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Birding at Dalat on a budget

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Old Sunday 5th March 2017, 14:03   #26
alphan
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Thanks so much Cendrawasih for the latest news on Ta Nung Valley. I asked local Park guides, freelance guides , local taxi drivers and all thir reply are negative. I shall try my luck on Tuesday.
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Old Wednesday 19th April 2017, 12:04   #27
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Yes, Ta Nung is still accessible but new owner wants happy money of VND100,000 per head. The resort have resumed building but at a slow pace. They are getting a few columns ready for building.

Wasted a lot of time lookingfor the trails as per Hendrick's map but to no avail. Even engage the owner's nephew to show us the trails but nothing. Only found the trail leading uphill along the stream from the dam. Finally found the trail near the stream going along the down stream. Still didn't find the upper trail with a gate. By then, it's already past the golden hour. Manage to get the owner's permission to return the next day without charge.

Second day we saw Black Hooded Laughingthrush, Vietnamese Greenfinch, Indochinese Green Magpie, Annam Barbet on the ground, Parrotfinch, etc.

Only a small patch will be affected by the resort building. See attached picture in following post as I cannot extract picture from my phone.
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Old Wednesday 19th April 2017, 12:37   #28
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Two pictures. One for the site where they are going to site a building. The trail got covered by this recently leveled ground. Go to the edge at the middle of picture, climb down the edge of about 8 feet, look around and you should see part of the trail. The other picture show the location of the site at the sharp bend of the road to the dam.
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Old Wednesday 19th April 2017, 12:45   #29
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The pine trees they are preparing as building column and the semi completed entrance to the site.
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Old Friday 21st April 2017, 07:40   #30
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One note on Tuyen Lam Lake. The old site is a fair distance from car park.The newer site known as Soui Tia locally, one can get off road on a good condition dirt road a further 300m. Then it's another 100m or so to reach broadleaved forest. Mostly level or gentle sloped trails. The 300m from main road on the dirt road yielded Crossbill, Red Vented Barbet, Vietnamese Cutia, maroon oriole, chestnut vented nuthatch nesting, etc.

Datanla waterfall can be fruitfull, just around the car park. We had lunch there and got Mrs Gould's Sunbird, White cheeked laughingthrush, annam barbet, grey bushchat, blue laughingthrush, vietnamese shrike, tit etc, all in super close range. Vietnamese Cutia heard nearby but on the other side of the fence. ( ticket paying side).
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Old Monday 8th May 2017, 14:10   #31
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Another note. Those wishing to hire a MPV, we got a Hyundai Starex in relatively new condition, including a very friendly and responsible driver owner, who charges us USD60/day for further birding site and USD40/day for closer sites including Ta Nung Valley, Tuyen Lam Lake, Langbian etc, and USD20 to drop us off at the airport early in the morning. We leave hotel as early as 5:00 am (for Bidoup N P) and the usual day at 5:30 am returning at almost 7:00 pm.

You can find him on FB as Van Bo Nguyen. He seems to know all the right people including the new owner of Ta Nung Valley, the park officers for Bidoup, allowing us to enter before sunrises and place to do birding.

We stayed at Thien Kim Guesthouse at a very good price. USD10 - 15 depending on the size of room. Owner even get up at 4:30 to prepare hot coffee so that we can leave warm, have a thermos filled with hot water and cups for us to bring along, change money for us, contacting the various places for updates etc.

We may not have gotten most of the endemics in Dalat, but our experience there are almost out of this world. We shall return for an even more leisurely birding.

And last of all, my utmost thanks to all who have chipped in here and there. All you lovely people, lovely birders.
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Old Tuesday 9th May 2017, 21:19   #32
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All you lovely people, lovely birders.
Thanks Glad you had a good time, and thanks for your up-dates!
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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 01:13   #33
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Hi I read this old thread and wondering how i can plan a trip for birding to Dalat on my own. Is it easy to book a local bird guide when I am in Dalat? I am thinking of staying a few days there and booking an affordable guide with transport. Would appreciate some info. I am not very good at looking for birds on my own.
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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 10:22   #34
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There is a Park officer at Bidoup Nui Ba NP who do freelance bird guiding but I do find his knowledge of birds rather limiting. A better guide can be hired from Cat Town NP who also freelance bird guiding but you have to bring him up from Cat Town and take care of all his expenses. Other guides would have to be brought up from Saigon.
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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 11:00   #35
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Y the ground, Parrotfinch,
Hi, useful information - whereabouts were the parrotfinches? I'm off to Vietnam soon and had not realised these were at all likely.

thanks
alan
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Old Tuesday 6th March 2018, 12:01   #36
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They occur in the central highlands and the south, but I don't think they are likely. I saw a single bird in Ta Nung valley in several years living in Dalat. I think Parrotfinches are nomadic and move around based on bamboo blooming or so, so difficult to target them during a trip.
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Old Tuesday 6th March 2018, 12:18   #37
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They occur in the central highlands and the south, but I don't think they are likely. I saw a single bird in Ta Nung valley in several years living in Dalat. I think Parrotfinches are nomadic and move around based on bamboo blooming or so, so difficult to target them during a trip.
Precisely so,
I think I'm also right in saying that once Bamboo flowers, it then dies?


A

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Old Monday 12th March 2018, 13:26   #38
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There is a Park officer at Bidoup Nui Ba NP who do freelance bird guiding but I do find his knowledge of birds rather limiting. A better guide can be hired from Cat Town NP who also freelance bird guiding but you have to bring him up from Cat Town and take care of all his expenses. Other guides would have to be brought up from Saigon.

Thanks!
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Old Tuesday 13th March 2018, 06:18   #39
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Hi, useful information - whereabouts were the parrotfinches? I'm off to Vietnam soon and had not realised these were at all likely.

thanks
alan
Refer to my earlier picture of the leveled patch where the trail now commence. This area is now the camping ground with a concrete stage on the slope up side. The parrotfinch was seen near where the current stage locate, where there use to have lots of grass and shrubs over hanging from the upper level.

My trip there last week yield quite a healthy bird activities. The Grey Crowned Crocias were seen around the trees at the same ground having flown up from the lower valley.

Most tourist activities are confined to the damed area of the lake where they introduced Rock Pigeon and Ducks. Entrance fees are 30k dong per head with 5k dong for scooter parking, I think it will remain a prime birding spot in Dalat. We entered at 6:00 am and pay on our way out. As usual, on a hot day, most bird activities quiet down by 9:00 am.
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Old Tuesday 13th March 2018, 06:29   #40
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Being hotter and wet this trip compared to last year, less birds were seen this trip. Birding at Tuyen Lam lake on the Da Tien trails yields poor count and a lot of time spend getting onto the trails, having building construction at the beginning of trails leading to many blockages.

However, barely 200m across the lake, at Suoi Tia, they have improved the road to accommodate any car. Birding along the 500m road from the main new road to the Suoi Tia recreation area yield a good numbers as just 10-20 m both sides along the road are broad leaved forest.
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Old Sunday 26th August 2018, 17:01   #41
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Hi Alphan

Researching a trip to Vietnam next March - can you give me details of the guide you mentioned at $50 per person for 2 days and which area was that covering? Was the guide one you would recommend?

Any other info on local guides you can recommend would be appreciated

Thanks Pash
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Old Thursday 30th August 2018, 14:20   #42
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A better guide would be the park guide from Cat Tien. He works as park guide and you can only book him from park hq. He also do freelance guiding to Dalat and a few other birding spots but you have to bring him from Cat Tien and cover all his daily expenses and his return to Cat Tien after your trip. Many birding tour companies also use him. He will be fully booked out during peak season. The other guides charges more but are not that experienced.
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Old Friday 8th March 2019, 18:01   #43
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Ta Nung update.

I've been back now after many years. The place has now been fully transformed in one of those Dalat kitsch parks, where tourists take selfies in front of flowery heart shaped installations etc. Quite a horror compared to the splendid piece of nature it used to be.

But then, the birds are still there. I've seen the Crocias, Slaty-backed Forktail, Indochinese Green Magpie and plenty else (but the Orange-breasted Laughingthrush is gone here). People start to arrive in masses only from 9-10 am or so, when birding slows down anyway. So from 10, you can sit down with a coffee and switch to people watching.
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Old Thursday 16th May 2019, 01:07   #44
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Dalat - recent information!

Alphan,

I wonder how your recent trip went to Dalat? I am going there for 4 days in mid-June 2019 and with limited time and I want to maximize my chances of getting the endemics. Any tips would be appreciated,

John Kennedy
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