The good birding sites are about 10km NNW of Mang Den village so it was in this direction that we headed after breakfast. En-route several Chestnut-tailed Starlings and a Spotted Dove were perched up on dead trees. Walking the roads during both morning and afternoon sessions there was plenty of activity. First up was a small group of Vinous-breasted Starlings with a couple of White-shouldered Starlings and c6 Olive-backed Pipits. A pair of Stripe-breasted Woodpeckers were a welcome start to our main walk with a good numbers of Black Bulbuls including several stunning white-headed birds of the 'leucocephalus' form. I picked up a gorgeous Speckled Piculet which was quickly followed up by Scarlet, Grey-chinned and Long-tailed Minivets which provided a real id masterclass! Southern Jungle Crows were common here (the only place on the trip they were) and in roadside bushes we scored with Fork-tailed Sunbird and a pair of Black-throated Sunbirds (looking very different from their imminent split with Langbian Sunbird!) Fire-breasted Flowerpecker and Yellow-cheeked Tit were welcome trip ticks but were eclipsed by 2 Rufous-faced Warblers, a world tick!
As we walked back towards the bus an accipter shot past and we managed to find it a little further down the lane and confirm it as a splendid Besra. A group of c10 Asian House Martins were eventually positively id'd when we got to see their black underwing coverts!
Further north along the road Minh had a spot that came up trumps with several feeding Grey-crowned Parrotbills. What a curious genus this is!
We ventured into the forest a few times and tantalisingly heard Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush but did score nicely with 3 Black-hooded Laughingthrushes, a single Yellow-billed Nuthatch, Coral-billed Scimitar-babbler, Indochinese Wren-babbler, Two-barred Greenish Warbler, Mountain Fulvetta, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher plus Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Large Cuckooshrike, White-bellied Epornis and almost at dusk a superb Necklaced Barbet calling high up in a roadside tree.
At the hotel over lunch we were delighted to interupt our eating with a mixed flock of Silver-backed Needletails, Brown-backed Needletails and House Swifts as they screamed overhead.
Stripe-breasted Woodpeckers (m & f)
Vinous-breasted and White-shouldered Starlings
Black-throated Sunbirds (f & m)
Crested Serpent Eagle
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