A strange pair of species for a post title, but one was the biggest (and maybe the rarest) bird I have seen over the past few months, and the other the hardest to photograph. Both have been spotted during a walk yesterday morning along the Red River, at Hanoi, only 1 km from the city centre.
January 1st is the traditional day for birders to get outdoors and make a good, birdy start to the New Year!
The Black Stork was roosting on a sandbar with 50-60 Grey Herons, near Vinh Thuy Bridge. An adult, maybe the one recorded mid-Nov 20km upstream by S. de Albuquerque & M. Ashby.
After being flushed, the flock (with the Stork) landed 300 meters away on another sandbar, in the middle of the river.
A long distance and heavily cropped record shot. Grey Herons here in Vietnam have a very large flush distance (at least 200m for this pic). They are hunted for food so they have very good reasons for not trusting humans.
Sightings of Black Stork over the last 3 years at/around Hanoi (that I am aware of):
-26th Oct. 2011 (2 juv.,Vinh Thuy Bridge also)
-26th Oct. 2012 (1 juv.)
-10th Nov. 2012 (2 juv., among them one seen the 26th Oct.)
-mid-Nov. 2013 (1 ad.)
-1st Jan. 2014 (1 ad.)
All these birds were sighted along the Red River, often roosting on sandbars, only one time observed foraging (in a small pond adjacent to the river).
Black Stork is a rare winter visitor in Vietnam (only recorded from East Tonkin apparently).
The Eurasian Woodcock was flushed in a nearby orchard.
Not an uncommon sight in the Hanoi area (both winter visitors and passage migrants), in small wooded areas, banana plantations and even downtown parks – where they have some difficulty to hide!
A lucky flight shot