Welcome to Vietnam Bird News

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

31 August 2010

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher - Hanoi

hi all,
just want to share some photos
and bring a touch of color to this webpage

Yellow-rumped Fly - Botanical Garden
Brown Shrike - Lenin Park
31st August


Red River Island

Hi all,

this morning, 31st August, our lovely island (Is there actually a proper name for it? Red River Island sounds a bit like Treasure Island or Fantasy Island!) hosted the following (as always just a selection here):

3 Common Kingfishers, 2 Pied Kingfishers, 2 White-breasted Kingfishers, a Plaintive Cuckoo still fed by a Common Tailorbird, 1 Greater Coucal, about 10 Snipes of which 2 were definite Pintail Snipes, 5 Common Snipes and the rest not id'd, only 1 Greenshank, 2 or 3 Green Sandpipers, 3 Common Sandpipers, 7 Wood Sandpipers, lots of Little Ringed Plovers (though one distant one had features of Common Ringed), 1 imm. Black-crowned Night Heron, 1 Yellow Bittern, 1 ad. male Brown Shrike, about 6 Yellow Wagtails (mostly 'thunbergi' but not all properly seen/heard).

Not a single flycatcher, thrush or warbler - pity.

Oh, almost forgot - 2 White-crested Laughingthrushes!


Purple-backed Starlings in Hanoi

A flock of 30-40 Purple-backed Starlings stopped to feed in a fruiting fig tree along the edge of Truc Bach lake this morning (31/08/10). After half an hour or so they headed off to the botanical gardens (as did I, where there was a 1st year male Yellow-rumped Fly). I first saw them on the 29th, whizzing past the window of my flat, but did not identify them until today.

Simon Mahood

Tiger Shrike in Hanoi

One immature Tiger Shrike in the botanical gardens at lunch today (30/08/10).

Also one female Yellow-rumped Fly and a bunch of escaped nonsense (Red-billed Blue Magpie, Mesias, etc)

Simon Mahood and Falk Wicker

30 August 2010

Da Lat (Ta Nung, Lang Bian, Ho Tuyen Lam)

Hi all,

a short trip to Da Lat proved to be successful for me as quite a few lifers turned up.

Da Lat itself held a Black-shouldered Kite and Asian House Martins over dried-out Xuan Huong Lake.

At Ta Nung Valley (26th August, morning) birds of note were Grey-crowned Crocias (heard only), lots of White-cheeked Laughingthrushes, Indochinese Green Magpie, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Verditer Flycatcher, Slaty-backed Forktail and Black-headed Sibia. Also one Black Giant Squirrel was seen.

Lang Bian (26th August, afternoon) produced no Greenfinches at all (which I really hoped to see here) but the walk up the mountain revealed some other goodies as Large Cuckooshrike,1 Scaly Thrush (breeder?!), Little Pied Flycatcher, Black-throated Tit, 2 Yellow-browed Warblers, 1 Arctic Warbler, White-tailed Leaf Warbler, Collared Laughingthrush (heard only), White-browed Shrike Babbler, Green-tailed Sunbird amongst many others.

Apart from the singing Gibbons Ho Tuyen Lam was also good for birds on the 28th. Interesting species included Osprey, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Greater Yellownape, Greater Flameback, Speckled Piculet, Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Burmese Shrike, Slender-billed Oriole, Hill Myna, Black-collared and Vinous-breasted Starling, Chestnut-capped Babbler, Vietnamese Cutia, Grey-crowned Crocias (again, heard only), White-browed and Chestnut-fronted Shrike Babbler + Vietnamese Greenfinch (finally). The best area for birds was up the new road construction site to the left just before the entrance to Da Tien Restaurant area.



29 August 2010

Red River Island 28 August 2010

Simon Mahood and Nicolas Wilkinson

An early morning trip in the pouring rain to the Red River Island proved worth the effort.
We saw:
Blue-breasted Quail 1 (Nicolas had 5 the previous weekend)
Quail sp. 1
Yellow-legged Buttonquail 1
Black Bittern 1
Black-winged Stilt 4
Green Sandpiper 10+
Wood Sandpiper 20+
Snipe spp. 150+ (Some Common, some probable Pintail)
Jack Snipe 2 (apparently the first record for East Tonkin)
Black-winged Kite 1
Burmese Shrike 1
Black-collared Starling 1 (escape)

Also 1 Dollarbird over Hanoi late the next day.

27 August 2010

Flycatchers are back in Hanoi !

Hi all !
Short stroll in the Botanical Garden (27th August).

Seen 1 Paradise-Flycatcher sp. female (just a glimpse, cannot rule out the possibility of the Japanese PF at this period of the year), 1 Yellow-Rumped Flycatcher female (1 photo on the left) and 1 "unknown" Muscicapa Flycatcher (2 photos above).
I think it's the Brown-Breasted F :

-brown warm above
-pale brown breast
-greyish head
-conspicuous white eye ring
-flesh colored legs, which seems to be an other good diagnostic feature (although not mentioned in the Robson). All the other Muscicapa Flycatchers of the Southeast Asia have blackish legs.

Well, Brown-Breasted Flycatcher or not ??
Need the opinions of the Vietnam's finest birders !!!


25 August 2010

Flowerpecker in Hanoi

One sub-adult male Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker has been hanging around the trees bordering Truc Bach Lake since yesterday morning at least (24th August 2010).

Simon Mahood

20 August 2010

Bach Ma NP 10th - 15th August

Hi everyone,

a 6 day trip to Bach Ma National Park revealed some good birds, though it was tough birding throughout with no access to higher elevations (from the Pheasant Trail on) and only being able to hike up the road. The upper part of the road towards the summit was blocked (road construction, which will continue for quite a while, apparently) and no vehicles were allowed inside the park.

Best birds seen/heard include: Annam Partridge (heard only; 100 metres away from the ranger's hut), Collared Scops Owl (heard only), Mountain Scops Owl (seen and heard; seems to be common), Brown Fish Owl (1 was heard calling on the night of the 14th-15th near the reception area; another Ketupa sp. was flushed near the Pheasant Trail on the 15th), Brown Hornbill (2 flyovers), 6 species of raptor, 3 species of bee-eater, Red-headed Trogon, Slaty-backed Forktail, Streaked Wren-babbler amongst others.
Mammals included gazillions of Tree-shrews, Red-bellied Squirrels, Taemiops-Squirrels, Yellow-throated Marten, 3 families of White-cheeked Gibbons.
Really quiet otherwise, with either unbearable heat or downpours.


17 August 2010

Sapa gloom

Past weekend (14.-16.8.2010) in Sapa, very wet weather and non-birders as company, so not the ideal pre-conditions for great birding. This is why I put my hope for the short stroll down to the "Golden Stream Love Waterfall" at the National Park Headquarters near Tram Tom pass. However that visit turned out rather depressing as they seem now following the Dalat example of tourist attractions and are working hard to turn that place into another Love Valley (starting with the name). Where last November was only a single path leading to the rather nice waterfall, they are now busy constructing paths all over, and it looks like there will be benches, pavilions and concrete mickey-mice as well soon. Two big concrete tanks look like there will be trout farming and restaurants too. I guess this place will be still ok for birding in future, but probably only early morning before the crowds arrive or with getting off the trails into the forest... It was not all gloom though, a little flock had some Golden-breasted Fulvettas, lifer for me.

Another depressing sight was a Silver-eared Laughingthrush in a cage at Sapa market, which I would have much preferred to see as lifer on Fansipan instead.


Ps: forgot to mention a bird in Ham Rong garden, that looked like a non-breeding male Sapphire Flycatcher, though the head seemed darker than the plate in the Robson. Are there non-breeding plumaged birds at this time of the year?

16 August 2010

29 Asian Openbills take a rest at Van Long Natural Reserve

Hi everyone,

Birding trip at Cuc Phuong (on 14th-15th). Nothing of particular interest for all of you, but not for me ! 2 new species in the pocket, I dare not tell you which ones... I send you a photo of a mammal. If you have any idea of the species, please tell me ! I was pishing along the Loop trail in order to attract hidden birds. My pish attracted nothing but this curious animal, which approached me less than 2 meters... Hey guy, buy glasses !

On the road back to Hanoi, short stop at Van Long, mainly to rest tired butt muscles (I am a motobirder, a rare species). The marshy area 1 km on the left of the small harbour for boat trips were full of Egrets (Little 60+, Great 15-20, Cattle 30 among buffaloes). A nice unexpected surprise was a group of 29 Asian Openbills with both juveniles and adults perched quietly on top of trees, for all the local people to... admire (not the most appropriate verb, I know). They choosed a small clump of willows (?) located 500m on the right of the boats place.

An erratic group of the wealthy thai population ?


Sébastien Delonglée

9 August 2010

Thu Bon River, Hoi An - Son Tra Peninsula

Hi all,

on a small island in Thu Bon River (near the Life Resort Hoi An) following birds showed up on the 7th:

2 Greater Sand Plovers, 1 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpipers, at least 5 White-breasted Waterhens, 2 Slaty-breasted Rails, 2 Long-tailed Shrikes, 2 White-breasted Kingfishers, at least 6 Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, about 25 Germain's Swiftlets.

On the 9th Son Tra produced amongst Javan Mongooses, Rhesus Macaques, Macaca sp. and two groups of Red-shanked Douc Langurs the following:

3 Black Eagles, 1 Crested Goshawk, 1 Oriental Honey-buzzard, 1 Pacific Reef Egret and hordes of Blue-tailed Bee-eaters plus road workers, hunters and loggers.



3 August 2010

Hanoi - Island of the Red River - a Hwamei whistles "Sweet Liberty"

Xin chao cac ban thich xem chim !

Short photo stroll to the island of the Red River, Hanoi, more precisely the small open "forest" in the middle.

First time I see a Hwamei outside a cage yeahh
But probably an escaped bird hu huu....
What do you think ?

Some other species there include a pair of Black-Shouldered Kites and 3 Cinnamon Bitterns in the fallow land around, flying out from dense - and dry - vegetation within a couple of metres. Some very shy Lesser Coucals added - basic - music and colour to this noon stroll.

Chuc cac ban 1 ngay vui ve nhe,


2 August 2010

Van Long Natural Reserve - Bonelli's Eagle

30th of july. Aroud 5PM. 1 adult and 1 immature circling along and above the limestone cliffs. Impressive raptor... At the same time, a family group of Delacour's Langurs lazed around. Hmm hmm... I don`t know if any cases of Bonelli`s predation on this rare primate have been noted there. The adult weight of a langur is about 7-10kg, so not small deal even for such a predator. But the young ones...
The 2nd of last may, I observed a Bonelli's immature flying low and quickly over the marsh, scolding by some Chinese Pond Herons. It perched on a rock, just above a small pagoda, not far from the dyke (200m), on the left side, and began to tear apart its prey (a bird, identication impossible).

Van Long, a paradise for birders, a well-stocked pantry for others...

Sébastien and Vân