colin Bushell
local guides

Max Group Size: 10
Duration: 14 Days

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Cost: £4195

inc return flights from London Heathrow to Taipei, with British Airways / Cathay Pacific

Deposit: £600

Single Supp: £445
Land Only: £3695

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White eared Sibia SHUN CHANG CHEN

Dasyueshan Forest holds many of Taiwan's 27 endemic bird species, including the lovely White-eared Sibia © Shun-Chang Chen

Christened 'Isla Formosa' - the 'Beautiful Isle' - by early Portuguese sailors, Taiwan sits astride the Tropic of Cancer and measures less than 250 miles from top to toe, and just 89 miles across. Yet its dramatic mountainous spine, deep forested valleys and broad coastal plain are home to a remarkable 27 endemic bird species - and with more than 60 endemic subspecies (including several potential 'splits') waiting in the wings! All will be present in November, when we can also expect to encounter a host of East Asian specialities, among them a range of sought-after migrants and winter visitors.

November is also one of the best times to visit Taiwan, when the weather is mostly sunny with cool to pleasantly warm daytime temperatures (18-26C/64-80F) and relatively low rainfall. Although early mornings will be cold in the higher hills, all in all Taiwan makes a wonderful destination for a late autumn birding trip.

Much of our time will be spent exploring Taiwan's well-protected forests, mainly in the mountains, where the amazing birdlife includes an excellent collection of southern Chinese hill birds - many of which are better seen here than anywhere on the mainland - along with 15 or more endemic species found only Taiwan. However, we will also have some time in the bird-rich lowland forests, haunt of the Taiwan Blue Magpie and the recently split Taiwan Barbet, along with many others. A visit to the coastal lowlands will add a good selection of wetland birds – shorebirds abound and, in late November, we have good chances of seeing the endangered Black-faced Spoonbill (more than 60 were seen on our November 2016 tour).      

Our birding begins in the north of Taiwan, around the capital Taipei, watching Malayan Night Herons indulging in a bizarre tug of war with giant earthworms and familiarising ourselves with common lowland species such as Chinese Bulbul and Long-tailed Shrike.

Heading south to Taichung, we then swing inland and climb up onto the mountainous ridge that runs the length of Taiwan. Birding at elevations up to 2000m (6500ft), the deciduous and evergreen forests at Basianshan, Dasyueshan and Anmashan are home to most of the island's endemic birds and we’ll spend several days here looking for them. Oft shrouded in a delicate mist, the unspoiled upland forests shelter such delights as Taiwan Yuhina, Flamecrest and Steere’s Liocichla, as well as the trickier Taiwan Wren-babbler and White-browed Shortwing (the latter one of several potential 'splits' in waiting).

Taiwan’s two endemic pheasants are very special prizes that will lure us deeper into the forest. Swinhoe’s Pheasant - described by some as the most beautiful bird in the world - haunts the deciduous tracts, while the magnificent Mikado Pheasant stalks the cooler evergreen woodlands.

Dropping back down on to the coastal plain, the new wetland reserve at Aogu (on Taiwan's west coast) is famous for its wintering flock of rare Black-faced Spoonbills as well as wintering and passage waders that throng the coastal mudflats and marshes there. Pacific Golden Plover, Marsh Sandpiper, and Red-necked and Long-toed Stints are among the most numerous waders here.

November is not just a terrific month for seeing almost all of Taiwan’s 27 endemic birds (please note that the furtive Taiwan Bush Warbler is not singing at this time so is unlikely to be found on our tour), it’s also a time when migrants from northern Asia will be arriving. Some spend the winter here, while for others Taiwan is merely a stepping-stone en route to their winter quarters in the Philippines and Borneo. Dusky, Brown-headed, Pale and Eyebrowed Thrushes, Siberian Rubythroat, Daurian Redstart and Black-faced Bunting were among those seen on our last tour.

We conclude our tour on the island's spectacular north coast, where residents such as Pacific Reef Heron and the rufous-bellied race of Blue Rock Thrush may be found. If we are lucky, in late autumn the rocky shores might also hold a lingering Chinese Egret or Grey-tailed Tattler.

As a destination, Taiwan not only possesses a great avifauna but a host of other delights: the Taiwanese people are friendly and welcoming, the scenery is often superb and the country has all the benefits of a thriving economy, a well-developed infrastructure... and an excellent field guide! With 27 endemic birds to be found, many endemic subspecies poised for ‘upgrading’ and the thrill of birding along the busy 'East Asian Flyway', there is so much to look forward to.

Our November 2017 tour will be guide Colin Bushell's third visit to Taiwan, where he'll be assisted throughout by our resident English-speaking Taiwanese bird guide, 'KC'. Travel to Taiwan with Limosa and discover the bountiful birdlife of the 'Beautiful Isle'!

Swinhoe's Pheasant SHUN CHANG CHEN

Swinhoe’s Pheasant - described by some as the most beautiful bird in the world - haunts the deciduous tracts of montane forest at Dasyuehan and Anmashan © Shun-Chang Chen

Days 1 - 2
FLY LONDON-HONG KONG-TAIPEI

Our autumn birdwatching tour to Taiwan begins with a British Airways overnight flight from London Heathrow to Hong Kong and onward connection next day with Cathay Pacific to Taiwan. We'll be met by our local guide on arrival in Taiwan in the early evening of Day 2 and transfer the short distance to our hotel for dinner. Night Taipei

Day 3
TAIPEI  BOTANICAL GARDENS, YANGMING SHAN NATIONAL PARK & SOUTH TO TAICHUNG

Our birding begins with a visit to the nearby Botanical Gardens in downtown Taipei, for an easy introduction to some common lowland species. Birds to expect include Red Collared Dove, Spotted Dove, Chinese Bulbul, perhaps a Taiwan Scimitar Babbler, Oriental Turtle Dove, Grey Treepie and Japanese White-eye. With care we may also locate a Crested Myna amongst the more common Javan. However, our main target here will be Malayan Night Heron, which are usually easy to see - despite the early morning crowds performing Tai Chi! Malayan Night Herons feed on the giant earthworms and once one is found, a tug of war begins with the heron heaving backwards with all its weight to lever the worm a few more inches out of the ground. Such contests can last for 10-15 minutes, until the two-foot long worm is finally extracted. Watching the night heron swallow the worm can last just as long - a sight not to be missed!

The forested hills of Yangming Shan ('Grass Mountain') National Park lie just to the north of Taipei. Noted for its geothermal springs, the park's low elevation forests also offer our first chance to look for the endemic Taiwan Barbet and Taiwan Blue Magpie. In 2016, we enjoyed close views of Taiwan Bamboo Partridge, too! Birds of prey to watch for here include Crested Goshawk, Besra and Grey-faced Buzzard, and passerines such as Grey-chinned Minivet, White-bellied Erpornis (formerly White-bellied Yuhina), Plumbeous Redstart and Black Bulbul should also be about.

Leaving Taipei, we drive south this afternoon to our overnight stop at Taichung, on Taiwan's west coast. Night Taichung

Day 4
BASIANSHAN TO DASYUESHAN

After breakfast in Taichung, we swing east into the hills where we’ll begin our exploration of the forests that still cloak the uplands of Taiwan’s scenic mountainous spine.

We start our journey from the lowland forests to those at higher elevations (up to 2,000m) at the Basianshan Forest Recreation Reserve, an area of formerly logged but now protected secondary forest. It provides a mix of evergreen and broad-leaved woodland that includes stands of Taiwan Red Pine, Red and Green Maples, and Taiwan Incense Cedar, while Taiwan White Pine grows along its higher ridges.

This fine landscape hosts many key bird species. On the banks of the Shiwen Creek resides Little Forktail and we have a second chance of Taiwan Blue Magpie. Staff at the reserve have put up nestboxes for the endemic Chestnut-bellied Tit (formerly known as Varied Tit), in an effort to increase numbers of this and other threatened species. At these lower altitudes we are likely to encounter Collared Finchbill, Oriental Turtle Dove, Pacific Swallow, Taiwan Scimitar-babbler and Rufous-capped Babbler, while a diminutive Grey-capped Woodpecker might also put in an appearance. Along the more open roadsides we may be treated to great views of Grey-chinned Minivet, Brown Dipper, Plumbeous Redstart, Grey-cheeked Fulvetta - and possibly White-backed Woodpecker or even Brown Bullfinch.

In the afternoon, we head deeper into the hills near Dasyueshan (which translates literally as ‘Big Snow Mountain’), where we stay three nights. This site hosts most of the island’s endemic birds, but we will make several stops along the way, perhaps to search for Taiwan Hwamei. We still expect to arrive in time to explore the fringes of this excellent reserve this afternoon.

The endemic Swinhoe’s Pheasant can sometimes be seen on the road into Dasyueshan – we will stop and, by keeping quiet, maybe a group will come out on to the road or appear at one of the feeding stations here. Swinhoe's rarer cousin - and Taiwan’s national bird - the Mikado Pheasant, is also present, though we may well have to wait until getting into the park to find one. Night Dasyueshan Forest Recreation Area

Days 5 - 6
DASYUESHAN FOREST
& ANMASHAN

We will spend the next couple of days in the renowned Dasyueshan Forest. Although much of Taiwan’s lowland forest has now been lost, the woodlands that clothe the upper slopes of the island’s mountainous interior remain largely intact. Dasyuehan and Anmashan provide ready access to areas of both primary deciduous and evergreen forest that are home to a wide range of hill country birds. We are sure to see many of Taiwan's endemic forest birds here, from Taiwan Yuhina, Rusty Laughingthrush and Taiwan Barwing to Grey-cheeked Fulvetta, Steere’s Liocichla and the lovely White-eared Sibia. We’ll no doubt also enjoy the antics of Rufous-faced Warblers and the gorgeous Vivid Niltava; both species actually being quite common here. With luck, we may come across a wintering White’s Thrush feeding quietly beside the trail.

Mixed species flocks are always a cause of great excitement as birds rapidly flit from tree to tree. These can be quite challenging at first but, with patience, we should encounter many of the constituent species. Most species are quite common within the flocks and we are likely to see the local, crested (and endemic) Taiwan race of Coal Tit along with Green-backed, Yellow and Black-throated Tits, Fire-breasted and Plain Flowerpeckers and the island's endemic race of Eurasian Jay - looking quite different to the birds we see at home. As excitement builds, the frenzy of activity often attracts other birds to join in and we may well see some familiar faces such as Eurasian Nuthatch and Wren, too. With luck, the excited calls will lure a Collared Owlet with its rhythmic, four-note whistle. This diurnal owlet preys principally on small birds.

As we climb higher and venture deeper into the heart of Taiwan's majestic mountains, we will search for the greatest avian prizes of all: Swinhoe’s and Mikado Pheasants. Both are very different in appearance, but stunningly beautiful in their own right and the most sought-after of all Taiwan’s endemics.

Along the way we can hope to find the glossy blue-green Bronzed Drongo, Black Bulbul, Striated Prinia and White-bellied Erpornis, plus the distinctive Taiwanese form of Grey-headed Woodpecker. We might also encounter the endemic Formosan Macaque, the island's only primate. As we wait for Swinhoe’s Pheasant to appear we should be entertained by the likes of White-tailed Robin, Steere’s Liocichla and Red-bellied Squirrels.

A nearby hotspot might produce the distinctive white-headed endemic race of Island Thrush, along with the abundant White-eared Sibia and Taiwan Yuhina. With luck, we might glimpse a Silver-backed Needletail as it rockets overhead; the recently discovered population appears to be resident in Taiwan but ranges over a vast area so encounters outside the breeding season are inevitably a bit hit-and-miss.

The main target in the forests above our cabins at Anmashan is the sublime Mikado Pheasant. Several feeding stations have been established in the mountains to attract these very shy birds, but we may equally find them along the quiet roads.

Amidst the evergreen forests we should also come across the very confiding White-whiskered Laughingthrush and Formosan Striped Squirrel. Nearby, we will be alert for those two stunning Tarsiger chats, White-browed Bush Robin and the smart Collared Bush Robin. And as we get into the hemlock and dwarf bamboo forest at the highest points, we will meet the distinctive endemic Taiwan race of Eurasian Nutcracker, and with luck may find Yellowish-bellied Bush Warbler, along with the attractive White-browed Shortwing. If it is clear (hopefully we will be above the clouds), the views from up here are breathtaking. In the distance, we may be able to see Taiwan’s highest peak, Yushan, which stands just short of 4000m (13,000ft).

The pristine Trochodendron and pine forest around our cabins can be a good place to see Ashy Wood Pigeon, as well as the local pink-headed form of Eurasian Jay, Rufous-crowned (formerly White-throated) Laughingthrush and the endearing Brown Bullfinch, while a nearby waterfall is home to Little Forktail.

If conditions are suitable after our evening meal, we have chances to look for Mountain Scops Owl and the endemic Taiwan race of Tawny Owl. There are Chinese Muntjac in the forests and other mammals to watch for include the charismatic White-faced Flying Squirrel and the endemic Taiwan Serow (an elusive goat-like creature).

Early mornings here are not to be missed. By scouring the grounds around our accommodation we may find the secretive Taiwan Partridge (a bird that's more often heard than seen) and the diminutive Taiwan Wren-babbler (formerly a race of Pygmy Wren-babbler) - two island endemics well worth the extra effort to find!

Day 7
AOGU WETLAND FOREST PARK

Dropping down from the hills today, we first head towards Taichung City, then swing south into Yumlin County. Here, on Taiwan's west coast, lies the Aogu Wetland Forest Park. This site, formerly extensive mudflats but recently destroyed by reclamation, has unexpectedly reverted to a coastal wetland due to land subsidence and the cessation of farming in the area. To everyone’s surprise, it is rapidly establishing itself as one of the best places in Taiwan to see many coastal and wetland species!

Our main target at Aogu will be Black-faced Spoonbill. Over half the world population of this endangered species winters in Taiwan, and there should be good numbers present in November. In the creeks and pans, we should find wintering waders including Far Eastern Curlew, Pacific Golden, Kentish and Lesser Sand Plovers, Marsh and Broad-billed Sandpipers, Long-toed and Red-necked Stints, along with Intermediate Egret, and Caspian and Whiskered Terns. With luck, we may also find a few lingering passage waders such as Great Knot, Terek Sandpiper, Grey-tailed Tattler or Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.

Nearby fields and ditches attract yet more species, with over-wintering or lingering passage migrants that might include White-breasted Waterhen, Ruddy-breasted Crake, Cinnamon Bittern, Striated Heron and Greater Painted-snipe. Scanning the open water is likely to reward us with a good range of winter wildfowl including Eastern Spot-billed Duck, Northern Shoveler, Garganey and maybe Falcated Duck. We even found a handsome drake Baikal Teal here on our November 2016 tour!

In such a rich environment, birds of prey such as Western Osprey and Black-winged Kite can be found hunting the fields and wetlands. Scrubby embankments may reveal Zitting Cisticola, Vinous-throated Parrotbill, Yellow-bellied and Plain Prinias (the latter of the endemic Taiwan race, flavirostris), Eastern Yellow Wagtail and mynas. With a little bit of luck (and patience), we might encounter some of the scarcer or more skulking winter visitors that reach this part of Taiwan, such as Bull-headed Shrike and Siberian Rubythroat. Night Chiayi

Day 8
AOGU TO KENTING

We have time to enjoy some further birding in the coastal lowlands this morning, checking the saltpans and estuaries for waders and gulls. With luck, we will again find the rare Saunder's Gull or even a Chinese Egret - but even if we are not so lucky this year as last, there will nonetheless be a good variety of birds to see before we head to Kenting, at the southernmost tip of Taiwan.

We will break our journey south with a stop at Inda Farm, where we hope to find the handsome Maroon Oriole - the subspecies ardens here is a possible future 'split'.

The range-restricted endemic Styans's Bulbul is found only in eastern Taiwan, south to Kenting, and is the main reason for our visit here. Its population is under threat from hybridisation with the closely related Chinese Bulbul - which is spreading as a result of habitat alteration and releases for religious purposes - and it is quite possible that genetically pure populations of Styan's Bulbul will be lost within 20 years.

Time permitting today, the Longluantan Lake reserve at Kenting will provide us with another opportunity to see wetland species as well as passerines such as Red-throated Pipit, and White-shouldered and Red-billed Starlings. Night Kenting

Days 9 - 10
KENTING TO ALISHAN

Leaving Kenting this morning, we call in at the Guantian Education Centre to look for Pheasant-tailed Jacanas there before heading back up into the mountains once again. Our destination today is the Alishan National Scenic Area in central Taiwan, which will be our base for the next two nights.

Early mornings at Alishan can be excellent for birds and, close to where we stay, endemics we should find include the cracking Collared Bush Robin in the undergrowth, Flamecrests in the evergreen forest and Taiwan Fulvetta (now split from Streak-throated Fulvetta) in the scrub. Alongside them, we may encounter parties of Rufous-capped Babblers or perhaps a small flock of wintering Olive-backed Pipits, while Plumbeous Redstarts flit from stone to stone along the tumbling streams. As we bird Alishan's quiet roads and forest trails we have further opportunities to search for the secretive Mikado Pheasant - always a more elusive bird than Swinhoe’s.

At these higher elevations, we’ll be searching for White-whiskered Laughingthrush, Yellowish-bellied Bush Warbler, Taiwan Fulvetta and White-browed Bush Robin. More familiar 'European' species might include Peregrine, Eurasian Nutcracker (although birds in Taiwan do look rather different) or even Red-flanked Bluetail. Sometimes the dark and scaly Taiwan Wren-babbler (formerly Pygmy Wren-babbler) can be coaxed into view from the undergrowth, hopping and wing flicking as we encroach into its territory. There is a good chance that we will hear - and possibly even see - Taiwan Bamboo Partridge here; their distinctive “people pray... people pray...” calls often resound across the hills and this species is more inclined to feed in the open than other galliformes - let’s pray we can find one to see!

One of the tour highlights promises to be a visit to a hide near our lodge. Set in the forest with views over a small feeding station, with quiet and patience here we can hope to be rewarded with unbeatable views of Swinhoe's Pheasant - and, if we are really lucky, Taiwan Partridges will also come to feed!

Crested Serpent Eagle (another of Taiwan's endemic subspecies), Black Eagle and Mountain Hawk-eagle could be soaring overhead, along with smaller species of raptor including Crested Honey Buzzard and Crested Goshawk. Various buntings, flycatchers and pipits are also possible during our walks here, amid secondary forest that holds White-bellied Green Pigeon, Emerald Dove, Dusky Fulvetta and the endemic Rusty Laughingthrush and Black-necklaced Scimitar Babbler (the latter now split from Spot-breasted Scimitar Babbler of India and Myanmar). We may also catch up with Black-naped Monarch and the diminutive Snowy-browed Flycatcher.

In the evenings we will hopefully get views of Mountain and Collared Scops Owls, while Savanna Nightjar, Himalayan Wood Owl and Giant Flying Squirrel are also possible here. Two nights Alishan

Day 11                      
ALISHAN TO CINGJING

Keeping to the island's forested mountainous spine, we wend our way to Cingjing, our next destination, some 150km northeast of Alishan.

At an elevation of 1720m (5650ft), Cingjing (together with nearby Hehuanshan) is an ideal base to try again for the enigmatic Taiwan Wren-babbler, Taiwan Barwing and any other of Taiwan’s more site-specific upper elevation specialities that might have eluded us so far.

Both endemic pheasants and the elusive Taiwan Partridge also occur near Cingjing and we’ll spend some time today quietly walking trails through the bird-rich temperate forests in our quest to see them. We might also be lucky to come across a flock of distinctive Island Thrushes here, feeding on the fruiting autumnal trees - the latter being another of Taiwan's many attractions at this season. Night Cingjing

Day 12          
THE HIGH PASSES: HEHUAN SHAN & WULING SHAN TO KEELUNG

We leave Cingjing early today and continue through the mountains along the Central Cross-island Highway, climbing ever higher until we reach the high passes at Hehuan Shan and Wuling Shan - the latter a breathtaking 3275m (10,740ft) above sea level.

As we emerge above the treeline, we'll enter a sea of bamboo that extends to the highest summits, broken occasionally by rhododendrons and stands of cedars. This is the realm of a very few hardy bird species able to survive the freezing overnight temperatures. Key specialities to watch out for today include White-browed and Collared Bush Robins, Golden Parrotbill, Taiwan Fulvetta, White-whiskered Laughing-thrush, the endemic Taiwan form of Alpine Accentor, Taiwan Rosefinch (formerly lumped with Vinaceous Rosefinch) and Grey-headed Bullfinch. Where stands of cedars emerge from the bamboo we might encounter parties of crested Coal Tits, Flamecrests or Eurasian Nutcrackers.

[Please note: although the recently described Taiwan Bush Warbler (formerly Russet Bush Warbler) also occurs here, this furtive species is not usually singing in November, so we are unlikely to come across one on our tour.]

In the afternoon we'll complete our drive through the mountains to reach Keelung, on the island's north coast. If time permits, we'll pause to check some freshwater marshes and estuaries, where we might find a wide variety of wading birds. Greater Painted-snipe is a possibility here, and maybe Mandarin Duck, too. Night Keelung

Day 13                      
RETURN TO TAIPEI, FLY LONDON

Keelung lies within an hour's drive of Taipei Airport and since our flight home doesn't depart until this evening, we should able to enjoy the best part of today in the field as we work our way back - perhaps taking the opportunity to check for migrants and winter visitors arriving on Taiwan’s north coast (our choice of sites will depend on weather conditions at the time and news of recent sightings), or to revisit the low elevation forests of Yangming Shan National Park for one last look at Taiwan's resident birds.

Our birding over, we continue to nearby Taipei Airport for farewells to our local guide and late afternoon check-in for flights home. Evening departure to Hong Kong, with onward overnight connection back to London.

Day 14
ARRIVE LONDON

Early morning arrival in London on Day 14, where our birding tour to Taiwan tour concludes.

Flamecrest SHUN CHANG CHEN

The beautiful Flamecrest (Regulus goodfellowi) is one of up to 27 bird species endemic to Taiwan that we could see on our November tour © Shun-Chang Chen

What To Expect

Our autumn birdwatching tour to Taiwan will introduce you to some of the loveliest parts of the 'Beautiful Isle, with the emphasis on finding its endemic birds of hill and forest. From sublime Swinhoe’s and Mikado Pheasants stalking through mist-laden woodlands, to exotic Taiwan Blue Magpies cavorting in the subtropical canopy, Taiwan boasts 27 endemic birds - and all but two of which were seen on our 2016 tour.

November also brings a host of alluring winter visitors and East Asian specialities, including the endangered Black-faced Spoonbill, many waders, Dusky and other thrushes, and Black-faced Bunting.

Overall this is not a strenuous tour, but please be aware that it's one that does involve a fair amount of travelling (essential in order to find Taiwan's endemic birds) and on which we only spend more than one night at two hotels - those at Dasyueshan (3 nts) and Alishan (2 nts).

You should be prepared for early starts, which are the norm for birding tours in tropical regions where the daylight hours are relatively short, and where bird activity is generally at its peak early and late but often dies away during the middle of the day. In late November, sunrise in Taiwan is around 6.30am and sunset at 5.30pm. It will be important to be in the field at dawn so that we can hear the birds calling as the day starts up - in some instances, this may be our only chance to discover if certain species are present or not, so we will naturally want to make the most of this.

Away from the coast, much of our birding in Taiwan will be in forest, from tropical lowland to temperate high montane. We’ll spend most of the time walking on level ground, birding from paved or unpaved roads or tracks, and on some forest trails with occasional steeper sections, but these are quite short. We may sometimes be on our feet for several hours at a stretch watching for birds, so some participants may find it helpful to carry a lightweight collapsible stool.

With daytime temperatures in the coastal lowlands ranging between 18-26C (64-80F), November is one of the best times of the year to visit Taiwan. Conditions then are mostly sunny and pleasant, although early mornings will be cold in the higher hills. Although rainfall is relatively low here in November (Oct-Jan are the driest months of the year in Taiwan), note that we are likely to encounter some wet weather during our stay, especially in the lush mountains; however, heavy showers seldom last long at this time of year.

The weather in Taiwan's central mountains will be considerably cooler, with temperatures decreasing as we climb higher. It will be cold (0-3C/ 32-37F) and is often damp at the highest elevations, with a high likelihood of mist and occasionally heavy rain. At night, temperatures in the mountains may drop below freezing, and even the days will feel cool above 2000m (6500ft).

Mosquitoes should not be a problem in November. There is no malaria risk in Taiwan.

Birds

170-200 species

Mammals

5-10 species

Accommodation

11 nights accommodation in Taiwan. Our hotels are well placed for easy exploration of the areas we shall be birding in, with those away from the major cities being of the highest standard available. Those in Taipei, Taichung, Chiayi, Kenting and Keelung are modern and comfortable tourist hotels. At Dasyueshan, in Taiwan’s mountainous interior, we stay in nice rustic chalets/cabins; at Alishan and Cingjing, we use the best available local hotels or simple hostels, with private facilities in all rooms.

Meals

All main meals are included in the tour price, commencing with dinner in Taiwan on Day 2 and concluding with lunch on Day 13. Larger hotels generally provide an international buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while smaller establishments tend to serve a delicious and nourishing Chinese meal from a set menu.

Lunches will either be picnics or taken at a convenient restaurant along the way, according to local availability and whichever arrangement best suits our daily plan. You may wish to take some familiar 'trail food' (such as muesli bars) with you from home, to snack on.

Please note: many restaurants in Taiwan offer set menus only and are unable to accommodate special requests for participants with significant food allergies or special dietary needs.

Few of the restaurants we visit routinely provide knives and forks with meals. Instead chopsticks (often disposable wooden ones) are used. If you are not used to eating with chopsticks, you may prefer to bring your own lightweight cutlery with you from home.

Walking

The walking effort is mostly easy on this tour, along established paths and trails. The going can be more moderate at times in the mountains, with occasionally longer walks here, and at the coast.

At Alishan, we shall be birding at altitudes of up to 2000m (6500ft). Inevitably when walking in the mountains, there will be some steeper sections along roads and tracks; these are usually quite short and, wherever possible, we aim to drive uphill and then bird as we walk back down.

Altitude:  Wuling Pass is the highest point we reach on our Taiwan tour, at 3275m (10,740ft) above sea level. We shall be there only for a few hours at most (Day 12).

Comfortable lightweight, waterproof walking shoes or boots with stout corrugated soles for grip are recommended for this trip.

Travel

Return flights from London Heathrow to Taipei (change of planes in Hong Kong), with British Airways and Cathay Pacific.

Ground Transport   By minibus or small coach with local driver.

Taiwan Bamboo Partridge Taiwan 2016 CB resized

Grand finale! Our November 2016 group enjoyed fantastic looks at four Taiwan Bamboo Partridges right beside the trail at Yangmishan National Park on our final day - definitely one of the highlights of the tour © Colin Bushell, Limosa

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Our main aim in gathering your personal information is to provide you with a customised service. If you fill your details in our contact us section we use your personal information in order that we can contact you and respond to any questions and needs that you may have. We use your personal information so that we can carry out your requests. We may also use aggregate personal information and statistics for the purposes of monitoring website usage in order to help us develop the website and our services and may provide such aggregate personal information to third parties. These statistics will not include any data that can be used to identify any individual. If, at some time in the future, we wish to use your personal data in ways other than those set out in this privacy notice, then we will notify you about this and seek your permission to do so.

Sharing of personal information

We may share personal information within the Limosa Holidays family ("Limosa Holidays Family"); by this expression, we mean the Limosa Holidays group and each and any of its associates. The Limosa Holidays Family will process your personal information in accordance with this privacy policy and all privacy and communications legislation. Those selected companies are those that provide technical assistance and support and perform other functions to support our marketing activities. All selected companies may have access to personal information if needed to perform such functions, but will only be permitted by us to use such personal information for the purpose of performing that function (which may include one to which you have expressly given your consent) and not for any other purpose.

We do not currently envisage our wishing to transfer personal information about you outside of the European Economic Area, but in the unlikely event we should wish to do so in future, we will only do so to the extent that it is permitted under all privacy and communications legislation applicable within England and Ireland. Of course if we need your specific and express consent to do this, we will obtain it before transferring any personal information. In all cases, any use of your personal information by the Limosa Holidays Family which has been instigated by us (as opposed, for example, to a promotional partner), will comply with this privacy policy.

Occasionally, with your permission and depending on the purpose for and context in which you gave that permission, we will send to you by e-mail or SMS text message marketing information and news. This may include our sending to you marketing information for the products or services of a promotional partner on that partner's behalf. However, in every case, if you do not elect to receive such communications or if you elect to discontinue receiving them, then we will not send or will cease sending them to you. Also, we reserve the right to use or disclose any personal information as needed to satisfy any law, regulation or legal request, to protect the integrity of the site, to fulfil your requests, or to cooperate in any law enforcement or regulatory investigation. Save for this, we do not sell, transfer or disclose personal information we have collected from you in connection with our web site activities, to third parties outside the Limosa Holidays Family.

Please note that if we are, in turn, a promotional partner of an unrelated company (for example where we are not asking you to submit any personal information to us but are simply providing personal information on our site) and a link exists to that other company's web site where one must visit to take part in that company's promotion, offer or other activity, then the privacy policy of that other company will apply instead of ours.

Whilst we make every effort only to tie-in with reputable companies which have a similar high regard for your privacy, you should make sure you are aware of what their privacy policies say, as we are not responsible for the policies and practices of other companies, including those of other members of the Limosa Holidays Family. If, in the future, a third party acquires Limosa Holidays or substantially all of its assets (whether by merger, acquisition, reorganisation or otherwise) customer data, including personal information, may well be one of the transferred assets.

Cookies

A cookie is an alphanumeric identifier which asks permission to be placed on your hard drive through your web browser when you visit our Site. Once you agree (or your browser agrees automatically if you have set it up in that way) it enables our own system to recognise you when you visit our Site to track the pages you looked at while visiting our Site and therefore to improve our Site and tailor the service to you. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences. For example, when you visit an electronic store such as ours a cookie makes it easier to shop by allowing you to place things into a shopping basket; the basket itself is not a cookie; the cookie is placed on your hard drive and keeps track of your basket versus others in use at the same time. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system. Denial of a traffic log cookie may prevent you from using the Site. Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better Site by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you other than the data you choose to share with us. This practice is strictly enforced. We know that people have concerns about cookies but we believe that the benefit that you and we gain from their proper use is worthwhile.

You may set up your web browser (Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator) to notify you of cookie placement requests or decline cookies completely (although you acknowledge that declining them may prevent you from being able to use the Site properly or at all). You can delete the files that contain cookies - those files are stored as part of your Internet browser. To remove cookies from your web browser or to obtain further details on cookies including information on persistent and session cookies please go to www.allaboutcookies.org/manage-cookies/.

This website uses Google Analytics which adds it's own cookies and is vital for our marketing and the continual improvement of the website. As such please read the Google Analytics privacy policy [www.google.com/analytics/learn/privacy.html].

Protection of your personal information and retention

The internet is not a secure medium and Limosa Holidays cannot absolutely guarantee the security of your personal information provided over the internet. However we have put in place various security measures as set out below. The Limosa Holidays website and associated databases are protected by certified firewalls in order to protect your personal information from access by unauthorised persons and against unlawful processing. The website uses the latest technology with full backups. We also keep your personal information confidential. All outgoing and incoming email is scanned for viruses.

We also keep your personal information confidential. We will retain your personal information for a reasonable period or as long as the law requires.

Accessing and updating

You are entitled to see the personal information held about you and you may ask us to make any necessary changes to ensure that it is accurate and kept up to date. If you wish to do this, please contact us by using the methods listed below. We are entitled by law to charge a fee of £10 to meet our costs in providing you with details of the personal information we hold about you.

If at any time, you would like to correct the personal information we have about you or if you would like to change your preferences for contacts from us or other members of the Limosa Holidays Family, you can let us know by contacting us by using the methods listed below.

Changes to our privacy policy

From time to time, it may be necessary for us to change this privacy policy, so we suggest that you check here periodically.

Links

This website contains links to other websites. Please note that we are not responsible for the privacy policies of such other websites and we advise you to read the privacy policies of each website you visit which collects personal data.

Questions or complaints: contact us

We reiterate that by submitting your personal information to us you consent to the use of that personal information as set out in this privacy policy. If you have any questions, concerns, comments or complaints about this privacy policy and/or our collection or use of personal information, or if you wish us to stop processing your personal information for any particular purpose or purposes, then please contact us on [email protected] or telephone us on +44 (0)1692 580 623.

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