Birder's Guide

MAR 2015

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 37 of 67

臺灣 36 Birder's Guide to Travel | March 2015 灣 n a cold and dark morning on Alishan, Taiwan's most famous mountain, as the sun broke over the peaks, we stared down at the cloud sea and ushered in The Year of the Horse. Along with many other pilgrims, we were joined in a Chinese New Year tradition that stretches back thousands of years. But I was one of the few that noticed the White-whiskered Laughingthrush uttering its loud call, and soon thereafter a Taiwan Rosefnch and dapper Collared Bush-Robin greeting the frigid dawn. Taiwan has been my home since 2010, and each day I uncover some new beauty in a land that seems to have it in abundance. But I am not the frst to have noticed it. When the Portuguese revealed Taiwan to the Western world, they dubbed it "Formosa", The Beautiful Island. Chinese ex- plorers and travelers have long reveled in its stun- ning landscapes, and just about every expatriate I meet here loves traveling around the island, soak- ing in the peaks and seascapes. Taiwan's unique beauty is born from the fact that it has a high density of tall mountain peaks in a relatively small area, practically jutting out of the sea. There are some 160 peaks taller than 10,000 ft. (3048m), in- cluding the island's highest peak, Jade Mountain (12,966 ft./3952m). While the Himalayas, Andes, and Rockies all boast taller peaks, Taiwan is tiny, only 13,800 mi. 2 (35742km 2 ); some 250 mi. (402km) long and around 90 mi. (145km) wide at its broadest point. It is a tilted fault block formed by 臺 n T s d o n a t t O Bishan Temple in Taipei. Photo © Sean Pavone

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