Trip Reports

BirdQuest tour Vietnam 2014

(Reported by JÁNOS OLÁH, BirdQuest leader - local guided by Nguyen Hao Quang, Wildtour)

Although Birdquest has been operating tours to Vietnam for over 20 years in 2014 we were running a revised itinerary and completed the most successful tour ever to this fascinating country! On the 2014 tour we visited again Ba Be National Park in the far north in search of White-eared Night-Heron and also included the Mang Den area to look for the endemic Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush. We managed to see both of them and the latter was a new bird to the Birdquest list – which had passed the 10,000 species mark just before our tour started!

It happens occasionally on a tour when all things come together and also the luck factor is on our side but definitely Vietnam 2014 was one of these tours! We saw an amazing nine species of pheasants and partridges including the enigmatic Orange-necked Partridge, no less then twelve species of cuckoos, six species of owls including Mountain Scops Owl and Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, fifteen species of woodpeckers and an amazing ten species of laughingthrushes which is certainly a main focus of this tour. All the key Indochinese endemics were also seen amongst a good total of 373 species recorded. Highlights among the many regional or near-endemics included superb views of Germain’s Peacock-pheasant, several Pied Falconets, a male Red-collared Woodpecker, several Red-vented and Indochinese Barbets (the latter split from Black-browed), Austen’s Brown Hornbills, stunning Blue-rumped and Bar-bellied Pittas, Yellow-vented Green Pigeon, Dalat Shrike-babbler (split from White-browed), White-winged Magpie, Ratchet-tailed Treepie, the punkish Indochinese Green Magpie, Indochinese Cuckooshrike, Vietnamese Greenfinch, Grey-crowned Bushtit, Limestone Warbler (split from Sulphur-breasted), Indochinese Wren-babbler (formerly Short-tailed Scimitar Babbler), Sooty Babbler, Grey-faced Tit-babbler, Black-hooded, Chestnut-eared, Orange-breasted, Collared and White-cheeked Laughingthrushes, Vietnamese Cutia (split from Himalayan Cutia), Black-crowned Barwing, Grey-crowned Crocias, Black-crowned Fulvetta (split from Rufous-winged), Black-browed Fulvetta, Black-headed Parrotbill and Yellow-billed Nuthatch.

The supporting cast had a wide range of other hard-to-see or localised birds like Siamese Fireback, stunning Green Peafowl, Cook’s Swift, Hodgson’s Frogmouth, showy Banded Kingfisher, Green-eared Barbet, shy Pale-headed Woodpecker, White-browed Piculet, Banded, Long-tailed, Dusky and Silver-breasted Broadbill, the unobtrusive Eared Pitta, Swinhoe’s Minivet, Slender-billed Oriole, the black-crested race of Sultan Tit, Indochinese Bushlark, Chestnut Bulbul, Asian Stubtail, Rufous-faced, Grey-crowned, Bianchi’s, White-spectacled and Grey-cheeked Warblers, Grey-headed and Short-tailed Parrotbills, Orange-billed Scimitar, Limestone Wren and Spot-necked Babblers, Rufous-throated Fulvetta, Rufous-backed and Black-headed Sibias, Vinous-breasted and Golden-crested Mynas, Siberian Thrush, Green Cochoa, skulking White-gorgeted, Pale Blue and Hainan Blue Flycatchers and Fork-tailed Sunbird.

Non-avian highlights included several regionally endemic primates such as Black-shanked Douc Langur in Cat Tien NP, Hatinh Leaf Monkey in Phong Nha Ke Bang NP and Delacour’s Langur at Van Long Marsh. All in all we had an action-packed tour to this truly fantastic country again!

Special thanks must go to our fantastic and very knowledgeable local guide Quang who made our visit even more memorable! 

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János Oláh, Hungary - 2014

(Managing Director,;

Dear Bao and Quang!

Just starting to the aiport. Many thanks for the fantastic organization of the 2014 tour. I hope we will be able to bring larger group next year - and in future! We will be in touch in June about the revised itinerary once I have discussed it with the boss.

Take care and all the best for your remaining season!

Cheers, János 

Spoon-billed Sandpiper survey in Mekong Delta 2013

(Nguyen Hoai Bao & Nguyen Hao Quang)

Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus) is a critically endangered species (IUCN redlist 2013). It’s breeding in Russia and wintering down the western Pacific coast through Russia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, mainland China, Hong Kong (China), Taiwan (China) and South-east Asia including Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. 

Mekong Delta is one of key remaining SbS wintering sites. The survey done by Birds Russia collaborated with University of Science in Ho Chi Minh city in 2011 had recorded up to 8 or at least 5 birds (Vladimir et al., 2012). In additional, by personal observations, there was 1 bird recorded in Can Gio area in April 2010 (Nguyen Hoai Bao) and another one record also in Can Gio in October 2010 (Jonathan Eames). An older survey in 2000 by Moores, N. and Nguyen Phuc Bao Hoa has reorded up to 5 individuals in Ba Tri area. 

This one-week survey therefore could a desirable data to support mornitoring SbS as well as waders population wintering in Mekong delta, especially at the IBAs along coastal in the southern Vietnam. 

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