Trip Reports

VIETNAM FEBRUARY 2010

(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 info@vietnamwildtour.com who guided the party to several of the country's premier birding sites. 

http://www.pbase.com/crail_birder/birding_vietnam 


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 www.xeno-canto.org. 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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Central and South Viet Nam - March 2008

(by Björn Anderson - Phong Nha, Bach Ma, Lo Xo, Tan Phu, Cat Tien, Ta Nung and Mt Lang Bian)

This was a 1.5 week trip to some key sites in central and south Viet Nam. Having been to Viet Nam a few times before (e.g. the north and Da Lat), I was keen on cleaning up on certain key birds. Stig-Uno Svensson was also ready to set his first steps on Vietnamese ground. In order to arrange local logistics in the most efficient way, I contacted Nguyen Bao, one of the extremely few Vietnamese birders. Bao fortunately decided to also join us and just before the trip, the interest of a national TV channel was lso aroused. We were therefore a happy crew of seven people to go after those nice endemics (although on the trails the TV team kept their distance in order not to disturb the skulkers). All local arrangements worked out absolutely perfect and the time in the field was truly maximized.

All in all it was a very successful trip. We saw most of the target birds, heard a few of them (Crested Argus, Vietnam and Orange-necked Partridge) and missed completely only two (Red-collared Woodpecker and Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl). Favorite birds were Indochinese Wren-Babbler (former Short-tailed Scimitar-Babbler), Black-crowned Barwing, Blue-rumped Pitta, Germain’s Peacock Pheasant, Sooty Babbler, Pale-headed and Black-and-buff Woodpecker. We also encountered numerous endemic taxa, many of which are strikingly different from other taxa that they are currently included in. 

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