A Birdwatching Trip to Imawbum, North East Myanmar
Imawbun is the name of the area in north-east of Myanmar where the Myanmar Snub-nosed Monkey Rhinopithecusstrykeri was found and these areas are in large terrain, rugged mountains, and enormous rivers. Therefore, it is quite difficult to access by bird watchers and scientists. Imawbun is our birding destination for this time.
Total of 163 species were recorded during the trip. We found a nice variety of birds in the different type of forest habitats and in different elevations. Recorded bird species will be mentioned in each day and not in systematic list, but recorded bird check list at the end. The rain starts early, March, for this year in this area though it is not a raining season yet.
We began the trip in Myitkyina, with one brief excursion outside the city for what is the occurring bird species in Ayeyarwady confluence and we dropped at KyainKhram suspension bridge, where the people use as a recreation place, on the way back on 28th March. Both places were busy with the visitors and a lot of shops and it is not a good place for serious birders but for amateurs. Here we saw Indian Roller, White-throated Kingfisher, two Crested Kingfishers, several Asian Palmswifts, Spotted Dove, Oriental Honey-buzzard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Black Drongo, Oriental Magpie-robin, male and female White-capped Water Redstarts, six Red-vented Bulbuls, Common Tailorbird and White Wagtail.
Ayeyarwady confluence (left) and KyainKhram suspension bridge (right)
The next early morning on 29th March we took off to Chipwe, small town in the northeast of Myitkyina, by motor cycle. It took us nearly 10 hours (normally 5hours drive) due to the muddy road, after heavy rain at previous night, in some places by the road extension. Hope that the road will come better in the next few months. We didn’t have time to stop for bird watching on the way. We checked in Lucky guest house which is one of the best guest houses in Chipwe town and had shower in sharing bathroom, dinner were at the Kachin traditional restaurant.
Road extension between Myitkyina and Chipwe (left) and guest house in Chipwe (right)
30th March–we were packed up and left for Saw Law, hilly town at altitude 5066 feet above sea level, after breakfast with one motorcycle. It was rained nearly the whole day and I had to get off several times where the road were steep and slippery. It took us more than 8 hours which normally takes 6 hours only. On the way while the rain dwindle away, but not last long, we stopped for bird watching and we found Spotted Dove, Emerald Dove, Large Hawk-cuckoo, White-throated Kingfisher, Crested Kingfisher, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Common Hoopoe, Blue-throated Barbet, Bay Woodpecker, Short-billed Minivet, Maroon Oriole, White-throated Fantail, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Eastern Jungle Crow, Ashy Drongo, Rufous Treepie, Green-tiled Sunbird, Black-throated Sunbird, Streaked Spiderhunter, Golden-fronted Leafbird, White Wagtail, Little Bunting, White-tailed Nuthatch, Collared Myna, Blue Whistling Thrush, Plumbeous Water-restart, White-capped Water-restart, Oriental Magpie-robin, Black-backed Forktail, Little Pied Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher,Verditer Flycatcher, Red-whisker Bulbul, Red-vented Bulbul, Striped-throated Yuhina, Golden Babbler, Chevron-breasted Babbler, Grey-sided Laughingthrush, Silver-eared Mesia, Rusty-fronted Barwingand Black Eagle. When we arrived at Saw Law at late evening, we were welcomed with worm Kachin food and traditional spirit by our old colleague from the town.
Home stay at Saw Law (left) and view of Saw Law town
31st March– after a sound sleep, we found ourselves in the high altitude with cool breeze and the weather is fine. We did a bird watching, after breakfast, along the trail to Boatwar village and we saw Black-eared Kite, Crested Goshawk, Black Eagle, Oriental Honey-buzzard, Large Hawk-cuckoo, Green-billed Malkoha, Common Hoopoe, Great Barbet, Golden-throated Barbet, Chestnut-fronted Babbler, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, unidentified Minivet, Ashy Woodswallow, Yellow-bellied Fantail, Bronzed Drongo, Ashy Drongo, Eastern Jungle Crow, Grey Treepie, Black-throated Sunbird, Streaked Spiderhunter, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Little Bunting, Chestnut-vented Nuthatch, Large Niltava, Small Niltava, Little Pied Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher, Verditer Flycatcher, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Green-backed Tit, Yellow-browed Tit, Crested Finchbill, Red-vented, Himalayan Black, Flavescent and Mountain Bulbuls, Barn Swallow, Mountain Tailorbird, Yellow-bellied, Grey-cheeked, Blyth’s Leaf and Yellow-browed Warblers, Whisker Yuhina, Oriental White-eye, Golden Babbler, White-browed Scimitar-babbler, Bar-throated Minla, Blue-winged Siva, Silver-eared Mesia, Grey Sibia with the different call from the west Myanmar (in C. Robson book – may be undescribed subspecies which is occur in north Myanmar ), Brownish-flanked Bush-warbler, Common Tailorbird and Hill Prinia.
Grey Sibia (left) and Beautiful Sibia (right)
1st April– it was an early start again today for the drive from Saw Law town to Pha Maw Zut village. It was cloudy in the morning and raining in the afternoon. We birded on the way and we got Spotted Dove we heard Large Hawk-cuckoo and seen Asian Palm-swift, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Common Hoopoe, Golden-throated and Blue-throated Barbets, Chestnut-fronted Shrike-babbler, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Scarlet Minivet, Maroon Oriole, Bronzed, Ashy and Lesser Racket-tailed Drongos, Grey Treepie, Long-tailed Shrike, Grey-backed Shrike, Black-throated Sunbird, Streaked Spiderhunter, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Olive-backed Pipit, a bright red body Scarlet Finch with two female, Spot-winged Grosbeak, Blue Whistling-thrush, Oriental Magpie-robin, Grey Bushchat, Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher, Verditer Flycatcher, Green-backed Tit, Sultan Tit, Striated, Red-whiskered, Red-vented, Ashy, Himalayan Black, Black-crested and Flavescent Bulbuls, Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler, Mountain Tailorbird, Grey-cheeked Fulvetta, Golden Babbler, Long-tailed and Grey Sibia.
Village and guest house in Pha Maw Zut village
2nd April – today involved a long walk up through a shifting cultivation and then into the semi-evergreen forest up to 2792 feet, Ba Kaw village. On the way we heard Hill Partridge, saw one Black Stork soaring above the village, unidentified Green Pigeon and Swift, Golden-throated Barbet, Speckled Piculet, Black-eared Shrike-babbler, White-bellied Erponic, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Short-billed Minivet, Maroon Oriole, Ashy Drongo, Grey Treepie, Long-tailed Shrike, Grey-backed Shrike, Black-throated Sunbird, abundant Streaked Spiderhunter, Olive-backed Pipit, White-wagtail, Blue Whistling-thrush, Oriental Magpie-robin, Slaty-backed Forktail, Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher, Verditer Flycatcher, Red-vented, Himalayan Black and White-throated Bulbuls, Rufous-faced, Yellow-bellied and Yellow-vented Warblers, Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbill, a flock of Grey-checked Fulvetta, Oriental White-eye, Golden Babbler, Silver-eared Mesia and Long-tailed Sibia.
Long-tailed Sibia (left) and Streaked Spiderhunter (right)
3rd April– we started our birding at half past ten in the morning after heavy rain and also a long walk to Wu Soak village along the May Kha River through the secondary forest. We had some good species on the walk including Great Cormorant, Crested Goshawk, Black Eagle, White-bellied Erponic, Scarlet Minivet, Ashy and Lesser Racket-tailed Drongos, Collared Treepie, Long-tailed Shrike, Black-throated Sunbird, Streaked Spiderhunter, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Olive-backed Pipit, White Wagtail, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Green Cochoa which is the new recorded for north, Blue Whistling-thrush, Oriental Magpie-robin, Taiga Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher, Red-vented, Ashy, Himalayan Black and white-throated Bulbuls, Barn Swallow, Yellow-bellied and Buff-throated Warblers, Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbill, Striated Yuhina, Golden Babbler, Long-tailed Sibia and Grey-cheeked Fulvetta.
Green Cochoa (left) and Great Cormorant (right)
4th April – we decided to turn back today because of the unexpected bad weather condition, and it is not possible to continue our trip up to the snowcapped mountain according to our first plan. We drove back to Saw Law town with some birding and lunch stop at Chaung Maw village where the awareness signboard was erected by the FFI-Flora & Fauna International team. New birds on the way included two Crested Serpent Eagle, Crested Goshawk, Great Barbet, Speckled Piculet,Bay Woodpecker, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Short-billed Minivet, Maroon Oriole, White-throated Fantail, Eastern Jungle Crow, Common Green Magpie, unidentified Bunting, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, White-capped Water-redstart, Slaty-backed and Spotted Forktail, Taiga Flycatcher, White-throated Bulbul, Barn Swallow, Rufous-faced Warbler, Yellow-bellied and Yellow-vented Warblers, Tickell’s Leaf-warbler, Greater Rufous-headed and Lesser Rufous-headed Parrotbills, a flock of White-naped and Striated Yuhinas, Coral-billed Scimiter, White-crested and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrushes, Silver-eared Mesia, White-hooded Babbler, Rusty-fronted Barwing and Common Tailorbird.
Awareness signboard showing the proposed Imawbun national park
5th April – today we decided to bird around Saw Law town again though we already did before and will not mention the species again we recorded on the first day. Species comprised Drongo Cuckoo heard, Spotted Owlet heard, White-browed Shrike-babbler, Maroon Oriole, White-throated Fantail, Grey Treepie, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Olive-backed Pipit, Common Rosefinch, Oriental Magpie-robin, Little Pied Flycatcher, Large Niltava heard, Taiga Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher, Striated, Red-whiskered, Brown-breasted, Ashy and White-throated Bulbuls, Nepal House-martin, Chestnut-headed Tesia and Crimson-faced Liocichla.
6th April – after breakfast we set off to Chipwe town. It was a lucky day for us in the fine weather today. New birds on the way included unidentified Partridge, Black Stork, Himalayan Buzzard, Collared Owlet heard, Asian Palmswift, Red-headed Trogon, White-throated Kingfisher with mouse in its mouth, White-browed Shrike-babbler heard, Green Shrike-babbler, Indochinese Cuckoo-shrike, Long-tailed Minivet, Ashy Woodswallow, Yellow-bellied Fantail, Ashy Drongo, Hair-crested and Lesser Racket-tailed Drongos, Long-tailed and Grey-backed Shrikes, Orange-bellied Leafbird, White-rumped Munia, Olive-backed Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Common Rosefinch, Chestnut-vented Nuthatch, Chestnut-bellied Rock-thrush, Black and Durian Redstarts, Himalayan Buletail, Slaty-backed Forktail, Pale Blue, Slaty-backed, Slaty Blue and Taiga Flycatchers, Yellow-cheeked and Black-throated Tits, Striated, Brown-breasted, Ashy and White-throated Bulbuls, Nepal House-martin, Two-barred and Ashy-throated Warblers. Tickell’s Leaf-warbler, Streak-throated Fulvetta, Stripe-throated and Striated Yuhinas, Rufous-capped Babbler, Corral-billed Scimiter-babbler, Grey-sided, White-crested and Rufous-necked Laughingthrushes, Long-tailed and Beautiful Sibias and Rusty-fronted Barwing.
Streak-throated Fulvetta (left) and Green-tailed Sunbird (right)
7th April–we packed-up our things and headed back to Myitkyina city on our motorcycle, and in a favourable weather we had a chance to stop at some places en route to bird, but we were not spending much time in the degraded forest. It took us only 6 hours. Birds seen on the way included Oriental Honey-buzzard, Spotted Doves, Asian Palmswift, Greater Coucal, Grey Treepie, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, a nice view of Brown Dipper in the stream from the bridge, a Plumbeous Water-redstart with a young one, White-capped Water-redstart, Vinous-breasted Mynas and Striated Swallow. So ended an absolutely fantastic trip in a wonderful place though difficult to access, with a helpful local villagers. We would like to thank Ngwe Lwin (FFI) for arranging this trip.
Crested Goshawk (left) and Brown Dipper (right)
Geographical Co-ordinates and Elevations
|Chipwe village||25.53257°N 98.07908°E||1570|
|Saw Law town||26.09214°N 98.16224°E||5066|
|La Kham village||26.12332°N 98.18099°E||2476|
|Kyi Htan village||26.16230°N 98.18691°E||1753|
|Chaung Maw village||26.19698°N 98.20004°E||3185|
|Pha Maw Zut village||26.21974°N 98.18078°E||1323|
|Wu Soke village||26.24622°N 98.17534°E||1383|
|Ba Kaw village||26.22707°N 98.18869°E||2792|
May Kha River
|English name||Scientific name||28 March – 7 April’17|
|Great Cormorant||Phalacrorax carbo||1|
|Black-eared Kite||Milvus lineatus||1|
|Crested Goshawk||Accipiter trivirgatus||2|
|White-throated Kingfisher||Halcyon smyrnensis||x|
|Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo||Dicrurusremifer||x|
|Greater Racket-tailed Drongo||Dicrurusparadiseus||x|
|Eastern Jungle Crow||Corvuslevaillantii||x|
|Common Green Magpie||Cissachinensis||x|
|Streaked Spiderhunter||Arachnothera magna||x|
|White Wagtail||Motacilla alba||x|
|Velvet-fornted Nuthatch||Sitta frontalis||x|
|Spotted Forktail||Enicurus maculatus||x|
|Pale Blue Flycatcher||Cyornis unicolor||x|
|Little Pied Flycatcher||Ficedulawestermanni||x|
|Slaty Blue Flycatcher||Ficedula tricolor||x|
|Himalayan Black Bulbul||Hypsipetesleucocephalus||x|
|Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbill||Psittiparusbakeri||x|
|Lesser Rufous-headed Parrotbill||Chleuasicusatrosuperciliaris||x|
|Stripe-throated Yuhina||Yuhina gularis||x|
|White-naped Yuhina||Yuhina bakeri||x|
|Whiskered Yuhina||Yuhina flavicollis||x|
|Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush||Garrulaxmonileger||x|
|Blue-winged Siva||Siva cyanouroptera||x|