Subject: Vietnam
From: Falk Wicker <>
Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2014 10:06:06 +1100
Hi all,

Having lived in Vietnam for a few years I can certainly understand the
frustration you would have endured, David!

Birding is very tough over there for reasons you mentioned. It is very hard
to escape a general pessimistic attitude when you encounter a prolific
illegal wildlife trade (not just birds), illegal logging, and a total lack
of law enforcement.
I must say I have never met guides over there who would excessively use
playback or feed mealworms but then again, I am not surprised this happens.

Having said all this, Vietnam still boasts amazing species, both residents
and migrants, and it's not unlikely you come across new discoveries like
Scaly-sided Merganser in Hanoi (2012, I think it was), new species for SE
Asia (Pale Thrush in 2012 in Hanoi's Botanical Garden) or range extensions
for little-known species like Grey-crowned Crocias.

Most places will be hard to bird but then you'll find exceptions like Cat
Tien or the Dalat Plateau. You will find the 'Silent forest syndrome' to be
apparent in most places but with a bit of luck and the right guides you
should be able to see a fair number of exciting species.

One way to get an idea of what's going on is to check the very informative

Go through the older posts as well - there are a few amazing sightings and
pictures on it!

Because I still have friends over there I feel quite connected to Vietnam
and must say that (generally speaking) people are just really friendly
(though not always useful from a traveller's point of view) and it is a
very safe country to travel in! I hope others will enjoy their holidays
more but I think unless you've been to the country before or plan to spend
a couple of months over there it would be very advisable to hire a
recommended guide/birding company - it will be worth it!

Best regards,

On Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 2:14 PM, Dave Torr <> wrote:

> Interesting - I went some years ago and there were very few birds - but
> also very few guides, so at least where there were birds they were not too
> hard to see. Was in Thailand earlier this year where there were lots of
> birds and lots of guides and in many places the guides had clearings in the
> forest and fed the birds mealworms to bring them in. So at least there were
> birds (but only if you came with mealworms in some places!) but not exactly
> what one would hope for. Big signs in some places forbidding feeding but no
> sign of enforcement.
> On 18 March 2014 14:03, david robertson <> wrote:
> > I have just returned from a very disappointing bird watching tour of
> > Vietnam.
> >
> > The Vietnamese population is intent on wiping out all bird life by
> > shooting,
> > trapping or poisoning and is succeeding.   One can drive for a whole day
> > through farm land and not see a single bird, not even a myna.  The paddy
> > fields are green deserts with a few but only a few egrets and pond
> herons,
> > but above, where one would expect to see drongos, shrikes, kingfishers,
> > Dollarbirds on the telegraph wires there was nothing.
> >
> > Some birds have taken refuge in the national parks where they are
> slightly
> > safer, but not beyond the reach of poachers and park rangers.
> >
> > What makes matters worse is the behaviour of the guides.  Every single
> one
> > of them has the calls on his mobile phone hooked up to an amplifier.
> > Imagine the effect of 6 or more guides, twice a day, seven days a week
> > patrolling the same small stretch of forest.  It is little wonder that
> the
> > target species, pittas, pheasants etc ignore the calls and wander off in
> > the
> > opposite direction.
> >
> > How can one change the attitude of a whole population?
> >
> > David Robertson
> >
> > Adelaide
> >
> >
> >
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Falk Wicker
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Healesville 3777 Victoria
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