You have got to love the Vietnamese block on many web and blog sites. While I can access our blog from Hanoi, no such joy from Nha Trang or Mui Ne, but when I used Tor Project, to hide my location, no problems at all. The same goes for my friends Gerry's blog of Birds from Thailand and beyond, which I cannot access from Hanoi either (unless I use Tor). Might be worth remembering, if you will be travelling around Vietnam and want to access these blogs.
For my last 2 weeks in Vietnam, I had organised 4 days in Dalat, followed by leaving the family in Mui Ne, and heading off for a Pilgrimage to Cat Tien. For the first time, I memorized the endemics there, and their calls. It was not to be. Terrible weather in Dalat meant the Vietnam Airlines flights were cancelled, so a rapid change of plan was needed - Nah Trang it was. Bugger!
I obtained a morning pass up to Yen Bay, but it was very poor birding compared to previous trips, with no birds of note, in the forests, broken scrub edges, or rivers.
A few days later driving to Mui Ne, we saw a Hoopoe, which I thought was interesting, until I saw how many there were around Mui Ne. The other bird that interested me (as I have seen no crows in Vietnam) was a solitary crow, in Minh Chau, about 40km north of Mui Ne, which I tentatively identified as a House Crow. I saw not one raptor so far on this trip, which is kind of strange.
I did not have high hopes of birding around Mui Ne, but have had some interesting moments. Yesterday afternoon, like a fool I walked up the hills, in the heat, into the (almost) desert. I saw a very large brown owl, but before I could get near enough to ID it, a group of myna ganged up and chased it away. I kept seeing either yellow or dull coloured sunbirds in the more arid areas. Not where I would expect to see Olive-backed sun-birds. It took me two days until I finally saw a male and could clinch the ID. Seems to be a real gender imbalance here, and they are not where Robson suggests. Some plain backed sparrows took me a long time to ID as well, as I failed to see the grey strip on the top of their heads. LOL.
This morning I was the first person up Fairy Stream. Lots of both Chestnut-capped and Green Bee-eaters close up are always cool to see. A juvenile Yellow-vented bulbul (I think) sat within metres of me, which was nice (image below). Right at the top of the valley, just above the waterfall, I saw a red woodpecker. When it flew, it presented similar colours to a Coucal, and when perched on the coconut trees, the head and back appeared uniformly coloured (at a large distance), but shading to a darker tail. The darker bill lead me to call Rufous, rather than Bay Woodpecker. No time for good images, and it was gone when I thought I was closer, but if anyone can confirm from the poor image below, thanks in advance.
As I write this, a very pale coloured tern, with very slender wings, and a largish bill, is working up the beach against the wind. Terntatively, using Robson I think it is a Gull-billed tern.