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A Report from

Vietnam 21 February - 20 March 2002,

Moira and Graeme Wallace

Edinburgh, Scotland.


This trip to S.E Asia was our 3rd to this geographical area and our 6th to Asia as a whole. The purpose of the trip was to widen the geographical areas within which we had birded, find some of the endemic and wintering birds listed as vulnerable or threatened in the Asian Red Data Book and enjoy the fantastic, colourful and varied birds found in this part of the world. The trip as a whole lasted 8 weeks covering all the principal sites of central and northern Thailand and Vietnam. On the trip as a whole we recorded 447 different species including 14 pheasants/partridges,15 woodpeckers,4 hornbills,6 pittas, 10 laughingthrushes and some uncommon waders.

This report describes our experiences on the Vietnam sector of the trip.

During our 4 weeks in Vietnam we visited 9 sites in 7 locations; Xuan Thuy (XT); Cuc Phuong (CP); Tam Dao (TD); Bach Ma (BM); Da Lat (DL)[ Ta Nung Valley, Mt Lang Bian, Ho Tuyen Lam];Di Linh (DiL) and Cat Tien (CT). The timing of the trip was based largely upon our desire to see Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Nordmann's Greenshank and Black-faced Spoonbill at XT, meaning that we could go there no later than early February to be sure of the Spoonbill. The downside of this was the risk of bad weather at Tam Dao and very dry conditions in the south at CT.

In the event, sites in the north were grey, misty and wet but XT produced the hoped for Nordmann's and Black-faced Spoonbill but no Spoon-billed Sandpiper, TD was totally fog bound forcing a retreat without seeing a single bird. CP was grey and overcast with low cloud.  In the south the weather was fine, but hot, and although CT was dry and dusty this had little effect on the species we wanted to see.

During the 4 weeks in Vietnam we recorded 257 species including many of the possible endemics (for the sites we were visiting) and uncommon wintering species. From a logistics point of view the trip went well with Vietnam Travel providing an excellent if somewhat pricey service. Traveling by public transport would make the trip much more difficult it would be virtually impossible to get to XT on your own. (Indeed only one of Vietnam Travel's drivers knows the way there!)

However the key issue for the whole trip that we got wrong (or were unlucky with) was the tide at XT. The OBC article on Vietnam states plainly that "a key factor determining the success of any birdwatching trip to XT is the tide. At low tide large areas of mudflat are exposed and the shorebirds dispersed making viewing difficult. At very low tide it is not possible to take a boat to any of the offshore islands." This cannot be over-emphasised!! XT is a vast place and during our three days there high tide was at midnight making travel in the boat and wading ashore very difficult, compounded by the shorebirds being widely dispersed.

This undoubtedly cost us Spoon-billed Sandpiper and led to a degree of frustration. (Luckily we had earlier varied our plans in Thailand to take an unscheduled visit to Samut Sakhon where we had already 3 Spoon-billed Sandpiper)

Another point to note is that the very helpful OBC article on BM gives insufficient weight to birding the lower sections of the park. The article says "The best birding is along the surfaced road winding up to the summit from the guesthouse" whereas in fact the best place for Crested Argus, Annam Partridge and Blyth's Kingfisher are 14km away at the foot of the hills on the Pheasant Trail.

Birding Highlights

Germain's Peacock Pheasant
Although classified as Vulnerable this endemic proved to be more common than we had anticipated and was heard most days at CT with close views of 2 males and a female on the trail to Bau Sau on 14/03.

Siamese Fireback
Despite several circuits of Trail 6 at Khao Yai in Thailand and several hours at the supposed stake out on Radar Road we never saw as much as a feather. A much wanted species it was our great delight to have stellar views of 5 males on the drive from HQ to the start of the trail for Bau Sau at CT on 14/3. They proved to be absolutely stunning birds completely unconcerned by a jeep engine ticking over 3 metres away - only if the engine was switched off did they wander off into the forest.

Black Baza
Not an uncommon bird but one we had never seen on other trips to SE Asia. In the end we only saw one bird, a male, at CT on 14/3 which provided great 'scope views perched on a dead tree in the early morning sun.

Black-faced Spoonbill

This species is classified as Endangered and it is estimated that there only 700 birds left in the wild. Most winter in Korea but up to 44 have wintered at XT in Vietnam. We found up to 9 birds on successive days on the aquaculture ponds at XT.

Blue-rumped Pitta
We had never previously been in an area where this species could be found and were thus very keen to see it. At CT we heard birds calling from the road leading to Bong but could not quite believe our eyes when we stumbled over a pair foraging right at the roadside near the turn in to the staff accommodation 1km south of the substation. Needless to say the birds soon melted away but we relocated them the following day in the same area. They seem quite unconcerned by the noise of people and machines close by.

Bar-bellied Pitta
This fantastic pitta proved somewhat elusive at CP where, although we heard them daily, it took a while to get good views of a male. At CT this species proved relatively common and we had the great good fortune to see 5 different males on one morning along the trail to Bau Sau on 14/3.

Black-breasted Thrush
A single male seen at the edge of the grid at the substation at Bong on 27/2 and another male at the start of the lower end of the Loop Trail just beyond the staff accommodation block about 1km before Bong.

Japanese Thrush
2-3 birds seen daily in the small gardens of the staff quarters next to the substation at Bong. The birds were very shy and flushed easily but always returned to the grassy lawns of the bungalows to feed.

Black-hooded Laughingthrush
We had great views of a flock of c15 of this near endemic laughingthrush about 13.5km along the road from Di Linh to Phan Tiet just beyond an obvious long right hand bend. The birds seemed quite tape responsive.

Orange-breasted Laughingthrush
This split from Spot-breasted Laughingthrush is endemic to the Da Lat plateau. Thanks to Clide Carter's tape and pinpoint directions we found the bird about 14.5km along the road from Di Linh to Phan Tiet. It is a bit of a skulker but has the most wonderful loud, fluting song that made it a joy just to sit and listen to even when we could not see it.

Collared Laughingthrush
This Vietnamese endemic is classified as Endangered. On our first trip up Mt. Lang Bian we heard a pair but after an hour had failed to see them. Later that day with Clide Carter we had brief views as the pair responded to his tape. We therefore returned to the mountain a second time where we managed to sneak up on a foraging pair which we followed quietly for half an hour obtaining great views.

Grey-crowned Crocias
This Vietnamese endemic is classified as Endangered and restricted to the Da Lat plateau. A pair found with some difficulty at the "new site" in the Ta Nung Valley past the old Cam Ly airport some 10km from DL. The birds responded only sluggishly to tape and foraged unobtrusively in mid canopy making them quite difficult to see.

Major Misses

Crested Argus
We only had one chance for this elusive bird on the Pheasant Trail at BM. We heard several birds calling but all were some way off and thus never saw one.

Spoon-billed Sandpiper
As noted in the summary high tide at midnight meant low tide in the day time, leaving huge areas of the estuary exposed, birds widely dispersed and shallow water in the channels makingmanoeuvring the boat and wading ashore a nightmare. We went to a number of locations but came up empty with this one.

Red-collared Woodpecker
We had not anticipated this to be as difficult as it proved; in the event we don't think we even heard it and certainly never saw it.

Short-tailed Scimitar Babbler
Earlier trip reports suggested that this bird was occasionally seen at Mt. Lang Bian by a pipe in the rock along the trail that leads down from the second fork. Well the pipe is not there anymore and neither was the bird. Also missed it at BM, where it was seen by Clide Carter shortly after our visit.

logistics and costs.


If you have the time and inclination it is perfectly possible to travel and bird independently as there are plenty of cheap buses on main routes and motorcycle taxis are available virtually everywhere. Trying to explain where you want to go may be more of an issue but with a map and some drawing it could be done, although as mentioned earlier getting to XT on your own would be pretty tricky.

However, in common with many other birders we used the services of Vietnam Travel who can be contacted at;

Vietnam Travel, 78 Pham Ngoc Thach, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam,


Nguyen van Viet was very helpful in the planning stage, responding quickly to e-mails and once in Vietnam his support was generally of a very high standard. Cars were modern, drivers punctual at airport pick-ups and drop offs and prepared to accommodate early morning starts. All accommodation inside and outside the parks was booked, when we appeared we were expected and all permits arranged. The exceptions to this high standard were;

On the other hand when we were "fogged and rained out" at Tam Dao we contacted Nguyen van Viet who immediately arranged for a car to come and collect us within 2 hours and take us back to the Sao Mai hotel where we were put up for the night free of charge. So on the whole pretty good and at the moment seems to be the only option to doing it yourself. Finally, in a throwback to old style bureaucracy be prepared to surrender your passport everywhere you go.


The contract with Vietnam Travel covered;

This meant that the cost worked out at US$800 per person. Food was cheap and with a couple of beers at night worked out at around US$4-5 per person per day.

The only money hassle we had was when we left XT and we were presented with a bill for US$75 by the guide/boatman. Some of this was food/beer which was fine but US$40 was $20 "Boat more" and $20 "Help Ramsar". The $20 for the boat was apparently because we had been taken much further than a "standard" boat trip and the $20 "Help Ramsar" was apparently a charitable donation.  Having already paid $30 per day for the boat we were disinclined to pay the whole additional charge and after some discussion paid $50.


At the time of our trip the exchange rate was US$1/14,500 Vietnamese Dong. US$ were acceptable everywhere, but take lots of small denomination notes.

Site information and accommodation.

Xuan Thuy

XT lies on the south side of the Red River delta and encompasses a variety of habitats including mud flats, sandy islets and low dunes, coastal mangroves and aquaculture/shrimp ponds. It is an internationally important wetland both for migrating birds and a wintering ground for globally threatened waterbirds such as Black-faced Spoonbill, Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Nordmann's Greenshank. It is a vast area much of which is a designated Ramsar site comprising 12000ha. It lies c120km from Hanoi and is virtually impossible to find without assistance. Boats may be hired with guide at a cost of $30/day which is essential to look for the waders, although Black-faced Spoonbill is most easily seen in the aquaculture ponds.

There is limited, poor accommodation at the Ramsar site but as far as we could see there is no option but to stay there. Access is along a bund by local motorcycle taxi.

Cuc Phuong

Established in 1962, situated c120km south of Hanoi CP is Vietnam's oldest national park. The area consists largely of tropical lowland and sub-montane forest with trails leading to forest covered limestone slopes. 320 species of bird have been recorded in the park including species such as Blue-rumped and Bar-bellied Pitta, White-winged Magpie, Limestone Wren Babbler, Pied Falconet, Japanese and Black-breasted Thrush (winter). Birding is from the tarmac road, in the grid next to the substation and along the Loop and Valley trails. When we were there the weather was grey, overcast and damp.

A 23km tarmac road leads from the park entrance to the substation at Bong and although accommodation is available at the entrance most birders opt to stay at Bong which offers the best birding and has chalets available for rent. At Bong (poor) food/beer is available in the 1960's concrete mausoleum that at one time may have been a visitor centre.

Tam Dao

Tam Dao is a former and now somewhat decayed hill station 80km north of Hanoi. It comprises sub-montane forest which holds some local specialties including Blue-naped Pitta, Grey Laughingthrush and Short-tailed Parrotbill. Access is from a contour trail at the end of the village and from the stone steps that lead to the transmitter. Other trip reports note that Tam Dao can be damp and fog bound and that was certainly our experience; it is the only place we have ever been where the fog hampered vision inside the hotel. Birding was impossible; we could not see trees 5 metres away and thus retreated to Hanoi without seeing a single bird.

There appears to be no shortage of accommodation.

Bach Ma National Park

BMNP comprises 22000ha with a buffer zone of 21300ha and is located at the southern end of the Annamese Lowlands EBA some 45km south of Hue rising from sea level to its highest point Mount Bach Ma at 1448m. Its gentler lower slopes are clothed in lowland evergreen forest with montane evergreen forest on the steeper slopes above 900m. The park contains some restricted range birds, in particular Annam Partridge, Crested Argus and Short-tailed Scimitar Babbler and other birds such as Blyth's Kingfisher may perhaps be seen more easily here than other locations.

Food and accommodation are available at the guesthouse 17km from the park entrance and 3km from the summit. There is an extremely helpful manager/guide called Minh who speaks pretty good English who indicated to us that with some advance notice arrangements can be made and permits obtained to visit some of the "core" areas of the park. His full name is Le Quy Minh (Minh) and he may be contacted at;

Ecotourism Department
Telephone (O)       (84) 054 874166
Telephone (H)       (84) 054 873142

Da Lat
The expanding holiday destination of Da Lat acted as the base for our exploration of the sites around the Da Lat plateau. For detailed maps of the Da Lat sites consult the excellent Gee and Holmes reports.

This is a small, remnant area of broadleaved evergreen forest which is now the place to see the endangered Grey-crowned Crocias, which seem to have become more difficult at the traditional site at Ho Tuyen Lam. The valley is c14km from Da Lat and c 6km past the old Cam Ly airport. The road is poor but passable and looking to your left you will see patches of evergreen forest in the valley which otherwise is cultivated. At the first opportunity to turn off to the left, by 4 large pines, park the car and walk down the track until you reach the only farmhouse with a small dam beyond. In the rose fields below the house there is a track that leads into the forest, down to a stream and shortly a small bamboo bridge. Just over this bridge is where we saw the Crocias.

Mt LB lies c10km north of Da Lat and is home to endemic species such as Collared Laughingthrush, Vietnamese Greenfinch and historically Short-tailed Scimitar Babbler. Cutia are also present. There is a new road under construction which in due course will no doubt disgorge too many people onto the upper part of the mountain and increase the already evident degradation of the site. If possible avoid the weekend because the summit is a popular party spot with kids whose principal enjoyment seems to be to make as much noise as possible. Park at the car park and walk 4km uphill until the track forks. Take the right fork and walk for about another 1-2km into the forest where the trail forks again with the right fork leading up to the summit. There is a small fee payable at the office at the base of the mountain.

Remnant evergreen forest at the far end of Ho Tuyen Lam reservoir some 4km from Da Lat. There are supposedly 3 trails but after wading ashore we concluded that only Trail C referred to in the Holmes report was birdable. We could only find one other trail, possibly the connecting trail from Trail C to Trails A&B but it was overgrown and uninviting. Trail C itself wanders through the forest before petering out and beware the left fork on the Holmes map which seemed to us to go nowhere. We found the site disappointing and despite spending the whole day there with a tape we failed to see the Yellow-billed Nuthatch. Clide Carter returned the following day but again failed to see the bird.

In common with most birders we based ourselves at the Hotel Mimosa, which was basic, inexpensive but comfortable enough and had the great benefit of an exceptionally helpful receptionist who spoke some English, has some knowledge of the birding sites and can arrange French bread and cheese for 05.00 departures.

De Linh
This site is in fact the old road to the coast from Di Linh to Phan Tiet. The road is sealed for the first 12km; good forest starts at 13.5km. When we visited there were major roadworks with often choking dust. It also got pretty hot by 10.00am. Others have seen Rusty-naped and Blue Pitta, Grey-headed Parrotbill but this may have been some time ago. The site does however still hold the endemic Orange-breasted split of Spot-breasted Laughingthrush and Grey-hooded Laughingthrush, both of which we saw.

Cat Tien
CT lies in the plains of the Dong Nai River 150km north east of HCMC. The park consists of evergreen, semi-deciduous forest, bamboo, wetlands (in the rainy season) grassland and cultivated areas and is divided in to 2 sections, Cat Loc and Nam Cat Tien comprising some 35,000ha each. The critically endangered Orange-necked Partridge occurs in the bamboo hills. White-winged Duck (last seen 1993 and only twice in the preceding 60 years in1990 and 1991) and White-shouldered Ibis used to occur but your chances of seeing these are negligible. Nevertheless CT offers fantastic birding and was our favourite site in Vietnam. We saw a great range of birds including Siamese Fireback, Germain's Peacock Pheasant, Black and Buff Woodpecker, Great Hornbill, Banded Kingfisher, Black Baza, Woolly-necked Stork, Lesser Adjutant, Black and Red, Banded and Dusky Broadbill.

Access to visitors is restricted to the Cat Tien section reached by a boat over the Dong Nai River, where basic but a/c chalets are available at c $12/night. You need to check in and surrender passports at the Park checkpoint before crossing the Dong Nai River. Good food and beer is available at the canteen and the staff here were really helpful and accommodating. On the other hand we found the office staff bureaucratic and unhelpful but the exception to this is a young guy called Thuong ( pronounced Tu-ung) who is an English teacher turned Park administrator, who was full of energy and enthusiasm and was very helpful to us during our stay. He can be contacted in advance at;

Full Name  Huynh van Thuong
Address    Trung tam du lich, Vuon quoc gia Cat Tien, Tan pliu, Dong Na, Vietnam

Reference sources


Where to Watch Birds in Asia.Wheatley. 1996. Helm Books

A Guide to the Birds of Thailand.Boonsong, Lekagul & Round. 1991 Saha Karn Bhaet [ISBN 974-85673-6-2]

A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia. Robson. 2000.New Holland

Pittas, Broadbills & Asities. Lambert & Woodcock.1996. Pica Press

Thrushes. Clement & Hathaway. 2000. Helm

Lonely Planet Guide to Vietnam

Trip Reports

There are two excellent trip reports for Vietnam available from the Oriental Bird Club for a small fee. They are

Vietnam 7th November - 5th December 1996:    Brian Gee
Vietnam November/December 1999:     Paul Holmes.

Both proved absolutely invaluable in planning and on the ground as they contain excellent site maps which remain relevant. The OBC may be contacted at;

OBC, c/o The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL, United Kingdom

E-mail address:
Web site:


We obtained copies of tapes from other birders and commercially from the British Library of Sound.


Thanks go to Remco Hofland who had recently visited Xuan Thuy and Cuc Phuong and kindly provided us with recent "gen" on some key species. Particular thanks to Clide Carter who we met first in Thailand and bumped into again at Da Lat for his company and some" gen" on key species. His own recording of Orange-breasted Laughingthrush and his directions to it were critical to us in finding the fantastic bird and his taping expertise also saved the day at Ta Nung with the Grey-crowned Crocias.

Daily account

21/2    Bangkok to Hanoi to Quat Lam. Overnight at Hotel Xuan Hoa.

22/2    XT. Dull and wet. Drove from QL to XT town. Checked in at police station and hired motor cycle taxis for the last 4-5km along the bund to Ramsar Centre. 09.00-12.15 Boat trip from Ramsar Centre to mudflats and sandy islets in the Red River delta. In the afternoon walked the bunds around the aquaculture ponds.
Highlights: Spot-billed Duck; Heughlin's Gull, Black-faced Spoonbill, Terek Sandpiper, Black-capped Kingfisher; Purple Swamphen.

   XT. Clear and very hot. 06.30 walk along bund to bridge where boat moored overnight. 07.00-11.30 Boat trip to Con Giao Xuan.  Afternoon walked the bunds.
Highlights: Nordmann's Greenshank, Common Greenshank, Great Knot, Black-faced Spoonbill, Greater Scaup, Lesser Sandplover.

    XT to CP. Dull and overcast 06.30 - 09.00. Birding along bunds very quiet. 10.00 Motor cycle taxis to XT town where picked up by driver and drove to CP arriving 16.15. Birded around Bong until dark.
Highlights: Black-faced Spoonbill, Spot-billed Duck, Tristram's Bunting.

25/2    CP. Overcast. 06.30 - 12.00. Birding along the road to the south of Bong. 13.30-17.45 Birded Valley Trail and back along the road. Generally very quiet.
Highlights: Japanese Thrush ,Red-headed Trogon, Bay Woodpecker, Eurasian Woodcock.

26/2    CP. Dull and overcast turning wet and misty. 06.30-12.00 birded the grid and back along the road to the 2.5km marker. 13.30-17.00 Walked the north end of the Loop Trail.
Highlights: Rusty-naped Pitta (h), Eared Pitta (h), Bar-bellied Pitta, White-winged Magpie, Pied Falconet.

27/2    CP. Dull and misty. 06.30-12.00 Birded the grid, back along the road and then the north end of the Loop Trail. 13.30-17.00 Walked the road to the south to the 3km marker.
Highlights: Japanese and Black-breasted Thrush, Blue-rumped and Bar-bellied Pitta, Maroon Oriole, Large Scimitar Babbler, Red-vented Barbet (h).
    CP. Dull and misty. 06.30-12.00 Walked the south end of the Loop trails going as far as the 1000 year old tree and back to Bong. 13.15-17.00 Walked the road to the 3km marker and back and birded around Bong substation late afternoon.
Highlights:  Fujian Niltava, Silver-breasted Broadbill, Blue-rumped and Bar-bellied Pitta, Ratchet-tailed Treepie, Eyebrowed  and Limestone Wren Babbler (h),Japanese, Black-breasted and  Scaly Thrush.
    CP to TD. Very misty and wet. 07.00-10.00 Birded along south end of Loop Trail and back to Bong. Packed and departed 11.30 for Tam Dao. Arrived Tam Dao at 17.00 in impenetrable mist which filled the hotel corridors.

02/3    TD. Totally fogbound. Tried the transmitter steps and contour trail but impossible to see anything. Decided to retreat, ordered car and left Tam Dao at 12.00 arriving Hanoi 14.15 at Hotel Sao Mai. Went to Hanoi Water Puppet theatre which was excellent.

03/3    Hanoi. Visited Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and went to airport for mid-day flight to Hue. Arrived Hue 14.00 in hot clear weather. Picked up and driven to BM stopping at base of mountain at HQ to arrange permits and then drove 17km steeply ascending to the guesthouse. Birded late afternoon.

04/3    BM. Dry and clear. 06.30-12.30 Walked uphill to end of tarmac road at 19km marker including the Five Lakes Trail. Arranged for a park vehicle to take us to the Pheasant Trail the following day. Afternoon walked 2-3km downhill from guest house, back mid-afternoon and then to campground. Highlights: Streaked Wren Babbler, White-gorgetted Flycatcher, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, White-browed Scimitar Babbler, Golden-throated Barbet.
    BM. Cool and misty becoming hot. 06.00-14.00 Walked downhill some way in hope of seeing pheasants and were then picked up by the vehicle and driven to the Pheasant Trail at Km8. Trail entrance badly overgrown and the first 200 metres were a thrash.  After that the trail improved but we still managed to lose our way on 3 occasions because it was overgrown. Regrettably Blyth's Kingfisher was not at home.14.00 picked up by vehicle and returned to guest house at Km 17. Went out with Minh and walked up to the 19km marker.
Highlights: Crested Argus and Annam Partridge (h), Black Eagle, Rufous-tailed Robin.
    BM to DL. Rain and mist. 06.30 Departed for Hue for 09.10 flight to HCMC arriving 10.00. Met by driver and set off for DL arriving 16.30. Hotel Mimosa for a sleepless night as hotel full of partying Vietnamese holidaymakers.
Highlights: Silver Pheasant, Red Junglefowl.
    DL. Bright and sunny. 05.30 drove to Ta Nung Valley arriving 06.30. Walked down to the farm and birded the trail along the stream and through the forest. Returned to the car at 11.00 by which time it was very hot. Back to Hotel Mimosa and caught up with sleep.
Birding Highlights; Red-vented Barbet, Grey-crowned Crocias (2),Black-headed Sibia, Grey-headed Parrotbill.
    DL. Bright and sunny. 06.00 drove to Ho Tuyen Lam and arranged a boat. Arrived at the landing point at 07.10 and waded ashore. Found Trail C without much problem and birded here all day as other trails unclear and overgrown. Boat returned to pick us up at 04.00.
Birding Highlights; Grey-bellied Tesia, Chestnut-fronted Shrike Babbler, Burmese Shrike.
    DL. Cool and clear. 05.15 drove to Mt. Lang Bian arriving 05.40. Walked 4km up the new road arriving at the first fork at 07.00. Walked the c 1km past the huge fallen tree to the second fork. Spent the whole day on the trails around there returning to car at 16.30.
Birding Highlights; Eye-browed Thrush, White-tailed Robin, Large Niltava, White-cheeked and Collared Laughingthrush (poor view of latter)
    DiL. Bright and sunny. 05.20 drove to DiL. arriving at 06.20 and then drove 13kms along road to Phan Tiet. Birded along the road until car picked us up at 11.30 and back to Di Linh for lunch returning in the afternoon at 14.00 to 16.00 when we returned to Da Lat.
Birding Highlights; Black-hooded and Orange-breasted Laughingthrush, Mountain Hawk Eagle.

11/3    DL. Bright and sunny. 05.15 drove to Mt. Lang Bian and walked up hill. Birded the area around the fallen tree but this time also walked some way up the summit trail. Returned to car at 15.00 and drove to Bao Loc for overnight stay.
Highlights; Collared Laughingthrush, Lesser Shortwing, Vietnamese Greenfinch.
    DL to DiL to CT. Hot and sunny. 05.30 drove back to DiL and the road to Phan Tiet arriving 06.40. Birded the same area as before until car collected as at 11.30 for the drive to CT arriving 15.00. Checked our passports at the park entrance before crossing the Dong Nai River to the park HQ and our chalet accommodation. 16.15-18.00HQ to Lagerstroemia Trail.
Birding Highlights; Orange-breasted Laughingthrush (h), Siberian Blue Robin, Red-breasted Parakeet, Germain's Peacock Pheasant (h), Red-vented Barbet, Black-hooded Oriole, White-browed Shrike Babbler.
    CT. Very hot and sunny. 06.30-11.30 birded along the road from HQ parallel to the Dong Nai River and then the Lagerstroemia Trail. 16.00-18.00 Road from HQ again.
Birding Highlights: Black and Buff Woodpecker, Germain's Peacock Pheasant, Banded Broadbill, Blue-bearded Bee-eater; Lesser Adjutant, Great-eared Nightjar; Ruby-cheeked and Purple-throated Sunbird.

14/3    CT. Very hot and sunny. 05.45 Jeep to Crocodile Lake trailhead; walked and birded to lake arriving 13.00. Canoe around the lake, walked back and picked by jeep at 17.00. Returned to HQ to find no electricity or running water for next 3 days but this could not detract from a fantastic days birding.
Birding Highlights; Siamese Fireback (7), Black Baza, Germain's Peacock Pheasant(3) Red Junglefowl ,Bar-bellied Pitta (5), Blue-winged Pitta (1), Orange-breasted Trogon, Pompadour Green Pigeon, Cinnamon Bittern, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Vineous-breasted Starling, Black-browed Reed and Thick-billed Warbler.
    CT. Very hot and sunny. 07.00 Walked HQ road to first checkpoint and then back along the Lagerstroemia Trail until 11.15. From15.15 walked the road south of HQ  through degraded landscape to fishponds and birding watchtower. Too dry and no birds.
Birding Highlights; Banded Kingfisher, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Blue-winged Leafbird, Scaly-breasted Partridge, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Lesser Adjutant, White-crested Laughingthrush, Stork-billed Kingfisher.
    CT. Cool and wet turning hot. 05.30 jeep to the Bird Lake trailhead. Walked to the lake which was dry and returned to bird the road north towards the Ficus Trail. Then walked back south along the road to the Crocodile Lake trailhead where jeep picked us up at 16.00.
Birding Highlights: Scaly-breasted Partridge, Siamese Fireback, Woolly-necked Stork, Dusky and Black &Red  Broadbill, Golden-headed Mynah, Laced Woodpecker.

17/3    CT. Very hot and sunny. 08.00 walked road to north of HQ and Lagerstroemia Trail but something of a lazy day.
Birding Highlights; Crested Serpent Eagle, Thick-billed, Orange-breasted and Pompadour Green Pigeon, Grey-faced Tit Babbler.
    06.00 Road to north of HQ and some of Lagerstroemia Trail. Boat across Dong Nai River at 11.00; picked up by car and driven back to HCMC arriving 15.00 at the Saigon Hotel.

19/3    Sightseeing and shopping in HCMC before evening flight to Bangkok and on to Paris.

20/3    Paris - Edinburgh

Annotated species list: (Numbers refer to the species lists in A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia)

A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia
Craig Robson: Buy from or

  • A new flexi-cover edition of this superb and influential book is now available (UK) making it far more useful in the field. The birds of South-East Asia details the identification, voice, breeding, status, habitat and distribution of the 1250 species and distinctive sub-species of the region covering Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, West Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. Indispensable for anyone visiting the area.

10        Rufous-throated Partridge (Arborophila rufogularis)
Single bird poorly seen above the guesthouse at BM on 04/03.

17        Scaly-breasted Partridge (Arborophila chloropus)
Depending upon which taxonomic authority you follow this species is variously;
lumped with Chestnut-necklaced and Annam Partridge as Chestnut-necklaced Partridge (A. charltonni),
lumped with Annam Partridge as Scaly-breasted Partridge (A. chloropus),
or all are accorded full species status.
The most recent monograph adopts the "all are separate species approach" and therefore that is followed here. Heard daily at CT and see on 14&16/03 along the trail to Crocodile Lake.

18        Annam Partridge (Arborophila merlini)(E)
What was presumed to be this species heard regularly along the Pheasant Trail at BM on  05/03. However Robson notes  the call is possibly not distinguishable from Scaly-breasted and see above. The WWF Birdlist of BM classifies this species as Common.

28        Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus)
Common and seen easily at all lowland sites.

30        Silver Pheasant (Lophura nycthemera)
From a car on both occasions. First, a male, as we left CP on 01/03 and later, a male and two      females, as we left BM on 06/03.

36        Siamese Fireback (Lophura diardi)Near Threatened
One of the birds of the trip, possibly the bird. After dipping during the Thailand leg of the trip it was with great relief that we had stellar views of 5 males and 2 females in the early morning on the road to Bau Sau at CP on 14/03 and of another 2 males and 2 females on 16/03. This appears to be the best place and time to see them as the excellent WWF List of Birds of Cat Tien classes this species as Uncommon.

41        Germain's Peacock-Pheasant (Polyplectron germaini) (E) Vulnerable
Heard daily at CT and 2 males and a female very well seen on the trail to Bau Sau on 14/03. Also seen on the Lagerstroemia Trail on 18/03. Park list classifies this species as Fairly Common.

44        Crested Argus (Rheinardia ocellata)Vulnerable
Heard only. Several birds heard along the Pheasant Trail at BM on 05/03. BM Park bird list classifies this as Occasional.

48        Lesser Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna javanica)
50+ birds seen at Bau Sau at CT on 14/03.

59        Cotton Pygmy Goose
( Nettapus coromandelianus)
20+ seen on Bau Sau at CT on 14/03.

65        Spot-billed Duck (Anas poecilorhyncha)
Only 2 and then 1 bird seen on the aquaculture ponds at XT on 22 &24/02.

69        Garganey
(Anas querquedula)
5 or 6 birds in the ponds at XT on 22/02.

71        Common Teal
(Anas crecca)
10+birds seen on the ponds at XT on 22&23/02.

78        Greater Scaup
(Aytha marila)
A single bird in open water at XT on 23/02.

93        Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker (Dendrocopos canicapillus)
Common at upper elevations at BM where 5+birds seen daily.

104      Lesser Yellownape (Picus  chlorolophus)
At CP on 28/02 and at CT on 15/03.

106      Greater Yellownape (Picus flavinucha)
At CP on 24/02 and CT on 16/03.

109      Laced Woodpecker (Picus vittatus)
Daily, along the road from HQ at CT.

113      Grey-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus)
Two birds in the open pine forest leading to the evergreen forest at Ho Tuyen Lam at DL on 08/03.

116      Common Flameback (Dinopium javanense)
At CP on 26/02 and on a couple of dates at CT where it is classed as uncommon.

118      Greater Flameback (Chrysocolaptes lucidus)
At CP on 25&26/02 and also at CT on 15&18/03.

122      Bay Woodpecker (Blythipicus pyrrhotis)
Daily at CP around the substation at Bong and along the road.Also at CT on 13/03.

125      Black and Buff Woodpecker (Meiglyptes jugularis)
A much wanted species which we had missed elsewhere finally watched at length on the HQ Trail at CT on 13/03.

132      Red-vented Barbet (Megalaima lagrandieri)
This species proved more elusive than we had anticipated. We  heard it almost daily at CP with one poor view before finally seeing it properly at CT on 12/03.

133      Lineated Barbet (Megalaima lineata)
A single bird seen at CT on 14/03.

134      Green-eared Barbet (Megalaima faiostrica)
Seen daily at CT.

138      Golden-throated Barbet (Megalaima franklinii)
Only at BM where it was heard daily at the upper elevations and seen on 04/03.

139      Black-browed Barbet
(Megalaima oorti)
Seen daily at all locations on the Da Lat plateau.

140      Blue-throated Barbet (Megalaima asiatica)
Heard only at CT on 18/03.( Note Robson states that this species is only found in W,E Tonkin and N Annam but the WWF checklist for CT Park [ S Annam] includes it)

146      Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracocerus albirostris)
Seen daily at CT.

149      Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis)Near Threatened
Heard daily at CT and seen on 14/03.

163      Orange-breasted Trogon (Harpactes oreskios)
Seen well on 14/03 at CT and heard on two other dates.

164      Red-headed Trogon (Harpactes erythrocephalus)
Seen on 25 & 26/02 along the road at CP.

166      Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)
Seen on 14&15/03 at CT.

167      Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis)
Seen daily at CT.

169      Common Kingfisher (Alcedo athis)
Very common at XT also seen at Ta Nung and CT.

174      Banded Kingfisher (Alcedo pulchella)
Having dipped this species on 3 previous trips to SE Asia it was great to discover that this bird is relatively common at CT. Heard daily and seen brilliantly on 15&18/03 along the main road from HQ just beyond the first bridge.

176      Stork-billed Kingfisher (Halcyon capensis)
Seen on 13&15/03 at CT along the road from HQ near the entrance to the Lagerstroemia Trail.

178      White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)
Only seen on one date at XT on 22/02 and then on 12&17/03 at CT.

179      Black-capped Kingfisher (Halcyon pileata)
Singles seen on 22 & 24/02 at XT.

184      Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)
Only once in the aquaculture ponds at XT on 22/02.

186      Blue-bearded Bee-eater (Nyctyornis athertoni)
A single bird seen at CT on 15/03 from the road near to the entrance to the Lagerstroemia Trail.

190      Chestnut-headed Bee-eater (Merops leschenaulti)
Seen daily at CT around the HQ.

193      Large Hawk-Cuckoo (Hierococcyx sparveroides)
Heard daily at BM and seen once in flight. Also heard on 13&16/03 at CT.

201      Banded Bay Cuckoo (Cacomantis sonneratti)
Heard daily at CT and seen on 13&15/03 on the road near to the entrance to the Lagerstroemia Trail.

209      Drongo Cuckoo (Surniculuslugubris)
Heard only at CP on 26/02.

213      Green-billed Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus tristis)
Seen at CP on 26/02, Ta Nung on 07/03 and daily at CP.

219      Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)
Seen almost daily at CP.

221      Lesser Coucal (Centropus bengalensis)
Only once at CT near the river on 18/03.

223      Vernal Hanging Parrot (Loriculus vernalis)
Seen on 15 & 16/03 at CT and heard there almost daily.

229      Red-breasted Parakeet (Psittacula alexandri)
Seen daily in large numbers at CT.

239      Silver-backed Needletail (Hirundapus cochinchinensis)
A small flock of 10-12 birds hawking insects over the lodge at BM on 15/03.

240      Brown-backed Needletail
(Hirundapus giganteus)
A small party of 4-5 birds around the HQ at CT on 05/03.

253      Mountain Scops Owl (Otus spilocephalus)
Heard only.Heard nightly behind the accommodation at Bong substation at CP. Also at BM.

267      Collared Owlet (Glaucidium brodiei)
Heard only - daily at CP.

268      Asian Barred Owlet (Glaucidium cuculoides)
Heard only - daily at CP and on one date at CT.

279      Great Eared Nightjar (Eurostopodus macrotis)
Up to 4 birds seen at dusk every evening at CP.

281      Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus)
Heard only on 16/03 at CT.

284      Rock Pigeon (Columbia livia)
Seen in HCMC.

290      Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis)
Only once at the roadside between XT and CP.

291      Red-collared Dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica)
A female seen at the police station at XT on 22/2.

295      Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica)
A couple of birds seen on 16&17/03 at CT.

301      Orange-breasted Green Pigeon (Treron bicincta)
Several birds seen from the road about 2km from HQ at CT on 17&18/03.

302      Pompadour Pigeon (Teron pompadora)
Seen daily in good numbers at CT.

303      Thick-billed Green Pigeon (Treron curvirostra)
At CT on 13&17/03.

311      Green Imperial Pigeon (Ducula aenea)
Only one bird seen at CT 16/03.

312      Mountain Imperial Pigeon (Ducula badia)
Seen at Mt. Lang Bian on 10/03 and at CT on12/03.

326      White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)
Seen almost daily at XT and at Ho Tuyen Lam at DL on 08/03.

335      Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
A group of 8-10 birds feeding in a channel at XT on 22/02.

336      Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Several single birds seen at XT on 22&24/02.

338      Eurasian Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola)
A surprise at CP with a single bird at dawn on the grassy area at Bong on 24/02.

346      Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Up to 4 birds seen at the mouth of the Red River on 22/02 and also at Con Giao Xuan on 23/02.

347      Bar-tailed Godwit
(Limosa lapponica)
Up to 8 birds seen at the mouth of the Red River on 22/02 and also at Con Giao Xuan on 23/02.

350      Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)
100+ at Con Giao Xuan on 23/02.

352      Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus)
4 birds on a sandbar in the middle of the mouth of the Red River on 22/02.

353      Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Only one bird seen at Con Giao Xuan on 23/02.

354      Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis)
12 birds on 22/02 on a sandbar in the middle of the mouth of the Red River.

355      Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Up to 10 birds on 22 &23/02 at XT.

356      Nordmann's Greenshank (Tringa gutifer) Endangered
Eventually, two adults in non breeding plumage at Con Giao Xuan on 23/02, their yellow legs and generally lower slung dumpy appearance separating them from the previous species.

359      Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus)
Only 3 seen on 22/02 at Con Xanh, a sandbar in the middle of the mouth of the Red River.

360      Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Small numbers seen on both days.

365      Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris)
Only one bird on 22/02 at Con Giao Xuan.

375      Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
Seen on both days with 40+birds at Con Giao Xuan on 23/02.

383      Bronze-winged Jacana (Metopidius indicus)
Only at Bau Sau at CT on 14/03 where up to 10 birds around the fringes of the lake.

392      Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
Seen on both days with up to 50 birds on Con Giao Xuan on 23/02.

396      Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
Up to 50 birds at Con Giao Xuan on 23/02.

398      Lesser Sandplover (Charadrius mongolus)
20-30 birds on Con Giao Xuan on 22/02.

405      Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)
Seen at Bau Sau, CT on 14/03&16/03 in dried up pools at the roadside.

415      Heughlin's Gull (Larus heuglini)
A couple of birds only at Con Xanh, the exposed sandbank in the mouth of the Red River, XT. This compares with 250+ birds seen some 3 weeks earlier by a Dutch group.

419      Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)
A few singles seen on both days at XT but a flock of 200+ feeding in paddy on the edge of XT town on 24/02.

423      Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)
2 at Con Xanh on 23/02.

443      Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Single bird seen over Ho Tuyen Lam on 08/03.

445      Black Baza (Aviceda leuphotes)
Scope views of this great looking raptor perched in a tree by the side of the road at CT on 14/03.

448      Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus)
Single bird seen over lower slopes of Mt. Lang Bian on 11/03.

451      White-belliedSea Eagle(Haliaetus leucogaster)
Two birds over Ho Tuyen Lamat DL on 08/03.

463      Crested Serpent-Eagle (Spilornis cheela)
On 17&18/03 at CT with 3 birds soaring together on the second date.

465      Eastern Marsh-Harrier (Circus spilonotus)
Up to 10 birds seen daily at XT each day ( some of these maybe double counted)

470      Crested Goshawk (Accipiter trivirgatus)
A single bird perched in the grid at CP on 27/02.

479      Grey-faced Buzzard (Batastur indicus)
Single bird on the lower slopes of Mt LB on 09/03.

482      Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malayensis)
A single bird seen soaring at upper elevations of BM on 05/03.

492      Mountain Hawk Eagle (Spizaetus nipalensis)
Single bird seen at Km14 at DiL on 10/03.

498      Pied Falconet (Microhierax melanoleucus)
Scope views of this scarce resident at the start of the Valley Trail at CP on 26/02.

507      Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
A couple at XT on 22/02 and up to 20 at Ho Tuyen Lam on 08/03.

520      Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Common at XT where seen in numbers daily.

523      Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Common at XT with up to 50 at Con Xanh on 23/02.

527      Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
Only one record, a single, near the HQ at XT on 24/02.

528      Great Egret (Casmerodius albus)
Common at XT where up to 30 daily.

529      Intermediate Egret (Mesophoyx intermedia)
5 birds from the bund near to HQ at XT on 22/02

532      Chinese Pond Heron (Ardeola bacchus)
Seen daily at XT with up to 10 birds maximum.

540      Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus)
2 birds from the watchtower at Bau Sau, CT on 14/03.

550      Black-faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor) Endangered
Seen on 22&23/02 at XT with a maximum of 9 birds together feeding in one of the channels linking the aquaculture ponds not far from the Ramsar HQ.

557      Woolly-necked Stork (Ciconia episcopus)
Single bird flying low over Bau Sau, CT on 16/03.

561      Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicu) Vulnerable
Single bird seen daily flying low over CT.

572      Eared Pitta (Pitta phayeri)
Heard only. Heard calling in the grid at CP on 26/02 but as we had seen several birds in Thailand we did not pursue it.

574      Blue-rumped Pitta (Pitta soror)
A pair, probably the same pair, seen on 27&28/02 one metre into the verge along the roadside at CP. The birds appeared to be holding territory at the junction of the road and the staff accommodation, camping area. Given the noise made by the staff and local visitors together with the traffic it seemed a miracle that they were there at all but seemed completely unconcerned when we watched them.

575      Rusty-naped Pitta (Pitta oatesi)
Two birds heard calling in the grid at CP on 26/02. They called close to us for some minutes before becoming quiet but we could not locate them.  This record would seem to be outside the current known range of the species in northern Vietnam. Robson states that this species is only found in W Tonkin and Lambert states that subspecies P.o.castaneiceps is known only from NW Tonkin (CP is in the west of E Tonkin). Lambert goes on to indicate a probable range and CP would seem to lie close to or within that geographical area.

579      Bar-bellied Pitta (Pitta elliotii)
Several heard on most days at CP and probably the same male seen on 26&28/02, 10 metres in from the road about 3km south of Bong. Later in the trip up to 8 heard calling along the 5km trail to Bau Sau at CT and 5 of these fantastic birds seen on that trail on 14/03.

584      Blue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis)
Poor views of 2 possibly 3 birds on the trail to Bau Sau at CT on 14/03. The birds were elusive but were presumed to be migrant Blue-winged as opposed to the much rarer migrant Fairy Pitta.

587      Black and Red Broadbill (Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos)
3 of these amazing birds seen on the road at CP near the junction with the Bau Sau trail on 16/03.

589      Silver-breasted Broadbill (Serilophus lunatus)
A small flock of up to 15 birds from the road about 1km south of Bong on 28/02.

590      Banded Broadbill (Eurylaimus ochromalus)
These fantastic birds appeared not uncommon at CT. Heard almost daily and a pair seen on 14/03 on the Lagerstroemia Trail.

592      Dusky Broadbill (Corydon sumatranus)
A pair of these weird looking but much wanted broadbills watched at length from the road near the junction with the Bau Sau Trail at CT on 16/03. We watched them for a while and when they flew off played a tape and they came rocketing back to provide further great views.

594      Asian Fairy Bluebird (Irena puella)
Seen first in the Ta Nung Valley at DL on 07/03 and later on a couple of dates at CT.

597      Blue-winged Leafbird (Chloropsis cochinchinensis)
Seen first at CP on 28/02 and later almost daily at CT.

603      Burmese Shrike (Lanius collurioides)
Two birds seen in the open pine forest at Ho Tuyen Lam 08/03.

604      Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach)
These birds of the grey mantled form L.s.schach were common at XT. Seen also on 27&28/02 at CP.

610      Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)
A single bird in flight at Ho Tuyen Lam on 08/03; then 2 birds perched at Mt. Lang Bian on 11/03.

613      White-winged Magpie (Urocissa whiteheadi)
This specialty of CP proved somewhat elusive with one poor view in the first 2 days, but later we had great scope views of a perched bird from the steps at the northern end of the Loop Trail.

619      Racket-tailed Treepie (Crypsirina temia)
Seen almost daily along the road at CT.

621      Ratchet-tailed Treepie (Temnurus temnurus)
2 birds in the clearing half way round the Loop Trail at CP and several 50 metres down hill from the lodge at BM on 04/03.

629      Ashy Wood Swallow (Artamus fuscus)
Several birds over the lake at Ho Tuyen Lam on 08/03.

632      Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis)
Single in the forest at Ho Tuyen Lam on 08/03.

634      Black-hooded Oriole (Oriolus xanthornus)
Common at CT where seen daily.

636      Maroon Oriole (Oriolus traillii)
A splendid male in the grid at CP on 27/02 and a female at Ho Tuyen Lam, DL on 08/03.

638      Large Cuckooshrike (Coracina macei)
A couple at Mt. Lang Bian on 08/03.

653      Long-tailed Minivet (Pericrocotus etholugus)
Several birds at Ta Nung on 07/03 and Ho Tuyen Lam on 08/03.

655      Scarlet Minivet (Pericrocotus flammeus)
Seen daily at CT.

656      Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus)
A couple of birds seen at Mt. Lang Bian on 07/03 and also at CT on 15&17/03.

659      White-throated Fantail (Rhipidura albicollis)
At CP on 27/02 and Ta Nung  on 07/03.

663      Black Drongo(Dicrurus macrocercus)
Only once at CT on 17/03.

664      Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus)
On 12&18/03 at CT.

667      Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus remifer)
Only at DL in the Ta Nung Valley on 07/03 and Ho Tuyen Lam on 08/03.

670      Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus)
Very common at CT and seen daily.

671      Black-naped Monarch (Hypothymis azurea)
Relatively common, often in mixed flocks at CT.

672      Asian Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi)
Seen daily at BM with sometimes up to 4 birds together. All were white-phase.

676      Great Iora (Aegithina lafresnayei)
At CP on 25&27/02 and daily at CT.

679      Large Woodshrike (Tephrodornis gularis)
Seen on 3 days out of 5 at CP.

684      White-throated Rock Thrush (Monticola gularis)
A single bird at DL on 10/03 was the only record.

686      Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius)
Only once by the stream in the Ta Nung Valley at DL on 07/03.

688      Blue Whistling Thrush (Myophonus caeruleus)
Only one record at the base of Mt LB on 09/03.

694      Scaly Thrush (Zoothera dauma)
A single bird seen feeding in the grassy area at the substation at Bong, CP on 28/02.

698      Black-breasted Thrush (Turdus dissimilis)
Single birds seen on successive dates at CP. On 27/02 at the edge of the grid and on 28/02 at the southern entrance to the Loop Trail.

699      Japanese Thrush (Turdus cardis)
A couple of birds wintering around the accommodation area at Bong substation. Seen on 3 dates.

702      Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula)
3 birds seen daily beside our chalet at Bong substation, CP.

705      Eyebrowed Thrush (Turdus obscurus)
2 or 3 birds just after the first fork in the trail at Mt. Lang Bian on 09/03.

710      Lesser Shortwing (Brachypteryx leucophrys)
Two separate birds seen on the upper slopes of Mt. Lang Bian on 11/03.

723      Mugimaki Flycatcher (Ficedula mugimaki)
Female seen in scrub at the edge of the track leading to Ta Nung on 07/03.

727      White-gorgetted Flycatcher (Ficedula monileger)
Two birds from the road on the upper slopes of BM on 04/03.

729      Snowy-browed Flycatcher (Ficedula hyperythra)
Single male on the upper slopes of Mt. Lang Bian on 10/03.

731      Little Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula westermanni)
A couple of birds on Mt. Lang Bian on 07/03.

736      Verditer Flycatcher (Euymias thalassina)
Seen on Mt. Lang Bian on 07&10/03.

737      Large Niltava (Niltava grandis)
A single male along the "cattle track" fork at Mt. Lang Bian on 09/03.

739      Fujian Niltava (Niltava davidi)
Superb male perched on the edge of the grid at Bong sub-station on 28/02.

743      White-tailed Flycatcher (Cyornis concretus)
Single male on the Pheasant Trail at BM on 05/03.

750      Tickell's Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis tickelli)
Seen on 15&18/03 at CT on the Lagerstroemia Trail.

753      Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher (Culicicapa ceylonensis)
Only seen at CP in mixed flocks on 25&27/02.

755      Rufous-tailed Robin (Luscinia sibilans)
Seen well on the Pheasant Trail at BM on 05/03; its rufous tail and scaly underparts clearly visible.

756      Siberian Rubythroat (Luscinia calliope)
A stunning male seen at CP on 12/03.

763      Siberian Blue Robin (Luscinia cyane)
A fantastic male wandered by at close range while we were focused on an Orange-breasted Laughingthrush at DiL on 12/03 and another seen less well at CP on 18/03.

764      Orange-flanked Bush Robin (Tarsiger cyanurus)
A couple of males at CP on 27/02.

768      Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis)
Only once, around the HQ at CP on 18/03.

769      White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus)
This elegant and vocal bird was common and seen daily at CT.

779      White-tailed Robin (Myiomela leucura)
A single and surprisingly confiding bird seen on two dates along the "cattle track" at Mt. Lang Bian on 09&11/03.

785      Slaty-backed Forktail (Enicurus schistaceus)
Seen daily along the streams at BM.

794      Grey Bushchat (Saxicola ferrea)
A few birds seen on each visit to Mt. Lang Bian on 09&11/03.

800      Red-billed Starling (Sturnus sericeus)
Single female seen as we checked in at the police station at XT on 22/02.

808      Black-collared Starling (Sturnus nigricollis)
Single bird perched at the water's edge at the far end of Ho Tuyen Lam on 08/03.

809      Vinous-breasted Starling (Sturnus burmannicus)
Seen almost daily in small numbers at CT.

815      Golden-crested Mynah (Ampeliceps coronatus)
Seen almost daily perched high in dead trees at CT.

817      Chestnut-vented Nuthatch (Sitta nagaensis)
One to two birds seen daily at all sites visited in Da Lat.

821      Velvet-fronted Nuthatch (Sitta frontalis)
Seen only at CT on 16&18/03.

837      Great Tit (Parus major)
A number of single birds seen at Mt. Lang Bian and Ho Tuyen Lam.

838      Green-backed Tit (Parus monticolus)
Several birds seen at Mt. Lang Bian and Ho Tuyen Lam.

841      Sultan Tit (Melanochlora sultanea)
Seen in mixed flocks at CP on 25&28/02.

842      Black-throated Tit (Aegithalos concinnus)
Common at all sites around DL.

849      Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
A couple only at XT on 22/02. More common at CT.

850      Pacific Swallow(Hirundo tahitica)
Common at CT.

864      Black-crested Bulbul (Pycnonotus melanicterus)
Seen regularly at all sites except XT.

867      Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus)
Seen once at BM on 05/03 and at Ta Nung, DL on 07/03.

869      Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis)
Seen only once on 22/02 in bushes around the aquaculture ponds at XT.

873      Stripe-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus finlaysoni)
Seen once at CP and BM but common and seen daily at CT.

874      Flavescent Bulbul (Pycnonotus flavescens)
Only on our two trips up Mt. Lang Bian on 09&11/03.

877      Streak-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus blanfordi)
Observed at CT on 15&16/03.

883      Puff-throated Bulbul (Alophoixus pallidus)
Quite common and seen daily at CP usually in small groups.

884      Ochraceous Bulbul (Alophoixus ochraceus)
Only at CT where seen on 12&13/03.

894      Mountain Bulbul (Hypsipetes mcclellandii)
A couple of birds around the small dam at Ta Nung on 07/03.

895      Black Bulbul (Hypsipetes leucocephalus)
Once at Mt. Lang Bian on 11/03 and later on 12/03 at CT.

901      Hill  Prinia (Prinia atrogularis)
From the track leading down to the farmhouse in the Ta Nung Valley on 07/03.

905      Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata)
A few birds seen in the scrub along the bund near the Ramsar Centre on 23/02.

912      Grey-bellied Tesia (Tesia cyaniventer)
At Ho Tuyen Lama couple of birds seen some way along Trail C(per Paul Holmes's report)where it begins to peter out.

924      Russet Bush Warbler ( Bradypterus mandelli)
A single, very skulking, individual seen at the junction of the path to the valley and Loop Trails at CP on 27/02. It called continuously much as described in Robson.

927      Black-browed Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus bistrigiceps)
Two birds well seen in reedy vegetation by the watchtower at Bau Sau, CT on 14/03.

934      Thick-billed Warbler (Acrocephalus aedon)
A single bird in the same reedy vegetation at Bau Sau on 14/03.

936      Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius)
Seen daily at CP mainly along the road close to Bong substation.

937      Dark-necked Tailorbird (Orthotomus atrogularis)
Seen regularly at CT.

940      Dusky Warbler (Phylloscopus fuscatus)
Seen daily at XT.

955      Pale-legged Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus tenellipes)
Two birds at Mt. Lang Bian on 11/03.

964      Grey-crowned Warbler (Seicercus tephrocephalus)
Two birds along the road about 2km south of Bong substation on 25/02.

969      White-spectacled Warbler (Seicercus affinis)
Seen in the forest at Ta Nung on 07/03.

970      Grey-cheeked Warbler(Seicercus poliogenys)
Several birds on the upper elevations at BM on 04/03.

981      White-crested Laughingthrush (Garrulax leucolophus)
Seen on the lower slopes on BM on 06/03 and on the Lagerstroemia Trail at CT on 15&16/03.

982      Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush (Garrulax monileger)
A couple of birds in a mixed flock, 50 metres downhill from the accommodation at BM on 04/03.

988      Black-hooded Laughingthrush (Garrulax milleti)  Near threatened
A flock of 15-20 birds calling loudly and flitting through the forest about Km 14 along the road from Di Linh on 10/03.

993      Black-throated Laughingthrush (Garrulax chinensis)
A number of birds in a large mixed flock feeding in a huge tree by the path leading to the Valley Trail at CP on 25/02.

994      White-cheeked Laughingthrush (Garrulax vassali)
Up to 10 birds in the gulley along the "cattle track" leading left from the second fork on Mt Lang Bian on 09/03.

1003   Orange-breasted Laughingthrush (Garrulax annamensis) (E)
One of the birds of the trip. Its tuneful ringing song and musical variation is amazing. However while tape responsive it remained hidden and proved very difficult to see but we eventually had good views. Seen at cKm14.5 on the road from Di Linh on 09/03 and heard again there on 12/03.

1013   Collared Laughingthrush (Garrulax yersini)  (E) Endangered
Another candidate for bird of the trip. A real skulker which also has up to 5 different calls. Seen first at the huge fallen tree across the track just before the second fork at Mt. Lang Bian on 09/03 and later on 11/03 further up the Summit Trail we followed a pair for about half an hour as they foraged on the forest floor.

1022   Buff-breasted Babbler (Pellorneum tickelli)
Seen on the Pheasant Trail at BM on 05/03.

1024   Puff-throated Babbler (Pellorneum ruficeps)
A single resident bird called loudly every morning from the same bush at the junction of the road and the open area at Bong CP. Seen on 24&25/02.

1028   Scaly-crowned Babbler (Malacopteron cinereum)
Seen near the start of the Loop Trail at Bong, CP on 28/02 and on the Pheasant Trail, BM on 05/03.

1031   Large Scimitar-Babbler (Pomatorhinus hypoleucos)
Seen along the road near Bong, CP on 27/02.

1034   White-browed Scimitar-Babbler (Pomatorhinus shisticeps)
Several birds in a flock  near to the memorial stone at the upper end of the road at BM on 04/03.

1045   Limestone Wren Babbler (Napothera crispifrons)
Heard only. Despite walking the Valley and Loop Trails at CP on 2 or 3 occasions we only got one response to tape on the Loop Trail on 28/02, but the bird stayed hidden.

1046   Streaked Wren-Babbler (Napothera brevicaudata)
A pair by the stream along the Five Lakes Trail at BM on 04/03.

1047   Eye-browed Wren-Babbler (Napothera epilepidota)
Heard only. Heard calling 100 metres above the lodge at BM on 04/03.

1055   Rufous-capped Babbler (Stachyris ruficeps)
Single on Mt. Lang Bian on 11/03.

1056   Golden Babbler (Stachyris chrysaea)
Quite common at BM with up to 10 birds seen daily at upper elevations.

1058   Grey-throated Babbler (Stachyris nigriceps)
Seen on 27&28/02 at CP.

1066   Striped Tit-Babbler (Macronous gularis)
Very common and seen daily at CP and CT.

1067   Grey-faced Tit-Babbler (Macronous kelleyi)
Seemed to be much less common and only seen on 15&17/03 at CT.

1080   White-browed Shrike-Babbler (Pteruthius flaviscapis)
Seen at BM on 04/03, Mt. Lang Bian on 08/03 and CT on 12/03.

1083   Chestnut-fronted Shrike-Babbler (Pteruthius aenobarbus)
Two birds in a mixed flock along Trail C at Ho Tuyen Lam on 08/03.

1090   Blue-winged Minla (Minla cyanouroptera)
Seen at Ta Nung Valley and Ho Tuyen Lam on 07&08/03.

1099   Rufous-throated Fulvetta (Alcippe rufogularis)
Up to 5 seen daily along the road at CP.

1104   Mountain Fulvetta (Alcippe peracensis)
Only at BM on 04/03.

1105   Grey-cheeked Fulvetta (Alcippe morrisonia)
Seen daily at CP.

1107   Grey-crowned Crocias (Crocias langbianis) (E) Endangered
Two birds heard and one bird seen well at close range 20 metres up the slope from the small bamboo bridge across the stream in the Ta Nung Valley on 07/03.

1108   Rufous-backed Sibia (Heterophasia annectens)
Several birds in a mixed flock on the upper section of the Summit Trail beyond the second fork at Mt. Lang Bian on 11/03.

1111   Black-headed Sibia (Heterophasia desgodinsi)
A couple of birds of the race H.d.robinsoni in the forest by the stream at Ta Nung on 07/03.

1114   Striated Yuhina (Yuhina castaniceps)
Small flock downhill from the guesthouse at BM on 04/03.

1122   White-bellied Yuhina (Yuhina zantholeuca)
Seen daily at CP with a maximum of 5 birds.

1126   Grey-headed Parrotbill (Paradoxornis gularis)
A single bird briefly along with the Crocias in the Ta Nung Valley on 07/03.

1161   Ruby-cheeked Sunbird (Anthreptes singalensis)
Seen almost daily at CT.

1162   Purple-naped Sunbird (Hypogramma hypogrammicum)
Only once at CT on 16/03.

1164   Purple-throated Sunbird (Nectarinia sperata)
On 13&18/03 at CT.

1168   Mrs Gould's Sunbird (Aethopyga gouldiae)
This dazzling bird seen daily at all locations at DL.

1170   Fork-tailed Sunbird (Aethopyga christinae)
Seen on 25 &26/02 along the road 1km from the substation at Bong, CP.

1175   Little Spiderhunter (Arachnothera longirostra)
Only once at along Trail C at Ho Tuyen Lam on 08/03.

1181   Streaked Spiderhunter (Arachnothera magna)
Seen on 24&28/02 at CP and 07/03 in the Ta Nung Valley.

1185   Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)
A couple of birds at CP and in one of the park areas of Hanoi.

1186   Forest Wagtail (Dendronathus indicus)
Only seen once at the edge of a dried up pool at CT on16/03.

1190   Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
On the roadside c 14km along the road from Di Linh to Phan Tiet. On 10&12/03 and at CT.

1196   Olive-backed Pipit (Anthus hodgsoni)
Daily at CP where 3-4 birds hung out around the grassy area at Bong.

1210   White-rumped Munia (Lonchura striata)
Only once at CT on 13/03.

1211   Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata)
Only once at CT on 13/03.

1220   Vietnamese Greenfinch (Carduelis monguilloti) (E) Near threatened
Despite 2 trips up and down Mt. Lang Bian and close observation we only saw 2 of this species on the second ascent around the first fork. Not nearly as common as we had imagined although they can apparently be seen anywhere from the car park up.

1242   Tristram's Bunting (Emberiza tristrami)
A single bird observed at length at the intersection of the track to the Valley and Loop Trails at CP on 24/02.

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