Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

October 25, 2009

Vietnam Bird Watching

Filed under: Birds,General — Tags: — admin @ 7:50 am

Bird Watching in Vietnam

Most of these notes are taken from – Birding in Vietnam. And also , as well as Birding in Vietnam

Bird Watching Sites

Hue – boat trips on river. Phong Nha Hotel ~$10. Get there by bus or train. Hire a bicycle or motorbike.

Bach Ma National Park
1 hour from Hue and 4 kms from PhuLuc. Between Da Nang and Hue. 3km from Cau Hai town. You can book accommodation at the park’s guest houses, costing from 100,000-300,000VND. (Around $10). Guides per day cost 200,000VND.

Cat Tien National Park
3 hours and 150 kms north of Ho Chi Minh City. Get off at Tan Phu, and take the last 15kms by bike. Also see the nearby Tan Phu Forest Enterprises. 3-day tours cost from $50-300. There is a tree house in the middle of the forest. Accommodation available at park HQ and Bau Sau ranger station.

– Minh Travel Hotel

Dalat Plateau

Try for accommodation in Dalat at Peace 1 Hotel ~$10. Maybe hire a bike. Phuong Huy Hotel.
1. Mount Lang Bian – 12 km from Dalat.
2. Ta Nung – a forest valley on the road 15km from Dalat to Ta Nung
3. Ho Tuyen Lam – a lake near Dalat. 3km from Da Lat. An Excellent map by Florian Klingel
4. Deo Suoi Lanh – on road from Di Linh to Phan Thiet at 80km mark.

Ho Chi Minh City – Blue River Hotel.

Mekong Delta

1. Can Gio Biosphere Reserve – 40km South-east of Ho Chi Minh City. Its an island at the mouth of the Saigon River. Take a bike to Binh khanh and get the ferry. Guest houses at Can Gio Beach Resort.

2. Tram Chim National Park – 40km from Cao Lanh. Hire a boat. Guest houses at Tam Nong town and in park HQ. Guide is required.

3. U Minh Thuong National Park – 365km south-west of Ho Chi Minh City. Go from Rach Gia to An Minh, and get a boat. Contact park authorities before. Accommodation is basic, probably within park?

4. Ca Mau and Bac Lieu Bird Sanctuaries – Accommodation in Ca Mau and Bac Lieu towns.

5. Tra Su – 1 hour from Chau Doc, 15km north-east of the Mekong River. From Chau Doc go 17km to Nha Ban, then to Cam Mountain. Try a boat trip for about 300,000VND. Accommodation at Chau Doc at Thuan Loi or Trung Nguyen Hotels for ~$10.

6. Mui Ca Mau National Park – hotels in Ca Mau. Than Son Hotel.

My Tho – Rang Dong Hotel.

Ben Tre – Nha Khach Ben Tre Hotel – 38km to San Chim Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary by boat.

Cao Lanh – Binh Minh Hotel. Go to White Stork Sanctuary by boat. Then to Tram Chim NR.

Ha Noi – Thu Giang Guest House ~$5-10, City Gate Hotel. Book buses the day before. Cuong motorbike hire $5 per day.

Buon Ma Thuot – COFFEE! – Nguyen Nhi Hotel.

Yok Don National Park
Located in western Dak Lak province bordering Cambodia about 40km by bus from Buon Ma Thuot. There is guest house at park HQ or stay at Banmeco Tourism Area, 2 km from HQ. Lak Resort.

Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park
Get there from Dong Hoi town. A guest house at park HQ. Must have official guide.

Xuan Thuy National Park

150 km south-west of Hanoi in Red River delta. Take boat from park HQ, watch tides. Guest houses at park or Ngo Dong town or Quat Lam(40k away).

Tam Dao National Park
A hill resort near Hanoi. Guest houses range from >$8. Accommodation is available within park at Tam Dao town. Huong Lien Hotel, Green World Hotel. Buses run from Ha Noi to Vinh Yen, then hire bike to NP.

Haiphong – Hotel Du Commerce ~$10-20, There is no need to stay here. Catch bus from Ha Noi, get hydrofoil to Cat Ba.

Cat Ba national Park
On Cat Ba island in Hai Phong city, at southern edge of Ha Long Bay. Take boat from Hai Phong. You can rent a bike in Cat Ba for about $5 a day. Also hire kayak or rowboat. Guide fee ~$5/day. Several guest houses in Cat Ba. My Ngoi ~$5-10, Phong Lan Hotel.

Ban Be National Park – guesthouse ~175,00VND. Stilt house at Pac Ngoi village ~60,000VND.

Van Long Nature Reserve – 2km from Tran Me, get there from Ninh Binh from Cuc Phuong NP.

Cuc Phuong National Park
3 hours from Hanoi, has basic accommodation at the park from $5-25. From short walks to 3 day jungle treks. Go to National Park Road and Bong Substation as well as Headquarters.

Ba Vi National Park
50 km west of Hanoi. Guest House in park, hire a bike.

Sa Pa – Hoang Lien National Park

400 kms from Hanoi, catch overnight train to Lao Cai, then one hour to Sa Pa. Near China. Many hotels in Sa Pa. Lotus Hotel, bike hire.

October 23, 2009

Barrington Tops Day 4 091022

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 9:23 am

Barrington Tops Bird Photography, Day 4, 22nd October 2009.

Last day in the Barrington Tops National Parks. I am hoping its going to be a good one. I headed up the North Arm Road again. It seems like it is a pretty good spot with some variety of bird species. The day is a bit overcast and the light is pretty bad. Lately I have been setting my ISO at 1600 and my shutter speed at 1/400 and still it gets a bit dark. I will say it again, a camera with at least ISO 3200 and some decent noise reduction would be good.

White-naped Honeyeater
White-naped Honeyeater (Melithreptus lunatus)

The first bird I saw was a pair of White-naped Honeyeaters. They were chasing each other around the trees. Isn’t spring wonderful? There were some Yellow-faced Honeyeaters around as well. I spotted some female Leaden Flycatchers but they were terribly difficult to photograph because they flitted around so quickly and leaves and branches were in the way. (I am whinging a lot about that aren’t I?)

Further up the road, I stopped at a creek coming down the hill in a rainforest gully and disturbed a pair of Bassian Thrush. They flew off a little way and perched on a branch. They hopped around a few branches and then flew off.

Bassian Thrush
Bassian Thrush (Zoothera lunulata)

A male and female Leaden Flycatcher stopped for a pose, as well as another few White-naped Honeyeaters.

Back down by the river, a Rufous Whistler was making a hell of a racket and I saw a Sacred Kingfisher swoop down and snaggle a snail or something for dinner, or was it a late breakfast?

Rufous Whistler
male Rufous Whistler (Pachycephalus rufiventris)

And that was it for my trip to the Barrington Tops National Park. It was a good trip with some varied and interesting birds. I struggled at times to get shots because of bad light and shrubbery in the way, but what is the point of whinging about it? Move on and learn from the experience, I reckon. 🙂

Barrington Tops bird list 22/10/09

White-naped Honeyeater
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Grey Fantail
Leaden Flycatcher
Bassian Thrush
Brown Thornbill
White-browed Scrubwren
Red-browed Treecreeper
Rufous Whistler
Sacred Kingfisher

Barrington Tops Day 3 091021

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Barrington Tops Bird Photography, Day 3, 21st October, 2009.

Before I even had breakfast I had a quartet of Crimson Rosellas checking me out at Horse Swamp. They were hanging on to the bark and anything they could get their claws into to have a good look at me. Later on, I noticed a few young Crimson Rosella that had cryptic backs and fronts.

Flame Robin
female Flame Robin (Petroica phoenicia)

I walked down to the swamp and waited around for a while. A Red Wattlebird kept going to the base of a tree, possibly looking for some insects. The Yellow-faced Honeyeaters were a bit more subdued than is usual for them – They normally flit around like manic school kids. Maybe it was the cold or their diet. Or just too early in the morning for them – I feel like that sometimes. 🙂

I got some great shots of a King Parrot that perched really close to me.

Australian King-Parrot
male Australian King-Parrot (Alisterus scapularis)

A pair of White-eared Honeyeaters came quite close but I could not get a clear shot because of all the leaves and branches in the way. They were quite striking birds with their greeny backs and fronts, black face and bright white ear patches.

After a few hours of walking around the swamp, I headed north up the Tubrabucca Road to the Manning River. I stopped at Henry’s Bridge and went for a walk along the river. There were some Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, ravens and magpies. I found a couple of wombat holes on a hill side. Earlier I had seen a dead one on the road. I can not imagine why anyone would drive around here at night. The next day I found heaps of wombat holes all over the place on the river flat. They were everywhere.

I went over to the other side of the river and followed a road up the hill. There was quite a good assortment of birds, with White-browed Scrubwren flittering around the foliage near the creeks. They always seem to be in and out of ferns and dense low bushes. There were quite a few ironbark-type trees so I should not have been surprised to see some Red-browed Treecreepers. The book says that they like to live in tall eucalypt forest and sub-alpine woodlands. I would say that the sub-alpine part was right as I have only seen or heard about them being high up in the mountains. eg. Lithgow, Mummel Gulf National Park and Barrington Tops National Park.

I came back down the trail and saw an Eastern Yellow Robin and an Eastern Spinebill who was having a good scrub or something. I could not get a photo as there were too many leaves and branches in the way. Can’t they make forest without all these pesky leaves, please? 😉 I did process some of the photos and I quite like this perspective. At least its a bit different. He may be playing peekaboo!

Eastern Spinebill
Eastern Spinebill (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris)

At the bridge a pair of Welcome Swallows were flying around. They may have had a nest under it but I could not see one. Later on in the afternoon I saw a Leaden Flycatcher flying in to the water, then fly back to a branch, have a good shake and a scratch, then get back in for another dip.

Leaden Flycatcher
Leaden Flycatcher (Myiagra rubecula)

I walked up North Branch Road again and saw a Black-faced Monarch and a Golden Whistler and heard an Eastern Whipbird.

Barrington Tops bird list 21/10/09

Flame Robin
White-eared Honeyeater
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Red Wattlebird
Australian King-Parrot
Crimson Rosella
White-browed Scrubwren
Rufous Whistler
Red-browed Treecreeper
Eastern Spinebill
Eastern Yellow Robin
Australian Magpie
Australian Raven
Grey Fantail
Welcome Swallow
Superb Fairy-wren
Leaden Flycatcher
Brown Thornbill
Black-faced Monarch
Golden Whistler
Eastern Whipbird (H)

October 22, 2009

Barrington Tops NP Day 2 091020

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 10:36 am

Barrington Tops Bird Photography Day 2, 20th October, 2009.

I started off in the morning at Cobark Park. I keep thinking of it as Poldark, probably because I watched the series on DVD recently. There was lots of noise going on but I could not see much. Just a crow and a Grey Fantail. I headed off down the road and stopped at Honeysuckle rest area and took the walk there through the cool temperate rainforest. Everything was covered in green moss and I think most of the trees are ancient Antarctic Beech or something like that. All I saw was an Eastern Spinebill and a White-browed Scrubwren.

Ancient Rainforest Moss
Moss in an ancient Rainforest

I took off again and walked up to Thunderbolts Lookout. Its a good view over the mountains but not many birds, just a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike flying over the escarpment and some twittering Brown Thornbills. At Devil’s Hole I had a look around the camp site. Its a good camp site with a creek running near it. I spotted a Fan-tailed Cuckoo.

Flame Robin
Flame Robin(Petroica phoenicea)

The next stop on the whirlwind tour of the Barrington Tops was Polblue Swamp, an alpine area with a swampy flat area. I started walking around the track and at the picnic area got swooped by a magpie twice. So I picked up a stick and waved it over my head as I walked along to deter it from attacking me again. Guess what, she has a nest in the picnic area. I happened to see a a juvenile Crimson Rosella with messy greenish tinges/patches on the chest and There were quite a few Grey Fantails and Pied Currawongs. Pied Currawongs are mostly carnivorous predators that feed on a variety of foods including small lizards, insects, caterpillars, berries, as well as small birds and mammals.

Pied Currawong
Pied Currawong (Strepera graculina)

I was quite surprised to see a Red Wattlebird there and some Silvereyes. The ones that did not surprise me were the Scarlet Robins. They have been turning up on most of the mountain sites where I have been – Canberra, Mummel Gulf National Park, and now Barrington Tops National Park. They must be an alpine bird. doh! Note: The Barrington Tops get up to 1500 metres in places. No wonder it snows here in winter.

After Polblue I headed along the road and turned right to Horse Swamp. At the camp, there is a walking track to Polblue Falls. Polblue Creek rises on the Barrington Tops plateau and bisects the steeply rugged forested country on its journey west to the Hunter River. This is the area where Spotted-tailed Quolls have been seen. Spotted-tailed Quolls are a carnivorous predator that rears its young in a pouch.

I went for a walk to the falls and there is a lovely little spot under the trees where the tiny little falls cascade down. The sound is going to lullaby me to sleep tonight. There were not many birds around – a few Red Wattlebirds, ravens, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, Pied Currawong and a couple of Fan-tailed Cuckoos making their plaintive calls. Tomorrow I am going to the Manning River camp, but after that, I have no idea.

Barrington Tops bird list 20/10/09

Australian Raven
Grey Fantail
Pied Currawong
Crimson Rosella
Eastern Rosella
Wedge-tailed Eagle
Eastern Spinebill
White-browed Scrubwren
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Brown Thornbill
Fan-tailed Cuckoo
Australian Magpie
Superb Fairy-wren
Scarlet Robin
Red Wattlebird
Red-browed Finch
Yellow-faced Honeyeater

Barrington Tops Bird Photography Day 1 091019

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Barrington Tops Bird Photography, Day 1 – 19th October, 2009.

The drive to Gloucester was heaps longer than I had thought. We were nearly at Taree. At Gloucester I went to the Tourist Information office and asked how to get to Keripit Road, but no-one had an idea where it was. It was not on any of the maps at all. A nice man helped me out with information and gave me some maps so I could find my way around the mountains. I drove through Gloucester and took the Scone Road past the town of Barrington and headed up to the Copeland Tops.

I stopped at a fire trail and got out for a walk and see if I could find some birds. Well I did. I saw a Brush Turkey and a Lewin’s Honeyeater. And that was it. So I got back in the car and drove on, hoping to find a better place.

I drove into the Barrington Tops National Park and kept going up and up and up. The road seems to go on forever, and it is a horrible dirt road. I eventually stopped at Cobark Park and went for a walk in the bush, but saw nothing, not a thing. Then I walked along the road and saw my faithful old Black-faced Monarch and later on I followed a female Satin Bowerbird high up in the trees.

Satin Bowerbird, female
female Satin Bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus)

When I was walking back, a strange thing happened. I saw these dogs or dingos walking towards me down the road. One of them had what looked like a bird in its mouth. When they saw me, they stopped and looked guilty and then went back up the road and into the bush. I could not tell what was in its mouth but it looked like a medium sized black bird. I did not know if they were wild dogs or dingos. If they were wild dogs, then that is not good, it is very very bad. Yuk!

Wild Dogs/Dingos with prey
She looks like she has pups by the look of her nipples.

Barrington Tops bird list 19/10/09

Australian Brush-turkey
Lewin’s Honeyeater
Eastern Rosella
Crimson Rosella
Australian Wood Duck
Australian Magpie
Australian Raven
Black-faced Monarch
Satin Bowerbird, female
Eastern Whipbird (H)

October 18, 2009

Ash Island Bird Photography 091019

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 11:28 pm

Ash Island Bird Photography, 19th October, 2009.

The Baillon’s Crake decided to come out into the sun today. The last time was all overcast and spitting with rain. So today I got some good light. When I got there at the first corner at Ash Island, Robert was already there having a look. He said that the Black-tailed Native-hen had made an appearance earlier. As soon as he left to go to work the Baillon’s Crake came out of hiding. Thanks, Robert. 🙂

Baillon's Crake
Baillon’s Crake (Porzana pusilla)

Robert also pointed out a Little Grassbird to me, so that was good because I now have a faint idea of what the differences are between the Australian Reed-warbler and the Little Grassbird, and also the Golden-headed Cisticola, which I saw later. Well, I think it is a young one and it is having a massive whinge – what a brat! 😉

Golden-headed Cisticola
Golden-headed Cisticola (Cisticola exilis)

After the corner I went down to where the radar stations are and found absolutely nothing. Going out again I thought I spotted something that looked like a Koel so I stopped and went looking for it but could not find the scally wag. I heard what I thought was an owl but I think they only turned out to be some pigeons. I am getting sucked in a lot by these mimics lately. 🙁

The Baillon’s Crake was back at the corner pond on the way out so I took some more photos of it. Here he is having a good old scratch. Maybe he had some wax in his ears. “What’s that? I can’t hear you. Speak up.”

What's that? I can' hear you, I have wax in my ear.
Baillon’s Crake

I did happen to see the Black-tailed Native-hen, but it was a very quick glimpse and then it was back off again into the reeds.

Ash Island bird list 19/10/09

Chestnut Teal
Little Grassbird
Superb Fairy-wren
Baillon’s Crake
pacific Black Duck
Australian White Ibis
Australian Magpie
Black-tailed Native-hen
Golden-headed Cisticola
Australian Reed-warbler
Common Starling
White-faced Heron
Willy wagtail
Grey Fantail
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Masked Lapwing
Fairy Martin
Royal Spoonbill
Purple Swamphen
Australian Raven
Black-tailed Native-hen
Laughing Kookaburra

Hunter Wetlands Centre Bird Photography 091018

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Hunter Wetlands Centre Bird Photography 18th October 2009.

This morning I went to the Hunter Wetlands Centre at Shortland. It was a very changeable day with clouds and sunny periods interspersed. There were lots of different water birds on the ponds when I went in such as Dusky Moorhen, Eurasian Coot and a few different ducks like Grey Teal, Chestnut Teal, Wandering Whistling-ducks, Hardhead and Pacific Black Ducks. This Royal Spoonbill was in breeding plumage with the feathers coming from the nachal and the yellow above the eye.

Royal Spoonbill
Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia)

Along the track, I spotted some Super Fairy-wrens and a couple of White-cheeked Honeyeaters. They usually come really close. At one time one was sitting less than two metres away from me, so it was pointless trying to take a photo of him. This one was a bit further away but still too close to fit him all in, so I made a portrait out of this photo.

White-cheeked Honeyeater
White-cheeked Honeyeater (Phylidonyris nigra)

When I went along the most southern track, I saw this lovely little bird, a Grey Butcherbird, then suddenly got swooped by the other one. It happened about 3 times before I got the message and went away. They must have had a nest in that vicinity. Fair enough I reckon. I warned a lady about the Grey Butcherbird, but she forgot and got hit in the head by one of them. I told her.

Grey Butcherbird
Grey Butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus)

And then, just after I went over the bridge I saw this Buff-banded Rail right in front of me. He pecked around for a little while, and then another one came out of the reeds and did the same. At one time, they were not more than three metres from me. It was tops.

Buff-banded Rail
Buff-banded Rail (Gallirallus philippensis)

And yet there was another interesting escapade. I spotted some juvenile Welcome Swallows sitting on a rope. They had white gapes around their beaks so that adult birds can find their mouths when feeding them in the dark when they are in the nest. The white or yellow marks around the beak fade quickly once the chicks are fledged.

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena), newly fledged.

Hunter Wetlands Centre bird list 18/10/09

Little Egret
Intermediate Egret
Royal Spoonbill
Australian White Ibis
Straw-necked Ibis
Pacific Black Duck
Grey Teal
Chestnut Teal
Wandering Whistling-duck
Pacific Black Duck
Little Black Cormorant
Dusky Moorhen
European Coot
Purple Swamphen
Buff-banded Rail
Australasian Grebe
Black-fronted Dotterel
Black-winged Stilt
Masked Lapwing
Australian Pelican
Grey Butcherbird
Pied Currawong
Australian Raven
Australian Magpie
White-cheeked Honeyeater
Eastern Spinebill
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Noisy Miner
Whistling Kite
Superb Fairy-wren
Welcome Swallow
Willy Wagtail
Grey Fantail
Spangled Drongo
Fan-tailed Cuckoo
Crested Pigeon

October 17, 2009

Gap Creek Bird Photography 091017

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Gap Creek, Wattagan Mountains Bird Photography 16-17th October 2009.

I usually get to the Wattagan Mountains by turning west at the main traffic lights at Toronto, which is west of Lake Macquarie. I go along Palmers Road to Wisemans Ferry and turn left towards Cooranbong. After the turn off to the freeway, I keep going a little and turn off at the sign to Wattagan Mountains, which is Faulk Road. I stayed the first night at Gap Creek. There is a small camping area with tables, fireplaces and toilets. Its a good place to camp.

In the afternoon I walked along the road. It was pretty quiet and I did not see very much at all. There was a Laughing Kookaburra and a Pied Currawong around the camp. About a kilometre down the road, I found a little water hole and made a mental note to check it out on the way back to see if any birds would be having a drink there. Further on, I spotted a Black-faced Monarch and a Golden Whistler. I started back after that, then saw a Wedge-tailed Eagle very high in the sky. That is pretty east for a Wedge-tailed Eagle. He would have only been about ten kilometres from the coast, if not less.

Black-faced Monarch (Monarcha melanopsis)

I stopped at the waterhole and sat down quietly waiting for some birds to come in. And they did. There were some Red-browed Finch sipping delicately at the edge, then the Eastern Spinebills would swoop down and grab some water on the wing. A couple of Brown Thornbills were sneaking down under the grass tussocks. As a matter of fact I can see a one right now on a grass tree right in front of me. And I can hear a goanna lumbering around in the scrub.

Just before camp I heard this rustling in the leaves and it was an Echidna. I took a quick shot of him and then tried to get closer but I made too much noise and he was all curled up in a ball under a tiny grass tree. doh! (The goanna has come out into the open now, he is a big fat one. )

The next morning I followed the track along the Gap Creek. At first light I saw a Brown Cuckoo-dove and a Satin Bowerbird pecking around my camp. Up along the track, I heard this scuffling in the leaves and saw this magnicent tail on a Superb Lyrebird. I tried and tried to get some photos but he was always obscured by vines and leaves, so I could not get a clear shot. I was ropable, I tell you, dear Readers. But what can you do?

I carried on up the creek, only hearing a catbird and on the way back, I heard the Superb Lyrebird making his calls. He was mimicking whistlers and all sorts of other birds I did not know. And his tail feathers were all out spread wide on display. It was wonderful. He also had a little mound in a tiny little clearing but it was not much. Then I heard another one, who was competing with the other one in sight and sound. Further along the track, he was giving it all he had in the hope of a nice lady lyrebird to breed with.

Luckily I saw the lyrebirds and also saw a whipbird, otherwise the morning would have been a complete dud. Back at camp, a Pied Currawong was chasing a raven around the trees, and the Satin Bowerbird paid me another visit when I was having a snooze.

Gap Creek Bird List 16-17/10/09

Black-faced Monarch
Golden Whistler
Wedge-tailed Eagle
Eastern Spinebill
Brown Thornbill
Red-browed Finch
Satin or Leaden Flycatcher 8399
Laughing Kookaburra
Grey Fantail
Pied Currawong
Brown Cuckoo-dove
Superb Lyrebird
Satin Bowerbird
Eastern Whipbird
Green Catbird (H)
Australian Raven

October 15, 2009

Bar-tailed Godwit from New Zealand

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 9:17 pm

Please find attached two photos of the Bar-tailed Godwit with the engraved white leg flag BLN that we observed at Stockton Sandspit on 2 October 2009. These photos were taken by Steve Happ.

Bar-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)

Thanks for the pictures. Another bird stopping short in Aus. This was banded 14.02.09 aged 3+ and it is the first sighting since banding. It was seen at Stockton Point by Steve Happ, Liz Crawford and Chris Herbert

Australasian Wader Studies Group

Bar-tailed Godwit
C8698 BLN
was banded at Miranda on the Firth of Thames
aged 3+
and this is the first sighting

From: AWSG Leg Flag Sightings

Sighting details:

A Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica was sighted by Steve Happ, Liz Crawford and Chris Herbert at: Stockton Sandspit, Hunter Estuary, near Newcastle, NSW, Australia 32deg 54min 0sec S, 151deg 48min 0sec E on 2/10/2009 with flag(s) as follows:

LEFT leg: nothing/unknown on tibia (upper leg) above metal band on tarsus
RIGHT leg: white engraved flag on tibia (upper leg) above nothing/unknown on tarsus

This bird was flagged Miranda Firth of Thames, approximate co-ordinates 37deg 10min S, 175deg 19min E, which uses the flag combination White Engraved, on 14/02/2009.

The resighting was a distance of approximately 2187 km, with a bearing of 276 degrees, from the marking location.

The flagged bird was identified as female.


Please find attached the official recovery report for the New Zealand-flagged Bar-tailed Godwit (White Engraved ‘BLN’….Y8698) that was sighted on the 2/10/2009 at Stockton Sandspit, Hunter Estuary, near Newcastle, NSW, Australia by Steve Happ, Liz Crawford and Chris Herbert.

Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme
Marine Initiatives Branch,
Marine Division
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
Australian Government

Please note that as the two or three character alphanumeric code on the engraved flag (or five-character individual colour-band code) has been identified, this record will be ‘officially’ processed as a recovery by the ABBBS. Once this has occurred the attached ‘interim’ flag sighting report will be deleted. The banding details were as follows:

Band Number: Y8698 (engraved flag BLN)
Date of banding: 14/02/2009
Age of bird when banded: 3+
Locode: NZWS34 (Miranda Firth of Thames)

Bar-tailed Godwit Migration Route
This is a possible migration route for this bird. (My hypothesis only)

Here is my theory of the migration route based on the work of the satellite trackers, taggers and Rob Schuckhard.

1. Bird is in New Zealand in February 2009.
2. Flies to Yellow Sea in China around april-may ’09
3. Flies to Alaska in May 09.
4. Breeds in Alaska from June-July
5. Flies towards New Zealand ~ September 09
6. Does not have enough fat reserves at Fiji, makes decision to fly to Australia instead.
7. Rests at island near New Caledonia, forget which one.
8. Flies to Queensland
9. Flies down to Newcastle, seen on 2/10/09
10. ??? Will fly across to New Zealand, when?

If anyone wants to modify that theory please do so.

Backpacker Birding to South India plan

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 2:27 am

Backpacker Birding in South India planning notes.

Note, these are research notes only and you must check all this stuff out for yourself to verify.

Fly into Kolkata from Bangkok. Or another possible is to fly to Chennai.

1. Santragachi
2. Narendrapur
3. Purbasthali Lake – take train
4. South to Henry Island, Bakkhali.
5. Sundarbans NP.

West Kolkata – Botanical Gardens
Alipore – Horticultural Gardens

Sudder Street Hotels
Hotel Maria – 450
Modern Lodge
Hotel Aafreen


Chilika Lake
Nalabang Island, Mangaljodi, Satapada (stay at Yatri Nivas – govt hotel 250-650). OTDC boat hire, 3 hour tour Rs80.
Boats are a set price from Satapada. There is a ferry to Balugaon.

Barkul – on north shore of Chilika lake, boat trips. Stay at Panthaniva Hotel. ferry goes to Satapada.Babu Behera is a boatman

Konark – Labanya Lodge – Rs100.

Sambalpur – Hotel Sujata. More Sambalpur Information

Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary – 40kms from Sambalpur, 4WD is Rs800.

Badrama NP – night treks. Ushakuthi has a forest rest house. 35K East of Sambalpur. best time Oct-May, entry fee is Rs1000

Similipal NP
Need permit and 4WD – Rs2000 + guide Rs400. Book well in advance to stay inside NP. Park fee is Rs1000.

Jashipur – get permit for Similipal NP, stay at Sai Ram Hotel.

Baripada – has Orissa Tourism office to book NP visits and tours. Stay at Hotel Durga.

Chandipur – Hotel Chandipur.

Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary – boat hire ~Rs1600, stay at Forest Rest House. Northeast Orissa, best time Dec-Feb. park fee is Rs1000



Hyderabad – Stay at Hotel Suhail Rs 200.
Kasu Brahmananda Reddy Park (KBR Park) at the heart of the city is a national park and sanctuary.

+ Sharmipet Lake – 30 kms North of Hyderabad.

+ Rollapadu Bird Sanctuary.
Is 60 kms from Kurnool, near to Nandikotkur. Buses run to park from these towns. You can stay at Forest Rest House. Check if you need permit.

+ Pulicat Lake
On the border of Tamil Nadu. 60 kms from Chennai. Sricity is 1.5 kms away. Stay at Sullurpet or Tada. Ask a fisherman to take you out, maybe.



Bangalore – Hotel Tourist. Nandi Hills – Nehru Lilaya Guest House – Rs200. Birding places around Bangalore, More birding spots.
Bangalore University, Byramangala Lake, Valley School, Madiwala lake.

Mysore – Parklane Hotel. Karanji Lake Nature Park.

Mangalore – Hotel Surya.

Stay at KSTDC Hotel Mayura River View – Rs600, get boat rides to Ranganathitu Bird Sanctuary

Bandipur NP Mudumalai – Youth Hostel, Rest house or stay in camp?

To go on treks ask at Sri Ganesh Automobile – Rs400 per day. Stay at Dawn is highly recommended, Rs125.

Kodagu Hills – Stay in forest at Honey Valley Estate Rs200.

+ Kudremukh National Park
Get here from Kalasa, Karkala, Mudigere, Mangalore. Could stay at Forest Rest House or hotel in Kalasa or Srigeri. Samse has homestays, 12 kms from park. Possibly need a guide and permit.


Christmas to New Year is very busy. Hire a scooter for Rs100 per day.

Panaji – Alfonso Guest House. Baga – Divine Guest House. Bird at Arpora Woods, Baga Fields, Baga Hill.

Fort Aguada and Candolim – Villa Ludovici.

Palolem – Stay at Cozy Nook. Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary has cottage Rs200 at entrance.

Bhagwan Mahavir – Stay at Molem at GTDC Dhudhsagar Resort, Rs450. To get here take bus to Ponda and Molem. Backwoods Camp in jungle with bird tours ~$100?

Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
52 km from Panaji, Chalet is Rs200. Get here by bus from Ponda to Usgao, take taxi to park.
Also birding spots – Dona Paula, Carambolin Lake, Batim Lake, Divar Island, Mayem Lake, Saligao Zor, Zuari River Trip, Mhadei, Netravali, Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.



Stay at Kumily, 4km from park. Boat trips, Guided Jungle Walks for 3 hours cost ~ Rs100, full-day hike is Rs750. Night trek is Rs500. You can stay in park at Periyar House Rs750. Kumily – Coffee Inn or White House – Rs300. To get here take bus from Kochi, Kottayam, Trivandrum, Munnar, Madurai.

Kollam – boat tours, stay at Lakshmi Tourist Home.

Alleppy – Brothers Tourist Home

Kottayam – Ambassador Hotel

Kumarakam Bird Sanctuary – get bus from Kottayam.

Westend Cottages. Chinnar Wildlife tours – Rs300.

Eravikulam National Park – rickshaw from Munnar

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary – stay in Marayour?

Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
Tree hut at Thunakadavio – book through Divisional forest officer. Also Forest rest houses at Thelikal, Anapady.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary – need guide.

chavakkad beach – shore birds.

Polachira wetland, Chathanoor, Kollam district

Enamav Kole (or enamav Bund) is near Trishur (in kerala), you have take the road to chavakkad from Trishur to reach there. water body (floating rice fields).



Guindy National Park, Theosophical Society Garden. Get your permit for Vegantangal from Wildlife Wardens Office 0448413947. Stay at Hotel Regent.

It is best from Dec-Jan during breeding season. 52km from Mamallapuram. Stay at Forestry Dept Rest House – Rs300. Book in Chennai first. To get there take a bus from Chengalpattu to Vedangtal bus station and walk 1km or get bus to Madurantakam, then hire taxi last 8kms.

Mamallapuram – beach, stay at Mrs Rajalaxmi near 5 Rathas.

Calimere Point
90km South-east of Thanjavur. To get here take bus from Vedarammiyam which is 12km away, via Nagapattinam or Thanjavur.
Thanjavur – stay at Hotel Valli or Yogappa.

Kodaikanal – Snooze Inn.

Indira Ghandi Wildlife Sanctuary
Book with Wildlife Wardens Office in Pollachi. Stay at Sakthi Hotel.

Coimbatore – Hotel Blue Star.

Nilgiri Hill Stations
1. Coonoor – YWCA
2. Kotagiri
3. Ooty – treks may be Rs300 per day. Tourist office have tours to Mudumalai NP, RS200. Stay at YWCA. Bird at Cairnhill Forest Reserve on Avalanche Road, Sighur Ghat Road, Naduvattam Shola. Can get very crowded.
Yelagiri. – Pungunur Lake.

Mudulalai NP – closed Feb-march? Stay at Morgan dormitory? or at Kongu Lodge in Masinagudi.

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