For me, one of the most exciting (and hardest) parts of experiencing a new place is always becoming familiar with the local birds. No matter that I've notched 250+ species in East Africa, since I've moved to Taiwan it's been rather slow going. Sometimes species overlap, but there are differences in taxonomy and naming protocols not to mention completely new habitats, elevational gradients, local variations, and pockets of particular species.
Taiwan has an enormously vibrant community of avian enthusiasts, but a relative lack in English language reference materials. The Taipei Wild Bird Society has published some materials (and the first English-language field guide to the birds of Taiwan is dropping in October!!!), but for new-comers and non-birders alike, I decided to put together a very brief field guide of some of the more common species that I see around our home in Dashe District, Taiwan.
Feel free to download the guide for personal use either by clicking on download icon on the file embedded above or via Google Drive.
After being serenaded for the past several nights, I finally managed to get a nice recording of this individual, perched atop an antenna on our apartment building.
The Wushanding Mud Volcanoes are a really cool example of a relatively rare geological phenomenon. We live in Dashe District, just about 10-15 minutes down the road from this park, which is run by the Kaohsiung city government. To get there, you turn left off of Route 22 at the sign for National Kaohsiung Normal University. When you get to the university's gate, however, instead of entering, continue uphill to the left and follow the road as it snakes uphill. A little ways on there is another right-hand turn which is signposted in English, and then you simply follow the road as it climbs up to the top of the hills. There is a recently constructed office there with clean restrooms. This building is where you are required to sign into their register/guestbook. No entrance fee. The volcanos are a very short, flat walk from the parking area/office. We got there around 9:45 AM on a Friday morning and there were a few other visitors, but it was relatively quiet and empty.