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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..).


  1. Hi Seb!

    Greats photos as usual. Please checking information on of the Asianbirding issue (13, 15 or 16) about Klossi -Blue-throated Flycatcher as I and Robson have mentioned the occurence of this race migrated over East Tonkin.


    Hung Le

  2. Fabulous post, Seb! Gotta love it. I keep watching..

  3. Seb - some great photos here! Leach's Petrel was a welcome county tick for me in Suffolk (UK) yesterday, but I would love to be watching passerine migration in South-east Asia right now, particularly the Phylloscs! Perhaps we'll find an Eastern Crowned in Suffolk in the next month amongst the expected Yellow-broweds....Dream on!
    David Walsh

  4. Hi friends!

    Yes I think it is a rather good beginning of the migration season.
    Concerning the klossi Blue-throated Flycatcher, if it is a migrant here in East Tonkin, I don't really understand where is its final destination? A bird confined to southern Indochina that migrate north in the automn, that is a bit strange, no ?
    Maybe the term of "vagrant" is more appropriate ?

    Bad news : the Jungle-Flycatcher has been shot dead last week (the 21th Sept exactly, Hung sent me a picture). Just for fun...

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