Last chance for birding in Vietnam for quite a while, I chose Cuc Phuong for that (16.-18.12.2010). Christian went with me. We spent 2 nights there, first at the HQ, second at Bong, with a stop at Van Long on the way back. It was quite cold, except the last afternoon, which was as good as weather can get in northern Vietnam.
First I tried to look for the Pied Falconet, which I still needed to see despite a few previous attempts. Easy this time, one bird was at the spot indicated by Simon, then a family of 4 perched near the gate at the end of the road through the botanical garden, and finally one more showed nicely and real close at Bong.
Luck was with us, when we flushed a Blue-rumped Pitta on the valley trail, which wasn't too scared and allowed for wonderful close views. Really nice bird, with almost all blue back. Very happy about that, after having tried many times in Cat Tien to find that one. Even better, we saw one more briefly the next day on the loop trail.
Earlier in the morning on the stairs to the loop trail (starting from the swimming pool), we met a family of Silver-breasted Broadbills, with a lot of small birds around. I could not concentrate well on those however, as Bar-bellied Pittas started to call from two sides. One came in to the tape and crossed hurriedly the trail, giving short but nice views.
Descending towards the big old tree, we got great views of a pair of Silver Pheasants. There where a few more nice birds around, here is the complete trip list.
At Van Long, we couldn't take the boat to see the Delacour's Langurs as apparently water is too low now, but we managed to find them in the scope from the dike. Quite far but nicely seen climbing over the rocks, at least 8 adults with 1 baby.
A Peregrine made a spectacular show by snatching a water bird (I didn't see what it was, but from size I guess it was a Crake) and then taking it to the top of the nearest rock for us to watch him plucking and eating his prey...
That was a great last trip of 2,5 years birding in Vietnam. Hope to get more of that in one of the holidays to come, and hopefully with you guys then! I enjoyed it to be out with you and I definitely learned a lot from you... Thanks for that!
Keep up posting good stuff here for me to envy!
A few more pics taken by Christian: