Spring is an exciting time of year as tons of birds make their way through East Tonkin to their breeding grounds in China, Russia... Spring birding in Hanoi is not about quantity of birds but rather about quality, diversity - if you devote enough time and perseverance.
Recent short strolls on my favorite wooded and scrubby patches along the Red River produced some nice photo opportunities of some fine examples of different (but expected) migrants/winter visitors.
Birds included, among other, a mixed flock of Grey-backed and Japanese Thrushes, one female Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, some Hainan Blue Flycatchers, one flock of Ashy Minivets, 2 Rufous-tailed Robins, dozens of "Blyth’s Leaf Warbler" cf P. claudiae and some Sulphur-breasted Warblers and best of all: a fleeting glimpse of a Pale-footed Bush Warbler - a good local rarity (hmmm, maybe not…). This species is extremely shy and is a great skulker. I just realized that I have overlooked it for a long time. During winter it is almost impossible to locate but in spring its typical song helps to find it easily. It is a loud, explosive zip..zip-tschuk-o-tschuk which reminds me of the one of the Cetti’s Warbler - a well-known song amongst European birders. I located 2-3 songsters in scrubby grasslands along the Red River and caught a glimpse of one. It was impossible to get a clean view - leave alone a clean shot. But I took some recordings of call and song which I put on xeno-canto. I also heard 2 Manchurian Bush Warblers and 1 Siberian Rubythroat singing in thickets. Spring!
Apart from songbirds, I scored 1 fly-over Purple Heron, 1 Grey-headed Lapwing and 1 Eurasian Woodcock (flushed from just a few feet away as usual).
Song of two species of Bush Warblers recorded recently:
-the explosive one of the Pale-footed Bush Warbler
Black-naped Monarch (m)
Cyornis sp. Flycatcher (f)