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Content Introduction Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Species List Text only

Day 2

           Cat Tien


Hide Inside the hide Hide opening
First of the feeding station hides Inside the hide The viewing slit complete with twig to maintain hole

After a surprisingly broken if not fulfilling 9 hours sleep, we were up and ready to go at dawn. Objective this morning was to sit on a hard plastic seat for a couple of hours in a hide to wait for birds Ė in particular pittas. The sky was looking a little menacing as we trekked the 500m or so along the track then through the forest, but the standard menu of Bronzed Drongo, White-rumped Shama, etc, as well as overflying Greater Flameback, were a welcome wake up call. In addition, as we entered the forest a family trio of Yellow-cheeked Gibbons seemed to be investigating the area of the primate enclosures. The hide was the usual for the region Ė a simple metal frame with plastic draped over (and holes roughly cut out for viewing). Yet it had locks and chains to prevent improper entry! Mealworms despatched in front of the hide, we spent 2 hours in here waiting patiently. The hoped for pittas didnít put in an appearance, but there were regular visits from pairs of White-rumped Shama, Tickellís Blue Flycatcher and Abbottís Babbler. The latter were feeding an immature. A Northern Smooth-tailed Treeshrew, obviously spending its time on the ground, was scratting around to the rear of the viewing area. Just as impressive was a chorus of singing Gibbons, which continued for half an hour or so mid watch.

Ironically, as we reached the track again with the delightful thoughts of breakfast in mind, a Blue-winged Pitta was calling not too far away. A bit of patience and it eventually flew into our sights. Still canít get used to having to look into the canopy for pittas, yet that was exactly where it resided, occasionally moving to a more favoured tree. Another, and probably even a third, were also heard calling, responding to the call of the first, not too far away.

Blue-winged Pitta Tickell's Blue Flycatcher Abbott's Babbler
Blue-winged Pitta Tickell's Blue Flycatcher Abbott's Babbler

Post-breakfast until lunch sit was at another hide/feeding station even nearer to the track and to the opposite side of the headquarters accommodation. This was the same format Ė metal frame with plastic sheet cover, and small plastic chairs inside. Perfect! Quang had been out earlier and scattered some corn on the floor to hopefully entice fowl to the site, and there were a couple of ornamental pools for the birds to drink from. We spent 3 hours in the hide this time (pre lunch that is), and the sun had win the battle with the earlier clouds giving a semi oven effect (although this was tempered by the forest cover overhead). For the leachophobes out there, we also had a couple of the little vermin trying to find some flesh to suck on Ė we cut off their attack in time thankfully. The sit in was excellent, even better species wise than the one first thing this morning. One of the targets here was Germainís Peacock-Pheasant, and after a patient wait, one did appear, tentatively to the rear of the bush at first, then in the open. Coincidentally, a pair of Green-legged Partridges chose this time to make their first of a few walk-ins. Bulbuls regularly popped in, with a single Ochraceous between the more frequent Stripe-throated & Streak-eared. White-rumped Shama, Siberian Blue Robin and Tickellís Blue Flycatcher were regular fare, but a White-throated Kingfisher was seen only a couple of times, with a pair of Pin-striped Tit-babblers there only once. A Blue-winged Pitta was calling nearby, and had been progressively approaching our base, but didnít actually show itself in the end. To represent the mammals, an Indochinese Ground Squirrel spent some time munching on the provided corn. A short foray out of the rear of the hide found a Common Tailorbird and Black-naped Monarch. Just about leaving time we were treated to a stunning male Ruby-cheeked Sunbird feeding more or less in front of us. This could have been the pre-lunch treat, but was usurped somewhat by a calling Brown Hawk-Owl which was only a small diversion on the way to the restaurant.

The post lunch choice was to relax in our nice air conditioned room, or spend more time in the hot, sweaty, leach infested (well, there were 2 after all!) hide staring at a few bits of corn and a couple of water holes. So after we had gulped the last bits of delicious Vietnamese fish, it was of course straight back to the hide again. It was actually hotter this time than in the direct sun outside, but another couple of very gratifying hours were spent here. Earlier on, bird activity was much less than it had been during the morning, with a few of the earlier usuals occasionally popping in, with the addition of a Racket-tailed Treepie. However, at more or less mid afternoon (14:30ish), the bulbuls and ensemble must have decided this was the time to find the water in the pools in front of us to drink and bathe. Grey-eyed Bulbuls were amongst the more plentiful Stripe-throated & Streak-eared. Oriental Magpie-robin paid its first visit later on, and Emerald Doves became more frequent attendees. At this time, there was always a handful of birds around the water. Then, just as we were looking at the clock and deciding it was almost the deathly hour for birds here, the same Germainís Peacock-Pheasant as earlier made a return, along with a pair of Green-legged Partridges and even a male Red Junglefowl. This had to be a sign that we had run our luck, and that it was also time to get back and meet for the next stroll out around the forest.

Second hide Feeding area
Second feeding station hide Preparing the feeding area
Black-crestd Bulbul Brown Hawk-Owl Common Flameback
Black-crested Bulbul Brown Hawk-Owl Lesser Yellownape
Emerald Dove Germain's Peacock-Pheasant Green-legged Partridge
Asian Emerald Dove Germain's Peacock-Pheasant Green-legged Partridge
Grey-eyed Bulbul Ground Squirrel Oriental Magpie-Robin
Grey-eyed Bulbul Indochinese Ground Squirrel Oriental Magpie-Robin
Racket-tailed treepie Red Junglefowl Ruby-cheeked Sunbird
Racket-tailed treepie Red Junglefowl Ruby-cheeked Sunbird
Siberian Blue Robin Streak-eared Bulbul Stripe-throated Bulbul
Siberian Blue Robin Streak-eared Bulbul Stripe-throated Bulbul
Tickell's Blue Flycatcher female White-breasted Kingfisher White-crested Laughingthrush
Tickell's Blue Flycatcher female White-breasted Kingfisher White-crested Laughingthrush

The mid afternoon walk turned into a return-in-the-dark walk. We set off past park headquarters and continued on the track for a short way, and then cut into the forest, walking for some time through quite thick woodland. Temperatures are generally high, and the humidity also high, so this not only makes for some tough going, but there is also some danger of leaches (Quang had a couple on him but we were spared!). The leach socks and long trousers didnít help temperature regulation, though. The initial part of the walk was along a concrete track, and we did pick up some good birds here. Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrikes were high up: Dark-necked Tailorbirds were low down and close, as well as very active. A Common Flameback flew over then landed. Perhaps topping this was a fiercely rufous White-browed Piculet, which didnít stay in the same place for long before disappearing. The walk in the forest had to be a patient one, since some of the target species, such as pitta, had to be first heard then enticed with playback song. They were heard infrequently, but a single female Bar-bellied Pitta was seen briefly, after staking out its approximate call location for a short while. Orange-breasted Trogon for some strange reason fell more easily, with one bird picked out (its back to us, unfortunately) fairly early on, and a second briefer bird further along, although it did face us. We eventually left the narrow forest track to meet the initial concrete road, although we walked away from base for a short while. This turned up a couple of Puff-throated Babblers bathing in a roadside puddle. We turned back shortly after fighting off the occasional biting fly, and then searched for owls and nightjars as the darkness drew in. We managed a blank on observations, but did hear a few Great Eared Nightjars which didnít have the decency to show themselves.

Track Dark-necked tailorbird Trogon
Track near headquarters Dark-necked Tailorbird Orange-breasted Trogon

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Content Introduction Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Species List Text only