Took the journey to Huế from Hoi An by train via Da Nang; a comfortable, scenic 3 hour ride in pretty poor weather and the only birds to show were not identifiable from the train. Greeted on arrival at Huế station by cartel taxis wanting ₫200,000 (about £7 for less than 2km along a dead straight road) so we walked the 25 minutes in increasing rain and arrived at the hotel like drowned rats. Perhaps that's why the staff were a bit miserable but it was more likely because the boss wasn't around and they are just like that. Took a while to persuade them to a) clean the room and b) provide us with more than a single duvet! Welcome to Huế!
Otherwise the room was cheap, very comfortable and high up with a superb view across the Perfume River to the Imperial City on the other side. Met up once again with Phil & Carol who had travelled ahead of us and were leaving to push further north the following day. Ate at an excellent Indian restaurant and the following evening at the Indonesian next door to it. Both were a massive improvement on the rather unimaginative Vietnamese food we'd had most of the time so far.
|Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus|
Main attraction here was UNESCO World Heritage site number 75 for me, the extensive Imperial City, much of which had miraculously survived the worst ravages of the war. Well worth the ₫200,000 entry fee and, with large gardens, excellent for wildlife. I found Chinese Blackbird
and Daurian Redstart
here, both lifers, my American counterpart who visited a day later also found Japanese Thrush and I had an Orange-headed Thrush here so it's well worth digging around in the more unkempt margins of the complex looking for birds. The NE corner with its large Black-crowned Night Heron colony and the gardens just south of that were the best.
|Chinese Blackbird Turdus mandarinus|
Other birds included Common and White-throated Kingfishers, White-breasted Waterhen, Dusky and Yellow-browed Warblers, Brown Shrike, Red-breasted Parakeets (12 about), Plaintive Cuckoo, Swinhoe's White-eye, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Stejneger's Stonechat and Grey Wagtail. Just outside the city walls found a male philippensis Blue Rock Thrush.
|Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax|
|Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis|
|White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis|
The Imperial City
Just 37 species seen in a couple of days in the city but 2 lifers.
Asian Brown Flycatcher
Blue Rock Thrush
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Pied Wagtail/White Wagtail