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

11 January 2013

A little brightness amid the gloom

Another cold, grey and miserable winter month. I sometimes get obsessed by the crappiness of the winter weather in Hanoi. It can be so depressing. Fortunately there are always some nice birds to brighten up the gloomy atmosphere. For example this stunning male Red-flanked Bluetail.

A little pedestrian...

I also enjoyed this week (7th -> 12th January) prolonged views of a gorgeous Scaly Thrush. What a pattern and hues this bird has ! When disturbed, it ran briefly and then stopped motionless. Very funny to watch it running instead of flying!

The camouflage is remarkable making it difficult to see even when you know it is here. Its very slow foraging behavior does not help. Other interesting facts about this species is that it prefers to walk than hop, and often patter its feet on the soil to encourage worms to the surface – I did not notice this behavior with the other Thrushes.

In the city parks Scaly Thrushes can be very tame. But in the forest, I found them skittish and difficult to approach. A really tough bird to shoot !

A bird that ends up in an inner-city park like the Botanical Gardens has 2 alternatives: get out or adapt. Adapt to a man-made environment and, above all, adapt to the presence of humans at close range. This park is packed from 6 to 9 am, 4 to 6 pm, with loud aerobic music, joggers and pedestrians everywhere... Probably not a high percentage of the individuals can accept this - only the less shy ones.
My Scaly Thrush found itself adapting. It had to become less secretive, less skittish.

For these reasons, ironically, it is sometimes much easier to shoot certain species within the city than in more natural habitats.

But my best bird of the first week of the year was this female Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, found at the Botanical Gardens. A great bird for the city.

Nice salmon bokeh! (this guy was in front of a wall, unfortunately...)

a much better background...


  1. Beautiful photos of some beautiful birds Sebastien. Thanks for your posts ... always appreciated.


    Richard Craik

  2. Cảm Ơn guys ! Hope all this stuff is not too repetitive. Hard to find something new here, but I try my best.

    Wayne, it seems that Qatar is not the (almost) birdlesss country we thought. Few resident species but many migrants and winter visitors, I am very happy for you. Please give me your blog`s adress (the one you opened in Qatar), I cannot find it again.


  3. Hey Wayne I am sorry I deleted your comment by mistake - I just wanted to delete mine!