"Xwan Thuy" -Possibly The best Wader Site in Asia?

Subject: "Xwan Thuy" -Possibly The best Wader Site in Asia?
Date: 21 Apr 97 16:55:29 +1000
As part of a recent field trip to Vietnam I (along with 5 other British 
enthusiasts) was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit a  
RAMSAR site about 4 hours South of Hanoi known as "Xwan Thuy" (Red River  
Estuary) on the 4th April 1997. 
Access is not particularly easy and requiring permits and a little  
homework before attempting to visit this area.  The network of roads is  
complicated, copies of passports may need to be left with authorities at  
one or more check points.  We arranged permits and obtained advice on  
travel through Birdlife International who have an office in HANOI and  
found them very helpful and obliging. 
    BirdLife Vietnam Programme- Address: 
          293B Tay Son 
          Dong Da 
    tel & fax:    00 84 4 851 7217 
We arrived at the wader site by motorised canoe on a falling tide at  
dawn.  The weather was misty and conditions were looking somewhat  
ominous.   However the large flocks of waders that were forming looked 
promising.   To get to the best viewing spots involved wading knee deep  
in water.  Target wader naturally was the enigmatic "Spoonie", we were  
not disappointed and indeed this spot would have to go down as one of 
the all time best spots for waders in Asia if not the world.  A locality  
that needs to be looked after as it is clearly an important one for the  
waders of Asia. 
The list of waders speaks for itself.  I was so impressed with the  
locality I donated my old scope and tripod to one of the local guides.   
I hope they have put it to good use. 
Eurasian Curlew  (3) 
Whimbrel  (25+) 
Bar-tailed Godwit  (25+) 
Black-tailed Godwit  (750+) 
Asian Dowitcher  (3) one bird in alternate plumage 
Great Knot  (20+) 
Greenshank  (50+) 
Nordman's Greenshank  (5) 
Redshank  (75+) 
Spotted Redshank  (50+) 
Terek Sandpiper  (1) 
Broad-billed Sandpiper  (100+) 
Spoon-billed Sandpiper  (19) both alternate and basic plumage 
Common Sandpiper  (2) 
Curlew Sandpiper  (4)            
Dunlin  (20+) 
Red-necked Stint  (10+) 
Grey Plover  (6+) 
Kentish Plover  (50+) 
Lesser Sand Plover  (100+) 
Another rare species that was encountered here is the  
Black-faced Spoonbill of which we saw at least 23 Individuals 
(I understand that this species is now very rare globally?) 
Not to mention all the ducks and passerine's and species seen 
in the nearby paddy fields.  
Good Birding 
Tony Palliser  (.....Sydney, Australia)  
Phone.....+61 2 9900 1678 or Home +61 2 9427 7563   
Fax.......+61 2 9900 1669  
(ps It's Great to be back, However all those that saw the Great Shearwater 
 on the last Sydney Trip are banned from all future trips- Ratbags)

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