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7 October 2013

Autumn migration at Hanoi

 a smart 1cy Dark-sided Fly

Hi all,

Just returned to birding after summer months dedicated entirely to chuồn chuồn (Odonata).
Migration in full swing of course. All things repeat themselves, (almost) the same stuff year after year. But thanks to photography, it is never boring and always challenging. Lost a bit bird photography skills (it is like sport, you have to train regularly!) but everything will be back soon.

Spotted last week at Hanoi (stricto sensu) the following migrants/winter visitors (in thickets/ small wooded patches as usual): Ashy Minivet, supposed `stanfordi` Rosy and Swinhoe’s Minivets (see photos below), Asian Brown, Dark-sided, Taiga, Yellow-rumped and Hainan Blue Flycatchers, Asian Stubtail (2), leucogenis Ashy and Spangled Drongos (+ Black Drongos everywhere in open fields), Yellow-browed, Two-barred, Eastern Crowned, “Blyth’s”, “Arctic”& “Pale-legged” Warblers, Grey-headed Canary Fly, Brown and Burmese Shrikes, Thick-billed Warbler, Orange-headed Thrush (1), Black-naped Oriole, Grey Bushchat, Eastern Stonechat, Siberian Rubythroat (1), Black-naped Monarch, Seicercus Warbler sp (cf Bianchi’s), Black-capped Kingfisher.

leucogenis Ashy Drongo

 Thick-billed Warbler - never easy to get good views,
often difficult to get close enough to take quality pictures.

 1cy Black-naped Oriole playing hide-and-seek

 Two-barred Warbler. My first good pics of this species! 

Key features: two conspicuous pale wing-bars, with lower one typically wide much stronger than on Arctic Warbler, dark legs - markedly darker than the vast majority of Arctic W-, lower mandible entirely pale and, especially, short primary projection.

Close-up on legs. Bicoloured, with tarsus reddish-brown (pale legs and feet in Arctic).

Note short primary projection (50-60% of length of tertials. In Arctic it is much more, 80-90%). Alternatively, it is possible to judge primary projection in relation to the tail projection beyond the wing-tip. Primary projection in Arctic Warbler is equal to or slightly shorter than the tail projection (with the wing-tip being almost midway from tertial-tip to tail-tip). In 2BW, the primary projection is noticeably shorter than the tail projection, falling about one third of the way from the tertial-tip to the tail-tip.

A probable female Rosy Minivet `stanfordi` (apparently this race is an hybrid Rosy x Swinhoe's). Note the yellow on wings/outertail, pale yellow wash on breast, undertail-coverts and under tail feathers. I hesitate to draw firm conclusions on a race I haven't seen (and I've only seen a few Rosy's) but I lean closer to stanfordi than anything else. Let's wait for some experienced birders comment...

The pale yellow wash on breast, flanks, vent and under tail (coverts + tail features) is obvious in this photo above.

I found hard to tell apart females Ashy and Swinhoe’s Minivets. I found this individual (below) quite interesting with the absence of wing patch, the brown wash on mantle (at least on shoulders), the white on crown extending to the bill…

A frontal view (maybe of the same individual, but from the same flock that’s certain): note very pale lore/forehead, white throat and pale brown wash on breast/flanks. Looks like Swinhoe’s, what do you think?


PS: seen also the 30th September 4-5 Cotton Pygmy-Gooses at Van Long NR.


  1. Hey Sebastien! Welcome back from your summer break. Nice pix. Pity you couldn't get any closer to that two-barred warbler though ... Hope to catch up in Hanoi sometime this autumn/winter.



  2. Hi Richard, thanks !
    And what about my Minivets! you forgot to answer my questions ;))
    Rosy Minivet `stanfordi` + Swinhoe`s, OK or not OK ?

    1. Hi Sebastien,

      Yes, sorry just saw your reply, well I would go with your minivet IDs on the female stanfordi Rosy and then Swinhoe's for the last two pix.



  3. Hi Sebastien

    Great to see you back. Nice photos as always!

  4. Hi Wayne,

    Thanks, I am happy to come back with patch birding too.
    But not cool to begin with an ID puzzle !..

  5. Great to have you back Seabstian!

    Despite last autumns garden mega, I REALLY MISS birding the Hanoi parks in autumn!