MYANMAR (BURMA)

photos taken during the 2017 Tour.

 

 

 

 

Pied Harriers came to roost as we took a sundown boat ride.

 

 

Rain Quails are stunning little creatures. We were so privileged to see them on the bank of the Irrawaddy River.

 

White-browed Nuthatch has a tiny world distribution being only found on Mount Victoria.

We have always been fortunate to see them well.

 

Hooded Treepie is possibly the hardest of all Burmese endemics to find. They live in the dry arid Irrawaddy Plain near the temples of Bagan. But few people get to see one, let alone catch a glint in its eye!

Jerdon's Minivet is another star endemic. No photograph can do justice to just how bright the Hi-vis,  road-cone orange patch on its chest really is.

 

 

 

 

no excuses for more Pied Harrier photos - just stunning!

 

 

 

 

Shwedagon Pagoda from our hotel room window.

 

Ancient Bagan has over 3000 temples.

 

 

a glimpse into everyday Irrawaddy life.

 

 

The larger temples like this have enormous golden Buddha statues inside.

 

 

 

the old ox carts are still common but are replaced by more cars as the years go by.

 

White-eyed Buzzards perch on the temples at Bagan.

 

Crested Honey Buzzards are common during our visit.

 

 

The Irrawaddy Crow is a split in waiting.

 

We saw Rain Quail in areas that look like they never see rain!

 

More Hooded Treepies, we saw this smart adult in Bagan.

 

 

 

 

Ruddy Shelduck

of course, we can't wait to go back, so if you want to ask any questions about our Myanmar trip or put your name down on our customer list, please call us.

 

 

MYANMAR  (BURMA)

 

SPOON-BILLED SANDPIPER CONSERVATION TOUR 2014

 

 

working with the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task force

(includes Arcona, Birdlife International, WWT, RSPB, BANCA: Birdlife Burma)

 

Myanmar is a wonderful country where it feels like time has stood still. The countryside hasn't been hi-jacked by industrial scale agricultural schemes that have devastated the landscape. So habitats and a peaceful rural way of life remains. Of course it has political issues but it seems to have turned a corner now so tourists and investment is increasing. The wonderful thing is that much of Myanmar's wildlife populations are intact and the fact that thousands of Gurney's Pitta are thought to exist here bares testament to the scale of what natural gems are yet to be uncovered.

The last sizeable groups of wintering Spoon-billed Sandpipers cling on to Myanmar's estuaries and so it is here that we are trying to help them. Bird Holidays together with the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force have run tours that benefit the communities that protect them, while allowing birdwatchers to enjoy sightings without impacting on them at more sensitive sites.

If you wish to join us, please get in touch.

 

 

 

These two sketches were made by Eve Corder during our 2014 Myanmar tour. In the time it had taken us to have a good look at a pagoda or Spoon-billed Sandpiper, she had already recorded it on paper. I don't know how she found the time!

Eve has just had her work exhibited in the Cambridge Drawing Society exhibition, so pop and have a look if you are in the city.

 

 

These photographs were taken during our 2014 Tour.

 

Our trip started at Mount Victoria. This quiet secluded place has been closed to visitors for several years and is the only place in the world to see

the gorgeous White-browed Nuthatch. We managed amazing views of several pairs.

 

the Burmese Tit was another endemic that we found at Mount Victoria.

Rural Mount Victoria

 

at Yangon we were treated to an amazing display of millions of bats leaving the Shwedagon Pagoda

 

the bats were attacked by kestrels, peregrines, kites and crows

this kite was eating a bat while being chased by House Crows

 

 

Bagan's temples are one of the great treasures of Ancient Asia

 

our search for Spoon-billed Sandpiper began by sifting through hundreds of sand-plovers, Broad-billed sandpipers and Red-necked Stints.

 

left is a normal view through a 400mm lens & a digi-scope view from our local guide Lay Win on the right.

more pictures of the ex-hunters and village life lower down this page.

our final stop was at Lake Moeyengi where this Purple Heron flushed hundreds of gallinules and jacanas as it passed

 

 

Yellow Bittern

 

 

Burmese Shrike

 

 

White-eyed Buzzard

White-rumped Falcon

Crested Treeswift

Green-billed Malkhoa

Blossom-headed Parakeet

Bar-tailed Treecreeper

Hill Partridge is a shy forest bird

 

Hooded Treepie - possibly the hardest endemic to find

White-throated Babbler is endemic

Jerdon's Minivet was the last of our endemic set.

 

 

White-browed Nuthatch

Burmese Tit

Barwing

Mrs Chestnut-bellied Rock-thrush

 

Rufous-bellied Woodpecker

 

Great White Egret

Black-eared kite

 

Pheasant-tailed Jacana

 

Eastern Marsh Harrier

 

view from Mnt Victoria

 

 

Mountain Hawk-eagle

 

Hindu temple by the coast

Lake Moeyengi

 

 

Imperial Eagle

 

 

 

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SPOON-BILLED SANDPIPER CONSERVATION TOUR

2013 tour  pictures

working with the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task force (Birdlife International, WWT, RSPB, Arcona, BANCA)

 

Myanmar is a wonderful country where it feels like time has stood still. The countryside hasn't been hi-jacked by industrial scale agricultural schemes that have devastated the landscape. So habitats and a peaceful rural way of life remains. Of course it has political issues but it seems to have turned a corner now so tourists and investment is increasing. The wonderful thing is that much of Myanmar's wildlife populations are intact and the fact that thousands of Gurney's Pitta are thought to exist here bares testament to the scale of what natural gems are yet to be uncovered.

The last sizeable groups of wintering Spoon-billed Sandpipers cling on to Myanmar's estuaries and so it is here that we are trying to help them. Bird Holidays together with the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force have run tours that benefit the communities that protect them, while allowing birdwatchers to enjoy sightings without impacting on them at more sensitive sites.

The photographs below were taken during our 2013 Tour.

 

 

 

 

 

the ancient city of Bagan has 3000+ temples dating back to 900AD

 

Siberian Rubythroat, male at Bagan.                                                                    Black Baza displaying near Yangon

 

 

 

Blue Rock Thrush were common around and inside the temples.

 

a Pied Harrier hunts in the rice paddies

 

In the Gulf of Martaban, thousands of waders gather at high tide, giving us chance to see Spoon-billed sandpipers. These are mostly Greater and Lesser Sandplovers.

 

fishing is still done with traditional methods

 

 

hundreds of terns and egrets wait by nets set for fish in the bay

 

 

the waders gather on the mudflats before moving to the beaches by the village

 

 

 

 Spoon-billed Sandpipers are posted all over the villages to inform locals about how special they are.

We met this chap who was a bird hunter. As part of the Task Force's work, he was persuaded to stop hunting birds altogether. In fact most hunters took up the option to stop.

Through donations, they now have alternative employment. Some are fishermen, some opened small shops and this one counts & surveys shorebirds for BANCA (Birdlife Burma).

Our tour provides income for the ex-hunters, donates money to the village as a whole, and also raises awareness.

 

fishing boats by the village. Spoon-billed sandpipers roost on the grass here at high tide

 

Plain-backed Sparrows are surprisingly smart - how can anyone say sparrows are boring!

 

Yellow Bittern

 

Black-capped Kingfisher at Moeyengi

 

 

 

herons going to roost

 

 

 

the bats in Yangon are one of the greatest wildlife spectacles in Asia

 

 

 

millions emerge from the pagoda at dusk and rise into the sky like a plume of smoke

 

they are targeted by kestrels,

 

kites,

crows,

& Peregrines

 

Bagan's temples are unforgettable. Four of the Burmese endemics occur here and on our 2014 tour we will head off to Mount Victoria to catch up with the rest.

 

 

 

Taiga Flycatcher

 

 

Brown Shrike

 

mostly Whiskered Terns, on the fishing nets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oriental Honey Buzzards

Oriental Honey Buzzard

 

 

 

 

 

Crested Goshawk

 

 

Pacific Swifts

loads of Pied Harriers came to roost here

 

 

 

 

Pied Stonechat

Plaintive Cuckoo

 

 

spot the Spoon-billed Sandpiper !

 

 

the endemic Burmese Bushlark

the endemic White-throated Babbler

 

 

Spotted Eagle

 

Booted Eagle

Yellow-eyed Babbler

a mynah squabble........get it Mynah/minor, Oh please yourself!

 

Pin-striped Tit Babbler

Yellow-streaked Warbler

Pacific Swift

 

 

Sand Lark

 

 

the Irrawaddy River

Ashy Drongo

 

 

on the road to Mandalay

 

 

 

 

 

 

House Crows in Yangon

the 2013 Bird Holidays group  meeting with ex-hunters and the mayor of the village before going to count Spoon-billed Sandpipers.

 

 

Please note: The above photographs were taken on previous trips. Itineraries change from time to time and therefore you cannot rely on these photographs as being an exact representation of what can be expected on a future tour. For details of the each tour, you should refer to the brochure write-up.

 

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Christoph Zockler head of the Spoon-billed Recovery Team

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