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

30 September 2014

Pale Blue Flycatcher in Xuan Thuy

Hi all,

Done a birding trip with clients to Xuan Thuy National Park for shorebirds and migrant species. It is still early for shorebirds and for Black-faced Spoonbill but we got some Terns, Sandpipers, Godwits, Gulls, Ducks, Ruddy Turnstone, Whimbrel, Stilt, Snipe, Plovers, Lapwing, Stints and Warblers, Drongos, Shrikes, Flycatchers, Wryneck, Cuckoos... Especially, I spotted for the first time there a Pale Blue Flycatcher, a species I normally see in mountains. Xuan Thuy is a good site for birding and... fresh seafood.

Pale Blue Flycatcher

Good birding for the new season!

Bui Duc Tien - tienpitta@gmail.com

Passage migrant Drongo-Cuckoo - Hanoi

Hi everyone, 

Spent a good saturday morning on 26th September at the Botanical Gardens, saw some Bianchi's Warblers, a mixed-species foraging flock of Asian-Brown Flycatcher, "Blyth's" Leaf Warblers, Tailorbirds and Sulphur-breasted Warbler. A nice surprise was a Drongo-Cuckoo, it appeared right in front of me, just 4-5m away. It is listed in Robson as passage migrant in East Tonkin. A great patch tick I think!

In the afternoon I had a quick stroll at Bai Da along the Red River. Saw lods of Black Drongos there, but because of floods I can not access to the small wooded patch... After that I  head back to Thanh Tri and have some shots of Taiga and Asian-brown Flycatchers.
I also added some photos of Grey-headed Lapwings that I took at Vinh Tuy bridge two weeks ago. More recently (24th Sept. at ca 3pm) I flushed 2 Black Storks there, foraging at the flooded banks of the Red River.

Le Viet Tuan Hoang

Fork-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo

Ceicercus Warbler cf Bianchi's

Sulphur-breasted Warbler 

Taiga Flycatcher

Grey-headed Lapwings

27 September 2014

River Lapwing & Long-billed Plover / Hanoi mid-August 2014

This River Lapwing below was found by Mr. Pham Van Thong (staff member of Asian Turtle Program). He said that the images were taken at Dong Mo Lake, Hanoi, on 23th August 2014 during a rainy day. As he was searching the rare Swinhoe's Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) at this lake, he noticed a bird that he had never seen before, standing on a gravel bank. He approached very carefully and managed to get some record shots. Not easy with a 55-200mm lens... A great bird, certainly not often recorded in northern Vietnam.

The second interesting bird, a Long-billed Plover, was discovered by Mr. Hoang Hao (staff of Vietnam Forest Museum at Thanh Tri, Hanoi) in mid- August 2014. Also a great bird ! It is a regular  passage migrant/winter visitor in small numbers at Hanoi.

Well done and thank you for sharing these photos ! Sharing helps others to see and enjoy the birds that others find and these records are both interesting and very useful.

I would like to take this opportunity to say again that all birders who are willing to share their sightings can post on this blog. Please contact me at sebastiendlngl40@gmail.com. In Vietnam, birders' information-sharing network is scattered and undeveloped. Let’s try to change this ! Thanks !

24 September 2014

Some recent pix - Botanical Gardens/Hanoi

Migration in full swing. This week, birding in the city (mostly at Botanical Gardens) was enjoyable but unspectacular, the best being Ashy Minivet, Asian Brown, Dark-sided, Taiga, Yellow-rumped, Verditer, Blue-and-White and Hainan Blue Flycatchers, some female Cyornis unidentified (banyumas or glaucicomans), some leucogenis Ashy and Spangled Drongos, Yellow-browed, Eastern Crowned, “Blyth’s”, “Arctic”, Sakhalin/Pale-legged, Sulphur-breasted Warblers, 3-4 Asian Paradise Flycatchers (of the migratory race incei, with blackish throat contrasting with the grey breast and belly), Burmese Shrikes, 1 Thick-billed Warbler, small flocks of Black-naped Orioles, 2 Black-naped Monarchs, some Seicercus Warblers sp (cf Bianchi’s), 1 Forest Wagtail, 1 Sparrowhawk unidentified.

Hope to find soon something a little more unusual than all this stuff - which is not so bad after all!

15 September 2014

Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher in Dowtown Hanoi

One hour in the grounds of the Botanical Gardens, Hanoi, at noon on Monday 15 September in bright, sunny conditions produced quality but not much quantity.

Whilst checking some places known to attract migrants I flushed a passerine perched at eye-level, which I assumed would be a common flycatcher (Taiga or Asian Brown), but the bird looked quite large. When I got the binoculars on it I  was more than happy to identify a adult Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, one of the species that had inspired me to keep plugging away at the city parks after the 2nd Vietnam’s record  (but the 1st one of an alive individual) in September 2010 by Florian Klingel, at the Botanical Gardens also.

This is a regular and not so uncommon passage migrant at Hanoi - to my knowledge around 15 records (with an obvious peak in autumn 2010 due to a good number of Hanoi based birders) and all these records, except one, on autumn passage.
Incredibly, this species is currently unrecorded in Vietnam outside of Hanoi (Mahood & al., 2013) !!! With the exception of 2 sightings in a suburban orchard, all the birds have been spotted in Downtown Hanoi !

It is a sluggish, unobtrusive forest interior species. The open structure of vegetation in the parks renders typically skulking species such as jungle-flycatchers relatively easy to detect. Brown-chested Jungle-flycatcher passes through Hanoi during a relatively short window centered on September. It spends the non-breeding season in southern Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore (Mahood & al., 2013).
It is considered uncommon and localised within its breeding grounds in south-east China, and this has likely contributed to its listing as Vulnerable (BirdLife International 2012).

This guy often perched quite low, sitting very still for minutes and scrutinizing the ground for insects.

 An adult - 1st winter bird shows dark lower mandible-tip