Welcome to Vietnam Bird News

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

30 October 2012

Peregrine encounter

In autumn and winter, Peregrine Falcon is a frequent sight at HANOI, especially on the sandbars of the Red River. Photographing this raptor when it is on the ground is a real challenge. I tried many times, but without success. You can crawl 100 or 200 m on the sand like a US Marine - as I did recently with the Black Stork !-, but that doesn’t work with this type of guy, far from being stupid (that doesn’t mean that the Stork is a bloody stupid bird !). Flush distance : between 150 and 200 m, sometimes more. My equipment (400 mm lens) can not allow me to take a worthwhile image from that distance. Digiscoping equipment could be useful for this purpose.

Yesterday, I spotted a Peregrine Falcon sat on a sandbar, but not far from reed beds. Yeah, the opportunity I have waited for a long time ! I walked slowly through the reeds and I approached it at less than 80 m. I took some shots from the edge of the reed beds while remaining hidden one meter inside the vegetation – if not, it would have detected me immediately. I couldn't find a clean "shooting window" through the reeds, but I am really quite satisfied with the result. What a great bird !

27 October 2012

Ducks on the Red River/Hanoi

Today 27th October a flock of c.70 Garganeys + 1 Tufted Duck (the first one on the left in the pic below) on the Red River, 20km north of Hanoi. My first sighting of dabbling ducks at Hanoi !

+ 4 Asian Openbills searching a place for landing at dusk, some Pied and Eastern Marsh Harriers, 50 Kentish Plovers...

Not a great shot but my first Pied Harrier of the season, an interesting subadult male. This bird shows vestigial brown colouring on the secondaries, the upperwing coverts, the mantle and the nape, the iris isn't bright yellow, the sign it's a `young adult` not yet fully mature. But 3rd cy or 2nd cy ? That's the question !
I don't know how long it takes for a Pied Harrier to reach adult plumage.

A part of a flock of c.50 Kentish Plovers. A mainly costal species but also a rather common sight on the sandbars along the Red River (passage migrant & winter visitor).

Black Stork - Red River/Hanoi

At 15h00 on Friday 26 October I spotted a juv. Black Stork soaring above this area here along the Red River, c.25 km north of Hanoi. I lost it but found it again one hour later on the sandbar, in the same area.
This guy was not searching for food and I assume that it intended to stay here for the night.
I  crawled to within about c.100 meters of it. Pfiuu, photographing flycatchers in an orchard is much more easy!..


And a very poor video, which  I publish here really as a record and nothing else :

25 October 2012

Asian Openbills over Hanoi

Hi all!

Yesterday, in the way back from Bavi I saw 18 Asian Openbills soaring over the marshes area (near Thien Duong Bao Son - 8 km from Big C, Hanoi) at about 2 pm. They have tried to land but there were several people and also one hunter looked for other birds at the site. It seems to be they started migrating back to the breeding sites.

I stopped and have some more photos of Pheasant-tailed Jacanas then have to chased them before the hunter arrived.

The Raptors were slow at Bavi this week, but I have good shots of Grey-headed Parakeets (new photos for me in north of Vietnam).

Anyway, many birds have been sold along to the Thang Long highway including White-breasted Waterhen, Common Moorhen, Black-crowned Night Heron, Egrets, Doves, 01 Great Bittern and even many Drongos.


Hung Le

Asian Openbills soaring just above Thang Long highway

  Jacanas at the marshes area where Asian Openbill wanted to land

Grey-headed Parakeets at Bavi National Park

23 October 2012

More migrants and winter visitors

Hi all,

Below some photos taken recently at HANOI. Nothing very special, except a migrant Oriental Scops Owl in a lychee orchard at Vinh Thuy - a lifer for me! I am rather lucky with owls I think...

Passage migrants included leucogenis Ashy Drongos, Spangled Drongos, Ashy Minivets, Black-naped Orioles, obviously less Flycatchers than 2 weeks ago (but the first Grey-headed Canary Flys of the autumn around the 10th October, now they are everywhere), Orange-headed Thrushes (3 together), Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Black-browed Reed Warblers, Raddle's Warblers, Thick-billed Warblers,...

Winter visitors increased in numbers included Yellow-browed Warblers, Brown Shrikes, Siberian Stonechats, Grey Bushchats, Dusky Warblers... 

 Oriental Scops Owl.
According to Hung, the peak migration for this species in northern Vietnam is now (third week of October).

Orange-headed Thrush

Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher. Always spotted in small flocks.

female Grey Bushchat

 Black-browed Reed Warbler skulking in scrubs not far from water

1cy Asian Brown Flycatcher (?) feeding in a fruiting tree

Radde's Warbler

1cy Black-naped Oriole

Siberian Stonechat (scratching its head...)

Ashy Minivet

9 October 2012

Raptors migration at Bavi National Park

Dear All.

I have spent several days last two weeks at Bavi National Park for raptors migration. Several species have been recorded including Oriental Honey Buzzard (mostly Pale Morph >200), Crested Serpent Eagle (>10), Japanese Sparrowhawk (>50), Amur Falcon (>10), Grey-faced Buzzard, Chinese Sparrowhawk, Himalaya Buzzard, Pied Harrier and resident Crested Goshawk. Most of the migratory individuals were recorded at the high up so difficult to get the nice photos. I hope more raptors will passing the site this week or next week.

Crested Goshawk

Crested Serpent Eagle

Oriental Honey Buzzard (pale morph)

And here are more photos of Purple-backed Starling at cafe shop near Hoan Kiem lake, I and Sebastien have almost the same location.


Hung Le

3 October 2012

Hanoi : Migrants & happy escapees

HANOI - Some sightings last week (17th - 23th Sept) at different spots in the city.

  • Wooded/scrubby patches :
10 species of flycatchers seen (Yellow-rumped, Asian Brown, Dark-sided, Hainan Blue, Hill/Chinese Blue Fly, Klossi Blue-throated (1), Black-naped Monarch, Asian Paradise Fly, Grey-headed Canary Fly, Verditer).

More Dark-sided, Taiga than last week but less Yellow-rumped and Asian Paradise.
First sightings of the autumn of Grey-headed Canary Fly, Verditer Fly (both the 25th Sept) and Blue-whistling Thrush (27th Sept.).
+ Ashy and Splangled Drongos, Siberian Blue Robins, Seicercus Warbler sp., Black-naped Orioles (big flock at Botanical Garden), Orange-headed Thrushes…

On the phylloscs front: Eastern Crowned, Arctic, Yellow-browed, Dusky, Sulphur-breasted, "Blyth’s Leaf W.", Pale-legged Leaf W.

Also a flock of 5 Red-billed Leiothrix at Gia Lam, presumably - according to Hung - confiscated from cage-bird dealers and released back to “the wild”. Not genuine birds for sure, but nice sighting !
  • Vinh Thuy :
Mudflats :30 Grey-headed Lapwings, 1 wounded Black-winged Stilt, 50+ Kentish Plovers, small flock of Temminck’s Stints, 1 Red-necked or Little Stint (interesting sighting inland I think), 1 Peregrine Falcon + all the usual suspects.

Open fields/scrubs : many Black Drongos, Siberian Stonechats, Brown Shrikes, 1 Dollarbird heading north (?!). In the scrubs around and inside the small wooded area (an old lychee orchard) 1 lone White-browed Laughingthrush - presumably liberated itself from a cage. Also a male resident Shikra soaring above the orchard. I initially misidentified it as Japanese Sparrowhawk but the correct ID was pointed out to me by Hung.

  • Downtown Hanoi :
Purple-backed Starlings seen with Hung near the lake Hoan Kiem, a small flock of 10-20 individuals feeding in the high branches of a fruiting tree, with among them 1 orange-dyed individual and 1 White-shouldered Starling.
At the autumn 2010 we saw some big flocks in the city (Lenin Park + around Botanical Garden, from 30-40 to +200 birds together, between the 29th August and the 16th Sept.).

Last year: no sightings – just because of a lack of observers in the city parks!

Purple-backed Starlings (near Hoan Kiem lake)

Enjoying its freedom, with a White-shouldered Starling

male Hainan-blue Fly

1cy Dark-sided Fly

Seicercus Warbler sp.

Eastern Crowned Warbler

Red-billed Leiothrix

Ashy Drongo

This individual has brown - and not reddish - eyes, 1cy bird ?

Distant shot of a White-browed Laughingthrush

Resident male Shikra soaring above the lychee orchard at Vinh Thuy

a wounded Black-winged Stilt

Flock of Grey-headed Lapwings. Hung around more than 1 week

1cy Cinnamon Bittern

Disgusted at local slob hunters...

They are everywhere...
They have their preferred patches, like me.
Unfortunately, their favorite hunting spots are also my favorite birding spots :))
They know very well what "chim di cư" (migrants) are, when the birds arrive and where to find them.
They shoot at anything that moves. This one : 15 birds in the bag, half were flycatchers as big as your thumb.
NO LIMIT to how many creatures they kill.

That's not hunting, that's just massacre...
They are not "hunters", they are just vandals...