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Report on a birding trip to Vietnam. 11 December 1998 - 1 January 1999,
Participants: Aidan G. Kelly (AGK), Dermot O'Mahony (DO'M), Tom Shevlin (TS).
Introduction: Only open to foreigners to travel in since the early 1990's, Vietnam is a fantastic country to go birding in with rich tropical forests, beautiful scenery, friendly people and some brilliant bird species too. It's also a safe country to travel in and prices are reasonably cheap once you get there. Vietnam has a total of 103 globally threatened and near-threatened species. Under Birdlife International's global conservation priority, Vietnam lies in tenth position in the world in its importance for endangered species. It also has more endemic species than any other country in south-east Asia (10). However many of these are now very rare and difficult to see. Birdlife International has declared 3 endemic bird areas (EBAs): The Da Lat plateau, the Annamese lowlands and the South Vietnamese lowlands, (see Stattersfield et al. 1998).
We visited seven main areas, all covered in Nigel Wheatley's Where to Watch Birds In Asia. For more comprehensive site notes, we obtained a number of trip reports before we went (see below). If time is limited, hiring a car is the best way to get around, especially if costs can be shared. Internal flights are also recommended between north and south to cut down on time spent travelling. Away from the National Parks and other birding areas, birds are generally very scarce. At times you can drive for many miles without seeing a single bird species. The increasing pressures of hunting, logging and farming from the rapidly growing human population, which has more than trebled in the last 50 years, are obviously taking their toll on the natural environment. The Vietnamese people generally have little regard for conservation of wildlife. Much of it is trapped and hunted for food or to be sold to the infamous animal and bird markets in the towns. However, the Vietnamese government, to its great credit has established a number of National Parks which provide some refuge for Vietnam's fauna. Without them there would be very little left to see in Vietnam. In the unprotected birding sites such as Ho Tuyen Lam, Mount Lang Bian and Tam Dao, we saw much evidence of trapping, hunting, logging and burning wood for charcoal.
The trip was very successful recording close to 350 species in total, with some personal highlights being good numbers of Blue-rumped and Bar-bellied Pittas at Cuc Phuong; a pair of Green Peafowl at Nam Bai Cat Tien; Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Saunder's Gulls, Nordmann's Greenshank and Black-faced Spoonbill at Xuan Thuy; Wood Snipe, Short-tailed and Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbills at Tam Dao; Collared and Black-hooded Laughingthrushes and Vietnamese Greenfinch around the Da Lat area.
Costs, accommodation, food etc.: Due to travelling over the Christmas period, our flight was a bit more expensive than normal. We flew Dublin to London with Aer Lingus, then London/Bangkok/Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) with Thai Air. Due to heavy demand for flights at this time of year we had to return via Zurich. Total flight cost was IRP 689 (c.875 Euros). The flights were booked through Twohig Travel Ltd. in Dublin. In addition we took two internal flights with Vietnam Airlines: Ho Chi Minh/Da Nang and Da Nang/Hanoi. These two flights cost us a total of IRP 167 and we also booked them through Twohigs. Accommodation in Vietnam was generally reasonably priced and payment is possible in either US$ or the Vietnamese Dong. (1US$ = 14,000 Dong). We didn't book any accommodation in advance and had no problems finding it. The quality of the food varied quiet a bit. Noodles (Pho) are available everywhere and beer is widely available. Rice cakes at first sounded tempting until we got some and saw that they simply consisted of cold sticky rice compressed together and wrapped in a piece of a banana tree leaf. Bottled water was widely available. A visa to enter Vietnam cost us Stg. 40.00 each. The total cost of the trip including all flights, car hire, accommodation, visa, food etc. etc. was less than US$ 2000 each.
Weather, conditions etc.: The weather we experienced varied quiet a bit. During our first two days in the Da Lat area we experienced a storm with gale force winds and almost continuous rain. The second two days here were much better with sunshine and a pleasant temperature in the early 20°C's. Nam Bai Cat Tien was hot and sticky with some rain. In the north the weather was generally clear with balmy sunshine and a pleasantly mild temperature of around 20°C. Perfect weather for birding. Early mornings were sometimes a bit misty.
Leeches were very prevalent in many parts of Nam Bai Cat Tien and we also had a few in the Di Linh, Da Lat and Bach Ma areas. We saw none in the north due to the dry conditions. Mosquitoes were present in many areas but weren't a major problem, except when we overnighted at Crocodile Lake at Cat Tien. We all took Lariam tablets as malaria is a problem in Vietnam.
Our strategy in the forest sites was usually to split up on the trails. This meant that you could concentrate more, while birding at your own pace, and keep noise levels to a minimum. The result was that we all saw some species which the others missed.
Notes on sites visited:
The birding area is found by taking the old road towards the coastal town of Phan Theit out of Di Linh. We were only able to drive c. 11km due to the condition of the road, and had to walk to the Deo Nui San pass from here, a distance of c. 5km. The habitat consists of pine forest forthe first few km, eventually giving way to rich montane forest. Most of the species found here can be seen, probably more easily, at the Da Lat sites, however Di Linh provides a good birding stop on a journey between Ho Chi Minh City and Da Lat. Rusty-naped Pitta has been recorded near the pass. Blue Pitta, Grey-headed Parrotbill, Red-billed Scimitar Babbler and Spot-breasted Laughingthrush have also been recorded in the area .
Da Lat area:
The Da Lat plateau is a centre of endemism in Vietnam and classed as 'Urgent priority' by Stattersfield et al. (1998). The Di Linh plateau is also included in this endemic bird area. Endemic species found in the area include: Black-hooded Laughingthrush (Vulnerable), Collared Laughingthrush (Vulnerable), Vietnamese Greenfinch (Near-threatened) and Grey-crowned Crocias (Critical). The area is also important for Yellow-billed Nuthatch (Vulnerable) and Short-tailed Scimitar Babbler (Vulnerable).
We visited two main areas here:
(1) Mount Lang Bian: About 10km north of Da Lat lies Lat village. Beyond the village leads eventually to the gate and barrier for Mount Lang Bian. This is the third highest mountain on the Da Lat plateau (the higher of its two peaks at 2,167m). To make the ascent from the barrier, firstly you have to walk the track along bare open slopes, before reaching pine forest, which finally gives way to tropical montane forest higher up. It still covers both peaks of the mountain at the moment, but we saw many groups of local people collecting wood and cutting trees. Apart from paying a small fee at the barrier, no permits were necessary for us to visit the area, as found by some previous groups. We didn't ascend the second higher peak (which looked fairly steep and inaccessible). Anyway, the two main specialities, Vietnamese Greenfinch and Collared Laughingthrush, were eventually seen in the general area between the two peaks.
(2) Ho Tuyen Lam: This is a large reservoir c. 5km south of Da Lat off the main road to Ho Chi Minh City. To get to the only decent areas of forest remaining you have to take a boat (150k Dong for the return trip) to the opposite end of the reservoir, a distance of c. 4km. You can be dropped off there and collected in the evening. The trail is then followed into the forest. Excellent birding can still be had in the rich tropical forests here. However as with Mount Lang Bian, we saw much evidence of wood cutting and charcoal burning in the area. The area is most noted as the site to look for the critically endangered Grey-crowned Crocias. Unfortunately we didn't see it, but may have heard it.
Nam Bai Cat Tien National Park:
This National Park covers 36,500 hectares and is in the 'South Vietnamese lowlands' endemic bird area, which is classed as 'Critical priority' by Stattersfield et al. 1998. A small punt-boat takes you across the Dong Nai river to the park HQ. The varied habitats consist of rich primary lowland tropical rainforests, more open swamp forest, together with large patches of open water (such as Crocodile Lake). There are also bamboo covered hills and higher tropical forests in the north-west regions of the N.P. Nam Bai Cat Tien is important for Germain's Peacock-pheasant (Vulnerable) and Grey-faced Tit-babbler (Near-threatened). A few pairs of the endemic and critically endangered Orange-necked Partridge occur in the bamboo hills near Dac Lua, at the more remote end of the N.P. It is rarely seen however. This area may still hold a few White-shouldered Ibis too, another very rare species. In addition, the N.P. also has a few White-winged Ducks in the isolated swamp forests. On our short visit to the park, we didn't have time to put in a serious effort to look for these seldomly recorded species. Birding is excellent at Cat Tien and we could easily have spent much more time here than we had. Probably the highlight at Cat Tien was the pair of Green Peafowl we saw at Crocodile Lake.
Bach Ma National Park:
This N.P. is in the 'Annamese lowlands' endemic bird area and is also classed as 'Critical priority' by Stattersfield et al. 1998. Bach Ma covers an area of c. 22,000 hectares. Much of the area is steep and mountainous with most of the trails being along steep ridges and not very easy to see birds from. It is obvious that the area is still recovering from the massive defoliant spraying which occurred here during the Vietnam War, many areas still being fairly degraded. We only spent a short while here. More time could have produced some good species. We heard Crested Argus calling on both days and also heard the rare and very restricted-ranged Annam Partridge. The park wardens told us that Edwards's Pheasant, a critically endangered Vietnamese endemic, could very occasionally be encountered near the summit of the mountain. We were unsure of whether to believe them though. According to literature we had read, (Eames and Robson, 1992), this area would not have provided suitable habitat for this species. Perhaps they were referring to historic times, as recent surveys of the park have failed to produce any sightings, and the species may be extinct in the wild. This park is also noted for Coral-billed Ground Cuckoo and Red-collared Woodpecker, neither of which we saw here however.
Xuan Thuy (Red River delta):
This is a large coastal mangrove-fringed wetland area with a great variety of wintering waders and wildfowl. Xuan Thuy is protected as a Ramsar reserve. It is important for the critically endangered Black-faced Spoonbill, and holds wintering populations of both Nordmann's Greenshank and Saunder's Gull. In recent years it has come to the fore as perhaps the most easily accessible area to see wintering Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Easy access in relative terms though! Without someone who knows the exact route from Namh Dinh (as our driver did), this area could be very difficult to find. Permission must also be obtained from the local Police HQ in the area before visiting the site.
Cuc Phuong National Park:
This was our favourite area for birding in Vietnam due to a combination of the continuous great birding and the ideal weather conditions. The only down-side was the high number of visitors to the park on certain days which meant that the trails were sometimes a bit too noisy for birding. Cuc Phuong is Vietnam's oldest N.P. and covers c. 25,000 hectares. The area consists mostly of rich tropical lowland and sub-montane forest with trails leading up over forest covered limestone slopes. The park is c.120km south of Hanoi. The best birding areas are at the Bong Substation, a distance of 20km from the entrance to the park. Chalets are available for rent here. Although Cuc Phuong is not especially noted for its Vietnamese endemics and endangered species, many good species can be seen here. We recorded good numbers of Blue-rumped and Bar-bellied Pittas together with White-winged Magpies, Eared Pitta (heard only), Red-collared Woodpecker, Brown Hornbills, Ratchet-tailed Treepies, Rufous-throated Fulvettas, Limestone Wren Babblers, Pied Falconets, Purple Cochoa, Fukien Niltavas, Japanese and Black-breasted Thrushes and White-tailed Flycatchers.
Tam Dao Hill Resort:
This is an old run-down ex-colonial resort. During French rule in Vietnam it was a place for them to escape from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. Many birding groups have experienced bad weather here, but it was excellent throughout our visit, apart from some heavy mist and fog at the higher areas one day. Tam Dao is about 60km north west of Hanoi. The area consists of evergreen hill forest above the resort and open scrubby areas and pine forest below it. The main stepped track up to the transmitter leads you through the forest. It produced a few birds, but could be very slow going at times. We found the so-called 'Water-tank trail' to the western side of the hill to be the most productive area, although birding could be quiet here too. We also birded along the so-called 'Contour trail B' on the eastern side of the hill. This was OK but again very quiet at times. We saw much evidence of trapping and shooting, including the remains of trapped Red-headed Trogons, and an impaled Mountain Scops Owl. We also saw local people shooting at birds in the forest. Specialities that we recorded at this site include Short-tailed Parrotbill (Vulnerable), Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbill (Near-threatened), Grey Laughingthrush (Near-threatened), and a few totally unexpected sightings of a Wood Snipe (Vulnerable). Other interesting species were Spot-necked Babbler, Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Streak-breasted and Red-billed Scimitar Babblers, Chestnut Bulbul and White-hooded Babblers.
A Guide to the Birds of Thailand Boonsong, Lekagul and Round.
A field guide to the birds of South-East Asia. King, Woodcock, Dickinson. (Collins). 1975.
Vietnam "The Rough Guide" Dodd, Lewis 1998.
Where to Watch Birds in Asia Nigel Wheatley (Christopher Helm) 1996.
Birds to Watch 2: The World List of Threatened Birds N.J. Collar et al. BirdLife Conservation series no. 4. 1994.
Endemic Bird Areas of The World: Priorities for Biodiversity. Stattersfield et al. BirdLife Conservation series no. 7. 1998.
An Annotated Checklist of the Birds of the Oriental Region. Inskipp et al. 1996.
In addition many interesting articles have been published in both the OBC Bulletin and its journal Forktail.
Note: The forthcoming Guide to The Birds of South-East Asia by Craig Robson should become the new guide for the region when published.
Trip Reports etc.:
"Some prime birding sites in Vietnam" Nick Dymond
(available from The Oriental Bird Club c/o The Lodge, Sandy, Beds, SG19 2DL,
Vietnam: Nov/Dec 1996 Brian Gee (available from OBC).
ICBP (now BirdLife Int.) Vietnam Forest Project. Forest Bird Surveys in 1991. Study report No. 51. J. C. Eames and C.R. Robson (March 1992).
Vietnam March/April 1998 Jon Hornbuckle
(can be found at http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Vines/9684/vietnam1.html ).
Vietnam Mar/April 1997 Doug Page et al. (Available from Steve Whitehouse, 6 Skipton Cresent, Berkeley, Pendesham, Worcester, WR4 OLG, U.K.).
Southern Vietnam April 1996 Mike Edgecombe et al. (Available from Steve Whitehouse).
Spoon-billed Sandpipers in Vietnam: Zoltan Ecsedi and Janos Olah, Birding World Vol.10 No.7 p.261.
"Vietnam" Birdwatch Magazine No. 49, July 1996.
Bird songs of South East Asia, Terry White.
(In addition, selected recordings were purchased from the British Library).
Thanks to Richard Fairbank for help and advice received. Thanks also to Jon Hornbuckle for additional information provided on car hire. Without the help of his trip report this would have been a much more difficult trip to organise at relatively short notice. Steve Whitehouse supplied some additional trip reports and Richard Ranft of the British Library supplied us with a selection of bird recordings from the Wildlife Sound archives.
To get around the country easily and maximise our birding we hired a car and driver at each stage. Like Jon Hornbuckle, we organised this through Nguyen Van Viet who runs NTN Travel and Trading Co. Ltd.: (34 Le Qui Don, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City) Tel: (84.8) 8203486- 8203487. Fax: (84.4) 9320105. Mobile: 090700658, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Through NTN, we hired air-conditioned saloon cars in HCM City, Da Nang and Hanoi. We hired for a total of 16 days. The total cost was US $750. This included petrol, driver's expenses, insurance and taxes etc. Nguyen Van Viet was adamant that we pay the lot on signing the contract at HCM. Both the first car (Toyota Camry) and driver were reliable and we had no major problems. The second car (Honda Accord) and driver in Da Nang were less so, the car having noticeably faulty brakes and a bust rear shock absorber. The third car (Toyota Camry) and driver in Hanoi were very good, the driver knowing his way to all the sites (especially helpful for getting to Xuan Thuy, which would have been extremely difficult to find otherwise). However this driver was under the impression that he and the car did not have to remain with us during our stay at Cuc Phuong and Tam Dao. We had foolishly paid up front for these days of car hire, when in reality we didn't need the car at these areas once we were based there. With hindsight paying fully in advance was a mistake on our part, as ultimately we did not use the car for all the days we had paid for. Accordingly, both at Cuc Phuong and Tam Dao, the driver returned to Hanoi and collected us a few days later at a prearranged time.
10 Dec Left Dublin for London (Heathrow) and onward
flights to Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).
11 Dec Arrive Ho Chi Minh City where overnighted.
12 Dec Drive to Di Linh (Deo Nui San Pass) where spent some hours. Then onward to Da Lat.
13 Dec Da Lat: Mt. Lang Bian.
14 Dec Da Lat: Ho Tuyen Lam.
15 Dec Da Lat: Ho Tuyen Lam.
16 Dec Da Lat: Mt. Lang Bian and then drove to Nam Bai Cat Tien N.P. Driver returned to HCM City.
17 Dec Nam Bai Cat Tien N.P.
18 Dec Nam Bai Cat Tien N.P.
19 Dec Nam Bai Cat Tien N.P.
20 Dec Left Nam Bai Cat Tien N.P. for Ho Chi Minh City airport. Caught evening flight to Da Nang where overnighted.
21 Dec Drove from Da Nang to Bach Ma N.P.
22 Dec Bach Ma N.P. Then drove to Da Nang airport and took onward flight to Hanoi.
23 Dec Drove from Hanoi to Xuan Thuy Ramsar reserve, where overnighted.
24 Dec Xuan Thuy Ramsar reserve. Then drove to Cuc Phuong N.P., where overnighted.
25 Dec Cuc Phuong N.P.
26 Dec Cuc Phuong N.P.
27 Dec Cuc Phuong N.P.
28 Dec Cuc Phuong N.P. Then drove to Hanoi and onwards to Tam Dao.
29 Dec Tam Dao.
30 Dec Tam Dao.
31 Dec Tam Dao. Then onwards to Hanoi where overnighted.
1 Jan Left Hanoi for Bangkok. Taxi to Khao Yai N.P. where overnighted.
2 Jan Khao Yai N.P. Then taxi back to Bangkok for midnight flight to Zurich and onward connection to Dublin.
10 Dec: Left Dublin at 17.45 hrs. for London Heathrow and onward flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) via Bangkok.
11 Dec: Arrived at HCM City airport at 20.00 hrs. local time. Met at the airport by Nguyen Van Viet where we signed the contract for the car hire and paid him. Driver drove us to Bi (Bee) Saigon Hotel (Pham Ngu Lao St.). Arranged for him to collect us from here at 06.00 hrs. the next morning.
12 Dec: Left hotel at 06.15 hrs. and drove north to Di Linh which we reached soon after 11 hrs. Took old road to Phan Theit from Di Linh towards the Deo Nui San Pass. We were able to drive about 11km before a small broken down bridge and deteriorating road meant leaving the driver with the car and walking to the pass which is at c. 16.75 km from the main road. The pine forest eventually gives way to tropical montane forest at c. 13.5km. Returned to the car just after dark (c.18.00hrs). Drove onwards to Da Lat and found a hotel (Truong Nguyen). Driver brought us to a restaurant (Hoa Loc) which was very good. Obviously well known as it was full of westerners. Awoken by torrential rain during the night making us slightly worried about our birding plans for the next morning...
Birding highlights (Di Linh): Black-hooded Laughingthrush (3 elusive birds in undergrowth near the pass), White-cheeked Laughingthrush (4), Eastern Green Magpie (2), Cutia (1, DO'M ), Grey-faced Buzzard (1), Great Hornbill (2), Maroon Oriole (4), Black-throated Tit (4).
13 Dec: Our worst fears were realised. By now we had heavy rain outside combined with storm force winds. Our original plan was to get the boat to the far side of the reservoir at Ho Tuyen Lam, but over a lengthy breakfast (as we waited in vain for an improvement in the weather), we decided that it might be easier to go to our other intended birding destination instead, Mount Lang Bian. We drove up to the checkpoint at Mt. Lang Bian. There are no problems here now about getting advance permission or permits to visit this site as some previous groups have found. The weather was so bad outside however that we sat in the car for nearly an hour hoping for a miracle improvement. Eventually there was nothing for it except to battle the storm and walk up the track towards the mountain. Conditions were vile, but we did see some birds, though none of the endemics were seen on this occasion. Back to the car in the late afternoon, from where we drove back to our hotel in Da Lat for a very welcome change of clothes and a shower. Ate in the Hoa Loc restaurant again.
Birding highlights: White-throated Rockthrush (1 female), Wedge-tailed Pigeon (5), Green-backed Tit, Siberian Blue Robin (2), Mugimaki Flycatcher (3), Little Pied Flycatcher (2).
14 Dec: Still raining on and off for some of the day but wind had eased off substantially. Drove to the shore of Ho Tuyen Lam reservoir. No shortage of boats looking for our business. We were shown to one and went to the far end of the reservoir and got dropped off. Arranged to be collected again at 17.00 hrs. We initially had some problems finding where exactly we should be dropped off for the trail into the forest. After taking the boat to various small bays we eventually found the correct spot, on the right side of the reservoir as you approach, where a small stream enters, in a well vegetated inlet. Our various maps of the area and directions didn't exactly correspond with our experiences of the current layout of the area (maybe due to the logging and burning which were much in evidence). We followed the trail and soon entered a clearing from where we took a trail to the left upwards into the forest. It was on this trail that we heard a bird calling which sounded similar but not the same as the recording we had of the enigmatic Grey-crowned Crocias. We never saw it however, so can't be certain about it. We were back at the car at about 18.30 hrs. and soon back at the hotel. Once again we ate at the Hoa Loc restaurant.
Birding highlights: Jerdon's Baza (1, AGK), White-bellied Pigeon, Eastern Green Magpie (1, AGK), Eye-browed Wren Babbler, Black-hooded Laughingthrush, White-cheeked Laughingthrush, Spotted Forktail (1, TS), Grey-bellied Tesia (DO'M), White-spectacled Warbler (AGK, TS).
15 Dec: Weather was improving all the time. This morning it started showery but soon the rain cleared to very welcome sunshine. Once again we headed to the reservoir of Ho Tuyen Lam and got the boat to the far end. Spent the day birding here, returning in the evening. Back to hotel and ate again at Hoa Loc restaurant.
Birding highlights: Yellow-billed Nuthatch, Pale-capped Pigeon (1, TS), White-tailed Robin (2), Black Eagle (2), Black-hooded Laughingthrush, White-cheeked Laughingthrush, Chestnut-fronted Shrike babbler, Siberian Thrush (1 male, AGK), Orange-headed Thrush (DO'M).
16 Dec: Spent first half of day at Mount Lang Bian. Today was fine, clear and sunny in total contrast to our first experiences here on 13th. Left the area at 14.30 hrs. and headed for Nam Bai Cat Tien N.P. further south. We arrived at the Dong Nai river at about 19.00 hrs. After obtaining our permits, we said goodbye to our driver who returned to HCM City. We crossed the river on the small punt and checked in at the headquarters of the National Park. We got a basic triple room with fan for 120,000 dong/night. You didn't have to venture too far to see the nocturnal wildlife, with a bat flying around in the shower room together with a large toad swimming around in the toilet bowl! Went down to the restaurant but all that they could provide was processed noodles as we had arrived "too late".
Birding highlights (Mount Lang Bian): Collared Laughingthrush (2), Siberian Rubythroat (1 male, DO'M), Vietnamese Greenfinch (5), White-throated Rockthrush (1 female), Blue-and-white Flycatcher (1).
17 Dec: Up for dawn and began birding around the HQ trails. Leeches were everywhere on certain parts of the trails. Back for a breakfast at the restaurant at c. 11.00 hrs. Back to the trails and walked for a few kilometres of the road up towards Dac Lua and then back to HQ restaurant for lunch. Food here was terrible, in contrast to what some other trip reports found. Arranged for park jeep to bring us as far as the track for Crocodile Lake at 13.00 hrs. tomorrow and collect us at the same time on 19th.
Birding highlights: Lesser Adjutant (1, TS), Siamese Fireback (1 male, AGK), Banded Broadbill (1, TS), Grey-faced Tit Babbler. Heard Germain's Peacock-pheasant and Bar-bellied Pitta.
18 Dec: Up at dawn and birded the HQ trails until midday. Then got park jeep up to start of trail towards Crocodile Lake, which begins half way between the HQ area and Dac Lua. Walked the 5km trail birding en route and arrived at the Lake at c. 17.00hrs. We timed our visit to the site so that we would arrive in the evening and stay over to be there at dawn the next morning. Evening and morning are supposedly the best times to see Green Peafowl, a few of which are sometimes seen feeding along the shore of the lake or roosting in the large trees around it. Our plan was to spent the night in the small observation tower here which is manned by one of the park guards. We were in luck as soon after our arrival we saw a male peafowl feeding along a grassy mound on the shore of the lake. Just before dusk, it flew to roost in a large tree nearby. An uncomfortable night was spent in the watch-tower with hot and humid conditions and mosquitoes continuously buzzing around our heads as we tried to sleep.
Birding highlights: Green Peafowl (1 male), Red-vented Barbet (1, AGK), Black-and-red Broadbill (1, TS), Bar-Bellied Pitta (1 seen plus at least 3 heard).
19 Dec: Up for dawn and stayed around the tower area for a few hours watching the bird movements at the lake. The male peafowl soon flew down from its roost and was joined by a female which it occasionally displayed to. Headed back down the trail to the main track and were eventually collected by the park jeep which was about an hour late arriving. After some quick and very welcome refreshments in the HQ restaurant, we were back out on the HQ trails trying hard to see Germain's Peacock-pheasant. We knew that our time was rapidly running out to see this species. Unfortunately we had no sightings today, not even hearing one.
Birding highlights: Green Peafowl (pair), Bar-bellied Pitta (3 seen).
20 Dec: Out for dawn around the HQ area and birded the main track along the river. Left NBCT at 09.00 hrs. We were lucky to get a lift to within 20km of HCM City. The problems started here however as we tried to complete our journey to the Airport. We got there eventually by various taxis in what soon turned into a sort of 'journey to hell' scenario. Language problems and taxi touts trying to rip us off at every chance, being the main cause. Checked in for 17.30hrs flight to Da Nang. Met by our second driver and taken to hotel in centre of Da Nang (Tien Thinh Hotel, US$15 for a triple bedded room).
Birding highlights: Black Baza (2), Black-and-red Broadbill (1).
21 Dec: On the road by 06.30 hrs. and heading towards Bach Ma N.P. We soon arrived at a traffic tail-back which seemed to go on for miles. We found out that an accident had occurred further along the narrow mountainous pass, and there was nothing to do but wait in the convoy. After a delay of about two hours we eventually reached Bach Ma. We got food and a guide and drove as far as we could up the hill from the HQ (only a few km's). The initial plan was to visit the top of the mountain (a further journey on foot of c. 13km) and overnight, but we soon realised that with such a short stay this would mean spending all our time walking and very little time birding. We decided to do the "Pheasant Trail". Viewing was very difficult due to most of the birding being done from this narrow ridge trail with virtually no opens areas to view onto. Although we heard Crested Argus, we failed to see it. This wasn't surprising as it is very difficult for three plus a guide to walk quietly enough to see such secretive species as pheasants and partridges in this environment. If we had had extra time we may have been able to split up and this would obviously have improved our chances of seeing these birds. Returned to the HQ area by dusk and got a basic room at a cost of 100k dong.
Birding highlights: Heard Crested Argus. Crested Myna.
22 Dec: Went with the same guide again towards the waterfall area. Although we heard Crested Argus calling again and good numbers of Annam Partridge we failed to see any. Birding was again very frustrating and difficult due to the somewhat claustrophobic narrow ridge trails with steep slopes on either sides. Returned to the HQ area and left with our driver for Da Nang Airport at 12.40 hrs. for our flight to Hanoi. Before our flight however we made time to visit 'Christie's Harbourside Restaurant' in Da Nang for a very welcome meal. When we arrived in Hanoi at 20.30 hrs. we were met by our third and final driver at the Airport. Driven to the Sao Mai Hotel (16-18 Thong Phong Alley), where we overnighted at a cost of 300k dong for a triple room. Relatively expensive compared to what we had been paying up to now, but worth it for the relative luxury after Bach Ma and Cat Tien.
Birding highlights: Heard Crested Argus and Annam Partridge.
23 Dec: Left Sao Mai Hotel at 06.15 hrs. and began journey to the Xuan Thuy Ramsar reserve. This driver was excellent and knew the way, which was just as well as this place would have been virtually impossible to find otherwise. Buses can probably be taken from Namh Dinh to the general area. Any we saw within a few miles the area had signs saying 'Namh Dinh /Giao Thuy'. We arrived at the police HQ of Xuan Thuy at about 10.30 hrs. Our driver took our passports and went in to complete the technicalities. After one hour we had our passports back and were on the road again. We soon completed our journey to the Ramsar centre. This one hour delay was not bad at all considering some of the stories about hours and even a day wasted with officialdom and red tape at this site. The situation here seems to be improving all the time. We checked into the very basic accommodation. At first we were anxious to hire a boat and head straight out to the sand banks offshore to look for our main target bird here, the almost mythical Spoon-billed Sandpiper. However we were soon informed that the tide was now too low for the boats to travel out. We would have to wait until tomorrow morning. We walked the embankments on both sides of the HQ building for the rest of the day and had some excellent birding along the mangroves.
Birding highlights: Black-faced Spoonbill (9), Saunder's Gull (15), Chinese Bulbul.
24 Dec: We ate a breakfast at 06.00hrs. and with tension rising we boarded the small boat that was to take us out to the roosting wader flocks on the sand flats offshore. We wondered if our compulsory guide, supplied from the HQ, really knew where we could find a Spoon-billed Sandpiper and more importantly would we see this Holy Grail of shorebirds in the limited time before the tide dropped again? We headed a few kilometres south, parallel to the shore and went as far as the boat could go to a large sand-flat. We then waded to the shore. A quick scan revealed a large gathering of small waders at the far end of the spit. Approaching anxiously, we began scanning the large flocks which consisted of Dunlin, Sanderling, Kentish Plovers, Broad-billed Sandpipers, Red-necked Stints and both Sand Plovers, together with a few Great Knots. Within a few minutes there it was amongst them, a single Spoon-billed Sandpiper. We scrutinised the bird for close to an hour as it fed franticly like a clockwork toy, hardly ever stopping for a pause. Soon the tide was falling and the flocks began to split off and become more dispersed, the Spoon-billed Sand. eventually disappearing too. Despite thorough checking of all the waders present, there was definitely only one individual with these flocks. If that bird had not been there, our feelings leaving the area would certainly have been a lot different. The bird was videoed through the telescope by TS.
A stop at a nearby vegetated island produced another rare wader: Nordmann's Greenshank, a single individual among a flock of Greenshank. We then returned to the part of the island opposite the HQ area and birded here for a while. Later we returned to the HQ and checked out. The bill here for our one night's basic accommodation, dinner and breakfast was US$40 each. Expensive by Vietnamese standards but worth it for the quality of the birds, and saving us all an expensive visit to Hong Kong. By 14.00 hrs. we were on the road to our next birding destination Cuc Phuong N.P. We stopped en route at the Thuy Anh restaurant, on Truong Han Sieu, Nimh Binh, for a good meal. At Cuc Phuong we got a room in the complex at the main gate. Our driver returned to Hanoi.
Birding highlights: Spoon-billed Sandpiper (1), Nordmann's Greenshank (1), Saunder's Gull (85), Great black-headed Gull (1 adult), Black-tailed Gull (1 1st.wn.), Black-faced Spoonbill (2), Great Knot (4), Oriental Skylark (1).
25 Dec: We transferred to the Bong Substation in one of the park jeeps, a distance of 20km from the main gate. We hired two chalets and checked in. A group of 500 school children around the area meant that birding the main trails would be a fairly useless pursuit. We first did some of the Ridge Trail and then part of the Valley Trail, but the throngs of kids became too much. The main road and the concrete grid trails proved best, being less disturbed. Thankfully the kids left the area that afternoon. We had our meal (pre-ordered) at the Bong Substation restaurant that evening, which was quiet good.
Birding highlights: Blue-rumped Pittas (5), Bar-bellied Pittas (2, plus 4 heard), Pied Falconet (2), Eared Pitta (heard only), first Japanese Thrushes and Fukien Niltavas of the trip.
26 Dec: Birded the grid trails and the start of the Ridge Trail. Then back for a pre-ordered breakfast at the restaurant. Then completed the Ridge Trail and part of the Valley Trail. Spent the evening around the grid trails and ate dinner at the restaurant.
Birding highlights: Brown Hornbill (7,AGK), Red-collared Woodpecker (1 female, DO'M), Silver-breasted Broadbill (20), Long-tailed Broadbill (6), Blue-rumped and Bar-bellied Pittas, Silver Pheasant (5), first Rufous-tailed Robins and White-tailed Flycatchers of the trip.
27 Dec: Both the Ridge and Valley trails produced some good birds before breakfast but later on these areas were fairly inundated with coach parties of day-trippers. The grid trails and main road were a little bit better then. Ate again at restaurant in evening.
Birding highlights: White-winged Magpies, Blue-rumped and Bar-bellied Pittas, first Black-breasted Thrushes of the trip.
28 Dec: In the morning I headed for the Valley Trail in a last attempt for Limestone Wren Babbler. Eventually I managed to get excellent views of two birds. We all spent a while at the fruiting tree where DO'M had seen a male Purple Cochoa earlier that morning, but no success. A final visit at the grid trails produced a few more Blue-rumped Pitta sightings. Our driver arrived back from Hanoi at noon. We paid the bill for our stay in Cuc Phuong and soon were on the road back to Hanoi, and the onward journey to the old hill resort of Tam Dao, our final birding destination. When we reached Hanoi, we diverted to 'Al Fresco's Restaurant' (23 Hai Ba Trung) for a decent meal. We arrived at Tam Dao and got a triple room for US$10/night. Basic but great value. Our driver returned to Hanoi and we arranged to have him return at 16.00 hrs. on 31st.
Birding highlights: Purple Cochoa (1 male, DO'M), Limestone Wren Babbler (2), Blue-rumped and Bar-bellied Pittas, White-winged Magpies.
29 Dec: Up for dawn and took the steep ascent up the steps to the transmitter. Birding was very slow. Then back down for some food and found the track towards the "Water tank trail". This was also fairly quiet but produced a few birds eventually. We ate that evening in the Green Restaurant. We opted for beef and pork (we hope!), and ignored the more local dishes on offer which included civet, porcupine, squirrel, and rat. No wonder mammals are so rare in Vietnam...
Birding highlights: Red-billed Scimitar Babblers (2), Slaty-bellied Tesia (2, DO'M), White-hooded Babblers, Spot-necked Babblers, Grey Laughingthrush (1, DO'M), Black-chinned Yuhina (TS, DO'M), Short-tailed Parrotbill (DO'M), Wood Snipe (1, DO'M).
30 Dec: Firstly birded the "Water tank trail". Then did the "Contour Trail B" (as per Brain Gee's maps). Then back to the Water tank where spent the rest of the evening. Birding much slower than at Cuc Phuong, but eventually we were rewarded with a few good species.
Birding highlights: Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbill (1), Dusky Thrush (2), Snowy-browed Flycatcher (1, TS), Chestnut Bulbul.
31 Dec: Walked the steps to the transmitter. Unfortunately although I heard Grey Laughingthrushes calling, the only laughingthrushes that showed all proved to be Black-throated. Then did the "Water tank trail" until 14.45 hrs. Eventually scored with my last new Vietnamese species: Short-tailed Parrotbill, a small flock of which crossed the trail. A good one to get and classed as Vulnerable by Collar et al. Went back to room and waited for our driver to arrive. Left at 15.40 hrs. for Hanoi. Checked into the Sao Mai Hotel. Went out to Al Fresco's for food and New Year's drinks.
Birding highlights: Short-tailed Parrotbill (8), Wood Snipe (1, AGK), Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler (1, DO'M), Grey Laughingthrush (10, DO'M).
1 Jan: Left Sao Mai Hotel and got Taxi to the Airport. Flew to Bangkok arriving at 13.30 hrs. Our flight home was not leaving until tomorrow night so we had planned to hire a car and head to Khao Yai N.P. The car hire companies at the airport didn't want to give us a car for such a short period however. In the end we got a taxi to bring us to Khao Yai and arranged for it to collect us from there the following evening. We got a floor space in one of the basic communal rooms at one of the campsites. We managed half an hour's birding before dusk. Ate at restaurants at the park HQ, where the food is good and fairly cheap.
Birding highlights: Over 200 Openbill Storks near Rangsit Marshes.
2 Jan: Up for dawn and walked down to Trail 6. Birded here for the first half of the morning and then had a breakfast at the HQ. We split up. I went down to Wang Jumpee, crossed the river and looped back around to Trail 6. It was soon time to head back to base and pack up. We were very happy to seen our taxi driver arrive back on time. Headed to the Airport and left for the flight to Zurich at 23.55 hrs.
Birding highlights: Blue Pitta (two heard and one seen (by DO'M)), Silver Pheasant (4), Long-tailed Broadbill (12).
3 Jan : Arrived into Zurich and onward flight to Dublin.
Annotated species list:
Di Linh (Deo Nui San Pass) - DLI
Mount Lang Bian - MLB
Ho Tuyen Lam - HTL
Nam Bai Cat Tien N.P. - NBCT
Bach Ma N.P. - BM
Xuan Thuy - XT
Cuc Phuong N.P. - CP
Tam Dao - TD
(Numbers correspond with those in Boonsong, Lekagul and Round (1991)).
A * sign indicates that this species is not covered in this book.
1. Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) Recorded at both HTL and XT.
5. Little Cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger) 3 birds seen at Bangkok Airport on outward journey.
15. Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) 1 at Crocodile Lake (NBCT) and good numbers seen at XT.
16. Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) Up to 8 at Crocodile Lake and another 8 seen at XT.
17. Chinese Pond Heron (Ardeola bacchus) Regularly recorded throughout the trip.
19. Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) Regularly recorded in paddyfields, mostly in the north.
22. Great White Egret (Ardea alba) 2 at Crocodile Lake. Very common at XT.
23. Intermediate Egret (Egretta intermedia) Recorded only at Crocodile Lake, where up to 15 birds were present.
24. Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) Seen at Crocodile Lake and common at XT.
25. Little (Striated) Heron (Butorides striatus) One seen at HTL and another recorded at XT.
29. Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis) 1 at HTL and 1 Crocodile Lake.
31. Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus) 1 at Crocodile Lake towards dusk.
34. Openbill Stork (Anastomus oscitans) At least 200 were seen near Rangsit, Thailand while en route to Khao Yai N.P. This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al. (1994).
37. Woolly-necked Stork (Ciconia episcopus) 2 at Crocodile Lake and 1 flushed from a forest stream on the HQ trails at NBCT.
40. Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus) 1 seen flying over the HQ area at NBCT (TS only). Videoed. This species is classed as Vulnerable by Collar et al. (1994).
48. Black-faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor) 9 birds seen at XT on 23rd and 2 on 24th. The world population was estimated at about 323 individuals by Collar et al. (1994), who classed it as Critically endangered.
* Greylag Goose (Anser anser) Recorded in good numbers at XT.
50. Pintail (Anas acuta) Up to 10 seen at XT.
51. Teal (Anas crecca) Recorded only at XT, where common.
52. Spot-billed Duck (Anas poecilorhyncha) Up to 20 seen at XT.
53. Gadwall (Anas strepera) Pair seen at XT.
54. Wigeon (Anas penelope) Recorded at XT where fairly common.
55. Garganey (Anas querquedula) Up to 10 seen at XT.
56. Shoveler (Anas clypeata) Recorded at XT where fairly common.
63. Cotton Pygmy-goose (Nettapus coromandelianus) Only recorded at Crocodile Lake where up to 17 were present.
67. Lesser Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna javanica) About 10 seen in Thailand, near Rangsit marshes enroute to Khao Yai N.P.
68. Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) Up to 2 birds recorded both at HTL and NBCT.
69. Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus) 1 seen near DLI.
72. Jerdon's Baza (Aviceda jerdoni) 1 seen perched at HTL (AGK only). This species is considered Near-threatened by Collar et al.
73. Black Baza (Aviceda leuphotes) 2 gave good views along the road near the entrance to the HQ trails at NBCT one morning. (TS and AGK only). Videoed.
78. Shikra (Accipiter badius) Seen at both HTL and NBCT. A number of accipiters seen had to be left unidentified.
81. Crested Honey Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhyncus) 4 at DLI and 2 seen at MTL.
84. Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus) Seen at DLI, MTL, HTL and CP.
86. White-bellied Sea-eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) A sub-adult was present at Crocodile Lake. Videoed.
90. Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela) Seen at NBCT and Khao Yai N.P. in Thailand.
91. Mountain Hawk Eagle (Spizaetus nipalensis) 1 was seen on two consecutive days in the open valley at Bong, CP.
98. Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malayensis) At least 2 birds seen at HTL and 1 seen at CP.
106. Eastern Marsh Harrier (Circus spilonotus) Only seen at XT where common.
107. Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) A female/imm. was seen at XT.
108. Pied Harrier (Circus melanoleucos) A male seen at Crocodile Lake (NBCT) and 2 recorded at XT.
* Pied Falconet (Microhierax melanoleucos) Up to 3 birds were seen fairly regularly in the cleared valley area near the Bong Substation, CP. They were usually perched in bare trees and were sometimes seen to catch butterflies. This species is a near-endemic to Vietnam and is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al.
112. Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) 1 seen on the road between Da Nang and Bach Ma N.P. One also seen at XT.
116. Peregrine (Falco peregrinus) 2 birds seen at XT. They were hunting at the wader roost on the sand flats offshore.
*Merlin (Falco columbarius) 1 (fem/imm.) was sitting on the sand at the wader roost at XT.
119. Silver Pheasant (Lophura nycthemera) 4 females and a male (separately) seen along the ridge trail at CP. Additionally a few different sightings of males on Trail 6 at Khao Yai N.P. (Thailand) on our stop-over there.
121. Siamese Fireback (Lophura diardi) A male seen briefly on the HQ trails at NBCT (AGK) and a female seen in roughly the same area on the following day (DO'M). This species is classed as Vulnerable to extinction by Collar et al.
122. Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) 1 heard calling on the HQ trails at NBCT. Additionally two sightings of males on Trail 6 at Khao Yai N.P. (Thailand) on our stop-over there.
* Germain's Peacock-pheasant (Polyplectron germaini) Endemic to Vietnam. Heard on two days along the HQ trails at NBCT, with a max. of 3 birds heard on one day. Unfortunately no birds were seen which was a big disappointment. A local researcher we met said that the species was easier to see in March/April. Germain's Peacock-pheasant is classed as Vulnerable to extinction by Collar et al. A return trip to Vietnam would be justified to see this and the following species.
* Crested Argus (Rheinardia ocellata) Heard on both days along the Pheasant Trail at Bach Ma N.P. but unfortunately not seen. It seems that this spectacular species is heard far more often than it is seen. A near-endemic, it is also classed as Vulnerable to extinction by Collar et al.
127. Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus) A male was seen near the shore of Crocodile Lake on our first evening there. About half an hour before dusk it flew into some tall trees nearby to roost. A spectacular sight and one of the highlights of the trip. Soon after dawn the next day, the male together with a female flew down from the trees and started feeding along the shore of the lake again. These were very wary birds and were best observed from the small tower hide at the lake. On the first evening when we walked to the lakeshore the male bird noticed us immediately and quickly walked out of sight, even at a distance of some 300m or more. Videoed through the telescope by TS. This species is classed as Vulnerable to extinction by Collar et al. and now has a very patchy and contracting world range.
* Annam Partridge (Arborophila merlini) Endemic to Central Annam in Vietnam. Heard a number of times at Bach Ma N.P. but unfortunately not seen. This species is classed as Endangered by Collar et al.
131. Scaly-breasted Partridge (Arborophila chloropus) Heard at NBCT and CP but not seen.
144. Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus) 1 bird seen at XT.
145. Slaty-breasted Rail (Rallus striatus) Fairly common at XT, where about 8 were seen, many feeding out on the open mud of the mangroves at low tide.
150. Ruddy-breasted Crake (Porzana fusca) 2 birds seen very well at XT.
154. White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) At least 8 at Crocodile Lake and fairly common at XT.
155. Watercock (Gallicrex cinerea) 3 birds seen at Crocodile Lake.
156. Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) Recorded at HTL, Crocodile Lake and XT.
157. Purple Swamphen (Gallinule) (Porphyrio porphyrio) Only seen at Crocodile Lake where up to 8 were present.
161. Bronze-winged Jacana (Metopidius indicus) Only seen at Crocodile Lake where common.
164. Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus) Only seen at Crocodile Lake where 3 birds were present.
166. Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) Seen only at XT, where c. 20 birds were recorded.
169. Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) Common at XT.
172. Lesser Sand Plover (Charadrius mongolus) Fairly common at XT.
173. Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) About 5 birds identified at XT. Additionally a number of unidentified Sand Plovers were noted at this site.
175. Curlew (Numenius arquata) Only seen at XT where common.
178. Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) Only seen at XT where common.
179. Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica) 2 birds seen at XT.
182. Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus) Only seen at XT where common.
183. Redshank (Tringa totanus) Only seen at XT where fairly common.
184. Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) Only seen at XT where common.
185. Nordmann's Greenshank (Tringa guttifer) Just 1 bird seen at XT, present with Greenshank at a high tide roost. This species is classed as Endangered by Collar et al. with a total estimated world population of about 1000 birds.
186. Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis) Only seen at XT where common.
188. Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) A single bird seen at XT.
189. Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) 2-3 birds seen at XT.
194. Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis) About 40 birds present in a mixed roosting flock at high tide at XT.
197. Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmaeus) A single individual seen with a large mixed flock of Dunlin, Kentish Plovers, Red-necked Stints, Sanderlings and Broad-billed Sandpipers at XT. Videoed through telescope by TS. This species is classed as Vulnerable by Collar et al. with a world population estimated at 2-2,800 pairs. Its wintering range is not entirely know, but is know to include Bangladesh and Myanmar.
198. Sanderling (Calidris alba) Only seen at XT where common.
200. Dunlin (Calidris alpina) Only seen at XT where common.
202. Broad-billed Sandpiper (Limicola falcinellus) Only recorded at XT where about 20 birds were seen.
203. Knot (Red Knot) (Calidris canutus) A group of 4 birds seen at XT.
204. Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris) A group of 4 birds were seen at XT.
207. Wood Snipe (Gallinago nemoricola) 1 was flushed from the forest undergrowth at the side of the steps up to the transmitter at TD, on two different dates, (AGK and DO'M separately). A totally unexpected sighting of what is a rare and little known species. A cackling croaking sound was heard from the bird when it got up on both occasions. This species is considered as Vulnerable to extinction by Collar et al.
222. Great Black-headed Gull (Larus ichthyaetus) An adult was seen on the sandflats where the smaller waders were roosting at XT. It was videoed by TS. A big rarity in Vietnam as far as we know.
* Heuglin's Gull (Larus heuglini) About 20 individuals seen at XT.
224. Black-tailed Gull (Larus crassirostris) A first-winter was seen offshore from the sandflats where the smaller waders were roosting at XT. Another rarity in Vietnam.
226. Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus) Seen at Da Nang and common at XT.
* Saunder's Gull (Larus saundersi) Up to 85 birds counted at XT. Many birds were videoed. This species is classed as Endangered by Collar et al., the total world population being estimated at about 3,000 birds.
228. Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia) At least 2 birds seen at XT.
232. Gull-billed Tern (Sterna nilotica) 2 birds recorded at XT.
241. Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybridus) Only seen at XT where common.
248. Wedge-tailed Pigeon (Treron sphenura) 5 birds seen at MLB, and 2 at CP (DO'M).
249. White-bellied Pigeon (Treron sieboldii) 5 birds seen at HTL. This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al.
250. Thick-billed Pigeon (Treron curvirostra) At least 60 daily in a large fruiting tree at NBCT.
251. Pompadour Green Pigeon (Treron pompadora) 4 birds seen at Crocodile Lake.
259. Green Imperial Pigeon (Ducula aenea) A few birds recorded in trees near the HQ area at NBCT.
261. Mountain Imperial Pigeon (Ducula badia) Frequently recorded at both MLB and HTL.
262. Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia) Noted in many urbanised areas.
265. Pale-capped Pigeon (Columba punicea) 1 seen at HTL (TS only). Another species classed as Vulnerable to extinction by Collar et al., being extremely local and scarce throughout its world distribution.
266. Barred Cuckoo Dove (Macropygia unchall) 1 seen at MLB (TS only).
270. Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) Recorded at many locations but mostly in the south.
272. Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica) 1 seen at HTL (DO'M).
275. Red-breasted Parakeet (Psittacula alexandri) Only seen at NBCT where common.
277. Grey-headed Parakeet (Psittacula finschii) Seen at MLB and HTL.
279. Vernal Hanging Parrot (Loriculus vernalis) Seen at NBCT where common. Only seen flying over and never perched.
290. Banded Bay Cuckoo (Cacomantis sonneratii) Heard almost daily at NBCT near the river, but never seen.
291. Plaintive Cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus) Present daily around the HQ at NBCT.
296. Drongo Cuckoo (Surniculus lugubris) 1 seen at NBCT (DO'M only).
300. Green-billed Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus tristis) Seen daily at NBCT. Also recorded at BM.
305. Greater Coucal (Centrophus sinensis) Seen daily at NBCT. Also recorded at BM and XT.
306. Lesser Coucal (Centrophus bengalensis) 2 birds seen at Crocodile Lake, NBCT.
312. Mountain Scops Owl (Otis spilocephalus) 1 bird dead and impaled to a tree at TD.
314. Collared Scops Owl (Otis lempiji) 1 bird heard at the HQ at NBCT.
330. Great Eared Nightjar (Eurostopodus macrotis) Only seen at NBCT where about 20 birds were seen each evening around the HQ area. Fantastic birds.
333. Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus) Only seen at NBCT where up to 3 birds were present feeding with the Great Eared Nightjars each evening. A few nightjars seen at DLI may have been this species.
340. Orange-breasted Trogon (Harpactes oreskios) 3 birds seen at NBCT.
341. Red-headed Trogon (Harpactes erythrocephalus) 1 bird seen at HTL. Fairly common at CP where seen daily. A few also recorded at TD.
343. Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) 2 birds recorded: 1 near NBCT and 1 near XT.
345. Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) Fairly commonly recorded in the open countryside near water.
351. Stork-billed Kingfisher (Halcyon capensis) 1 bird was present at Crocodile Lake, NBCT.
353. White-breasted (Smyrna) Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) Recorded at XT and a few seen in open countryside.
354. Black-capped Kingfisher (Halcyon pileata) 2 birds seen at XT.
357. Chestnut-headed Bee-eater (Merops leschenaulti) Seen daily at NBCT. Also seen at Khao Yai N. P. Thailand.
362. Blue-bearded Bee-eater (Nyctyornis athertoni) 1 bird at NBCT seen calling to another (DO'M), 1 at CP (AGK) and 1 at Khao Yai N.P.,Thailand, (DO'M).
363. Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis) Seen almost daily at NBCT. Also recorded at Khao Yai, Thailand.
364. Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis) Seen daily at NBCT.
367. Brown Hornbill (Ptilolaemus tickelli) A party of 7 birds were seen flying out of a fruiting tree along the Ridge Trail at CP (AGK). This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al.
371. Wreathed Hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus) Up to 5 birds seen at NBCT. 2 also seen at Khao Yai, Thailand (TS).
374. Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) Seen daily at NBCT. Also seen at Khao Yai, Thailand.
376. Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis) 2 birds seen at DLI, up to 3 at NBCT and 2 also seen at Khao Yai, Thailand (TS).
379. Lineated Barbet (Megalaima lineata) 6 birds seen at NBCT.
380. Green-eared Barbet (Megalaima faiostricta) Seen at NBCT and common in fruiting trees in the valley at Bong (CP).
* Red-vented Barbet (Megalaima lagrandieri) 1 bird seen in a fruiting tree on HQ trail at NBCT (AGK). Up to 4 birds seen in fruiting trees at CP. A near-endemic to Vietnam.
* Black-browed Barbet (Megalaima oorti) A few recorded at MLB .
386. Moustached Barbet (Megalaima incognita) Probably heard at DLI, HTL and MLB.
388. Blue-eared Barbet (Megalaima australis) A few seen in a fruiting tree at NBCT.
389. Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala) 1 or 2 seen in a fruiting tree at NBCT.
394. White-browed Piculet (Sasia ochracea) 1 at NBCT (DO'M). Seen almost daily at TD.
397. Greater Flameback (Chrysocolaptes lucidus) Recorded at NBCT on two occasions.
398. Common Flameback (Dinopium javanense) Seen once at NBCT and almost daily at CP.
402. Laced Woodpecker (Picus vittatus) 2 seen at NBCT (DO'M and TS). 1 seen at Khao Yai N.P., Thailand (AGK).
405. Grey-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) 1 seen at HTL and 2 at NBCT.
406. Black-headed Woodpecker (Picus erythropygius) What looked like this species was seen twice in flight over the Bong Substation area at CP.
408. Lesser Yellownape (Picus chlorolophus) 2 seen at NBCT and recorded daily at CP.
* Red-collared Woodpecker (Picus rabieri) A female was seen on the Ridge Trail near the "Thousand year old tree", CP (DO'M only). This is a near-endemic and is considered as Vulnerable to extinction by Collar et al.
414. Bay Woodpecker (Blythipicus pyrrhotis) 2 seen at HTL and recorded almost daily at CP. Also seen at TD.
419. Black-and-buff Woodpecker (Meiglyptes jugularis) 1 seen at Khao Yai N.P., Thailand (DO'M).
420. Heart-spotted Woodpecker (Hemicircus canente) A pair seen at Khao Yai N.P., Thailand.
427. Grey-capped Woodpecker (Picoides canicapillus) 1 seen at MLB (AGK) and another recorded at CP (TS).
429. Black-and-red Broadbill (Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos) About 3 birds recorded at NBCT.
430. Banded Broadbill (Eurylaimus javanicus) 1 bird seen along the start of the main track to Dac Lua at NBCT (TS ).
432. Silver-breasted Broadbill (Serilophus lunatus) Recorded on three days at CP with a maximum of 20 seen one day on the Ridge Trail.
433. Long-tailed Broadbill (Psarisomus dalhousiae) 3 on the Ridge Trail, CP (DO'M). 8 seen at Khao Yai N.P., Thailand (AGK).
436. Blue-rumped Pitta (Pitta soror) Recorded daily at CP, where they were surprisingly easy to see. 3 or 4 birds were present along the grid trails at Bong and some fantastically close views were obtained with the birds generally unconcerned by our presence. Birds were also seen daily along the Ridge and Valley trails at CP. One bird was present most days along the track towards the Valley Trail in the open clearing at Bong, feeding under a small stand of banana trees on one occasion. None of the birds were heard to call at all. Between the three of us we recorded a maximum daily count of about 15 at CP. It was totally unexpected to see this species so well and in such numbers and it ranked as one of the main highlights of the trip for us all. Two birds were videoed by TS. This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al.
442. Bar-bellied Pitta (Pitta ellioti) 1 heard along the HQ trail at NBCT but not see, despite a lot of effort. After that up to 4 were seen (and an additional 3 heard) along the trail up to Crocodile Lake. Easiest to see in forest that was a bit more open. Much easier again to see at CP where they were fairly common. They were present on all trails and around the Bong area but tended to be heard more often than seen. Some fantastic views were obtained. A really stunning species and another pitta species classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al.
443. Blue Pitta (Pitta cyanea) 1 seen well along Trail 6 at Khao Yai N.P.,Thailand (DO'M). Another 2 were heard calling but none of these birds showed.
446. Eared Pitta (Pitta phayrei) Heard on two evenings on the slopes above the valley at Bong, CP, but no sightings.
451. Asian Palm Swift (Cypsiurus balasiensis) Just 1 seen at DLI.
455. Little Swift (Apus affinis) Recorded regularly at MLB and HTL. Seen also at Da Nang and BM. Also seen in Thailand.
458. Brown Needletail (Hirundapus giganteus) Just 1 recorded at NBCT.
466. Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) Seen at MLB, XT, and near CP. Also recorded in Thailand.
467. Pacific Swallow (Hirundo tahitica) 3 seen near DLI.
469. Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica) Recorded at DLI, MLB, HTL and XT. Also seen in Thailand.
471. Asian House Martin (Delichon dasypus) 2 seen near the first peak at MLB.
475. Oriental Skylark (Alauda gulgula) 1 gave excellent close views while we were watching the Spoon-billed Sandpiper at XT.
476. Olive-backed Pipit (Anthus hodgsoni) Regularly seen and heard throughout the trip.
477. Richard's (Paddyfield) Pipit (Anthus novaeseelandiae) 2 birds seen at MTL.
480. White Wagtail (Motacilla alba) 1 seen between BM and Da Nang (DO'M)
481. Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) Recorded at MLB, HTL, NBCT, CP and TD.
482. Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava) Seen only in the XT area where up to 5 were recorded.
486. Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike (Hemipus picatus) Seen in small numbers at DLI, HTL, NBCT and CP. Also seen at Khao Yai N.P., Thailand.
488. Large Wood-shrike (Tephrodornis virgatus) In Vietnam, only recorded at CP, on three different days. Seen also at Khao Yai N.P., Thailand.
489. Common Wood-shrike (Tephrodornis pondicerianus) 1 seen at CP (TS).
490. Large Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina macei) 2 birds seen at MLB
492./493. Indochinese/Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina polioptera / melaschista) A few unidentified Cuckoo-shrikes seen at HTL .
493. Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina melaschista) 2 birds were seen at Khao Yai N.P.
495. Ashy Minivet (Pericrocotus divaricatus) A few recorded at NBCT.
499. Grey-chinned Minivet (Pericrocotus solaris) A few recorded at MLB.
501. Long-tailed Minivet (Pericrocotus ethologus) 4 seen at HTL.
502. Scarlet Minivet (Pericrocotus flammeus) Recorded at HTL and CP. Also seen at Khao Yai N.P., Thailand.
504. Common Iora (Aegithina viridissima) A few seen at CP.
505. Great Iora (Aegithina lafresnayei) Seen at both NBCT and CP, with a maximum count of 10 at NBCT on one day.
509. Blue-winged Leafbird (Chloropsis cochinchinensis) Recorded at DLI, NBCT, and CP. Also seen at Khao Yai N.P, Thailand.
510. Orange-bellied Leafbird (Chloropsis hardwickii) Seen at NBCT, CP and TD.
514. Black-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus atriceps) Seen at NBCT (DO'M).
515. Black-crested Bulbul (Pycnonotus melanicterus) Common at MLB and NBCT. Seen also at CP.
519. Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) Common at CP in open areas. Seen also at NBCT and BM. Also recorded in Thailand.
913. Light-vented (Chinese) Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) A group of 4 birds were seen in the garden of the Police Station at XT, while we waited for our driver to obtain permission for us to visit the site.
521. Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster) Recorded daily at MLB, HTL and BM.
523. Stripe-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus finlaysoni) Recorded daily at NBCT, BM and CP.
524. Flavescent Bulbul (Pycnonotus flavescens) Seen at DLI and HTL.
527. Streak-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus blanfordi) 2 birds seen at NBCT.
532. Puff-throated Bulbul (Criniger pallidus) Seen at DLI, NBCT. Common at CP with good numbers recorded daily.
539. Grey-eyed Bulbul (Hypsipites propinquus) 2 birds seen at NBCT. Seen on three dates at CP.
541. Mountain Bulbul ( Hypsipites mcclellandii) Seen at both MLB and HTL.
* Chestnut Bulbul (Hypsipites castanotus) A few sightings at TD, eventually! A near-endemic.
543. Ashy Bulbul (Hypsipites flavala) Seen regularly at DLI, MLB and HTL.
544. Black Bulbul (Hypsipites madagascariensis) Seen regularly at MLB, HTL, CP and TD. Good numbers of the white headed migratory form were noted at TD.
546. Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus) Seen fairly regularly in open countryside. Also seen in Thailand.
547. Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus) Recorded at HTL, MLB, NBCT, CP and TD.
549. Bronzed Drongo (Dicrurus aeneus) 2 birds seen at DLI.
550. Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus remifer) Seen at MLB, BM and daily at NBCT. Also seen in Thailand.
551. Hair-crested (Spangled) Drongo (Dicrurus hottentottus) Seen at DLI and BM. Seen daily at NBCT. Also seen in Thailand.
552. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus) Seen almost daily at CP.
554. Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis) A few seen at NBCT.
556. Black-hooded Oriole (Oriolus xanthornus) Seen at NBCT, where up to 5 were recorded one day.
557. Maroon Oriole (Oriolus traillii) Seen at DLI, MLB and HTL.
559. Asian Fairy Bluebird (Irena puella) Seen at DLI. Many birds also seen in a fruiting tree at NBCT.
561. Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius) Up to 6 seen at MLB and HTL.
* White-winged Magpie (Urocissa whiteheadi) Two very mobile groups of about 6 birds seen briefly moving through tall trees on two different mornings at CP. Shy and difficult to see well. This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al. and is a near-endemic to Vietnam.
562. Eastern Green Magpie (Yellow-breasted Magpie) (Cissa hypoleuca) 2 birds seen at DLI were a bit unexpected here (AGK, DO'M). 1 bird also seen at HTL (AGK). This species was surprisingly distinctive from Green Magpie, being very yellow underneath, almost like a male oriole. This is another species classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al.
563. Green Magpie (Cissa chinensis) Recorded almost daily at CP. Also recorded at TD. Seen at Khao Yai N.P. (Thailand) too.
567. Racket-tailed Treepie (Crypsirina temia) Seen almost daily at NBCT and also sighted at BM.
* Ratchet-tailed Treepie (Temnurus temnurus) Seen and heard daily at CP. Could be fairly unobtrusive at times. Also seen at TD.
569. Large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos) One sighting at DLI.
571. Black-throated Tit (Aegithalos concinnus) Seen at DLI, MLB and HTL.
* Green-backed Tit (Parus monticolus) Seen at MLB.
575. Yellow-cheeked Tit (Parus spilonotus) A few recorded at MLB and HTL
576. Sultan Tit (Melanochlora sultanea) Seen daily at CP. Also recorded in mixed feeding flocks at TD.
* Yellow-billed Nuthatch (Sitta solangiae) About 5 birds recorded in mixed feeding flocks at HTL (AGK, DO'M). This species is endemic to Vietnam and Hainan and is classed as Vulnerable to extinction by Collar et al. It is severely threatened by deforestation in both Vietnam and Hainan.
577. Chestnut-vented Nuthatch (Sitta nagaensis) A few recorded at HTL and MLB.
579. Velvet-fronted Nuthatch (Sitta castanea) 1 bird seen at DLI and a few recorded at NBCT.
581. Brown-throated Treecreeper (Certhia discolor) Singles seen at both MLB and HTL. The one at MLB gave excellent views and was videoed by TS.
583. Puff-throated Babbler (Pellorneum ruficeps) Seen daily at CP. A very tame and confiding species generally.
586. Buff-breasted Babbler (Trichastoma tickelli) 2 were seen at CP.
* Rufous-capped Babbler (Stachyris ruficeps) Recorded at MLB, HTL and CP.
591. Abbott's Babbler (Trichastoma abbotti) In Vietnam, recorded only at BM, where seen on both days. Also recorded at Khao Yai N.P., Thailand.
594. Scaly-crowned Babbler (Malacopteron cinereum) Seen at NBCT, BM and CP.
596. Large Scimitar Babbler (Pomatorhinus hypoleucos) Heard at CP and probably heard at DLI.
* Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler (Pomatorhinus ruficollis) 1 bird seen along the "Water tank trail" at TD (DO'M only). It responded to a simple imitation of its call and gave excellent views.
598. White-browed Scimitar Babbler (Pomatorhinus schisticeps) Seen at HTL and MLB. Also seen nest building at Khao Yai N.P. in Thailand.
599. Red-billed Scimitar Babbler (Pomatorhinus ochraceiceps) 2 birds seen on two different days amongst a feeding flock of White-hooded Babblers along the "Water tank trail" at TD. A simple imitation of their call made the birds come right down from the canopy to investigate, where excellent views were had.
603. Limestone Wren Babbler (Napothera crispifrons) Birds were seen on two occasions (TS and AGK only) along the Valley Trail at CP. Excellent views were had.
604. Streaked Wren Babbler (Napothera brevicaudata) Seen a few times at CP. Also recorded at TD.
605. Eye-browed Wren Babbler (Napothera epilepidota) A few seen at HTL. Recorded almost daily at CP. Also seen at TD.
609. Golden Babbler (Stachyris chrysaea) Seen daily at TD where feeding parties were regularly encountered.
610. Grey-throated Babbler (Stachyris nigriceps) Seen almost daily at both CP and TD.
612. Spot-necked Babbler (Stachyris striolata) Seen a few times feeding quietly in the undergrowth along the "Water tank trail" at TD.
* Grey-faced Tit Babbler (Macronous kelleyi) Seen on two dates at NBCT. A near-endemic with a fairly restricted range and treated as Near-threatened by Collar et al.
617. Striped Tit Babbler (Macronous gularis) Seen almost daily at NBCT and CP. Also seen once at TD.
621. White-crested Laughingthrush (Garrulax leucolophus) Seen or heard at DLI, HTL, NBCT and CP. Also seen at Khao Yai N.P., Thailand.
622. Lesser-necklaced Laughingthrush (Garrulax monileger) 1 seen briefly at BM. Another briefly at CP. Another seen at Khao Yai N.P., Thailand.
625. Black-throated Laughingthrush (Garrulax chinensis) Recorded only at TD, where a maximum of 12 birds were seen one day.
* Black-hooded Laughingthrush (Garrulax milleti) Endemic to Vietnam and restricted to the Da Lat plateau EBA. 3 birds seen feeding unobtrusively on forest floor at DLI. In addition recorded twice at HTL, where better views were obtained. The bare bluish facial patch was larger and more distinctive than expected, looking almost white at a distance. This species is classed as Vulnerable to extinction by Collar et al.
* White-cheeked Laughingthrush (Garrulax vassali) A near endemic to Vietnam. 4 birds seen at DLI and over a dozen seen on both visits to HTL.
* Collared Laughingthrush (Garrulax yersini) Endemic to Vietnam and restricted to the Da Lat plateau. 2 birds were seen at the forest edge in the area between the peaks at MLB. A shy and skulking species. Like Black-hooded, this species is classed as Vulnerable to extinction by Collar et al. Videoed by TS.
* Grey Laughingthrush (Garrulax maesi) Heard daily at TD, sometimes very close, but seeing the species proved to be impossible for two of us, only DO'M connecting (twice!), along the track up to the transmitter. Unfortunately the only laughingthrushes I saw at TD were Black-throated. This species is a near-endemic and considered to be Near-threatened by Collar et al.
632. Rufous-throated Fulvetta (Alcippe rufogularis) Seen daily at CP, often giving very good views. Considered to be Near-threatened by Collar et al.
635. Mountain Fulvetta (Alcippe peracensis) Fairly common at DLI, MLB and HTL. Fulvettas seen daily at CP are of a different form "grotei", and are a bit like a cross between Mountain and Grey-cheeked Fulvettas.
636. Grey-cheeked Fulvetta (Alcippe morrisonia) Seen daily at TD where common.
[* Grey-crowned Crocias (Crocias langbianis) Endemic to the Da Lat plateau of Vietnam. A bird heard calling at HTL resembled but was not the same as the tape we had of the species from The British Library. It may not have been the species. We were unable to find any of the marked trees where previous visitors at HTL have seen the species. They may have all been cut and burned. Unfortunately much of the forest is being hacked and burned for charcoal and prospects for this species's long term survival must be bleak. Grey-crowned Crocias is classed as Critically endangered by Collar et al. It was only rediscovered in 1994, three 1938 specimens having been the only evidence of its existence before that.]
640. White-bellied Yuhina (Yuhina zantholeuca) Regularly seen at DLI, HTL, MLB, CP and TD.
* Black-chinned Yuhina (Yuhina nigrimenta) A few seen at TD on two occasions (TS and DO'M only).
641. Chestnut-fronted Shrike-babbler (Pteruthius aenobarbus) A few birds recorded at HTL.
643. White-browed Shrike-babbler (Pteruthius flaviscapis) Seen at DLI and TD.
644. Blue-winged Minla (Minla cyanouroptera) A few seen on both visits to HTL.
646. Cutia (Cutia nipalensis) 1 seen briefly at DLI (DO'M only). This is the Annamese race which is heavily barred on the underparts.
647. Silver-eared Mesia (Leiothrix argentauris) A single sighting of a large group of birds (20+) one evening at the start of the "Water tank trail" at TD (TS and AGK).
648. White-hooded Babbler (Gampsorhynchus rufulus) A feeding group of about 10 birds was sighted on two different days along the "Water tank trail" at TD.
650. Rufous-backed Sibia (Heterophasia annectens) 1 seen at HTL (DO'M).
651. Black-headed Sibia (Heterophasia melanoleuca) 1 seen at MLB (DO'M).
656. Short-tailed Parrotbill (Paradoxornis davidianus) At TD seen on three occasions by DO'M and once by AGK, the last new species for me in Vietnam and one I was pleased not to miss. Most sightings were along the "Water tank trail". Short-tailed Parrotbill is classed as Vulnerable to extinction by Collar et al. It is very susceptible to the widespread destruction and fragmentation of its bamboo habitat.
* Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbill (Paradoxornis ruficeps) A single bird seen twice amongst a mixed feeding flock of White-hooded Babblers and Red-billed Scimitar Babblers along the "Water tank trail" at TD. A really peculiar looking bird, which to me appeared to have the large head of a female Red-headed Trogon transplanted onto the small body of a finch! This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al.
661. Golden-spectacled Warbler (Seicercus burkii) Small numbers recorded at DLI, HTL, CP and TD.
* White-spectacled Warbler (Seicercus affinis) Seen twice at HTL (AGK, TS) and also once at TD (TS).
663. Chestnut-crowned Warbler (Seicercus castaniceps) 4 birds seen at HTL.
664. Yellow-bellied Warbler (Abroscopus superciliaris) A few sightings at CP.
667. Dusky Warbler (Phylloscopus fuscatus) Seen at BM and also on both days at XT.
670. Pale-legged Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus tenellipes) One definite sighting at NBCT. Also seen at Khao Yai N.P., Thailand.
672. Two-barred Greenish Warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides plumbeitarsus) Recorded in small numbers at DLI, MLB and NBCT.
674.Eastern Crowned Warbler (Phylloscopus coronatus) Seen in small numbers at DLI and NBCT.
676. White-tailed Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus davisoni) A few recorded at TD.
678. Sulphur-breasted Warbler (Phylloscopus ricketti) 2 birds recorded at CP (AGK).
679. Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) Common. Seen and heard regularly in all sites visited with the exception of XT.
680. Pallas's Warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus) Only seen at TD where recorded daily.
693. Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis) Seen only at XT.
695. Grey-breasted Prinia (Prinia hodgsonii) A few seen at XT.
696. Rufescent Prinia (Prinia rufescens) Seen at HTL, NBCT, and daily at CP.
698. Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata) Recorded at XT on both days. Also seen at TD.
701. Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius)Seen regularly at TD. Also recorded at DLI, HTL and CP.
702. Dark-necked Tailorbird (Orthotomus atrogularis) Seen at NBCT. Also recorded at TD.
705. Mountain Tailorbird (Orthotomus cuculatus) One seen at HTL. Two recorded at TD.
706. Grey-bellied Tesia (Tesia cyaniventer) Two sightings at HTL (DO'M only).
707. Slaty-bellied Tesia (Tesia olivea) 2 birds seen along the "Water tank trail" at TD (DO'M only).
709. Stub-tailed Bush-warbler (Cettia squameiceps) Seen on a few occasions at CP.
715. Chinese Bush-warbler (Bradypterus tacsanowskius) 1 recorded at CP (DO'M).
716. Brown Bush-warbler (Bradypterus luteoventris) 3 birds seen at transmitter at TD (AGK). Very skulking.
717. Russet Bush-warbler (Bradypterus seebohmi) 1 bird watched fairly closely along the "Water tank trail" at TD.
721. Rufous-tailed Robin (Luscinia sibilans) A few birds were recorded at CP, most often feeding quietly in the undergrowth along the grid trail system near the Bong substation.
722. Siberian Rubythroat (Luscinia calliope) A male was seen near the first peak at MLB (DO'M).
726. Siberian Blue Robin (Luscinia cyane) A male and female were recorded at MLB. A male was also seen at NBCT.
727. Red-flanked Bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus) Seen daily at both CP and TD.
729. Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis) A few recorded at NBCT. Seen daily at CP.
730. White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus) A few seen on most days at NBCT and CP. Also seen at Khao Yai N.P.,Thailand.
732. White-tailed Robin (Cinclidium leucarum) 2 birds seen at HTL (AGK only).
* Spotted Forktail (Enicurus maculatus) 1 bird seen at HTL (TS only).
742. White-crowned Forktail (Enicurus leschenaultii) Seen and heard on a few occasions at CP. Probably also heard at TD. Seen also at Khao Yai N.P., Thailand (AGK).
743. Purple Cochoa (Cochoa purpurea) A male was seen briefly in a fruiting tree near the Bong substation at CP (DO'M only). This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al.
745. Stonechat (Saxicola torquata) Seen fairly regularly in open countryside.
748. Grey Bushchat (Saxicola ferrea) Seen almost daily at MLB and HTL. Also seen at CP and TD.
749. White-throated Rockthrush (Monticola gularis) A female seen along the track up to MLB on two occasions. Videoed by TS.
751. Blue Rockthrush (Monticola solitarius) 2 birds sighted from the car while driving between BM and Da Nang.
752. Blue Whistling Thrush (Myiophoneus caeruleus) Recorded at CP on three dates. Seen at TD on two dates.
754. Orange-headed Thrush (Zoothera citrina) 1 seen at HTL (TS). 1 also recorded at Khao Yai N.P., Thailand (DO'M).
755. Siberian Thrush (Zoothera siberica) A male was seen at HTL (AGK only).
757. White's (Scaly) Thrush (Zoothera dauma) One seen at MLB (DO'M). Seen daily at CP and almost daily at TD.
* Japanese Thrush (Turdus cardis) Seen only at CP, where good numbers were in evidence each day.
759. Black-breasted Thrush (Turdus dissimilis) Up to 3 birds were seen around the Bong Substation, CP. Two birds was also seen half way up to the transmitter at TD. This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al.
761. Blackbird (Turdus merula) A female seen close to the HQ at BM. Common around the Bong Substation at CP, where good numbers were seen daily.
765b. Black-throated Thrush (Turdus ruficollis atrogularis) A male of this species was seen briefly near the Bong substation at CP (AGK). This species does not normally occur as far east as Vietnam.
766. Dusky Thrush (Turdus naumanni) 2 birds were seen at the beginning of the "Water tank trail" at TD one afternoon (AGK, DO'M).
772. Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica) 1 seen at DLI (DO'M). A few were recorded at NBCT.
775. Red-breasted Flycatcher (Ficedula parva) Recorded at MLB, HTL, NBCT and BM.
777. Mugimaki Flycatcher (Ficedula mugimaki) A few seen on both visits to MLB.
783. Little Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula westermanni) Seen at DLI, MLB and HTL.
784. Snowy-browed Flycatcher (Ficedula hyperythra) 1 seen on "Contour trail B" at TD (TS only).
790. Grey-headed Flycatcher (Culicicapa ceylonensis) Recorded at DLI, HTL and CP.
791. Blue-and-white Flycatcher (Cyanoptila cyanomelana) A first-winter male was seen well and videoed along the track up to MLB.
792. Large Niltava (Niltava grandis) A few birds were seen most days at HTL and MLB.
794. Fukien Niltava (Niltava davidi) Recorded on most days at CP near the Bong Substation, with a maximum of 3 birds seen one day. A male was videoed by TS. This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al.
797. Verditer Flycatcher (Eumyias thalassina) Seen daily at HTL and MLB. Recorded on most dates at NBCT and also seen a DLI.
798. Pale Blue Fycatcher (Cyornis unicolor) A pair were seen at HTL.
799. White-tailed Flycatcher (Cyornis concreta) Recorded on most days at CP near the Bong Substation, with a maximum of four birds seen one day. A female was also seen at TD and videoed by TS.
800. Hainan Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis hainana) 2 birds seen at NBCT (AGK).
802. Hill Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis banyumas) 1 seen at Khao Yai N.P., Thailand.
805. White-throated Fantail (Rhipidura albicollis) Recorded at DLI, MLB, HTL, CP and TD.
809. Black-naped Monarch (Hypothymis azurea) 2 birds seen at NBCT.
813. Asian Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi) A male was seen at NBCT.
815. Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) 1 was seen at NBCT.
817. Burmese Shrike (Lanius collurioides) 1 seen on both visits to HTL. Videoed by TS.
818. Grey-backed Shrike (Lanius tephronotus) Recorded at XT, CP and TD.
819. Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach) Recorded at CP.
820. Ashy Wood-swallow (Artamus fuscus) A few recorded at MLB and NBCT. 1 also seen at Khao Yai N.P., Thailand.
830. Black-collared Starling (Sturnus nigricollis) Recorded at both HTL and MLB.
831. Vinous-breasted Starling (Sturnus burmannicus) Recorded on three dates at NBCT.
832. Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) Recorded in countryside areas enroute to BM from Da Nang. Also seen at XT.
* Crested Myna (Acridotheres cristatellus) A few seen from the car between BM and Da Nang. A near-endemic.
835. Golden-crested Myna (Ampeliceps coronatus) Recorded on two days near the HQ area at NBCT, with a maximum of 6 birds seen one day.
836. Hill Myna (Gracula religiosa) Seen at Khao Yai N.P., Thailand (DO'M).
842. Purple-throated Sunbird (Nectarinia sperata) A few birds were recorded at NBCT.
846. Gould's Sunbird (Aethopyga gouldiae) A few seen at HTL.
849. Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja) 1 bird seen at NBCT (AGK).
* Fork-tailed Sunbird (Aethopyga christinae) Seen at DLI, CP and TD.
858. Streaked Spiderhunter (Arachnothera magna) Seen at DLI, CP and TD.
863. Yellow-vented Flowerpecker (Dicaecum chrysorrheum) Seen fairly regularly at NBCT.
868. Buff-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaecum ignipectus) A few birds seen at TD.
869./870./871. Chestnut-flanked / Japanese / Oriental White-eye (Zosterops erythropleurus / japonicus / palpebrosus) Unidentified White-eyes were seen at BM, XT, CP and TD. None gave good enough views to be identified.
873. Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) Common near human habitation.
883. White-rumped Munia (Lonchura striata) Seen only at NBCT, where recorded almost daily.
885. Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata) Seen at HTL and NBCT.
* Vietnamese Greenfinch (Carduelis monguilloti) Endemic to Vietnam. About 5 birds were recorded near the forest edge between the two peaks at MLB. The males are very stunning birds. One bird was videoed briefly by TS. This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al.
898. Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla) 3 birds were seen at XT.
901. Chestnut Bunting (Emberiza rutila) 1 female/imm. bird seen at MLB (AGK only).
Scientific names of additional species mentioned in report:
Rusty-naped Pitta - Pitta oatesi
Grey-headed Parrotbill - Paradoxornis gularis
Spot-breasted Laughingthrush - Garrulax merulinus
Short-tailed Scimitar Babbler - Jabouilleia danjoui
Orange-necked Partridge - Arborophila davidi
White-shouldered Ibis - Pseudibis davisoni
White-winged Duck - Cairina scutulata
Edwards's Pheasant - Lophura edwardsi
Coral-billed Ground Cuckoo - Carpococcyx reynauldi