Yushan National Park(YNP) is situated in Central Taiwan.Yushan means Jade Mountain.Yushan at an altitude of 3952 metres is the highest peak in Asia east of the Himalayas(south of the Kamchatka Peninsula,Russia and north of Mt Kinabalu,Borneo). Over 130 species of birds have been recorded in the park. It is home to a number of the Taiwan endemics.
To see the middle and high altitude birds of Taiwan many foreign birders opt for Meifeng and the Anmashan/Hsuehshan areas because of their proximity to Taipei. YNP being further south is sadly bypassed as birders head for the southern coastal areas and thus many birders leave Taiwan having recorded their mountain endemics but having lost out on having seen one of Taiwan's greatest natural treasures.
The views of Yushan are awesome.To have these settings as your backdrop to your sightings of Taiwan's mountain birds is something that will remain etched into your memory for all time.
The New Central Cross Island Highway(18) runs through the park.At present the park is best accessed from the Chiayi/Alishan end of the highway ,as the section of the highway between Shuili and Tungpu on theShuili /Nantao end is under repair. The speed limit for vehicles within the park is 30kph,so walking along the road is an option for birding in the park.The scrub on the roadside being home to the endemic Taiwan Bush Warbler.There are a number of hiking trails within the park,many lasting 2-3 days.A good birding trail is the Lulin trail in the Tatachia saddle area.Depending on the paths you follow it's between 5-10km in length.For park and trail details see the Yushan National Park website at http://www.ysnp.gov.tw/en/main.htm .
Most of the park consists of middle and high altitude forest. Common trees being Taiwan Red Cypress, Taiwan Hinoki Falsecypress,Chinese Hemlock and Armand's Pine.Here the calls of the endemic Taiwan Sibia echo through forest continually. The endemic Steere's Liocichla, Taiwan Barwing, Taiwan Laughingthrush, Collared Bush Robin, Taiwan Yellow Tit and Taiwan Firecrest are all common here.
Above the tree line you find Alpine like tundra.Here the Alpine Accentor (an endemic sub species Prunella collaris fennelli) is common. In spring the area is famous for its Taiwan Cherry blossoms and wild flowers. The endemic Taiwan Yuhina being very visible at this time of the year.
The park is also home to some of Taiwan's other endemics. Swinhoe's Pheasant, Mikado Pheasant and Taiwan Partridge can all be seen.A number of the other species seen within the park are endemic sub species.
YNP is also home to a number of very interesting mammals,plants and insects and is well known for its moths and butterflies.
History and Use
Areas of Interest
Access and Facilities
Facilities in the park are limited and not much English is spoken but don't let these stop you from enjoying one of Taiwan's greatest birding experiences.
Do your homework,contact the Taiwan Wild Bird Association and/or BirdingPal and a visit to the park is actually quite easy to do.
Content and images originally posted by Mark Bruce