Saturday, January 12, 2019

Mikado pheasant in Daesyushan

Mikado Pheasant, Male
Mikado Pheasant, Female
We were lucky to have encountered both male and female species of Mikado pheasant as soon as we reached Daesyushan (Big Snow Mountain). Soft clucking sounds of both pheasants were music to my 
ears, with recordings from Xeno-Canto to relive that special encounter. A frequent pit-stop was a 
shop lot near a persimmons hillside farm. The lady shop owner allowed us to sample some of the persimmons. Many of the fruits had ripened and the ones we tasted were sweet and juicy. Persimmons were in season and we bought enough to last us for the next 3 days. 
Mikado Pheasant, male with its strikingly long tail feathers
Female Mikado Pheasant walked into this cold water puddle
Mikado pheasant is one of the birds featured on front cover of Field Guide to the Birds of Taiwan
The lodge at mountain top consisted of tatami-style bedrooms, with mattresses which heat up gradually when plugged into electrical power outlets. Mattresses in our room heated up quite fast so we switched the power off in the middle of the night. Mountain goat bounded across the car park during our first toilet break at Dasyueshan. The goat is bigger than the Muntjac but its size didn't hamper its speed. Could hear the goat's hooves pounding on tarmac road as it jumped into the bushes and descended downhill. We had a simple dinner at the hall canteen nearby our lodge. Hot porridge, soup and vegetables tasted extra good, when one is up in the cold mountains. We went out looking for nocturnal birds after dinner. However, only the mountain goats, large squirrels and a curious civet cat were seen by us, later that night. 

Hearing the dawn chorus of mountain birds in Dasyueshan, we birded around our lodges early in the morning. The morning walk amidst the crisp mountain air coupled with scent of pinewood, was invigorating. There was a bird wave just outside the canteen hall, with jays, tits, yuhinas flying from tree to tree, before we headed into the hall for our breakfast. Some of the Mountain birds seen including the Muntjac (slightly larger than our Mousedeer) as below:-
White-Whiskered Laughingthrush
Eurasian Nutcracker
Mikado Pheasant, male and female up close and personal
Taiwan Yuhina 
Vivid Niltava 
Collared Bush-Robin

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