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Bird news from Vietnam, from Vietnam's resident and visiting birders.

18 December 2014

Small Niltava in the City

A cold front brings altitudinal migrants to the city (Hanoi). Recently spotted at the Botanical Gardens a juv. White-tailed Robin and a female Small Niltava. The latter is a patch tick and the 22th species* of ‘Flycatcher’ being observed in this park!

During the winter months, this strict montane bird sometimes shifts to lower elevations. It is a scarce visitor at Hanoi (I have 2 previous sightings in November  2010 and December 2012). Moves lower inside denser vegetation, more skulking in habit than other Niltavas. With all the ‘grooming’ in the park, I was not expecting to spot this species there.

No photos unfortunately (photography gear had some 'problems' recently)...


* the 21 others are : Fujian Niltava, Brown-chested Jungle Fly, Grey-headed Canary Fly, Dark-sided, Asian Brown, Brown-breasted, Ferruginous, Verditer, Yellow-rumped, Green-backed, Mugimaki, Taiga, Snowy-browed, Slaty-backed, Slaty-blue, Rufous-gorgeted, Blue-and-White sensu lato, Hainan Blue,  Chinese Blue, Hill Blue, Blue-throated (ssp klossi) (excluded : Asian Paradise Fly, Black-naped Monarch).

  2 photos of the juv. White-tailed Robin taken one day before by Jean-Daniel L'HERIAU, a french visiting birder (many thanks to him!) 

16 December 2014

Silver Waterfall at Tay Thien - Tam Dao

I haven’t been birding for a few weeks due to work and family commitments, so it was nice to go last Saturday to Tay Thien, Tam Dao, in Vinh Phuc province (70km from Hanoi). 

On the way to the Silver Waterfall, I saw some mix flocks with warblers, Schaeffer’s Fulvettas... 
But my main target here were Water-Redstarts and I picked up 2 birds : a stunning White-capped WR and a  female Plumbeous WR.
Other interesting birds include  a couple of Grey Wagtails, a smart Slaty-backed Forktail, 2 Rufous-gorgeted Flycatchers - 1 female and 1 male at good range, nice and clean light and background. 
On the way back, I saw more birds moving and calling around but not enough time to photograph them.

Tay Thien, a really nice place for sight-seeing, trekking and birding!
Sure I will be back soon :)

Le Viet Tuan Hoang

White-capped Water Redstart

Schaeffer's Fulvetta is a recent split from Grey-cheeked Fulvetta, and is a typical component species of bird-waves at Tam Dao

Slaty-backed Forktail

Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher

Plumbeous Water Redstart, female

Grey Wagtail

23 November 2014

Some winter visitors

Hi everyone,

Last week I had a day in Xuan Phuong (Tu Liem District, Hanoi), especially a 5 ha of grasslands rich of birding potential. I and my friend counted about 20 species at that time. A short list below:

1. Little Egret.
2. Grey Heron
3. Purple Heron
4. Intermediate Egret
5. Common Kingfisher
6. Black-capped Kingfisher
7. White-throated Kingfisher
8. Eastern Stonechat
9. Grey Bushchat
10. Pied Bushchat (a pair)
11. Lesser Coucal
12. Great Coucal
13. Black-browned Reed Warbler
14. Siberian Rubythroat
And some very common birds that can see in the city like White-rumped and Scaly-breasted Munias common Tailorbirds,...

In the afternoon we came back to Botanical Garden in search of the Black-breasted Thrush. We failed to see it but had a flock of Japanese Thrushes.

Le Viet Tuan Hoang

female Eastern Stonechat

Siberian Rubythroat

male Japanese Thrush

Black-browed Reed Warbler

Dusky Warbler

19 November 2014

A VIP Thrush

Some images of a Black-breasted Thrush spotted on November 14th at the Botanical Gardens, among a flock of Japanese. This is a regular winter visitor in Hanoi, I usually see 1 or 2 a year.

There is no doubt, winter is definitely here...

Hanoi gets pretty cold in winter. If you are planning to go there from December to March, bring a good jacket…

17 November 2014

Little Brown Job

Bush Warblers are photographers nightmares. You can locate them all by call, but seeing them is another issue (despite often being only a few feet away), let alone getting a good photo... I tried vainly for quite a while to get a decent photo of a Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler. I finally managed to get some okish shots last week.

This great skulker is a quite common winter visitor at Hanoi, in scrubs at the edge or inside wooded areas.

The archetypal small boring brown bird, the famous "Little Brown Job" or LBJ of the British birders.

It occasionally deigns to leave the cover and perch in the open... but just few seconds, not more ! 

Note the flashing pale underwing-coverts

16 November 2014

Some other altitudinal migrants from Hanoi

After the Snowy-browed Flycatcher (see last post), some recent shots of 3 other altitudinal migrants, scarce at Hanoi : Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Chestnut-crowned Warbler and White-tailed Robin. The latter was photographed in mid-October, the 2 other ones in the last few days.

male Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher - Botanical Gardens
Recorded a female last year in mid-January, in the same area of the park,  on the same trees almost same branches :))

Chestnut-crowned Warbler - Red River Island
Last year, sighted another one, in mid-October. Great bird for the city and below its lower altitudinal limit (Hanoi is at sea level).

White-tailed Robin - Botanical Gardens
Scarce but regular. Recorded every year in the city parks, from mid-October to December
This species is assumed to be a montane resident, although there is evidence of some movements during the non-breeding season.