Welcome to Vietnam Bird News

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

29 September 2010

Hill Blue Fly ?

Hi all,

Some pictures of a flycatcher seen today in the Lenin Park. I think it's the Hill Blue (I have no experience of this bird, never seen !) ; what do you think ? Observed also 1 very shy Black-capped Kingfisher in the canopy.


28 September 2010

BCJF in the botanical gardens

28/09/2010 8am-9am

A rushed visit to the botanical gardens produced one each of the following:
Pale-legged Warbler
Mugimaki Flycatcher
Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher

and at least one each of the following:
Siberian Blue Robin
Brown Flycatcher
Brown Shrike
Two-barred Greenish, Arctic and Yellow-browed Warblers.


26 September 2010

1st winter Brown-Chested Jungle Flycatcher - Lenin Park

Hi guys,

Good observation of 1 very cooperative Brown-Chested Jungle Flycatcher at the Lenin Park. Many close-ups. A bird which didn't make big difference between me and the trunks. Clearly not the one seen last thursday at the same place, which was not easy to approach. And for an another reason : the BCJF of thursday had obvious yellowish lower mandibule, but this one had a blackish one. So some problems of identification and the impression - unfortunately wrong - during some minutes to be in front of a new species of Jungle Flycatcher.

" First winter BCJF : dark lower mandibule tip, warm buff greater cover/tertial tips" (ROBSON).
But here, it's more than the lower mandibule tip which is dark, but the two-thirds !

One of the things I've noticed about this bird was its special hunting technique, which was not really "Flycatcher style" but more "Robin style". It was perched on the lowest branches, for rather long periods of observation (30-40 seconds, sometimes much more). It flew down and catched all its preys on the ground, I never seen it capturing something in the air like the other Fly.

I also seen it killing big preys (looks like caterpillars) by hitting them several times on its perch (like a Common Kingfisher stun a fish by hitting its head on a branch, but with a movement back and forth right-left). Photo below.


25 September 2010

Dalat Tuyen Lam Lake

I had a pretty good morning at my favourite area at Tuyen Lam Lake in Dalat. 56 species seen (not including various Phyllos warblers due to lack of ID-skills).
Just some of the nicer ones: Black-hooded and Collared Laughingthrush, Grey-crowned Crocias, Red-billed Scimitar-Babbler, Chestnut-fronted Shrike-babbler and (Dalat) White-browed Shrike Babbler, Eye-browed Wren-babbler, Brown-throated Treecreeper, Indochinese Green Magpie, Yellow-billed Nuthatch, Dark-sided Flycatcher, Large Niltava, Little Pied Flycatcher, White-tailed Robin, Maroon and Slender-billed Oriole, Burmese Shrike, Black-collared and Vinous-breasted Starling, Streaked Spiderhunter, Bay Woodpecker, Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker and Greater Flameback.
Quite a pleasant change from city birding...
Cheers, Florian

Lenin Park, Hanoi

Photo stroll at noon. Below some pics of 1 Seicercus Warbler which have the particularity to have a wing-bar, my first observation after 7 or 8 individuals without it.

Discrete on the right side...

but more obvious on the left one


24 September 2010

Lenin Park, Hanoi

Hi all,

Just want to share 2 pics taken this morning at the Lenin Park.
I wish you a good weekend !

1st winter male Siberian Blue Robin, skulking on the ground, at the foot of bamboo thickets beside vegetable gardens.

A cute 1st winter Dark-sided Fly


Botanical gardens 24/09/10

Between 8 and 9 am this morning there were:
Asian Brown Fly 3
Dark-sided Fly 3
Taiga Fly 2
Asian Paradise Fly 1 (female race incei - same as yday)
Radde's Warbler 1
Pale-legged Warbler 1
Yellow-browed Warbler 3+
Eastern Crowned Warbler 3
Greenish Warbler 2+

Birds were well spread out over the park.


23 September 2010

Lenin Park, Hanoi

Hi all,

Mid-day stroll in the toilet area of the Lenin Park.
I have finally catched a glimpse of our current star, the Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher. Probably the one seen by Falk and Simon 2 days ago (I can not imagine it's a new one, but why not). It was perched ABOVE the toilets - with stunning views of mozzies armada below -, motionless and remained like this a rather long time, until I decided to approach it.

Its relative apathy contrasted with the big activity of some other birds around : 1 Dark-sided Fly, 1 Asian-brown Fly, 1 Asian Paradise Fly, 1 Taiga Fly, 1 Seicercus Warbler (Grey-crowned/Bianchi's ?, still no wing-bar...), 1 probable Eastern crowned Warbler + some other Phyllos non ID.
Taiga Flycatcher

Taiga and Brown-chested Jungle Flycatchers, Bot. Gardens

Lunch at Botanical Gardens: 1 Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, 2 Taiga, 2 or more Dark-sided, 2 Asian Brown, 2 female Yellow-rumped, 1 female Asian Paradise Flycatcher, 1 Ashy Drongo, 1 Greenish Warbler, 1 Eastern Crowned, 1 Yellow-browed and many more Phyllos warblers (maybe Simon can name some more...). And a tailless Hwamei.
Simon and Florian

22 September 2010

Ba Vi NP

Hi all,

after an early morning leave today (22nd September) to Ba Vi weather turned out to be not as cooperative as hoped for. Rain, fog and wind made birding become a real challenge at times.
We still managed to find amongst others:

1 Orange-headed Thrush, 1 female-type Siberian Rubythroat, 1 female Mugimaki Flycatcher, 2 Taiga Flycatchers, 2 Eastern Crowned Warbler, a probable Greenish Warbler, 1 probable White-tailed Leaf Warbler, 2 Sulphur-breasted Warblers, a flock of Red-billed Leiothrixes, Silver-eared Mesias (heard only), Golden Babblers, Orange-bellied Leafbirds and Black-throated and probably Fork-tailed Sunbird.

Florian and Falk

21 September 2010

Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher - Lenin Park, Hanoi

Hi all,

a late morning / lunchtime visit today (21st September) produced some excellent birds around the toilet area, Lenin Park.

1 Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher: This bird took some efforts to be identified correctly. Luckily, after a call Simon came over and we followed the bird together for about 30 - 40 minutes after we concluded it must be BCJF. It had no obviously hooked bill (only very slightly) but pretty much all of the other features looked good for this species - including behaviour!

Other birds of note were:

- 1 female-type Siberian Blue Robin

- 1 female Mugimaki Flycatcher

- 1 female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher

+ couple of Asian Brown Flycatchers, Arctic Warblers and Brown Shrikes.

No sign of yesterday's Phylloscopus armada.


Simon, Falk

Sibe Blue Robin in the botanical gardens

Today, 21/09/2010, I had the following in the botanical gardens between 8 and 9 am:
Siberian Blue Robin 1 adult male
Hainan Blue Flycatcher 1 male
Pale-legged Leaf Warbler 1
Arctic Warbler 3
Brown Shrike 1

A good morning!


Plus 1 Oriental / Eurasian Cuckoo up high in the trees and 1 Red-billed Blue Magpie. Didn't find the Blue Robin (at about 10.30).

20 September 2010

Lenin Park, Hanoi, Phylloscopus 'influx'

Hi all,

today (20th September) a mid-day walk through Lenin Park turned out to be a true leaf warbler ID challenge! 12 - 15 Phylloscs were seen of which 8 were identified as:

- 1 Hume's Leaf Warbler (at the roundabout)
- 1 Blyth's Leaf Warbler (near the 'starling' tree)
- 2 Eastern Crowned Warblers
- 2 Yellow-browed Warblers
- 2 Arctic Warblers

The best spot was at a small roundabout near a badminton court in the toilet area. There's a sculpture of 2 people pulling each other. Also, construction's going on here but the birds don't seem to care.
Apart from the Warblers there were also 3 Asian Brown Flycatchers here.

The area around the 'starling' tree (which had no starlings in it today, whatsoever) was good, too. Most birds were seen in 'Keo' trees ('Flame' trees).

At the northern entrance area there were 2 more Asian Brown Flycatchers, 2 Dark-sided Flycatchers (one of them without dark sides but with dark-centred undertail coverts) and 1 Brown Shrike.


18 September 2010

Red River Island

2 Barred Buttonquails, 1 Wryneck, 3 Grey-headed Lapwings, 1 Asian Brown Flycatcher, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, several Common ringed Plovers (edit: probably Little RP), Olive-backed and probably Paddyfield Pipits, lots of Brown Shrikes, 1 Stonechat, Common, Pied and Black-capped Kingfishers, some Yellow Wagtails, 2 Black-shouldered Kites, 2 Plaintive Cuckoos, 2 Lesser Coucals, 2 Snipes sp, several Phylloscopus Warblers, seen by Christian and Florian

17 September 2010

Citrine Wagtails - Red River Island

Hi all,

Photo blind today in the Red River Island, northern tip, near a small pond. Seen some Citrine Wagtails, 2 or 3 (but maybe more, because of problem to identify clearly 1st winter Yellow/Citrine).
Some pics :

Adult + maybe 1st winter

with a Yellow one

And the Red-Billed Starlings were still there, still bathing... 7 individuals.


Warblers in the botanical gardens

Despite the noisy crowds, the magic corner still held 1 Seicercus sp., 1 Greenish and 2 Arctic Warblers this morning. It's going to be even worse over the weekend, but at least people are staying out of our favored spot.

16 September 2010

Lenin Park, Hanoi

Hi all,

this morning (16th September) a walk through the northern and eastern parts of the park (including toilets, of course) produced the following - as always amongst others: at least 3 Dark-sided Flycatchers, 3 Asian Brown Flycatchers, 2 Yellow-rumped Flycatchers (1 female-type, 1 first year male), 1 probable male Hainan Blue Flycatcher, 8 or more Arctic Warblers (with one bird being confusingly brownish-colored on the back), about 30 - 40 Purple-backed Starlings still in the fruiting tree Florian has marked on his map.
Florian, Falk

And at lunch in the botanical gardens there was 1 Asian Brown Flycatcher, 2 Brown Shrikes and 1 Arctic Warbler.

And a Verditer Fly in the Lenin Park, the one seen yesterday by Florian. A lifer for me...
If I summarize, 5 species of Fly today over there, good !
And if I add the Brown-breasted and other species seen last winter and springer (Mugimaki, Red-throated, Blue-and-white and Fujian niltava - wintering !-), at least 10 species of Fly (let alone Asian Paradise-Fly and Grey-headed Canary Fly) have stopped in this area as big as a football ground. Not bad for an urban park.

Verditer Flycatcher/Lenin Park
Dark-sided Flycatcher/Lenin Park

15 September 2010

Hainan Blue Flycatcher - Lenin Park

Immediately after reading the last post of Florian, I went to the Lenin Park with 1 goal : the Hainan Blue Flycatcher ! I always seen this bird in the understory shade, never in the sunlight. Pics always look dull, washed out, blue is faded...
But today I have discovered a little jewel. Thanks Florian !


Flycatchers and Starlings in Lenin Park

Another rainy morning, so we did not go to the island. Richard went to Lenin Park instead, where he quickly found his 3rd lifer of the trip, the Yellow-rumped Flycatcher. I (Florian) joined him a little later and it turned out not too bad: Lots of Flycatchers: 3 Dark-sided, 1 Asian Brown, 2 Hainan Blue, 1 Verditer. That fruiting tree Sebastien photographed yesterday still had plenty of Purple-backed Starlings, so I finally got to see them as well. I thought there were 2 White-shouldered among them, but not sure. I also saw a yellow vent and streaked belly which think must have belonged to a juv. Black-naped Oriole. And 2 Brown Shrikes and a Cuckoo sp.
That area behind the toilets had 4 flycatchers alone, so even if smelly definitely a good spot.

And in order to distract myself from urgent work, i played a little with google maps. The locations of starlings and that place behind the toilets:

Lenin Park Hanoi auf einer größeren Karte anzeigen

14 September 2010

200 Starlings brighten up the leaden sky of Hanoi

Hi all,

Some news about our Purple-backed Starlings. Well, they seems to be much more numerous than before, that's good. Today at noon, at Lenin Park, I encountered a large flock of around 200 individuals that were gorging themselves on small fruits.

I stayed a rather long time over there and didn't noticed any other species among them. 100% Purple-backed !

The flock above the Park Lenin Lake. I counted 200-210 birds, you can try !

But before, without the help of the camera, I estimated it around... 60-80 individuals -- ughh !


Rainy day birding in Hanoi

Having spent the past two weeks reading on this blog about all those fabulous migrants that have been turning up in Hanoi I just had to get up north. Rain stopped play for the planned visit to the Red River Delta with Florian & Falk this morning so the morning was spent birding around the botanical gardens and the Presidential Gardens/Ho Chi Minh Museum area. Not the best of birding conditions but finally caught up with the Purple-backed Starlings near to the Ho Chi Minh Museum and then on my second visit to the Botanical Gardens later in the morning a Brown-chested Jungle-Fly showed up. Florian and Falk also caught up with the jungle-fly. Not a lot else of note apart from an Asian Paradise Flycatcher in the bot gardens and a Tiger Shrike and Burmese Shrike in the gardens behind the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. We'll try again for the Red River Delta tomorrow rain permitting ...

Richard Craik

13 September 2010

Park/Island - Hanoi

Hi guys,

Short stroll Sunday to the Lenin Park : 2 females Yellow-Rumped Fly and 1 Asian Paradise Fly skulking in the thickets.
Red River Island : Some Pacific Golden Plovers...

2-3 Green Sandpipers...

1 Common Greenshank...

Flocks of Yellow Wagtails (males macronyx)

+ 1 Purple Heron, some Common Sandpipers, small flocks of White Wagtails leucopsis, 2 Oriental Skylarks and some Paddyfield Pipits in the cultivation, some Quails/Buttonquails sp and 1 Snipe Sp...
And 1 Wryneck... in a cage, caught 2 weeks ago by the son of the family where I park my bike. I have already started the first round of negotiations for its release...

12 September 2010

Botanical Garden

Around 1pm, Hanoi Botanical Garden, Simon and Florian: 2 female Yellow-rumped and 2 Asian Brown Flycatcher around the eastern pond. Army is gone, luckily.

11 September 2010

Army occupies Botanical Gardens, Hanoi

The Vietnam People's Army has occupied and secured the corner in Hanoi's Botanical Gardens in order to end suspicious activities of foreigners lurking around and spying through binoculars. A noisy generator has been placed in the middle of that area to keep migrants from taking shelter.

Consequently no bird seen this morning, except a White-throated Kingfisher at the pond. Florian

Around lunch time I wandered around the rest of the botanical gardens where I saw 1 male Hainan Blue Flycatcher, 1 each of Greenish and Eastern Crowned Warbler and 2 Black-winged Cuckoo Shrikes.


10 September 2010

Photo blind - Red River Island

Two hours in a photo blind built in front of the small pond at the tip of the Red River island produced this, amongst others :

SMART : White Wagtail ssp leucopsis (note the heart on the breast !)

GORGEOUS : White-Throated Kingfisher

PHOTOGENIC : Black-Headed Munia (a dozen)

WET : Red-Billed Starling (6 at least)

Seen also a small flock of Purple-Backed Starlings, 2 Black-Collared Starlings, 7 Pacific Golden Plovers, some Wood Sandpipers etc...


Cuc Phuong Botanical Gardens

Hi guys,

some short news from other botanical gardens than the hanoians.
A quick morning walk (1,5h) produced 38 species.

Birds of note included:

1 Shikra catching a snake, 2 Crested Goshawks displaying, 2 or more Blue-throated Bee-eaters, about 15 Thick-billed Green Pigeons, 2 Brown Shrikes, 3 Yellow-rumped Flycatchers, 2 Asian Brown Flycatchers, 2 White-tailed Leaf Warblers, 4 Arctic Warblers, 8 White-winged Magpies, mixed flocks of Ratched-tailed Treepies, Ashy Drongos, Crow-billed Drongos, Bronzed Drongos and Greater Racket-tailed Drongos.

1 Small Asian Mongoose was crossing the path.


Almost forgot, here comes the pic of the poor Black-capped Kingfisher found in Bong (!).

Botanical gardens 10/09/10

A good morning in the botanical gardens with one each of Green-backed Flycatcher, Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Yellow-streaked Warbler, Arctic Warbler and the good old Tiger Shrike still lurking in the magic corner.


Edit: Went there just after Simon, but did not find the Green-backed any more. Instead: 3 Shrikes (2 brown, 1 not seen well) and Hill Blue Fly. Around the pond near the motorbike parking: 2 Arctic Warbler, one Ceicercus very much like the one Seb saw, 1 more Phyllos and a female Yellow-rumped Fly. Florian

Went there probably after Florian (very busy the mozzy corner these days !). Seen 3 Ceicercus Warbler - same style than the ones before - : 1 near the magical corner, and 2 together around the huge banian at the eastern part of the park. Didn't find the Green-backed Flycatcher too. But I will come back soon ! Sebastien.

9 September 2010

Brown-Breasted Flycatcher - Hanoi

Hi all,

This is a serie of shots of a Brown-Breasted Flycatcher seen today 9 september at the Lenin Park, at noon. Exactly the same place where I have observed the Ceicercus Warbler one day before (which was still hanging around). An another magical corner, mozzy-infested too, where I have twitched some goodies last April-May...
This bird could also have been called Moustached Flycatcher I think...


Cuc Phuong NP - Part ll

Hi all,

still hot, still flycatcher food around plus the additional leech. In other words - perfect conditions to stay home! Well, I didn't, so I had to face all of the above obstacles while checking the Valley Trail from Bong Substation. Generally a very quiet day.
En route to Bong a Malayan Night Heron was flushed from the road (unpurposefully!).

Bong itself held not so many birds with 3 Arctic Warblers, a mixed group of Greater Yellownapes and Bay Woodpeckers being the more interesting ones.

The Valley Trail was a bit more birdy. Notable species/numbers were:
about 24(!) Greater Yellownapes along the trail (just a rough guess, maybe more), about 5 Bay Woodpeckers, 1 female Pale-headed Woodpecker, 1 Bar-bellied Pitta (heard only), couple of Limestone Wren Babblers, 2 Rufous-capped Babblers, 1 White-tailed Flycatcher, about 10 Hill Mynas, gazillions of Crow-billed Drongos and Asian Paradise Flycatchers.

And again a Crab-eating Mongoose was seen right at the beginning of the trail and gave excellent views!

4 gunshots were heard, too. Apparently hunters tend to shoot these days more than they trap - no wonder, now that they snared everything (apart from smaller mammals).


Flycatcher in Botanical Garden

This morning in the corner in Botanical Garden: 1 Tiger Shrike and one Flycatcher that I could not clearly ID because I got only to see it from below, it kept staying high up:
- overall whitish breast, belly and vent
- sides of breast slightly brownish-grey, no streaks
- white throat, sides slightly mottled
- bill, seen from below only: regular triangle shape, very pointy, not broad base as in Asian Brown, yellow
- feet pink, sometimes seemed yellowish depending on light.
- dark eye without prominent eyring
- head sides grey, a little lighter from eye, or slighly higher than eye to bill base
- back and head from above not seen well, overall impression uniformely grey or brownish

I watched it a while, it remained rather statical above, right under the canopy of a smaller tree.

Not sure what that could be. Maybe another Jungle Fly?

Check it out and tell me what it is! ;)


8 September 2010

Hanoi parks

Hi all,

Seen again, but this time at the Reunification Park (ex-Lenin Park), 1 Ceicercus Warbler. And again the same question : what's your name ? Frustrating...

This bird was easy to find, to approach and to shoot, moving in low vegetation, silently. If you are interesting : eastern gate of the park - street Nguyen Dinh Chieu -, you walk 50m, turn left, 100m more. There are public toilets, it's here !

In our moozy-corner of the Botanical Garden, brief view of 1 Cyornis Flycatcher male high in the branches (Hainan Blue or White-Tailed).


Red River Island

Early (actually too early, no need to go before 5:30 now) morning visit to the island, Simon and myself, Florian:

1 Wryneck, 4 Asian Brown Flycatcher, 2 female Yellow-rumped Fly, lots of Brown Shrike, 1 Green Sandpiper, a few Little Ringed Plovers, 1 Pacific Golden Plover, Pied, White-throated and Common Kingfisher, some Paddyfield Pipits, 2 Black-shoulderd Kite, a flushed Quail and Snipe Sp., 2 Black-collared Starlings whose calls gave me some Dalat feel, probably escapees but maybe not?, 1 green Lovebird-shaped thing, a small Accipiter Sp., 2 Phyllos warblers, a distant flock of flying pond herons with some darker grey birds that could have been night herons.

7 September 2010

Cuc Phuong NP - Pittas

Hi all,

despite almost unbearable heat plus humidity and mozzy-infested air Cuc Phuong had some nice birds today (7th September).

Amongst others there were:

Brown Hawk Owl, Collared Scops Owl, Collared Owlet, Asian Barred Owlet (all heard only), Red-headed Trogon, Yellow-rumped Flycatcher - all around the reception area.

3 species of Woodpecker (of course no sign of Red-collared), 5 species of babbler (including Limestone Wren Babbler), Blue-rumped and Bar-bellied Pitta (both species heard,only the briefest of views of the latter one), Racket-tailed and Ratchet-tailed Treepies, Red-headed Trogons, Rufous-throated and Grey-cheeked Fulvettas, White-crested Laughingthrush all found around the Loop Trail.

At the start of the Loop Trail a friendly NP staff member brought me a dizzy Black-capped Kingfisher which apparently decided to fly against the window of a souvenir shop. It recovered after some minutes and took off. Pictures will follow as soon as I'm back in Hanoi.

Mammals of interest: 2 Crab-eating Mongooses plus the usual myriads of squirrels and tree-shrews.


6 September 2010

Botanical gardens 6/09/10

Lunch time wander round the magic corner of the botanical gardens yielded a smart Forest Wagtail as well as a brief shrike sp. (Brown or Tiger) and an Arctic Warbler.

The starlings are still hanging out near Truch Bach, in case anyone still cares.


Cat Ba beach

Hi all,

Weekend at Cat Ba Island with my small dove.
Seen around the parasol 1 Blue Rock Trush and a large flock of 90-100 White-Shouldered Starlings.

Sunday evening : 2 Red-Billed Starlings at the north tip of the Red River island, were bathing near waders. A Purple Heron too.