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We were quite the happy group as we looked down over the sprawling temple complex of the old city of Bagan on our final morning. And given what a splendid trip we had through Myanmar, why not?! Photo provided by participant Kathleen John.
When we met in Yangon on leap day 2020, we were embarking on the inaugural Field Guides tour to the wonderful country of Myanmar, long known as Burma during the colonial era.
Our day around Yangon, in addition to familiarizing us with some of the avifauna of the region, gave us our first immersion in the rich culture and storied history of this land, from the impressive Temple, with its dizzying array of gilded stupas, to the distinctive architecture of the former colonial downtown, with its large edifices that still stand today.
Once we had taken our taste of Yangon, we headed up to the hills of Kalaw, to spend a couple of nights among a diversity of foothill species in an area that used to be a French hill station. Over the course of our short visit in the area, we neared a hundred species, including regional such headliners as Spectacled Barwing, Burmese Yuhina, Black-backed Sibia, and a surprise Blue-bearded Bee-eater. We then relocated some miles to the east, to the shores of Inlé Lake. The people who dwell on and around this lake have a unique lifestyle. The town of Inlé is a floating village out on the lake itself, and between their leg-manipulated oar operation, their meticulous lotus harvesting and weaving, and other skills long honed over time here, our boat rides here were fascinating. It wasn’t only culture here, though, because where there is water there are birds. We started out with a wonderful experience with the big waterbird colony (mostly Asian and Little Cormorants, but with a surprise Black-headed Ibis) in the gorgeous setting sun, and we followed that up with a morning visit to a waterfowl-rich section of the lake, where we scoured the flocks of Ferruginous Ducks and were able to come up with at least TWO of the Critically Endangered Baer’s Pochard. This was a major highlight, and given that their population has been in free-fall for the past several decades (with perhaps between 250-700 individuals left on Earth), it was pretty darn unexpected!
After the eastern part of our route, we flew towards the western side of the country, to the central dry zone, where we would call the ancient city of Bagan our home for a few nights. Bagan is a fantastic place to bird: it combines birding in the dry zone, which has the highest concentration of Burmese endemics, with a sense that you are always walking through history, given that over 3000 of the original 4446 temples built several hundred years ago are still around, and the habitats around them can be stupendous. We never seemed to be out of sight of an ancient temple as we birded our way around Bagan, and indeed most of the best birding we did here was temple-adjacent. The sharp-looking Jerdon’s Minivet, with its monochrome tuxedo splashed with sunny rays of orange on the breast, joined many a bold Burmese Bushlark, plenty of inquisitive and gregarious White-throated Babblers, the lemon eyerings of Burmese Collared-Doves, and of course the phantom of the temple-scape: Hooded Treepie.
After the dry heat of the Irrawaddy River lowlands around Bagan, we enjoyed a welcome change of climate on cool Mount Victoria, a high point in the Chin Hills, part of the foothills of the Himalayas. While it was indeed a respite from the heat, it wasn’t at all a respite from seeing a wonderful collection of birds. We saw such range-restricted treasures as White-browed Nuthatch, Chin Hills Wren-Babbler, Black-headed Shrike-Babbler, Striped Laughingthrush, Mount Victoria Babax, Brown-capped and Assam laughingthrushes, and of course a troop of the amazingly charismatic Himalayan Cutia--surely one of the coolest birds around.
All of these birds were experienced in the all-encompassing embrace of the intoxicating montane forests, a pine-scape with a dense and varied understory full of flowering Rhododendrons. We even got out for some night birding here, where we had a magical experience (after a bit of sweating) with a female Hodgson’s Frogmouth.
Thanks for joining me on Field Guides’ inaugural (and successful!) tour to Myanmar. It was a pleasure to bird with you all, and to get to know those whom I had just met. Stay safe and well out there, and I look forward to seeing you on another tour somewhere in this great big universe. Until then, ciao!
KEYS FOR THIS LIST
One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant
Take a dive into the wonderful world of our Myanmar tour with this engaging video chock full of great birds, fun people, and a fascinating culture. Video by guide Doug Gochfeld.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
LESSER WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna javanica)
RUDDY SHELDUCK (Tadorna ferruginea)
COTTON PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus coromandelianus)
GARGANEY (Spatula querquedula)
NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata)
GADWALL (Mareca strepera)
EURASIAN WIGEON (Mareca penelope)
Sunrise amongst the rhododendrons and pines up on Mount Victoria is a sublime experience. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
INDIAN SPOT-BILLED DUCK (Anas poecilorhyncha)
NORTHERN PINTAIL (Anas acuta)
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (EURASIAN) (Anas crecca crecca)
FERRUGINOUS DUCK (Aythya nyroca)
BAER'S POCHARD (Aythya baeri)
TUFTED DUCK (Aythya fuligula)
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
RAIN QUAIL (Coturnix coromandelica)
RED JUNGLEFOWL (Gallus gallus)
Baer's Pochard is one of the most sought-after species of waterfowl on the planet, owing to its extreme rarity. We felt very fortunate to see at least two during our Inlé Lake boat trip. Pictured are an adult male on the right, and a female or young male on the left, with a Ferruginous Duck in the middle for some balance. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
LITTLE GREBE (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
ORIENTAL TURTLE-DOVE (Streptopelia orientalis)
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (BURMESE) (Streptopelia decaocto xanthocycla)
RED COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia tranquebarica)
SPOTTED DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis)
YELLOW-FOOTED GREEN-PIGEON (Treron phoenicopterus)
MOUNTAIN IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula badia)
The landscape of temples in Bagan is truly breathtaking. Over 4000 Buddhist temples were constructed between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, and more than half of those are still standing. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
GREATER COUCAL (Centropus sinensis)
LESSER COUCAL (Centropus bengalensis)
GREEN-BILLED MALKOHA (Phaenicophaeus tristis)
ASIAN KOEL (Eudynamys scolopaceus) [*]
BANDED BAY CUCKOO (Cacomantis sonneratii) [*]
LARGE HAWK-CUCKOO (Hierococcyx sparverioides)
HODGSON'S FROGMOUTH (Batrachostomus hodgsoni)
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
GRAY NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus jotaka jotaka)
Jerdon's Bushchat is not an easy bird to see in most of its localized range, but Inlé Lake is one of the best places in the world to track it down. We had great views of several pairs during our morning boat ride on the lake. Photo by participant Kathleen John.
HIMALAYAN SWIFTLET (Aerodramus brevirostris)
COOK'S SWIFT (Apus cooki)
HOUSE SWIFT (Apus nipalensis)
ASIAN PALM-SWIFT (Cypsiurus balasiensis)
CRESTED TREESWIFT (Hemiprocne coronata)
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus)
EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra)
As soon as we found the Baer's Pochards on the lake, our excitement spiked, and our excellent boat drivers (under the sharp direction of Thiri) were able to put us in a position where we could watch them at our leisure without flushing them. Some great fieldcraft all around--and for a phenomenal species! Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
GRAY-HEADED SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio poliocephalus)
BLACK-TAILED CRAKE (Zapornia bicolor)
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus)
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
RIVER LAPWING (Vanellus duvaucelii)
RED-WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus indicus atronuchalis)
LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (DUBIUS/JERDONI) (Charadrius dubius jerdoni)
PHEASANT-TAILED JACANA (Hydrophasianus chirurgus)
Spending a late afternoon with the waterbird colony, especially the Asian Openbills, on Lake Inlé was an amazing experience. It's one of the few species in the world whose bill is open even when it's closed! Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos)
GREEN SANDPIPER (Tringa ochropus)
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia)
WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola)
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
BLACK-HEADED GULL (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
BROWN-HEADED GULL (Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus)
ASIAN OPENBILL (Anastomus oscitans)
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
LITTLE CORMORANT (Microcarbo niger)
GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Buff-breasted Parrotbill was voted one of the Birds of the Trip by the group. We came across a flock of dozens of these tiny balls of unlimited energy and charisma on Mount Victoria. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
CINNAMON BITTERN (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus)
GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea)
PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea)
GREAT EGRET (AUSTRALASIAN) (Ardea alba modesta)
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Ardea intermedia)
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)
CATTLE EGRET (EASTERN) (Bubulcus ibis coromandus)
INDIAN POND-HERON (Ardeola grayii)
CHINESE POND-HERON (Ardeola bacchus)
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)
This pair of Shikras gave us a great show with this display flight as we made our way from Bagan to Mount Victoria. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)
BLACK-HEADED IBIS (Threskiornis melanocephalus)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
BLACK-WINGED KITE (Elanus caeruleus)
ORIENTAL HONEY-BUZZARD (Pernis ptilorhynchus)
CRESTED SERPENT-EAGLE (Spilornis cheela)
Himalayan Cutia is certainly the cream of the crop of high-elevation species found on and around Mount Victoria, and we had a dandy experience with a small group of them near our lunch site. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
BLACK EAGLE (Ictinaetus malaiensis)
WHITE-EYED BUZZARD (Butastur teesa)
EASTERN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus spilonotus)
PIED HARRIER (Circus melanoleucos)
CRESTED GOSHAWK (Accipiter trivirgatus)
SHIKRA (Accipiter badius)
BESRA (Accipiter virgatus)
EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter nisus)
We finally caught up with a friendly Hume's Treecreeper (or did it catch up to us?) during our lunch in the bamboo on Mount Victoria. Photo by participant Kathleen John.
BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans)
HIMALAYAN BUZZARD (Buteo refectus)
EASTERN BUZZARD (Buteo japonicus japonicus)
COLLARED OWLET (COLLARED) (Glaucidium brodiei brodiei)
ASIAN BARRED OWLET (Glaucidium cuculoides)
SPOTTED OWLET (Athene brama)
EURASIAN HOOPOE (Upupa epops)
This brilliant blue Verditer Flycatcher was captured in all its excellence by participant Kathleen John.
COMMON KINGFISHER (Alcedo atthis)
WHITE-THROATED KINGFISHER (Halcyon smyrnensis)
PIED KINGFISHER (Ceryle rudis)
Rufous-bellied Woodpecker is one of the most attractive of the large stable of woodpeckers possible on this tour. Photo by participant Kathleen John.
BLUE-BEARDED BEE-EATER (Nyctyornis athertoni)
GREEN BEE-EATER (Merops orientalis)
INDOCHINESE ROLLER (Coracias affinis)
Megalaimidae (Asian Barbets)
COPPERSMITH BARBET (Psilopogon haemacephalus)
BLUE-EARED BARBET (BLUE-EARED) (Psilopogon duvaucelii cyanotis) [*]
GREAT BARBET (Psilopogon virens)
LINEATED BARBET (Psilopogon lineatus)
GOLDEN-THROATED BARBET (Psilopogon franklinii)
BLUE-THROATED BARBET (Psilopogon asiaticus)
EURASIAN WRYNECK (Jynx torquilla)
GRAY-CAPPED WOODPECKER (Yungipicus canicapillus)
RUFOUS-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos hyperythrus hyperythrus)
STRIPE-BREASTED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos atratus)
The Tha Bin Nyu Temple in Bagan has an impressive golden buddha, and the whole setting gets even more impressive as the sun sets and it gets illuminated by lights from below. Photo by participant Kathleen John.
DARJEELING WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos darjellensis)
CRIMSON-BREASTED WOODPECKER (Dryobates cathpharius)
GREATER FLAMEBACK (Chrysocolaptes guttacristatus)
HIMALAYAN FLAMEBACK (Dinopium shorii anguste)
GRAY-HEADED WOODPECKER (BLACK-NAPED) (Picus canus hessei)
WHITE-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus javensis)
The huge White-bellied Woodpecker is often reluctant to reveal itself, but we had two very good encounters with them in the foothills between Bagan and Mount Victoria. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
WHITE-RUMPED FALCON (Polihierax insignis)
EURASIAN KESTREL (Falco tinnunculus)
LAGGAR FALCON (Falco jugger)
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)
Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)
ALEXANDRINE PARAKEET (Psittacula eupatria)
ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET (Psittacula krameri)
Fire-tailed Sunbirds were our constant companions up at the highest elevations of Mount Victoria, where we were endlessly enchanted by these bright little sprites. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
GRAY-HEADED PARAKEET (Psittacula finschii)
BLOSSOM-HEADED PARAKEET (Psittacula roseata)
RED-BREASTED PARAKEET (Psittacula alexandri)
JERDON'S MINIVET (Pericrocotus albifrons) [E]
SMALL MINIVET (Pericrocotus cinnamomeus)
LONG-TAILED MINIVET (Pericrocotus ethologus)
SCARLET MINIVET (Pericrocotus speciosus)
ROSY MINIVET (Pericrocotus roseus)
LARGE CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina macei)
BLACK-WINGED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Lalage melaschistos)
Shwedagon Pagoda simply defies words. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
BLACK-HEADED SHRIKE-BABBLER (Pteruthius rufiventer)
BLYTH'S SHRIKE-BABBLER (Pteruthius aeralatus)
GREEN SHRIKE-BABBLER (EYE-RINGED) (Pteruthius xanthochlorus hybrida)
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
BLACK-NAPED ORIOLE (Oriolus chinensis)
SLENDER-BILLED ORIOLE (Oriolus tenuirostris)
BLACK-HOODED ORIOLE (Oriolus xanthornus)
MAROON ORIOLE (Oriolus traillii)
Artamidae (Woodswallows, Bellmagpies, and Allies)
ASHY WOODSWALLOW (Artamus fuscus)
Bar-tailed Treecreeper breeds in high-elevation pine forest in Asia, where it has two widely separated strongholds. A third population occupies a razor-thin line of the highest parts of the mountains running north from Mount Victoria, and we found a couple of these latter birds. Photo by participant Kathleen John.
Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)
COMMON WOODSHRIKE (Tephrodornis pondicerianus)
BAR-WINGED FLYCATCHER-SHRIKE (Hemipus picatus)
COMMON IORA (Aegithina tiphia)
WHITE-THROATED FANTAIL (Rhipidura albicollis)
WHITE-BROWED FANTAIL (Rhipidura aureola burmanica)
The sun rises over the marshes of Inlé Lake as we search for Chinese Grassbird, Jerdon's Bushchat, and other goodies. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
BLACK DRONGO (Dicrurus macrocercus)
ASHY DRONGO (Dicrurus leucophaeus)
BRONZED DRONGO (Dicrurus aeneus)
LESSER RACKET-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus remifer)
HAIR-CRESTED DRONGO (Dicrurus hottentottus)
GREATER RACKET-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus paradiseus)
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
BLACK-NAPED MONARCH (Hypothymis azurea)
BROWN SHRIKE (Lanius cristatus)
We encountered a good number of flowering Erythrina trees during the tour, and they were often utilized by birds. This one had the uncommon juxtaposition of Slender-billed Oriole and Gray-headed Woodpecker slurping the nectar out of its flowers. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
BURMESE SHRIKE (Lanius collurioides collurioides)
LONG-TAILED SHRIKE (Lanius schach)
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
EURASIAN JAY (WHITE-FACED) (Garrulus glandarius leucotis)
YELLOW-BILLED BLUE-MAGPIE (Urocissa flavirostris schaferi)
RED-BILLED BLUE-MAGPIE (Urocissa erythroryncha)
RUFOUS TREEPIE (Dendrocitta vagabunda)
RACKET-TAILED TREEPIE (Crypsirina temia)
This male Blue Rock-Thrush of the pandoo subspecies greeted us as we arrived at our picnic lunch spot during the climb up from the dry plains towards the Chin Hills. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
HOODED TREEPIE (Crypsirina cucullata) [E]
HOUSE CROW (Corvus splendens)
LARGE-BILLED CROW (Corvus macrorhynchos)
Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)
YELLOW-BELLIED FAIRY-FANTAIL (Chelidorhynx hypoxanthus)
GRAY-HEADED CANARY-FLYCATCHER (Culicicapa ceylonensis)
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
YELLOW-BROWED TIT (Sylviparus modestus modestus)
BLACK-BIBBED TIT (Poecile hypermelaenus)
Burmese Tits greeted us on several of our visits to the high-elevation forests of Mount Victoria. This near-endemic species is still considered by some to be a subspecies of Black-browed Tit, though it seems a candidate ripe for the splitting. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
GREEN-BACKED TIT (Parus monticolus)
JAPANESE TIT (JAPANESE) (Parus minor nubicolus)
BURMESE BUSHLARK (Mirafra microptera) [E]
SAND LARK (Alaudala raytal raytal)
ORIENTAL SKYLARK (Alauda gulgula)
Burmese Bushlark is yet another Burmese endemic only found in the central dry zone. We had a bevy of them singing and skylarking all over the place during our Bagan birding. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
COMMON TAILORBIRD (Orthotomus sutorius)
DARK-NECKED TAILORBIRD (Orthotomus atrogularis)
BROWN PRINIA (Prinia polychroa)
BLACK-THROATED PRINIA (RUFOUS-CROWNED) (Prinia atrogularis khasiana)
HILL PRINIA (Prinia superciliaris)
RUFESCENT PRINIA (Prinia rufescens)
GRAY-BREASTED PRINIA (Prinia hodgsonii)
Yellow-eyed Babbler was one we picked up on our final morning in Bagan. Photo by participant Kathleen John.
YELLOW-BELLIED PRINIA (Prinia flaviventris)
PLAIN PRINIA (Prinia inornata)
ZITTING CISTICOLA (Cisticola juncidis)
Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers and Allies)
THICK-BILLED WARBLER (Arundinax aedon)
BLACK-BROWED REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus bistrigiceps)
ORIENTAL REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus orientalis)
A close-up of one of the many temples which we birded around at Bagan. Photo by participant Kathleen John.
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)
STRIATED GRASSBIRD (Megalurus palustris)
BROWN BUSH WARBLER (Locustella luteoventris)
RUSSET BUSH WARBLER (Locustella mandelli)
SCALY-BREASTED CUPWING (Pnoepyga albiventer) [*]
GRAY-THROATED MARTIN (Riparia chinensis)
Here we are trying to entice both Black-headed Gulls and Brown-headed Gulls to drop in with offerings of the local crispy treats. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia)
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)
WIRE-TAILED SWALLOW (Hirundo smithii)
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (Cecropis daurica)
ASIAN HOUSE-MARTIN (Delichon dasypus)
BLACK-HEADED BULBUL (Brachypodius atriceps)
BLACK-CRESTED BULBUL (Rubigula flaviventris)
CRESTED FINCHBILL (Spizixos canifrons)
STRIATED BULBUL (Pycnonotus striatus)
We found this spiffy male White-tailed Stonechat on an island in the middle of the Irrawaddy River during our boat trip out of Bagan. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
RED-VENTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus cafer melanchimus)
RED-WHISKERED BULBUL (Pycnonotus jocosus)
BROWN-BREASTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus xanthorrhous)
STRIPE-THROATED BULBUL (PALE-EYED) (Pycnonotus finlaysoni davisoni) [E]
FLAVESCENT BULBUL (Pycnonotus flavescens)
AYEYARWADY BULBUL (Pycnonotus blanfordi) [E]
BLACK BULBUL (Hypsipetes leucocephalus)
Spectacled Barwing was one of the species we put a special effort into seeing near Kalaw, and we got some great views. This was the first of our three species of barwings on the tour, which is nearly half the species of barwing on the planet. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
ASHY BULBUL (Hemixos flavala)
MOUNTAIN BULBUL (Ixos mcclellandii)
Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)
ASHY-THROATED WARBLER (Phylloscopus maculipennis)
BUFF-BARRED WARBLER (Phylloscopus pulcher)
YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER (Phylloscopus inornatus)
HUME'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus humei)
YELLOW-STREAKED WARBLER (Phylloscopus armandii)
Here's an image from our magical nocturnal experience with Hodgson's Frogmouth. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
DUSKY WARBLER (Phylloscopus fuscatus)
BUFF-THROATED WARBLER (Phylloscopus subaffinis)
GRAY-CROWNED WARBLER (Phylloscopus tephrocephalus)
MARTENS'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus omeiensis)
GREENISH WARBLER (Phylloscopus trochiloides)
TWO-BARRED WARBLER (Phylloscopus plumbeitarsus)
CHESTNUT-CROWNED WARBLER (Phylloscopus castaniceps)
BLYTH'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus reguloides assamensis)
River Lapwing can be a difficult bird to track down some years, but we found at least two pairs during the tour, including this one which was fairly close on a high beach. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
CLAUDIA'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus claudiae)
GRAY-HOODED WARBLER (Phylloscopus xanthoschistos)
DAVISON'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus intensior)
Scotocercidae (Bush Warblers and Allies)
SLATY-BELLIED TESIA (Tesia olivea)
CHESTNUT-HEADED TESIA (Cettia castaneocoronata) [*]
YELLOW-BELLIED WARBLER (Abroscopus superciliaris)
Striated Babbler is yet another of the scarce and locally declining birds that we found in the Bagan area, this time on the Irrawaddy River island. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
BROAD-BILLED WARBLER (Tickellia hodgsoni) [*]
BROWNISH-FLANKED BUSH WARBLER (Horornis fortipes)
ABERRANT BUSH WARBLER (Horornis flavolivaceus)
Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)
BLACK-THROATED TIT (BLACK-THROATED) (Aegithalos concinnus manipurensis)
BLACK-THROATED TIT (BLACK-THROATED) (Aegithalos concinnus pulchellus)
BLACK-BROWED TIT (BURMESE) (Aegithalos iouschistos sharpei) [E]
Sylviidae (Sylviid Warblers, Parrotbills, and Allies)
YELLOW-EYED BABBLER (Chrysomma sinense)
WHITE-BROWED FULVETTA (Fulvetta vinipectus)
This pair of range-restricted Collared Mynas really raised the roof during our evening sojourn as mariners on Inlé Lake. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
SPOT-BREASTED PARROTBILL (Paradoxornis guttaticollis)
BLACK-THROATED PARROTBILL (Suthora nipalensis)
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
WHISKERED YUHINA (Yuhina flavicollis)
BURMESE YUHINA (Yuhina humilis)
STRIPE-THROATED YUHINA (Yuhina gularis)
INDIAN WHITE-EYE (Zosterops palpebrosus)
Timaliidae (Tree-Babblers, Scimitar-Babblers, and Allies)
PIN-STRIPED TIT-BABBLER (Mixornis gularis) [*]
Here we are having a picnic lunch amidst the bamboo on Mount Victoria. There were even some nice birds at this site and nearby, including Hume's Treecreeper, Chestnut-vented Nuthatch, and a group of Himalayan Cutia! Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
GOLDEN BABBLER (Cyanoderma chrysaeum)
CHIN HILLS WREN-BABBLER (Spelaeornis oatesi) [E]
STREAK-BREASTED SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Pomatorhinus ruficollis)
WHITE-BROWED SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Pomatorhinus schisticeps)
RUSTY-CHEEKED SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Megapomatorhinus erythrogenys) [*]
Pellorneidae (Ground Babblers and Allies)
RUFOUS-WINGED FULVETTA (Schoeniparus castaneceps castaneceps)
CHINESE GRASSBIRD (Graminicola striatus striatus) [*]
Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)
BROWN-CHEEKED FULVETTA (Alcippe poioicephala)
YUNNAN FULVETTA (Alcippe fratercula) [*]
Black-backed Forktail was a great surprise at a roadside stop to look at some flowering Erythrina trees on our way down from Mount Victoria. This photo was knocked out of the park by participant Kathleen John.
NEPAL FULVETTA (Alcippe nipalensis stanfordi) [*]
HIMALAYAN CUTIA (Cutia nipalensis)
STRIATED BABBLER (Turdoides earlei earlei)
WHITE-THROATED BABBLER (Turdoides gularis) [E]
LESSER NECKLACED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Garrulax monileger) [*]
GREATER NECKLACED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Ianthocincla pectoralis)
Here is our group having a picnic lunch at the reservoir within the boundaries of the Kalaw forest. At one point we had to drop everything because a Blue-throated Bee-eater popped up in the top of a nearby tree! Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
WHITE-BROWED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Ianthocincla sannio)
MOUNT VICTORIA BABAX (Ianthocincla woodi) [E]
STRIPED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Trochalopteron virgatum)
BROWN-CAPPED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Trochalopteron austeni victoriae)
ASSAM LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Trochalopteron chrysopterum erythrolaemum)
Striped Laughingthrush is a specialty of the mountains surrounding the border between Northeast India and Myanmar, and they're also quite skulky. A pair put their shyness aside as they came in for drinks of water during an early morning vigil in the middle elevations of Mount Victoria. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
GRAY SIBIA (Heterophasia gracilis)
BLACK-BACKED SIBIA (Heterophasia melanoleuca)
SILVER-EARED MESIA (Leiothrix argentauris)
RED-TAILED MINLA (Minla ignotincta)
RED-FACED LIOCICHLA (Liocichla phoenicea)
STREAK-THROATED BARWING (Actinodura waldeni poliotis)
RUSTY-FRONTED BARWING (Actinodura egertoni ripponi)
White-throated Babbler is perhaps the easiest Burmese endemic to see, as it is fairly widespread in the dry lowlands and is also quite confiding and curious. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
SPECTACLED BARWING (Actinodura ramsayi)
BLUE-WINGED MINLA (Actinodura cyanouroptera)
CHESTNUT-TAILED MINLA (Actinodura strigula)
BURMESE NUTHATCH (Sitta neglecta)
CHESTNUT-VENTED NUTHATCH (Sitta nagaensis)
WHITE-TAILED NUTHATCH (Sitta himalayensis)
WHITE-BROWED NUTHATCH (Sitta victoriae) [E]
VELVET-FRONTED NUTHATCH (Sitta frontalis)
White-browed Nuthatch, another species endemic to Myanmar, was re-discovered to science in 1996, when an expedition of visiting ornithologists guided by Thiri's father explored the region, becoming the first ornithologists to visit the area in over half a century. We had a very good time with them, encountering perhaps ten or more individuals during our days on the mountain. What a fantastic little bird! Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
BAR-TAILED TREECREEPER (Certhia himalayana ripponi)
HUME'S TREECREEPER (Certhia manipurensis)
The legendary golden dragon boat in drydock in its boathouse at Inlé. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
COMMON HILL MYNA (Gracula religiosa)
BLACK-COLLARED STARLING (Gracupica nigricollis)
ASIAN PIED STARLING (Gracupica contra)
CHESTNUT-TAILED STARLING (Sturnia malabarica)
COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis)
VINOUS-BREASTED STARLING (BURMESE) (Acridotheres burmannicus burmannicus)
JUNGLE MYNA (Acridotheres fuscus torquatus)
COLLARED MYNA (Acridotheres albocinctus)
GREAT MYNA (Acridotheres grandis)
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
GRAY-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Turdus boulboul)
BLACK-BREASTED THRUSH (Turdus dissimilis)
GRAY-SIDED THRUSH (Turdus feae)
White-eyed Buzzard is another of the scarce and localized South Asian targets that we found as we headed up to Mount Victoria. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
DARK-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa sibirica)
ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa dauurica)
ORIENTAL MAGPIE-ROBIN (Copsychus saularis)
BLUE-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Cyornis rubeculoides)
HILL BLUE FLYCATCHER (Cyornis banyumas)
LARGE NILTAVA (Niltava grandis)
VERDITER FLYCATCHER (Eumyias thalassinus)
LESSER SHORTWING (Brachypteryx leucophris)
BLUETHROAT (Luscinia svecica)
BLUE WHISTLING-THRUSH (YELLOW-BILLED) (Myophonus caeruleus temminckii)
BLACK-BACKED FORKTAIL (Enicurus immaculatus)
SIBERIAN RUBYTHROAT (Calliope calliope)
HIMALAYAN BLUETAIL (Tarsiger rufilatus)
SLATY-BACKED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula erithacus)
Chin Hills Wren-Babbler has a big song for such a small bird, and it is as stealthy as it is loud. Here it is defying that skulky stereotype as it sings to its (presumed) mate early one morning in the middle elevations of Mount Victoria. This high- priority bird is endemic to the mountains straddling the border between Northeast India and Myanmar. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
SLATY-BLUE FLYCATCHER (Ficedula tricolor)
RUFOUS-GORGETED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula strophiata)
LITTLE PIED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula westermanni)
TAIGA FLYCATCHER (Ficedula albicilla)
BLUE-FRONTED REDSTART (Phoenicurus frontalis)
HODGSON'S REDSTART (Phoenicurus hodgsoni)
DAURIAN REDSTART (Phoenicurus auroreus)
CHESTNUT-BELLIED ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola rufiventris)
BLUE ROCK-THRUSH (PANDOO) (Monticola solitarius pandoo)
Thomas Caverhill Jerdon was one of the most prominent British zoologists in South Asia, and it shows in the litany of species named after him (including the afore-pictured Jerdon's Bushchat). Jerdon's Minivet (here) is yet another one, and we had very good experiences with this species on several occasions around Bagan. The males are especially striking, with their bright orange bibs brightening their otherwise monochromatic plumage. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
SIBERIAN STONECHAT (PRZEVALSKI'S) (Saxicola maurus przewalskii)
SIBERIAN STONECHAT (STEJNEGER'S) (Saxicola maurus stejnegeri)
WHITE-TAILED STONECHAT (Saxicola leucurus)
PIED BUSHCHAT (Saxicola caprata)
JERDON'S BUSHCHAT (Saxicola jerdoni)
GRAY BUSHCHAT (Saxicola ferreus)
PLAIN FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum minullum)
FIRE-BREASTED FLOWERPECKER (FIRE-BREASTED) (Dicaeum ignipectus ignipectus)
SCARLET-BACKED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum cruentatum)
A striking male Pied Harrier gave us a flyby as we were looking for Rain Quail along the Irrawaddy River. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)
RUBY-CHEEKED SUNBIRD (Chalcoparia singalensis)
PURPLE SUNBIRD (Cinnyris asiaticus)
OLIVE-BACKED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris jugularis)
FIRE-TAILED SUNBIRD (Aethopyga ignicauda flavescens)
We had a continuous stream of delicious regionally specific meals throughout the tour. This one was our tastebud-friendly feast at Lake Inlé. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
BLACK-THROATED SUNBIRD (Aethopyga saturata)
MRS. GOULD'S SUNBIRD (Aethopyga gouldiae)
GREEN-TAILED SUNBIRD (Aethopyga nipalensis)
BLUE-WINGED LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis cochinchinensis)
GOLDEN-FRONTED LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis aurifrons)
Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)
BAYA WEAVER (Ploceus philippinus)
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
WHITE-RUMPED MUNIA (Lonchura striata)
SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA (Lonchura punctulata)
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus indicus)
RUSSET SPARROW (Passer cinnamomeus)
PLAIN-BACKED SPARROW (Passer flaveolus)
EURASIAN TREE SPARROW (Passer montanus)
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
GRAY WAGTAIL (Motacilla cinerea)
EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (Motacilla tschutschensis)
This Plain-backed Sparrow was anything but plain, and was one of four species of the very recognizable genus of Passer sparrows which we saw on the tour. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
CITRINE WAGTAIL (Motacilla citreola)
WHITE WAGTAIL (CHINESE) (Motacilla alba leucopsis)
RICHARD'S PIPIT (Anthus richardi)
PADDYFIELD PIPIT (Anthus rufulus)
LONG-BILLED PIPIT (BURMESE) (Anthus similis yamethini)
ROSY PIPIT (Anthus roseatus)
This Common Tinsel dropped in to join our picnic as we made our way up to Mount Victoria. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT (Anthus hodgsoni)
RED-THROATED PIPIT (Anthus cervinus)
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
BLACK-HEADED GREENFINCH (Chloris ambigua)
Emberizidae (Old World Buntings)
YELLOW-BREASTED BUNTING (Emberiza aureola)
This Yellow-breasted Bunting was a big surprise in a pepper field on the river island during our boat trip out of Bagan. A rarity in the region, its rare status has been compounded in recent years by a precipitous population decline across its range. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
RHESUS MACAQUE (Macaca mulatta)
PALLAS'S RED-BELLIED SQUIRREL (Callosciurus erythraeus)
FINLAYSON'S SQUIRREL (Callosciurus finlaysoni)
HOARY-BELLIED (IRRAWADDY) SQUIRREL (Callosciurus pygerythrus)
HIMALAYAN STRIPED SQUIRREL (Tamiops macclellandi)
ORANGE-BELLIED HIMALAYAN SQUIRREL (Dremomys lokriah)
YELLOW-THROATED MARTEN (Martes flavigula)
This gorgeous orchid was spotted during our walk in the high- elevation forests of Mount Victoria, and we were able to identify it after the fact, with some help, as Pleione humilis. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
COMMON HOUSE GECKO (Hemidactylus frenatus)
Other beings of interest:
Two of the orchids we saw up on Mt. Victoria were Pleione humilis (the white petaled one with pink splotching on the inside of the flower),
The intricately-patterned mantis we saw as we left the hotel at Inlé Lake was potentially Hierodula multispina.
We saw a good variety of butterflies on the tour, and a very partial list follows:
Common Windmill (Byasa polyeuctes)- the big black, red, and white swallowtail-like butterfly flying around high on Mount Victoria
Common Tinsel (Catapaecilma major)- the striking little hairstreak/blue which was climbing on the ziploc bags of food during our picnic lunch on the way up to Mount Victoria
Blue Admiral (Kaniska canace)- in both the Kalaw forest and along the road at Mt. Victoria.
Blue Pansy (Junonia orithya)- near the reservoir at Kalaw
Dark-edged Snow Flat (Tagiades menaka)- Kalaw
Rustic (Cupha erymanthis)- Kathy photographed one of these around Bagan
Common Jester (Symbrenthia lilaea)- roadside in the middle elevations of Mt. Victoria
One of the Blue Tiger butterflies (genus Tirumala)- Common around Kalaw and beyond
Totals for the tour: 342 bird taxa and 7 mammal taxa