For a birder in (almost) birdless Hanoi, the only thing better than a Black Stork is...
...two Black Storks!
Circling with a Black Kite
The result of a bad encounter with a bipedal creature ?...
One hour later, the two Storks were roosting on the riverbank with some Grey Herons.
One week ago, Hung sent me a message (thanks guy!) : "Just twitched the Grey-throated Martin along the Red River !". I checked my old Robson guide (edition 2005...) but... no Grey-throated Martin ! However, after some research, I learned that Grey-throated Martin Riparia chinensis was formerly treated under Plain Martin Riparia paludicola ssp chinensis.
Then I remembered a place along the Red River where I had several sightings of small flocks of Riparia sp (never a common sight in my area), and decided to go there. Just arrived, I spotted several Martins sp in small mixed flocks with Swallows (Barn + Red-rumped or Striated). I managed to get some acceptable pictures - great fun !- and id. two species : Grey-throated Martin and Sand Martin.
This species is very similar to Pale Martin (recorded in East Tonkin) but the latter has paler and netter breast-band, with no dark smudging on breast or upper-belly. But try to spot these features with the bins!
Sand Martin is a winter visitor, but Grey-throated Martin should be a resident. This area is full of steep sandy embankments (river banks + sand-pits ) and I would not be surprised if there is a colony somewhere...