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Vietnam 14-21 of March 2017

Vietnam 14-21st of March 2017

This was a long overdue trip. For various reasons I had not visited Vietnam previously but this time everything seemed just right.

My friend Stijn de Win and I left from Bangkok to Ho Chi Min with Airasia. Less than 2 hours away we landed in a modern airport.

Getting luggage and going through immigrations was a breeze. Our prearranged agent was waiting for us with transportation and soon we were on the roads of Ho Chi Min. Lots of both motorbikes and cars made it slow to get out of town but once out we find ourselves on a new multiple lane highway we whisked through the landscape.

Once off the highway the road was more crowded but still nicely paved and we arrived to Cat Tien National Park just after noon.

We stayed at spacious AC accommodations inside the park where there also was a restaurant with good food and plenty of cold beers.

A lot of the birds here are the same as in Thailand so I recognized a lot of the sounds. But the reason for coming here does not occur in Thailand: Bar-bellied and Blue-rumped Pittas. Both these species are pretty common around HQ. Our guide had arranged for us the use of a couple of hides for the purpose of photographing the aforementioned Pittas. This worked out wonderfully! We even had a Germainís Peacock Pheasant,Siamese Firebacks and Slaty-legged Crake show at the hide.

We did some conventional birding as well along the one road from our stay which took us through a variety of habitats. Indian Peafowl, Woolly-necked Stork, Lesser Adjutant, Black-red Broadbill, Orange-necked Partridges, Violet Cuckoo and Grey-faced Tit Babbler being some of the better ones.

3 nights at Cat Tien and it was time for a drive to Dalat in the highlands. Again the roads were not at all what people had told me and we found ourselves in the highland in time for some afternoon birding inspite of leaving Cat Tien around 10:30.

From Dalat town we visited 3 or 4 different sites in search of the many special birds up here. There are many endemic and near endemic birds in the area. Dalat is at 1500m asl and had lovely temperatures ranging between 16-27C. The city has a French colonial architecture, often with wide streets in the rolling pine covered hills surrounding the city.

The food was excellent. Something in between Thai and Chinese. Lots of fresh vegetables as well as generous portions of meat. Both Stijn and myself are used to Asian dining so we had an assortment of dishes between us.

The birding was as good as hoped. My own targets were Collared and Orange-breasted Laughingthrushes and again our local guide knew exactly where we should wait for them.

An array of other great birds: White-cheeked, Black-hooded Laughingthrushes, Grey-capped Black-throated Tit, Indochinese and Necklaced Barbet, Klossi, White-spectacled and Grey-cheeked Warbler, Indochinese Wren Babbler, Grey-bellied Tesias, Grey-crowned Crocias, Dalat Shrike Babbler, Blue-winged Minla, Clicking Shrike Babbler, Lesser Shortwing, Vietnamese Cutia, Yellow-billed Nuthatch, Black-headed Sibia, Green-backed Tit, Long-tailed Broadbill to name a few.

4 nights at Dalat and a short flight back to Ho Chi Min where I boarded a plane back to Bkk.

My 4 main targets had all been photographed. I had seen 21 new species and had a jolly good time in a birding pace of my own. The Dalat high plateau is a magnificent hot spot for birding. No where else on mainland SEA can so many endemics be found.

Thanks to Stijn for being a good companion and thanks to Tim D for all the hard labour involved in making it run smooth.

Pictures of birds are found here: http://www.pbase.com/peterericsson/birdsofvietnam

Chinese Francolin
Rufous-throated Partridge
Orange-necked Partridge
Green-legged Partridge
Red Junglefowl
Siamese Fireback
Germain's Peacock-Pheasant
Green Peafowl
Little Grebe
Woolly-necked Stork
Lesser Adjutant
Cinnamon Bittern
Striated Heron
Chinese Pond Heron
Eastern Cattle Egret
Great Egret
Little Egret
Oriental Darter
Crested Honey Buzzard
Crested Serpent Eagle
Black Eagle
Crested Goshawk
White-bellied Sea Eagle
Slaty-legged Crake
White-breasted Waterhen
Red-wattled Lapwing
Rock Dove
Spotted Dove
Common Emerald Dove
Zebra Dove
Orange-breasted Green Pigeon
Green Imperial Pigeon
Mountain Imperial Pigeon
Greater Coucal
Lesser Coucal
Green-billed Malkoha
Violet Cuckoo
Banded Bay Cuckoo
Plaintive Cuckoo
Fork-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo
Asian Barred Owlet
Brown Hawk-Owl
Great Eared Nightjar
Germain's Swiftlet
Silver-backed Needletail
House Swift
Orange-breasted Trogon
Red-headed Trogon
Oriental Dollarbird
Banded Kingfisher
White-throated Kingfisher
Common Kingfisher
Blue-bearded Bee-eater
Oriental Pied Hornbill
Lineated Barbet
Green-eared Barbet
Necklaced Barbet
Indochinese Barbet
Blue-eared Barbet
Coppersmith Barbet
Heart-spotted Woodpecker
Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker
Greater Yellownape
Common Flameback
Bay Woodpecker
Rufous Woodpecker
Great Slaty Woodpecker
Red-breasted Parakeet
Vernal Hanging Parrot
Black-and-red Broadbill
Long-tailed Broadbill
Blue-rumped Pitta
Bar-bellied Pitta
Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike
Large Woodshrike
Ashy Woodswallow
Common Iora
Great Iora
Black-winged Cuckooshrike
Swinhoe's Minivet
Grey-chinned Minivet
Long-tailed Minivet
Scarlet Minivet
Brown Shrike
Burmese Shrike
White-bellied Erpornis
Dalat Shrike-Babbler
Clicking Shrike-Babbler
Black-naped Oriole
Black-hooded Oriole
Maroon Oriole
Ashy Drongo
Bronzed Drongo
Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo
Hair-crested Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
White-throated Fantail
Black-naped Monarch
Oriental Paradise Flycatcher
Eurasian Jay
Common Green Magpie
Racket-tailed Treepie
Large-billed Crow
Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher
Green-backed Tit
Black-headed Bulbul
Sooty-headed Bulbul
Stripe-throated Bulbul
Flavescent Bulbul
Streak-eared Bulbul
Puff-throated Bulbul
Grey-eyed Bulbul
Mountain Bulbul
Black Bulbul
Barn Swallow
Red-rumped Swallow
Mountain Tailorbird
Grey-bellied Tesia
Black-throated Bushtit
Yellow-browed Warbler
Two-barred Warbler
Pale-legged Leaf Warbler
Sakhalin Leaf Warbler
Kloss's Leaf Warbler
White-spectacled Warbler
Hill Prinia
Rufescent Prinia
Yellow-bellied Prinia
Dark-necked Tailorbird
White-browed Scimitar Babbler
Grey-throated Babbler
Rufous-capped Babbler
Pin-striped Tit-Babbler
Grey-faced Tit-Babbler
Mountain Fulvetta
Short-tailed Scimitar Babbler
Abbott's Babbler
Puff-throated Babbler
Buff-breasted Babbler
White-crested Laughingthrush
Black-hooded Laughingthrush
White-cheeked Laughingthrush
Orange-breasted Laughingthrush
Collared Laughingthrush
Vietnamese Cutia
Silver-eared Mesia
Grey-crowned Crocias
Rufous-backed Sibia
Black-headed Sibia
Black-headed Parrotbill
Asian Fairy-bluebird
Chestnut-vented Nuthatch
Yellow-billed Nuthatch
Golden-crested Myna
Common Hill Myna
Vinous-breasted Starling
Black-collared Starling
Chestnut-tailed Starling
Green Cochoa
Oriental Magpie-Robin
White-rumped Shama
Dark-sided Flycatcher
Asian Brown Flycatcher
Tickell's Blue Flycatcher
Large Niltava
Blue-and-white Flycatcher
Verditer Flycatcher
Lesser Shortwing
Siberian Rubythroat
White-tailed Robin
Blue Whistling Thrush
Taiga Flycatcher
Snowy-browed Flycatcher
Blue Rock Thrush
White-throated Rock Thrush
Stejneger's Stonechat
Grey Bush Chat
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker
Ruby-cheeked Sunbird
Brown-throated Sunbird
Van Hasselt's Sunbird
Olive-backed Sunbird
Mrs. Gould's Sunbird
Little Spiderhunter
Streaked Spiderhunter
House Sparrow
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
White-rumped Munia
Grey Wagtail
Richard's Pipit
Olive-backed Pipit
Vietnamese Greenfinch
Red Crossbill
Bar-bellied Pitta
Bar-bellied Pitta
Our lodging at Cat Tien
Our lodging at Cat Tien
Birding road began right outside our rooms.
Birding road began right outside our rooms.
Restaurant at Cat Tien
Restaurant at Cat Tien
River crossing to get to Cat Tien
River crossing to get to Cat Tien
Forest trail at Cat Tien
Forest trail at Cat Tien
Great food at Dalat
Great food at Dalat
Our transportation
Our transportation
Yummie!
Yummie!
Delicious!
Delicious!
Breakfast at Dalat
Breakfast at Dalat
Part of breakfast at Dalat
Part of breakfast at Dalat