Welcome to Vietnam Bird News

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

23 November 2014

Some winter visitors

Hi everyone,

Last week I had a day in Xuan Phuong (Tu Liem District, Hanoi), especially a 5 ha of grasslands rich of birding potential. I and my friend counted about 20 species at that time. A short list below:

1. Little Egret.
2. Grey Heron
3. Purple Heron
4. Intermediate Egret
5. Common Kingfisher
6. Black-capped Kingfisher
7. White-throated Kingfisher
8. Eastern Stonechat
9. Grey Bushchat
10. Pied Bushchat (a pair)
11. Lesser Coucal
12. Great Coucal
13. Black-browned Reed Warbler
14. Siberian Rubythroat
And some very common birds that can see in the city like White-rumped and Scaly-breasted Munias common Tailorbirds,...

In the afternoon we came back to Botanical Garden in search of the Black-breasted Thrush. We failed to see it but had a flock of Japanese Thrushes.

Le Viet Tuan Hoang

female Eastern Stonechat

Siberian Rubythroat

male Japanese Thrush

Black-browed Reed Warbler

Dusky Warbler

19 November 2014

A VIP Thrush

Some images of a Black-breasted Thrush spotted on November 14th at the Botanical Gardens, among a flock of Japanese. This is a regular winter visitor in Hanoi, I usually see 1 or 2 a year.

There is no doubt, winter is definitely here...

Hanoi gets pretty cold in winter. If you are planning to go there from December to March, bring a good jacket…

17 November 2014

Little Brown Job

Bush Warblers are photographers nightmares. You can locate them all by call, but seeing them is another issue (despite often being only a few feet away), let alone getting a good photo... I tried vainly for quite a while to get a decent photo of a Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler. I finally managed to get some okish shots last week.

This great skulker is a quite common winter visitor at Hanoi, in scrubs at the edge or inside wooded areas.

The archetypal small boring brown bird, the famous "Little Brown Job" or LBJ of the British birders.

It occasionally deigns to leave the cover and perch in the open... but just few seconds, not more ! 

Note the flashing pale underwing-coverts

16 November 2014

Some other altitudinal migrants from Hanoi

After the Snowy-browed Flycatcher (see last post), some recent shots of 3 other altitudinal migrants, scarce at Hanoi : Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Chestnut-crowned Warbler and White-tailed Robin. The latter was photographed in mid-October, the 2 other ones in the last few days.

male Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher - Botanical Gardens
Recorded a female last year in mid-January, in the same area of the park,  on the same trees almost same branches :))

Chestnut-crowned Warbler - Red River Island
Last year, sighted another one, in mid-October. Great bird for the city and below its lower altitudinal limit (Hanoi is at sea level).

White-tailed Robin - Botanical Gardens
Scarce but regular. Recorded every year in the city parks, from mid-October to December
This species is assumed to be a montane resident, although there is evidence of some movements during the non-breeding season. 

15 November 2014

Snowy-browed Flycatcher in the city

Yesterday, Le Viet Tuan Hoang sent me some pictures of a female flycatcher for ID help, seen the 13th November at the Botanical Gardens.
With such great shots, the ID was not difficult : Snowy-browed Flycatcher !
To my knowledge, this is the third sighting of this montane species in the city - the other ones the 10th November 2010 & 15th November 2012 (all males). Note that all the birds were seen mid-November.

Photos of some other scarce short-distance altitudinal migrants spotted recently at Hanoi will follow... watch this space!

Congratulations Hoang !

13 November 2014

More shots of Thrushes

Hi all,

Below some photos taken at the Botanical Gardens last Saturday. There has been a big drop of in the number of migrants passing through the park, with some Japanese Thrushes, 1 Blue Whistling Thrush, 1 Taiga Flycatcher, some Yellow-browed Warblers...
It looks like it might be a "Thrushy" winter !  We live in hope.....

Le Viet Tuan Hoang

                                                                Blue Whistling Thrush

 Female Japanese Thrush

 Taiga Flycatcher

White-throated Fantail

5 November 2014

Thrushes influx

On Wednesday 5th November a brief stroll at Botanical Gardens produced 5-6 Japanese Thrushes of both sexes, 1 skittish Chinese Blackbird, 3 Orange-headed Thrushes, 1 Blue Whistling Thrush.

It is great to welcome Japanese Thrushes back to the park and their arrival comes at roughly the same time as previous years. This timeliness never ceases to amaze me. Heard them (thin high-pitched tseeeee contact calls) before sighted them.

female Japanese Thrush

female Japanese Thrush

male Japanese Thrush

male Orange-headed Thrush
To describe the back as grey makes it sound very drab, but in good light it takes on a bluish hue.

I think that the migrant Orange-headed Thrushes seen in northern Vietnam belong to the southeastern Chinese race melli with a white wing-bar and two vertical facial dark lines - one below the eye and a second on the auriculars.

                                                                      female Orange-headed Thrush, with olive back