Welcome to Vietnam Bird News

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

28 July 2010

Hanoi, Tay Ho, Phylloscopus sp.

Hi everyone,

on monday 26th a Phylloscopus sp. up high in roadside trees at the north-western corner of West Lake. Not calling, moving around quickly, no distinctive features recognized.



27 July 2010

Black-capped Kingfisher - Hanoi

One Black-capped Kingfisher flying high in a northwards direction over Truc Bach Lake during breakfast today.

Post-breeding dispersal is underway!

26 July 2010

Van Long NR

Hello everyone,

a weekend trip (24th - 25th) to Van Long / Cuc Phuong produced the following (amongst others)..

En route the HCM-Higway - 5 Ashy Woodswallows, 4 Long-tailed Shrikes, 1 female-type Circus sp. near Xuan May.

Van Long - 1 Little Cormorant, 1 Lesser Whistling Duck, 5 White-browed Crakes, 2 Purple Swamphens, 6 Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, 1 Cinnamon Bittern, ~ 15 Yellow Bitterns (estimated), 1 White-shouldered Starling
+ 1 family group Delacour's Langurs.

Nothing of particular interest in Cuc Phuong.

Last night 1 Barn Owl flying over Café Joma, Tay Ho District.

The record of the Little Cormorant at Van Long seems to be quite interesting as I've never had this species there before. Does anyone know of recent records of this species in Northern Vietnam?


24 July 2010

Volunteer needed - bird survey at Ba Na

The Douc Langur Foundation are planning a rapid biodiversity survey of the new northern extension to Ba Na Nature Reserve (Da Nang city) during the middle of August 2010, and are looking for a keen birder to volunteer their services to survey birds.

Anyone interested should contact Dr Vu Ngoc Thanh < thanhdouc@gmail.com >

Bridled and Black-naped Terns - Hoi An

Having a quick drink at the Victoria Hotel on Hoi An beach on Saturday (July 23rd 2010) Martin Fowlie (BirdLife) and I saw at least two Black-naped Terns and at least one Bridled Tern flying along the coast, close to shore.

Looking off shore, the two islets at the northern end of the Cham islands (Cu Lao Cham) look uninhabited and a possible nesting site for terns and other seabirds. It would probably be worth checking out those islets at some point, given that it has been possible to arrange boat trips to the Cham islands for several years now.

Jack T

21 July 2010

First migrant of the autumn

One Barn Swallow west over Nghi Tam, Hanoi at 1pm today is the first autumn migrant I've seen this year.

However, one swallow doesn't make an autumn...

18 July 2010

Terns and turtles: A short holiday in Con Dao

Jonathan Eames, Dinh Thi Hoa, my wife Lan, daughter Carmen and me, Richard Craik, had a short holiday on Con Dao Island from 10th to 14th July. A typical holiday for us really, a mix of family fun (the swimming pool and trampoline at the resort provided most of this), sweaty games of tennis on hot, sticky afternoons and morning birding trips.

On our first afternoon there we met up with the very helpful Ms Thuy from Con Dao National Park. Through her we made arrangements to hire a speedboat for a morning at Trung Island on 11th July and another trip on the 13th and 14th to Troc and Tre Nho islands and Bay Canh Island where we would overnight to watch the Green Turtles egg-laying on the beach. Fortunately the speedboat was already booked for the morning of 12th July so I could enjoy a lay-in after watching the World Cup Final till 4 in the morning.

Approaching Trung Island just after 7.30 in the morning we could see that Bridled Terns made up the majority of the birds circling above the small egg-shaped island along with smaller numbers of Great Crested and Roseate terns. In nooks and crannies at lower levels Brown Noddy and Brown Booby were nesting. We had not been able to get onto Trung Island on earlier trips to Con Dao but this time we were to be luckier as the calm sea conditions meant the speedboat could briefly get close enough for us to hop onto the slippery barnacle encrusted rocks. Mind you, that was the easy bit! We now had to scramble up the sheer jagged rocks to reach the nesting terns near the top of the island.

Not having the best head for heights I called it a day around 10 metres below the summit and settled into a nice shady spot while Jonathan clambered up to the top to photograph the nesting birds close up. After an hour or so watching terns wheeling around our heads it was time to scramble back down to the boat and rescue the womenfolk who were by now beginning to turn varying shades of green as the speedboat bobbed around offshore.

On the morning of the 13th we boarded the speedboat loaded down with our provisions for the next 24 hours and headed for Tre Nho via Troc Island. There was not a lot happening on Troc Island but we did get some nice looks at a group of Black-naped Terns including at least one recently fledged young bird as we passed close by the island.

Continuing to Tre Nho we disembarked with our bottles of water, "banh mi pate" and oranges to spend the morning searching for the extremely elusive Nicobar Pigeon. We had failed to find the little bugger on previous trips to Con Dao and after a hot and sweaty morning scouring Tre Nho we were to fail again this time. What we did discover though was that Tre Nho has to be the easiest place in the world to see Mangrove Whistler, which was literally everywhere on this tiny little island. A couple of "pishes" would bring the inquisitive little whistlers in from every direction. So, no Nicobars on Tre Nho this time but there were Pied Imperial- pigeons, a few Emerald Doves, plenty of White-rumped Shamas and a small colony of Bridled Terns on the rocky cliffs.

In the afternoon we continued to the much larger Bay Canh were we searched in vain
once more for Nicobar Pigeon and after a swim and an early dinner we set the alarm for two o'clock and hit the sack. Well, hard wooden beds actually, a sack would have been sheer luxury. Up at two, we only had to wait thirty minutes or so before the first Green Turtle hauled itself up the beach and started to dig a hole in the sandy beach. By five o'clock we had watched eleven Green Turtles lay their eggs before disppearing back into the moonlit ocean. And we disappeared back to Con Dao Island before our speedboat moored nearby was left high and dry by the fast receding tide.

Photo of Roseate Terns by Jonathan C. Eames

12 July 2010

Red-collared Woodpeckers at Cuc Phuong!

After a slow day in Tam Dao (see report from Sunday, June 27th), Paul Schwyzer and I (Stephan Lauper) visited Cuc Phuong for the weekend, 3rd and 4th of July. Even though summer is definitely not prime birdwatching season, we did not regret it.

Arriving at headquarter in the mid-after noon sun, we were welcomed by Brown-backed Needletails, Green-eared Barbets, at least three Long-tailed Broadbills and a Red-headed Trogon. Not too bad as a start. A late afternoon stroll from Bong Substation along the Valley Trail was at first very calm. However, just after entering the forest we came upon a loud party of woodpeckers. After some time we could locate the birds and were more than happy to realise that there were at least three Red-collared Woodpeckers. Not the easiest species to see. After a couple of minutes of great views they disappeared into the deeper forest. More than satisfied we went back to headquarter. A late evening stroll around headquarter did not reveal any sign of nightbirds.

Sunday morning we started from the headquarters before dawn hoping to see a Malayan Night-heron on the road to Bong. Unfortunately, there was no sign of the elusive bird. At the substation we headed for the loop trail and the first section was quite good. We had Rufous-throated Fulvetta, Grey-throated Babblers, Rachet-tailed Treepies and a couple of Silver-breasted Broadbills. Nice! However, the activity slowed down very quickly and at 9am we were heading back. Just before leaving the forest, Paul was able to observe an immature Pitta. Did you made up your mind Paul what species it was? After an unsuccessful search for the bird we took the car to the headquarters.

As usual after Cuc Phuong, we made a stop at Van Long. However, we were much too early and the sun was burning without pity. We saw some nice species: White-browed Crake, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Black Bittern, Watercock etc. Unfortunately, the Delacour’s Langurs did not show themselves. I am still very sorry Paul!

4 July 2010

3.7.2010: Cutia and Crocias in Ta Nung, 4:0 in Cape Town

First thanks a lot to Simon and John for the idea and setting this up!

I (Florian) was on passage in Dalat and had a short morning visit to Ta Nung at 3.7.2010. Luyen and his monster-lens also joined in a little later in the morning. No extraordinary sightings, but really good and prolonged views of 2 of my favorite Dalat regulars:

Two pairs of Grey-crowned Crocias were doing some chattering, preening and funny bowing things during quite a while right in front of me in the pines along the track leading down to the valley, and a family of at least four Vietnamese Cutias were very active around the field, with the young sitting and calling in the bean plantation and the parents flying back and forth from the surrounding trees to the field. Wonderful views in the morning sun, pity that Luyen was too lazy to get up early and get some nice shots.

Otherwise a very typical, means pleasant morning in Ta Nung Valley. Warm and sunny, bird calls from everywhere, including Orange-breasted Laugingthrush singing and Black-hooded Laugingthrushes laughing close by. Did not try to stalk them but invested quite some work to get good views of a Pygmy-Wren Babbler and glimpses of Lesser Shortwing.

A good start for a day that was to end much better than one can even dream of, at least if one is German and not Argentinian...

(other birds seen: Black-browed Barbet, Black-headed Sibia, Mountain Fulvetta, White-bellied Yuhina, White-browed Shrike-Babbler, White-cheeked Laughingthrush, Black, Gray-eyed and Mountain Bulbul, Gray-bellied Tesia (heard), Mountain and Common Tailorbird, Hill Prinia, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Ashy Drongo, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Gray-headed Canary-Flycatcher, Asian Fairy-bluebird, White-throated Fantail, Mountain Imperial-Pigeon, Slaty-backed Forktail, Verditer Flycatcher, Tree Sparrow, Black-collared Starling, Black-throated Sunbird, Gould's Sunbird, House Swift (corrected), White-rumped Munia, Bay Woodpecker, Grey-cheecked Warbler, Burmese Shrike)