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South's Kenting enters peak time to watch migratory birds

TAIPEI -- More than 6,300 Chinese Goshawks, a type of migratory bird that travels through Taiwan every year, flew over Kenting in southern Taiwan yesterday as the annual bird watching season entered its peak period in the area.

The ferocious raptors, which usually pass by Kenting in September, arrived on time this year, with hundreds being recorded each day in the first eight days of the month, the Kenting National Park Headquarters said.

Tsai I-jung, a technical specialist at the park, said the migratory bird's numbers usually surge around Sept. 10 every year. The park observed some 2,600 Chinese Goshawks on Sunday and 6,349 as of1:15 p.m. Monday, according to statistics on the park's website.

The one-day record for goshawks flying by Kenting is roughly 60,000, Tsai said.

Every autumn, the birds migrate south from eastern China and the Korean Peninsula, flying over Kyushu, the Ryukyu Islands, Kenting and the Bashi Channel before arriving in the Philippines or other spots in Southeast Asia to winter.

The hundreds of thousands of Chinese goshawks flying over Kenting each autumn is not only the biggest bird migration through Taiwan but also one of the world's top 20, said Park Director Chen Chen-jung.

The record number for most birds passing through Taiwan in a single season stands at 221,286, set in 2004.

Other migratory birds that have been also spotted in the area this season include brown shrikes, whose arrival in mid-August marked the beginning of the bird watching season, crested serpent eagles, crested goshawks, and besra sparrow hawks, the headquarters said.

The best place for bird watching in the area is Sheding Nature Park, which is adjacent to the Kenting Forest Recreation Area, Tsai said.

Next month, large flocks of grey-faced buzzard-eagles, also known as “National Day birds” in Taiwan, are expected to show up around Taiwan's National Day on Oct. 10, he said.

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