Trip Reports

Endemic birds and endangered primates in the heart of Indo-China - 2011

(Hugh Buck & Nguyen Hoai Bao)

There were an estimated 31 bird species endemic to Indo-China and found in Vietnam on our route. If we discount 3 species of Pheasant almost unknown in life our tally of 24 of these with another 2 heard underlines the success of our endeavours. We scored especially well on Babblers (39 species seen and several others heard), wintering and other Thrushes (11 species) and true Corvids (8 species). Add in another (Chinese Barbet) probably new for Vietnam, 3 new birds for NB to take his Vietnam tally to 735 and we can reflect on a great result. 25 species of mammal included 9 species of primate, some of them the rarest on earth (and we even missed the two commonest)

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(John Anderson)

The pictures in this gallery are the most difficult I have ever taken. I did not find the birds in Vietnam confiding and took shots at longer distances than I would normally. Lighting conditions too are tricky particularly on narrow jungle paths which could be too bright on one side and too dark on the other. As is usual in the tropics from 10.30 until around 3.30 the sun is too strong to take true colour shots. From a photographic viewpoint rather than being part of a birding group as I was it may be better to target specific species and concentrate on these rather than continually moving. The group species total for 14 days was 256 though of course not all were seen by any member of the group. The Vietnamese are very friendly and for a "people" photographer there are endless opportunities, but be prepared to feel old if you are over 21!!! If interested in birding Vietnam contact Wildtour Vietnam at who guided the party to several of the country's premier birding sites. 

Bird trip report to Vietnam - 2010

(Wim van Splunder (bird list) - Hans Groot (general text and pictures, except frontpage, picture by Ferdy Hieselaar))

Because of our late booking (less than two months before departure) it was not possible to have Nguyen Hoai Bao (Bao) as our guide during the tour. Since it is said that there are only some good birdwatchers in Vietnam, we were a bit anxious who would be our guides. Bao managed to have Mr. Le Quy Minh (Minh) guiding us the first week (Phong Nha, Bach Ma and Lo Xo) with the help of Mr. Nguyen Hao Quang (Quang). Minh proved to be an excellent birding guide, knowing the target species very well. He has worked for the Bach Ma National Park for more than 10 years. Minh also was nice company, with a good sense of humor. He used an I-Pod with speakers for play back. In the second week, Quang was our guide, this time accompanied by mr. Nguyen Nhat Truong (Truong). Both are former students of Bao, learning on the job for birdwatching guide.

They have done their graduated papers in ornithology and know the Da Lat and Cat Tien area very well. Quang knew the target species and there stake outs and discovered many good species for us. He also was very nice and helpful. For play back he used his mobile phone. He didn’t have all relevant sounds and the speaker of the phone wasn’t that loud. So we were happy that we brought our own MP3 player with the most important bird sounds, mainly collected form the CD Rom Birds Of Tropical Asia and from the fantastic website Truong was obviously the less experienced birdwatcher, but he was of use arranging all sorts of things. We brought one telescope, which was usefull in all terrains. 

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