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Yok Don National Park

VIETNAM | Sunday, 24 March 2024 | Views [36]

Big Brother is watching you, Yok Don NP

Big Brother is watching you, Yok Don NP

LODGING IN VIETNAM’S NATIONAL PARKS has been surprisingly good—certainly an upgrade from Ngoc Linh. Our room in Yok Don National Park had both wifi and air-con, a bed with a sheet and duvet and hot water—all the essentials. Dinner and breakfast was a few hundred-meter walk just outside the park.


                Annam Prinia, on the road to Yok Don

Even with yesterday’s 6:45 start we didn’t arrive at Yok Don, near the Cambodian border, until after 2 PM; restroom breaks, lunch and mandatory birding stops, doncha know? And it’s a good thing! We added two new birds on the way—Annam Prinia and a totally nondescript Indochinese Bush Lark.


                   Now for something completely different—Yok Don National Park


                  Cleanliness is next to . . . Impossible! 

Yok Don National Park has one of the most biodiverse forests in Vietnam. With an elevation of only 200 meters it is much drier and the forest is more open than where we have been. Although rarely seen, Indochinese Tigers, Leopards, Indian Elephants and Indian Bison are believed to live in Yok Don.


                 White-Rumped Falconet


                         Collared Faclonet

After checking in we immediately set off across the river for three hours of birding in the park, always under the watchful eyes of the resident water buffalo. The afternoon birding was slow, with just a White-Rumped Faclonet and the now-familiar Collared Falconet to show for our efforts so we returned to the same location after dinner for some “owling.” We heard (but never saw) a couple of Collared Scops Owls.


                     Black-Headed Woodpecker


                Burmese Shrike


                     Indochinese Roller

We were out searching for Yok Don’s birds again by 5:30 this morning before the six-hour drive to Da Lat. In an hour-and-a-half we identified thirty-three species. Some were hard to see, some we had seen before but two others earned a spot on our Life List; the Black-Headed Woodpecker and the Burmese Nuthatch—sorry, no photo. 


                         Sunday morning, Lak Lake


                      Casting a Wide Net, Lak Lake

We took a mid-morning break at Lak Lake resort along, it seems, with hundreds of other Sunday visitors. Quang made out like it was a birding stop but we suspect the driver needed a smoke break and Quang wanted to chat with his wife on the phone. The place Quang chose for lunch was really crowded; it seems everyone gets to enjoy Sundays in Vietnam. 


                          Vietnamese Cutia—on Connie's "L" list


                    Black-Headed Sibia


                       Flying Eurasian Hoopoe

We took another birding stop around 2:30 and nailed our target Vietnamese Cutia within a few minutes. It took another hour for the Black-headed Sibia, another lifer, and for this photo of an Eurasian Hoopoe from above. We finally rolled into Sandals Camellia Hotel in Da Lat about 5PM. Today was one our busiest days so far—twelve hours and 250 KM on the road, seventy-two birds and five Lifers!


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