A short tour at the end of the dry season, in Cat Tien National Park

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I spent 2 weekends at Cat Tien National Park, a place not unfamiliar to me as well as many tourists who are passionate about discovering the natural beauty.

In the midst of the Covid pandemic, Vietnam did a great job of stopping the spread of the virus, allowing people to freely travel in the country, go on weekend trips and enjoy the beautiful nature. However, the sad thing is that Vietnam has not reopened to international tourists. I really wish that the nearest day the pandemic will be over, or at least we have a Vaccine passport, so that we can reopen tourism, and we can visit a beautiful Vietnam again. Going to places I’ve been to hundreds of times like Cat Tien National Park, but every time it feels new to me.

Early morning in Cat Tien’s trail, Mar28, 2021

Early morning in Cat Tien’s trail, Mar28, 2021
Early morning in Cat Tien’s trail, Mar28, 2021

The first day, it was hot, the heat at the end of March was uncomfortable. It made you open your mouth to breathe to feel cool.

I sat at the restaurant just to avoid the sun and drank a lot of cold beer. That morning, I took a walk around the familiar walking trails. It has been 3 months since I came back here, the leaves have fallen in layers, the scratching steps are not enough to break the resonant chord of the mountain forest of cicadas. The cicadas here are very loud, from morning to afternoon, the sun goes out, they act like when they stop crying, the earth will forget them.

The birds in Cat Tien are entering the breeding season, each pair of Orange-breasted Trogon, Black and Red Broadbill are busy taking care of their nest. The smaller birds seem to have started raising children. I saw a Dark-necked Tailorbird incubating eggs in the nest.

Morning in Cat Tien, when the sun shines the dawn, is also the time when the Yellow-cheeked Gibbon sing deep chants. They have repetitive tunes, but don’t sound boring. I have come across 2 herds, a large herd with 4 males and 1 female, maybe 2 smaller males are offspring born in early spring. After they finished singing, they passed the branches and jumped like acrobats from the tall, bare branches.

A pair of Black and Red Broadbill, Pictured at Cat Tien NP, Mar28, 2021

A pair of Black and Red Broadbill, Pictured at Cat Tien NP, Mar28, 2021
A pair of Black and Red Broadbill, Pictured at Cat Tien NP, Mar28, 2021

I stepped into the Lagerstroemia forest, where the sound of Bar-bellied Pitta birds was screaming. Perhaps it is a male busy lining up fine grass for its beautiful nest. A natural hole in the tree trunk, about 2 meters above the ground, the Pitta flew straight into it with a few soft hay strands.

The male woodpeckers are trying to make holes
The male woodpeckers

There are 2 birds Banded Kingfisher, a beautiful kingfisher, is in the match phase, they keep walking together, and sometimes show affectionate gestures like new lovers.

The male woodpeckers are trying to make holes, they use their hard beak to peck, dig, diligently and diligently, they make round holes into the dry branches. The hole will be the standard that female woodpeckers nod to start a breeding season.

Bar-bellied Pitta , female . Cat Tien NP at Mar29, 2021

Bar-bellied Pitta , female . Cat Tien NP at Mar29, 2021
Bar-bellied Pitta , female . Cat Tien NP at Mar29, 2021

Many and most easily encountered in Cat Tien National Park, are the White-rumped Shama, a beautiful bird with a long tail, very interesting and calming voice.

At noon, while enjoying a cool beer at Tre Vang restaurant, I suddenly saw on a topless bamboo, a White-rumped Shama couple nesting, they compete to forgive soft materials. the hole in the bamboo tip.

White-rumped Shama, male. Pictured at Mar29, 2021

White-rumped Shama, male. Pictured at Mar29, 2021
White-rumped Shama, male. Pictured at Mar29, 2021

That afternoon, it changed to rain, the rain changed seasons. It signaled a rainy season coming, and the dry season is over. So this year the rainy season will come soon, the birds are hurrying to prepare the baby birds to be born in April, when the rainy season comes and the rain will be more frequent, the trees will green again, food These are delicious, fatty worms that are easier to find for young birds.

The first big break lasted more than an hour, cooling the hot air like a steamer at noon. I was so happy, because tonight, I’m going to have an exciting Spotlighting trip. And I was right, not disappointed for what I expected. 3 Snakes, Ruby-eyed Green Pit-viper type lying on low branches, one more Green Bamboo Cat-snake looking for food. Just a short walk in the forest, less than 2km, I saw 3 species of snakes, with 5 individuals, the third snake I found was a Slug-eatting snake.

Ruby-eyed Green Pit-viper. Pictured at Mar28,2021

Ruby-eyed Green Pit-viper. Pictured at Mar28,2021
Ruby-eyed Green Pit-viper. Pictured at Mar28,2021

We returned to the golden bamboo restaurant, ending an enjoyable night of herping with two cool beers.

Early the next morning, we went for a walk toward the grassland, where there were 2 high huts to watch birds and animals on a large grassland. I climbed up on the tower and waited, not long after, a flock of peacocks, a male and four hens, looming behind the tall grass. They both dig for food, chase each other, dance. The male is feeding and flirting with the hens.

Then a herd of Gaurs appeared, I counted more than 30, including 4 young calves, perhaps just born not long ago. They were still unstable, with yellow feathers more prominent than their parents, which had The feathers are black and the four legs stand out in white, looking like they are wearing soccer player socks. I took advantage of taking pictures and filming the gaurs.

Closer to the watchtower position, are 4 deer grazing, the morning air is so fresh.

Gaurs on grassland at Cat Tien NP, Mar29,2021

Gaurs on grassland at Cat Tien NP, Mar29,2021
Gaurs on grassland at Cat Tien NP, Mar29,2021

Late in the morning I head back to bird-hide, a good spot to hide and wait, target is Germain’s peacock pheasant, Siamese fireback, two beautiful pheasant species not to be missed when you visit Cat Tien.

At lunchtime, I was fortunate again to take many beautiful pictures of Stripe-throated Bulbul and Bronze Drongo, which gathered right next to the restaurant, less than 15 meters from my dining table. What an interesting place.

Yellow-striped Bulbul, beside the Restaurant at Cat Tien NP, Mar28

Yellow-striped Bulbul, beside the Restaurant at Cat Tien NP, Mar28
Yellow-striped Bulbul, beside the Restaurant at Cat Tien NP, Mar28

I packed up my luggage and got ready to return to Ho Chi Minh City. Ending a fun weekend trip, beautiful scenery and lots of pictures of birds and wildlife that I really like.

Large-tailed Nightjar , nesting on the ground. Picture at Cat Tien NP, Mar29- 2021

Large-tailed Nightjar , nesting on the ground. Picture at Cat Tien NP, Mar29- 2021
Large-tailed Nightjar , nesting on the ground. Picture at Cat Tien NP, Mar29- 2021

Lesser Yellownape, Cat Tien NP, Mar29-2021

Lesser Yellownape, Cat Tien NP, Mar29-2021
Lesser Yellownape, Cat Tien NP, Mar29-2021

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, 29Mar2021

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, 29Mar2021
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, 29Mar2021

Butterflies in Cat tien NP, Picture was shot at 29Mar2021

Butterflies in Cat tien NP, Picture was shot at 29Mar2021
Butterflies in Cat tien NP, Picture was shot at 29Mar2021

If you are looking for bird watching trips in Vietnam, please contact us now:

  • Call +84982928482 Andy Nguyen, or message by Whatsapp, viber with the same number
  • Email: vietnamwildlife2012@gmail.com

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