From Taichung (台中), I drove all the way to Alishan ( 阿里山) !! The drive was treacherous as the steep bends were more than challenging, but nonetheless, my driving skills came in handy! *SCREECH*
It was a hot summer August, but high altitudes at Alishan exuded cool weather, very ideal for hiking, and definitely bird watching! There were some fancy hotels around the area, but we stayed at a dodgy hotel called the Alishan Gou Hotel! This “hotel” is well known among birders for it location for birding, as the garden behind the hotel and trails around the area are frequented by local endemics!
Birds seen and photographed included:
1. Johnstone’s Bush Robin or Collared Bush Robin (Tarsiger johnstoniae)
2. Brown Bullfinch (Pyrrhula nipalensis)
3. Taiwan Barwing or Formosan Barwing (Actinodura morrisoniana)
4. Vinaceous Rosefinch (Carpodacus vinaceus) ssp.
5. White-whiskered Laughingthrush (Trochalopteron morrisonianum)
6. Golden Parrotbill (Suthora verreauxi)
7. White-browed Bush Robin (Tarsiger indicus)
Many have recommended to see the sunrise in Alishan and so after our stargazing activity at 2:30am, and before that, bat-watching at the “hotel”, we got on a very crowded train that took us to the sunrise viewing platform! But to our dismay, there were not just 10 or 20 people, but probably over hundreds of noisy people at the platform! Grrr!
It was a new experience watching sunrise with big crowds..lol! But we quickly comforted ourselves with hot meatballs sold at the vendors! It was 0630am and having filled up our growling tummies, we made our way back to the hotel. With chirping birds, glowing sun, and walking downhill instead of up, we had a very enjoyable walk and reached the “hotel” at 0815. Just in time for another breakfast! :))
Oh, here’s a photo of the stars at night