Friday, February 29, 2008

A Brief Hushan Update

Hushan Dam access control point.

With the Lunar New Year holidays and a trip to Korea we haven't been able to post much during February. No fear. The silence doesn't mean things haven't been happening. On the legal front Wild at Heart has been working away on the issue. Taiwan Endemic Species Researcher, Dr. Lin Reuy-shing and Wild at Heart member, Mark Wilkie, attended the Jeju WildLife Research Centre Workshop on Jeju Island, South Korea, from Feb 22-26 and gave presentations on the Fairy Pitta. Jeju Island is an important breeding area for the Fairy Pitta. Dr. Lin covered current research on the Fairy Pitta in Taiwan and Wilkie delivered a presentation on the threats to the species which included the Hushan Dam issue. Another goal of the trip was to establish a closer working relationship between Korean and Taiwan researchers and conservationists. On Monday 3 March 2008 we will be visiting the Hushan Dam site and a meeting of concerned parties will also take place. Access to the Hushan Dam site is restricted and this will be the first time in months that we've been allowed into the area. Reports on what has been happening and Monday's visit will be posted next week.

Photos taken on our last visit several months ago. We were allowed into the area but were not allowed near the workings so these photos were taken from the gate.

More Taiwan Endemics for Hushan

Taiwan Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus musicus-Photo courtesy of Richard Yu. Copyright Richard Yu.

The International Ornithological Committee (IOC) updated their World Bird List (Gill & Wright list) on 13 February 2008. The IOC List now credits Taiwan with 23 endemic birds. We have now seen 8 new endemics added in the last two years. We've updated a list of endemics which can be viewed below. Taiwan is now looking very attractive to foreign birders with 23 endemics and the likelihood of possibly another 3-5 more within the next 2-3 years.

Taiwan Endemic Species:

Taiwan Whistling Thrush Myophonus insularis *
Swinhoe’s Pheasant Lophura swinhoii *
Taiwan Blue Magpie Urocissa caerulea *
Taiwan Partridge Arborophila crudigularis *
White-eared Sibia Heterophasia auricularis *
Steere’s Liocichla Liocichla steerii *
Styan’s Bulbul Pycnonotus taivanus
Yellow Tit Parus holsti
Mikado Pheasant Syrmaticus mikado
Collared Bush Robin Tarsiger johnstoniae
Flamecrest Regulus goodfellowi
White-whiskered Laughingthrush Garrulax morrisonianus
Taiwan Barwing Actinodura morrisoniana
Taiwan Yuhina Yuhina brunneiceps
Taiwan Bush Warbler Bradypterus alishanensis
Taiwan Hwamei Garrulax taewanus
Taiwan Barbet Megalaima nuchalis *
Taiwan Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus musicus *
Black-necklaced Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus erythrocnemis *
Taiwan Wren-Babbler Pnoepyga formosana
Rufous-crowned Laughingthrush Garrulax ruficeps
Rusty Laughingthrush Garrulax poecilorhynchus *
Taiwan Fulvetta Alcippe formosana *

*Recorded in the Huben-Hushan area.

(As per Birds of the World: Gill, F. and M.Wright. 2006. Birds of the World: Recommended English Names. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, updated 2008-1-17)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Happy New Year !

Xin Nian Kuaile !

To all those celebrating the Lunar New Year we wish you a Happy New Year and all the best for the Year of the Rat !