Welcome to Vietnam Bird News

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

25 September 2012

More Asian Openbill in North Vietnam

Dear All!

Sunday 23 Sep, I had the chance taking some school childrens visit Dao Co Thanh Mien at Thanh Mien District, Hai Duong Province (about 80 km from Hanoi). I was a little bit surprise with about 250 Asian Openbill roosting at the garden with very peaceful even many visitors around them.

An adult-non breeding individual

Very peaceful group


Even on the top of a small pagoda

Hung Le

24 September 2012

Hanoi : Phylloscs "influx"

HANOI – Some sightings at 4 wooded/scrubby city patches last week (17th - 23th Sept) during noon strolls.

On the phylloscs front, Eastern Crowned Warblers seems less abundant than one week ago. Some Arctic and Yellow-browed Warblers, but few compared to Sulphur-breasted Warblers and "Blyth’s Leaf Warblers", flitting everywhere around. The carambola orchard at Gia Lam was full of warblers (especially Sunday 16th Sept, a fantastic day) fluttering through all levels, many times at eye-level - excellent opportunities of photo! Concerning the undergrowth-dwellers, Pale-legged Leaf Warblers were spotted in the 4 patches + a glimpse of a Dusky Warbler. More experienced birders would have probably added to this list some rarer Warblers not easy to ID such as Hume’s and Two-barred Greenish.

On the flycatchers front, the best were:

- 1cy Brown-chested Jungle Fly spotted Sunday morning 16th Sept. by the dream team JHJ (Jonathan-Hung-John), seen by me at 15 pm the same day (1 hour and half in the orchard : 2 brief views. Hard job !) and again by Hung the 18th

- 1 Brown-breasted Fly

- 1 (supposed) Klossi Blue-throated Fly

Also the first Taiga Flys of the autumn (1st sighting the 16th Sept, now present in all the 4 patches).
Yellow-rumped, Asian Brown, Hainan Blue, Hill/Chinese Blue Fly, Black-naped Monarch, Asian Paradise Fly still hanging around (in all the 4 patches), + Dark-sided Fly in only 1 patch.

Other migrants included my first Drongos of the autumn (Ashy, both leucogenis and mouhoti races, and Spangled), some Sparrohawks non ID, Siberian Blue Robins (2 seen + other individuals heard), many Seicercus sp. (cf Bianchi’s), 1 Forest Wagtail, 1 Black-capped Kingfisher, Black-naped Orioles (in the 4 patches), 1 Thick-billed Warbler, 2 Orange-headed Thrushes...

As Hung wrote, we have to share the Gia Lam patch with many hunters. I thought they were after Drongos, Black-winged Cuckooshrikes or Orioles, but in fact they shoot absolutely everything - even flycatchers. I asked a guy who just killed a Hainan Blue Fly : “why do you shoot so tiny birds?”, he answered: “cho vui thôi!” (“for fun!”); and “what will you do with this bird?”, he said : “cho meo an” (“I will give it to my cat”). Pathetic..
Sharing a birding patch with hunters is tragic. Nevertheless let’s stay optimistic, guns are much “better” than mist nets - at least for passerines !

 Pale-legged Leaf Warbler

 Sulphur-breasted Warbler - many sightings recently

 "Blyth’s Leaf Warbler" - also one of the phylloscs the most frequently encountered the last days.
Many of them show a very grey head

 Asian Paradise Flycatcher

 1cy Brown Shrike

 Male Chinese/Hill Blue Flycatcher

The very pale breast and the throat-triangle recalls the race klossi of Blue-throated Flycatcher, but this taxon is confined to southern Indochina!

Last April, I photographed a very similar bird, at Lenin Park (photo below).

 male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher

 male Black-naped Monarch

 1cy Taiga Flycatcher with the beak wide open (still hot here).
Browner than the adults, buffy greater covert/tertial tips.
Photographed at a rubbish dump as you can see. What a nice perch!

 Eating a worm

 An interesting male Hainan Blue Flycatcher with a white throat-triangle

 Brown-breasted Flycatcher, 23th Sept.
Other sightings at Hanoi : 27th August 2010, 9th September 2010, 16th October 2010, 27th March 2012. Regular, but scarce passage migrant.

female Orange-headed Thrush ssp aurimacula (white median covert tips, dark ear-bars), 23th Sept. A fabulous looking species! She was in a very dark area, I had to set the ISO to 3.200, with a speed of… 1/20s. I steadied my camera against a tree trunk, took a deep breath... and the result is not so bad.

The same bird in better conditions

I also spotted this male the same day, at another place (yes, still hot here..).

20 September 2012

Some more photos at Gia Lam patch (Hanoi)

Hi Friends! With the kindly help of Sebastien, I have several chances visiting the patch at Gia Lam (Hanoi). Great place on some days with many birds but confusion some days with few birds but hunters. However, I got some more new photos for me - particularly the 1cy Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher (spotted the 16th Sept. with Jonathan Eames and John Parr, and again the 18th).

Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher (1cy : lower mandible partly black, tertials buff tipped).
The individual photographed by Sebastien (13th Sept.) exactly at the same place (almost on the same tree!) was an adult (lower mandible entirely yellow)

male Chinese/Hill Blue Fly
female Chinese/Hill Blue Fly

Sulphur-breasted Warbler

1 cy Tiger Shrike

Yellow-browed Warbler

Bianchi's Warbler

Long-billed Plover (Vinh Thuy Bridge, 16th Sept.)
Hung Le

13 September 2012

Jungle Flycatcher in the urban jungle

HANOI : Productive noon stroll at my new patch (the carambola orchard at Gia Lam), with some different (and unexpected) migrants showing up. Cool weather means that the dry season has arrived, making birding much more comfortable - especially at noon!

After 15 minutes walking very slowly in the orchard (partly because I came face to face with a big snake resting on branches three days ago), I got a fleeting glimpse of "something brown" dropping to the ground, and flying up to the branches. My view was obscured by vegetation, so I decided to wait it out. After 10 minutes the bird dropped down to the ground again like a small Thrush or a Robin, caught something and perched on a branch at eye-level. I put my bins on it and recognized the familiar shape - chunky build, rather long and stout bill - of a Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher.
I approached it closer ; unfortunately, it was rather backlit and impossible to get better view.

In 2010, we (Florian, Falk, Simon and I) had many sightings of this scarce species in the main hanoian's parks (i.e. Lenin and Botanical Garden), between the 4th September and the 5th October.
The Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher is listed as globally threatened (read here).

An unobtrusive and quiet flycatcher, sitting still for long periods.

Note the hooked tip of the bill

Brownish upper breast, pinkish legs, rather long bill with yellowish lower mandible, whitish throat...

"Wow, I've never seen a fruit like that!"

Whilst chasing the Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher I also managed to photograph this female Chinese/Hill Blue Flycatcher :

... and much more interesting : a Sulphur-breasted Warbler (only a handful of sightings in the city patches) :