Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Birding trip report: Vietnam and Cambodia 2013

                                              March 9 – 25, 2013

by Bao Nguyen & Richard Knapton

“Sshhh, Giant Ibis, perched on that roost tree!!” Well before dawn we had driven into the open, dry dipterocarp forest that surrounds the village of Tmatboey in remote Preah Vihear province in northern Cambodia, and our local guide Chea was beckoning to us to look at a large leafless tree silhouetted against the lightening sky. On the tree were several Woolly-necked Storks, and a fine Giant Ibis, whose shape and colours became more apparent in the gathering dawn. Light came quickly, and we were soon admiring this exceptionally rare, critically endangered endemic – perhaps no more than 340 left. There were two here, they started calling – a loud bugling – and then took flight, a fine way to start the day! Fantastic!!
Giant Ibis - photo by Nguyen Hoai Bao

Giant Ibis was just one of the many fabulous sightings we enjoyed on our Cambodia & South Vietnam tour – those exceptional White-shouldered Ibis, another critically endangered species, the splendid Bengal Florican that put on such a good show, that  stunning male Green Peafowl, those Siamese Firebacks, both Bar-bellied and Blue-rumped Pittas – the latter right out in the open, the many raptors from Black Eagle to Black Baza, incredible sunbirds including just awesome Black-throated and Mrs. Gould’s, Vietnamese Cutias and Gray-crowned Crocias, stunning views of four species of bee-eaters, the many barbets and broadbills (those Black-and-red!!) and woodpeckers – especially those Great Slaty Woodpeckers and the fabulous White-browed Piculet – everyone’s favourite!, and a plethora of kingfishers, woodpeckers, malkohas, trogons, minivets, leafbirds, babblers and laughingthrushes, spiderhunters, flowerpeckers, and mammals including macaques, langurs, mongooses, squirrels and Muntjac and Sambar deer! And --- the fantastic Spoon-billed Sandpipers and Nordmann’s Greenshanks on our first day! Yes, lots of really fine sightings!
Spoon-billed Sandpiper - photo by Nguyen Hoai Bao

Full report in PDF version download
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