Bird Watch in Taiwan
The mouth of the Cengwen River and the Sicao wetlands in Tainan County are international-class wetlands, with exceptional natural ecological environments that attract countless numbers of waterfowl to spend the winter there each year; many of these species are rarely seen in Taiwan. In particular, the most prevalent ones are the Black-Faced Spoonbill, the Terek Sandpiper and the Stilt Sandpiper. As such, Tainan's wetlands have become a birdwatchers' paradise.
Over 1,000 Black-Faced Spoonbills, the leading "treasured bird", have migrated to Taiwan from autumn of last year to spring of this year. According to surveys carried out by the Tainan Bird Society and the Black-Faced Spoonbill Conservation Association, they numbered 1,185 this January, with 383 spotted in the Sicao wetlands area.
The Black-Faced Spoonbill are currently congregating mostly in the Sicao wetlands area and the neighboring Guofuchan fish pond, with an occasional sighting along the western coastal highway near the high-tech zone in the vicinity and on the eastern side of the fish ponds there, as well as in the fish ponds near the Good Friend Recreational Fishing Pond. As such, unlikely though they are to be spotted in Sicao, birdwatchers can now easily find the birds in their conservation areas by taking a boat to the birdwatching tower established near the Jianan Canal wildlife conservation by the Mangrove Conservation Association.
The second most-treasured bird of the area, the Terek Sandpiper, migrate to Taiwan to spend the winter in extremely limited numbers, with roughly 1,000-1,500 of the birds able to be spotted in the Sicao area. The number dwindled sharply to about 800 in 2009, with an even smaller number of arrivals so far in 2010. Some of the birds have opted to spend time at Aogu in Chiayi and the Yungan wetlands in Kaohsiung instead of Sicao.
The Stilted Sandpiper, the third most-treasured bird, has actually been quite successful in procreating in the Sicao area, where a special area of 50 hectares was initially reserved as a reproduction place for the birds. Thousands of them were recorded there in the past, but the number declined after the birds gradually spread to areas slightly north in recent years, leaving about 400 to 500 of them tallied there nowadays.
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