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    Grey-crowned Bushtit

    Birding at Bach Ma National Park – Vietnam Birding

    At the beginning of November 2022 I found myself with the opportunity to visit Bach Ma National Park, near Danang in Vietnam. While other sites in Vietnam could promise more new birds for me but I had limited time and so arranged a driver to take me from Danang to the national park and back, spending one night there. The cool weather, attractive forest and new location gave me exactly what I was looking for with a good selection of nice Southeast Asian birds including a few new ones, several distinct subspecies and also some birds that I seldom see in Thailand. Although the accommodation was a little “rustic” it was very enjoyable walking along quiet roads through pleasant forest, taking my time to watch and photograph the birds that interested me as well as some great views of one of the most attractive mammals I have ever seen!

    If you would like to join me on a birding trip in Vietnam take a look at the dates, itinerary and all the details of my next tour -?Vietnam Birding Tour.

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    Sulphur-breasted Warbler

    Queen Sirikit Park Autumn Birding | Thailand Birding

    When it comes to spring and autumn Bangkok-based birders head to the city’s parks in search of a wide variety of passage migrants. For migrating birds heading over this large area of urbanization these green areas provide much-needed rest areas as well as the opportunity to feed and gain the energy required to continue migration. Although spring migration usually provides the greatest concentration of migrants in Thailand, autumn migration is more spread out and there is the possibility of interesting species that are not usually found in the city through a period of several months. Over the last few weeks other birders have found a number of interesting passage migrants, while I have been busy with other things, but I managed to find a morning on 14th October to visit one of the larger parks in the city, Queen Sirikit Park, to see if I could find any migrants of interest. Read more »

    Ferruginous Partridge

    Daap Toon Hide at Kaeng Krachan | Thailand Birding

    What I most enjoy is taking long walks in beautiful countryside and being able to see a wealth of bird life along the way. In temperate countries this is a very pleasant way of bird watching and usually by covering a lot of ground and different habitats brings a lot of bird sightings but in tropical environments moving more slowly is not only desirable due to the climate but also because vegetation is often dense with birds hiding within it, making them hard to see. At times it is necessary to sit completely still and quietly in order to get good views of some forest birds and this is exactly what I did recently at Daap Toon hide near Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand.

    I have visited a number of the hides around Kaeng Krachan many times but a visit in late August (31st) was a completely new experience and had I not been tipped off to the fact that many birds had been visiting, I would have thought the area too wet to attract much at all. In reality there was a lot of activity and a good variety of species, including some really exciting ones and while the light conditions were low, what light that there was illuminated the birds from the best angle.

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    Sanderling

    Beach Birding in August | British Birding

    Some birding locations are great to visit because they are new and exciting to explore, with all the possibilities of seeing new birds that goes with that. Other locations are great to visit because they are familiar, always have lots of birds to see, even if they are quite predictable but are just a place that we enjoy. For me Shellness, on the Isle of Sheppey, falls into that latter category, it is a place I have visited very many times since I was a youngster, particularly over the last few years and it is a location that always brings me a high level of solitude and no matter what the time of the year, there are always a lot of birds to see. So, while spending a few weeks in Britain I made a visit to Shellness on a pleasant, sunny day with time enough to spend just sitting on the beach and waiting for birds to arrive as the tide came in. Read more »

    Blyth's Paradise-flycatcher

    Birding at Cat Tien National Park – Vietnam Birding

    Out of the car, across the river, into the forest and within moments a stunning Bar-bellied Pitta emerges from the vegetation of the tropical forest floor; this is how birding should be every time one visits a new location with one of the target species showing itself well for full appreciation within minutes of arrival.

    Sometimes there are places that are not far away that I always mean to visit but somehow never get around to; Cat Tien National Park in southern Vietnam is one of these. Spending much of my time in Bangkok, the flight to Ho Chi Minh City is a short one with the addition of only a four-hour drive to the national park itself but with the vast majority of species that occur there being the same as ones I frequently see in Thailand I have always put off visiting this famous birding location until another day. However, in June 2022 I found myself with the opportunity to spend a few days at Cat Tien to look for a few of its specialities and generally check out the birding.

    If you would like to join me on a birding trip in Vietnam take a look at the dates, itinerary and all the details of my next tour -?Vietnam Birding Tour.
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    Malabar Trogon

    Forest Birding at Kitulgala – Sri Lanka Birding

    If you want superb views across a forest-lined river, steamy mist forming over the forest, a fantastic morning chorus and lots of birds then Kitulgala is the perfect place. The location that was famously used for filming of the movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai” does not disappoint visually and with three nights here it did not disappoint ornithologically either. Staying at Kitulgala Resthouse my room had a superb view across the river to the forest and village groves where most birders head but even around the guesthouse grounds birds were abundant, particularly in the early morning. Over the course of my stay birds were abundant in the orchards and gardens around the village and forest patches, making seeing a good number of Sri Lanka’s key species fairly easy, although birding the forest itself was quite difficult and slow, typical of tropical forest birding in Asia. Some of the best birds I saw at Kitulgala included Malabar Trogon, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Layard’s Parakeet, Legge’s Hawk Eagle, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot and a wonderful encounter with a pair of Sri Lanka Spurfowl.

    Kitulgala will feature on all my birding tours to Sri Lanka. If you would like to join one check out the details here -?Sri Lanka Birding Tour.

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    Red-backed Flameback

    Back of an Airport Hotel Birds – Sri Lanka Birding

    I recently had the opportunity to visit Sri Lanka, a little over three hours from Bangkok by plane, and I booked a hotel close to the airport for my first night as I arrived at around 4pm and did not want to start travelling overland through the evening. Looking online there were lots of hotels in the area and with a quick look at Google maps I located King’s Gate Airport Transit Hotel which was a very short walk from a Buddhist temple on the edge of a fairly large greenspace which would give me the chance for an hour or so of birding before dark and a little time the next morning before getting some transport to my first proper birding site of Kitulgala. Sri Lanka is a very birdy country so it turned out that the spot I chose served up a good number of interesting species in the very short time that I spent there including several with ranges either restricted to only Sri Lanka or Southern India and Sri Lanka.

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