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MYANMAR

15 February–2 March 2019

Join us on this stunning tour of an incredibly biodiverse and largely unexplored part of Southeast Asia. Our trip through this ancient and temple-filled country will take us in search of all of the endemic species, including the globally-endangered White-browed Nuthatch and the striking White-throated Babbler.

Day 1 Scheduled flight to Yangon International Airport, where we will be met by our guide and transferred to our hotel for an overnight stay.

Day 2 Early this morning we will make the one-hour drive to Hlawga National Park. Species we should see in the area include White-throated Kingfisher, Coppersmith Barbet, Green-billed Malkoha, Oriental Darter, White-breasted Waterhen, Cotton Pygmy-goose, Chinese and Indian Pond-herons, Lesser and Greater Racket-tailed Drongos, Black-crested, Black-headed, Stripe-throated (Davison’s), Red-whiskered and Red-vented Bulbuls, Chestnut-capped and Puff-throated Babblers, Olive-backed, Purple and Ruby-cheeked Sunbirds, Common Iora, Spotted Dove, Red-wattled Lapwing and Green and Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters. Also on our agenda will be Racket-tailed Treepie, Ayeyarwady Bulbul and the rare Pale-capped Pigeon. After lunch we will drive to Bago for some forest birding or perhaps our first visit to the wetland area of Moe Yun Gyi. Overnight in Bago.

Day 3 Setting off early in the morning, we will spend the whole day at Moe Yun Gyi. On arrival, we will take a boat trip on the lake, enabling us to get up close and personal with some of the myriad species present. Our list should include Purple and Grey Herons, Asian Openbill, Ruddy Shelduck, Sarus Crane, Grey-headed Swamphen, Spot-billed Pelican, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Lesser Whistling-duck, Black-winged Stilt, Great Cormorant and Little Grebe. We will also be on the lookout for the beautiful Pied Harrier, Black-browed and Oriental Reed-warblers, Striated Grassbird, Black-capped Kingfisher, Eastern Marsh-harrier and Blue-tailed Bee-eater. In the evening, after watching the spectacle of thousands of herons returning to roost, we will drive back to Yangon for an overnight stay.

Day 4 We have an early start this morning to catch our internal flight north to Nyaung U (Bagan). After checking in to our hotel, we will spend the rest of the day birding in the historic, temple-studded Bagan area. Key birds we will be hoping for on this part of the tour include three Myanmar endemic species: Burmese Bushlark, White-throated Babbler and Hooded Treepie and two possible future splits: Burmese Collared-dove (may be split from Eurasian Collared-dove) Jerdon’s Minivet (may be split from White-bellied Minivet). We should also see Plain-backed Sparrow, Rain Quail, Spotted Owlet, Yellow-eyed Babbler, Laggar Falcon, Black-shouldered Kite, Red Collared-dove, Baya Weaver, Paddyfield and Long-billed Pipits, Oriental Honey-buzzard, Pied Bushchat, House Crow, Scaly-breasted Munia, Shikra, Indian Roller, Brown and Burmese Shrikes and Blue Rock-thrush, together with several winter visitors such as Siberian Rubythroat, Yellow-streaked and Dusky Warblers, Olive-backed and Red-throated Pipits, Eurasian Wryneck, Taiga Flycatcher and Indian Nightjar. Two nights in Bagan.

Day 5 After breakfast we will continue our birding in the forests around the stunning temples of this area. After lunch we will visit the Irrawaddy River and take a boat trip. Species we hope to see from the boat include White-tailed Stonechat, Sand Lark, Indian Spot-billed Duck, River Lapwing, Small Pratincole, Pied Kingfisher and Striated Babbler, together with many familiar wader species such as Temminck’s Stint, Kentish Plover and Spotted Redshank. We will return to the hotel after some evening birding around the temples.

Day 6 After breakfast we will spend the day making our way to Kanpetlet on the lower slopes of Mount Victoria for a four-night stay. We will pass the Chuk Township, a natural oil field area, and the Irrawaddy River before driving for about two hours up into the Chin Hills. Our ascent will be broken by multiple birding stops to look for species such as Hooded Treepie (if we missed it at Bagan), White-eyed Buzzard, the very rare White-rumped Falcon, Alexandrine, Rose-ringed, Grey-headed, Red-breasted and Blossom-headed Parakeets, Small, Rosy and Scarlet Minivets, Large Cuckooshrike, Red-headed Trogon, Burmese and Velvet-fronted Nuthatches, Lineated Barbet, Black-naped Monarch and Pin-striped Tit-babbler. We hope to reach Kanpetlet by about 5 pm, where we will check in to our resort, situated very close to the Nat Ma Taung National Park. Four nights in Kanpetlet.

Days 7–9 These three days should be the highlight of our trip. We will spend full days in the field with packed lunches and coffee provided. Surveys in the Nat Ma Taung National Park have recorded 233 bird species as well as 808 plant species (including 70 species of fern and numerous orchids), 23 species of amphibian, 65 reptile species and 77 butterfly species. The park is also on the Tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Early each morning we will make the one-hour drive up from the hotel to a birding point called Ten Miles Camp at an altitude of 2,700 meters. The habitat is characterized by pine, oak, rhododendron and evergreen forest with short grassland. In this area we hope to see another two Myanmar endemic species: Chin Hills Wren-babbler and White-browed Nuthatch. We will also look for another possible future endemic: Burmese Tit (a possible split from split from Black-browed and the most localized and therefore most sought-after of all) and a near-endemic: the Mount Victoria Babax (a possible split from Chinese Babax and shared only with Assam in northeast India). Our bird list at the various elevations within the park should be long, and species on our target list will include Hill Partridge, Blyth’s Tragopan, Assam and Brown-capped Laughingthrushes, Yellow-billed Blue-magpie, White-browed Fulvetta, Spot-breasted and Black-throated (Buff-breasted) Parrotbills, Fire-tailed Sunbird and Himalayan Cutia. At higher elevations we also hope to find Aberrant Bush-warbler, Russet Sparrow, Streak-throated Barwing, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker and perhaps a Black-throated Prinia. Lower elevations should provide numerous flycatcher species such as Snowy-browed, Slaty-blue and Rufous-gorgeted, together with a myriad of other colourful species including Red-tailed and Blue-winged Minlas, Long-tailed Minivet, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Vivid Niltava, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Yellow-browed Tit, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Spotted Elachura and Red-faced Liocichla, amongst many, many others.

Day 10 Early this morning we will begin our drive back to Bagan, stopping two or three times on the way at sites where we hope to encounter Grey-capped, White-bellied and Grey-headed Woodpeckers, Greater and Lesser Yellownapes, Himalayan, Common and Greater Flamebacks and Yellow-vented and Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers. We will stop for lunch on our way and should arrive in Bagan late afternoon. Overnight in Bagan.

Day 11 After breakfast we will head to the airport to catch a flight to Heho. From here, we will drive to Kalaw for some further birding in the Yay Aye Kan area. Here, we hope to add the near-endemic Burmese Yuhina, Indochinese Cuckooshrike, Black-backed Sibia, Rusty-cheeked and White-browed Scimitar-babblers, Sooty-headed, Brown-breasted and Black Bulbuls, Silver-breasted and Long-tailed Broadbills, White-crowned and Black-backed Forktails, White-capped Redstart, Spectacled Barwing, Orange-bellied Leafbird, White-bellied Erpornis and Daurian Redstart to our growing list. Two nights in Kalaw.

Day 12 There are some good birds to be found in the Kalaw area and we will spend another two days exploring, in the hope of seeing as many as possible. Other species we hope to connect with include Black-winged Cuckooshrike, the very-rare Giant Nuthatch, Speckled Piculet, Blyth’s and Green Shrike-babblers, Hume's Treecreeper, Lesser Necklaced, Black-throated and White-browed Laughingthrushes, Wedge-tailed, Yellow-footed and Pin-tailed Pigeons, Gould's, Black-throated and Green-tailed Sunbirds, Little Pied, Brown-breasted and Ultramarine Flycatchers, Hill, Tickell’s and Pale Blue-flycatchers, Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher, Blue-winged and Golden-fronted Leafbirds, Red-billed Blue-magpie, Himalayan, Rufous-winged and Long-legged Buzzards, Chestnut Bunting, Black-headed Greenfinch, White-tailed Robin, Silver-eared Mesia, Black-tailed Crake, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, Ashy and Flavescent Bulbuls, Crested Finchbill, Slender-billed, Black-hooded and Maroon Orioles, Black-throated, Japanese and Yellow-cheeked Tits, Slaty-bellied and Chestnut-headed Tesias, Black-breasted, Orange-headed and other thrushes.

Day 13 We will spend another day birding the Kalaw area looking for any species we may have missed so far. This evening we will transfer to Nyaung Shwe for a two-night stay.

Day 14 After breakfast we will take a boat trip out onto Inle Lake. Here, we hope to see Jerdon’s Bushchat, the vulnerable Chinese Grassbird, Collared Myna, Glossy Ibis, Bronze-winged Jacana, Oriental Pratincole, Cinnamon and Yellow Bitterns, Plaintive Cuckoo, Clamorous Reed-warbler and Plain and Yellow-bellied Prinias. We should also see many migrant waterbird species and breeding or roosting colonies of egrets and herons, together with Little Cormorant, Chestnut-tailed, Black-collared, Vinous-breasted and Asian Pied Starlings and Common, Jungle and Javan Mynas.

Day 15 After breakfast we must sadly say our goodbyes to the area and make our way back to Heho Airport for our internal flight to Yangon where we will have day rooms at a hotel ready for our early-morning flight back to the UK next day.

Day 16 Early morning flight back to the UK arriving in the afternoon.

General Information There will be some long drives and short walks at altitudes of up to nearly 2700 metres. The climate will vary from cold in the mornings at altitude to hot during the day in the lowlands. Although it is the dry season, some rain is possible. There are special health requirements, which should be referred to your GP. Visas are required and information supplied.

Group Size Minimum number for tour to go ahead: 6. Maximum group size: 10 with 2 leaders.

Hooded Treepie

Hooded Treepie

Recommended books available from NHBS