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30 November 2012

Winterers/migrants downtown Hanoi

Not much birding this week (26th Nov ->2nd Dec), the weather was awful. The terrible Hanoi winter has begun : cold, wet and GREY!
At the Botanical Gardens, I flushed an Eurasian Woodcock around the toilet area ! This guy was trying to hide itself behind a tiny bush. My second sighting of a Woodcock in this park. I also picked up a male Mugimaki Flycatcher.
Most of the White-tailed Robins or Fujian Niltavas spotted least week have gone - or have been captured by... blowpipe hunters (see the last photo of this post).
The park held small flocks of Turdus thrushes. Some male Japanese Thrushes with different patterns, whilst the others, all females or first-year birds, presented a significant identification problem and were not all identified conclusively.  I did not found the solution in the guide books or on the Internet...

An adult male Japanese Thrush showing the "usual" pattern (i.e. the most encountered) with grey-blue mantle contrasting with black head

A black-backed male Japanese, with almost no contrast between head and mantle, and big black spots below (my second sighting of this pattern at Hanoi in 2 years, the other one here).
I am almost certain that this bird is coming from Northeast Asia. Japanese Thrush has different populations with plumage variations (curiously not covered in the guide books), birds breeding in China are a bit different from those breeding to the NE in Japan. 

I suspect it's a 1st cy Japanese (heavily spotted below/flanks), but the strong warm orange down the flanks make me confused.

Well-demarcated streaky rather than spotted breast, faint spotted below... I suspect it's a 1st cy Grey-backed.

female White-tailed Robin

What is that ? From this angle, ID is a bit tricky

Hm hm.. a small blue patch in the neck : female Fujian Niltava

Blue Whistling Thrush. Nice bird, but crappy background.

male Mugimaki Flycacher. Regular passage migrant here.

I spent one hour skulking around the toilet area, chasing this Rufous-tailed Robin. And if people saw me as a pervert, I don't care ! That is the price to pay for capturing close-ups of birds which are much more difficult to photograph in the forest.
It is really not too difficult to get nice shots of winterers/migrants in the urban parks because they can often allow much closer approach than the ones we encounter elsewhere.

Careful, it is slippery!

Olive-backed Pipit. Very common winterer.

We do not stop the progress ! Jivaro style hunting in the city !
They can hit a passerine at 20m - I took all my photos at less than 10m...
They do not use darts but soft balls. The objective is not to kill the bird but to stun it, and then put it in a cage.

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