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ULTIMATE VIETNAM

Saturday 2nd March - Tuesday 26th March 2019

Craig Robson

Bar-bellied Pitta (Craig Robson)

Bar-bellied Pitta (Craig Robson)

The latest Birdquest to Vietnam saw us clock-up a huge total of 443 birds, 20 mammals and 76 butterflies; and it would have been more, if not for the Fansipan fog!! In the lowlands of Cochinchina, at Cat Tien National Park, we enjoyed such mouth-watering specialities as Orange-necked Partridge, Germain’s Peacock-Pheasant, Green Peafowl, Blue-rumped and Bar-bellied Pittas, and Grey-faced Tit-Babbler. Our exploration of the Southern Highlands was rewarded with the likes of Hodgson’s Frogmouth, Blue Pitta, Dalat Bush Warbler, Orange-breasted, Collared, and White-cheeked Laughingthrushes, Vietnamese Cutia, Grey-crowned Crocias, Black-crowned Fulvetta, Black-headed Parrotbill, Vietnamese Greenfinch, and ‘Vietnamese’ Crossbill. The relatively little known and unexplored Central Highlands are now an integral part of the tour. Specialities here included three relatively recently discovered endemics/near-endemics: Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush, the highly localized Golden-winged Laughingthrush, and Black-crowned Barwing, as well as the slightly more widespread Indochinese Fulvetta. Here, we also observed Ratchet-tailed Treepie, Yellow-billed Nuthatch, Black-hooded and Red-tailed Laughingthrushes, and Green Cochoa, as well as a whole host of little-known local forms and potential ‘splits’. A range of other interesting sites in Central Annam produced White-winged Magpie, Indochinese Green Magpie, ‘Annam Sultan Tit’ (the black-crested form), Limestone Leaf Warbler, Sooty Babbler, Short-tailed Scimitar (or Indochinese Wren-) Babbler, and Rufous-cheeked Laughingthrush. Further north, at Cuc Phuong and Tam Dao National Park’s in East Tonkin, we added Pied Falconet, Limestone Wren-Babbler, Grey Laughingthrush, and Short-tailed Parrotbill. Finally, in the Hoang Lien Son Mountains in northern West Tonkin, and lofty Mt Fansipan, we enjoyed Pale-throated and Bar-winged Wren-Babblers, and ‘Tonkin Fulvetta’ (a local form currently lumped in White-browed), amongst a wide-range of other Sino-Himalayan species.

It was also a great tour for mammals. We were lucky enough to find good numbers of Black-shanked Douc Langurs, Red (or Buff-) cheeked Gibbon, Delacour’s and Hatinh Langurs, and a small herd of impressive Gaur. With butterfly enthusiasts on-board, a little extra effort resulted in some superb sightings.

Germain's Peacock-Pheasant (Craig Robson)

Germain's Peacock-Pheasant (Craig Robson)