Khammouane (Na Hin Forest) & Champasak
Sorry, no dates set for this tour.
- 2009 trip report
Laos has long been neglected by birders but this came to an end in 2009 with the
discovery of Bare-faced Bulbul (article) and new info free available on the internet
(info page) about Na Hin Forest, a beautiful area which features some karst limestone
forest where the new Bulbul is found. More birders have visited Laos since mid-2009
than ever before and no wonder, the birding can be excellent. In addition to the
limestone forest, other habitats with easy access for birding include evergreen hill
forests and a rare patch of lowland forest on level ground. Other specialities at Na
Hin include the near-endemic Sooty Babbler, the recently described Limestone Leaf
Warbler, scarce Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, rare Red-collared Woodpecker and Pale-
headed Woodpecker, Red-vented Barbet, Eared and Blue-naped Pitta, the rare
Yellow-vented Pigeon and scarce White-bellied Pigeon.
After our visit to Na Hin, we move south to visit several sites with yet completely
different habitats along the Mekong river and up the Bolaven plateaux. Birding
highlights might include Mekong Wagtail, Black-headed Woodpecker, White-rumped
Falcon, Vinous-breasted Starling and the yet to be discovered Bolaven Scops Owl…
|Bare-faced Bulbul, discovered by Stijn De Win, at Na Hin Forest in December 2008, long before the official scientific description of the species was published. |
|Oriental Hobby -Na Hin evergreen hill forest.
||Sooty Babbler -Na Hin forest on Limestone.|
Our tour starts in Vientiane, capital of Laos, from where we travel for 4 hours
by car to Ban Na Hin, our base for the next 4 nights.
Depending on time and interests we might opt for either many stops en-route
which makes the journey longer, or arrive early for some initial birding.
Day 2 + 3 + 4
Three full days to explore the 4 different types of forest. All birding sites
are located close to our accommodation so we have the luxury to do short
trips and return for breakfast, lunch and dinner to our resort restaurant.
After familiarizing with the habitats and some general birding to build up
a decent species list we shall start to target the goodies, not at least the newly
discovered 'bald' Bulbul, Limestone Leaf Warbler, Sooty Babbler and Lao Langur
in the limestone forest while the evergreen forest should reveal a host of other
specialities; Red-collared and Pale-headed Woodpecker, Red-vented Barbet,
Spot-necked Babbler, Long-tailed Broadbill, Spot-bellied Eagle Owl...
A full list of birds that have been seen in the area can be found here.
A final morning at Na Hin forest before we start our journey to Champasak in
We’ll add a few waterbirds to our list at Nam Souy lake en-route before we arrive in
Pakse which is our base for day trips to the Bolaven Plateau and Tad Fane waterfall
and we may visit Laos’ most important historical site Wat Phou. Further south we stay
in a resort on the bank of the Mekong with Mekong Wagtail in the grounds and will
take trips into the dry dipterocarp forest of Mounlapamok and to Khon Phapheng on
the Mekong, perhaps the most impressive waterfalls of Asia.
General info : Comfortable resort style air-con rooms with private
facilities. All meals in the resort restaurant and snacks on the trail.
Transport by air-conditioned car or minibus. Walking is easy and
most birding is done on level roadside/tracks/trails, but the occasional
steeper trail might get us to the best birds. Weather is mostly pleasant
at this time of the year, but it can get fairly hot at noon. The dry season has
started but an occasional afternoon shower can be expected.
-- Sunset on the Mekong...