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Home >> Burma Tours >> Burma Adventure Tours >> Birding Tour at Mount Victoria

Birding Tour at Mount Victoria

Myanmar (Burma), saddled between Thailand and India, remains a poorly-known birding destination, partly due to the difficulty in obtaining necessary permits for visiting the more interesting birding localities. However, with the dynamic menbers, we can manage permissions to visit some of these seldom-visited hotspots, affording us the fantastic opportunity to bird in some of the planet’s least explored birding localities!

Tour duration: 11 days 10 nights
Start:
Yangon – Finish: Yangon
Tour type:
Year round/Upon request
Activity level: Adventure
Tour Route: Yangon - Bagan - Kalaw - Inle Lake

BRIEF ITINERARY:
Day 01: Yangon Arrival (D)
Day 02: Yangon – Bagan (B) (Flight)
Day 03: Bagan (B)
Day 04: Bagan to Mount Victoria (B)
Day 05 - 08: Mount Victoria (B)
Day 09: Mount Victoria - Bagan (B)
Day 10: Bagan - Kalaw (B)
Day 11: Kalaw Birding (B) (Flight)
Day 12: Kalaw - Inle Lake (B)
Day 13: Inle Lake - Yangon (B) (Flight)
Day 14: Hlawga National Park - Departure

Day 01: Yangon Arrival

After checking in and lunch at a nearby restaurant, do some introductory birding around town where eye-catching new species likely to be found include Little Cormorant, Oriental Darter, Indian Pond Heron, Green and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, Brown Shrike, Commonand Dark-necked Tailorbirds and White Wagtail. In the late afternoon we will visit the most famous icon of Yangon, the incredible Shwedagon Pagoda. As the day draws to a close, millions of bats begin to emerge from the temple and fly off into the evening sky to feed. This really is an amazing spectacle to witness and, combined with the backdrop of the Pagoda, it will undoubtedly prove to be one of the highlights of the trip!

Spend some time exploring the spectacular Pagoda and the reafter head into town for dinner before settling into our hotel for the night.
Accommodation in Yangon
Meal: Welcomed dinner

Day 02: Yangon - Bagan

This morning, fly to Bagan, our base for the next two nights. Depending on our time of arrival, we may do some birding in the open, acacia and euphorbia studded savannah around the multitude of magnificent temples that decorate this extremely picturesque area. The dry countryside of the Central Burmese Plains supports four key endemics: Burmese Bush Lark, White-throated Babbler, attractive but elusive Hooded Treepie and Jerdon’s Minivet, and we willsearch hard to find these sought-after species during our time here. We will also be on the lookout for more widespread but no less desirable species such as Vinous-breasted Starling, colourful Indian Roller, striking White-throated Kingfisher, Jungle and Great Mynas, Yellow-eyed Babbler, Eurasian Collared and Red Turtle Doves, radiant Green Beeeater, attractive Siberian Rubythroat, noisy Streak-eared Bulbul, Brown and Burmese Shrikes, Plain-backed Sparrow, elaborate Eurasian Hoopoe and also the impressive Laggar Falcon, which often perches atop the pagodas.

After a short rest during the midday heat, we then head to the nearby Irrawaddy River for a boat trip in search of the area’s special water-birds and riverine species. The large sandbanks at the river’s edge often hold good numbers of Small Pratincole as well as Western Yellow, Eastern Yellow and White Wagtails, Indian Spot-billed Duck, Ruddy Shelduck and a host of waders including Green Sandpiper, Pacific Golden and Kentish Plovers, Spotted and Common Redshanks and Temminck’s and Little Stints. We will also be on the lookout for the specialized Sand Lark, while stands of tall grass and reeds offer the desirable White-tailed Stonechat (usually in amazingly good numbers here). If we are lucky, we may even find the graceful Pied Harrier, one of the world’s most beautiful and striking harriers, soaring over the reed-beds, as well as Striated Babbler, Baya Weaver and Red Avadavat skulking in the undergrowth.
Accommodation in Bagan
Meal: Breakfast

Day 03: Bagan area

Have a full day’s birding in the Bagan area. Apart from the birds, the plains around Bagan are world-famous for their more than 2,000 temples and pagodas that were built between 700-1100 years ago. Birding here will therefore give us an opportunity to marvel at these amazing historical structures. We will also have another opportunity to find any of the area’s endemics that we may still be missing, while in addition we have the chance of seeing a wealth of other new species that could include White-eyed and Crested Honey Buzzards, Thick-billed, Yellow-streaked and Dusky Warblers, Tickell’s Leaf Warbler, Eurasian Wryneck, Common Iora and the endearing Spotted Owlet. The surrounding paddy fields and open, scrubby areas may yield Chinese Francolin, Grey-breasted, Plain and Brown Prinias, Rain Quail, Barred Buttonquail, Scaly-breasted Munia and Long-billed, Richard’s and Paddyfield Pipits. Depending on conditions, we may also bird a few of the small, seasonal pans that are dotted around this beautiful region, where we could find Common Teal, Asian Openbill, Chinese and Indian Pond Herons, Common Snipe, Wood Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover and Red-wattled Lapwing, amongst many other species. In the early evening we will position ourselves in an area where we have a good chance of seeing Indian Nightjar and Western Barn Owl.
Accommodation in Bagan
Meal: Breakfast

Day 04: Bagan - Mount Victoria

Today we begin early, crossing the Irrawaddy River at Chauk in our 4WD vehicles on our journey to the remote and seldom-visited Mount Victoria in the Chin Hills. The trip will take us via Nagabwet Forest Reserve through areas of dry savannah where further chances exist for many of the Bagan species, especiallythe often-tricky Jerdon’s Minivet and the scarce Hooded Treepie, which is undoubtedly one of Myanmar’s most impressive but elusive endemics! The route also takes us through dry dipterocarp forest, and mixed mid and low-altitude deciduous and bamboo forest that support a host of fabulous and seldom-seen species. One of the day’s very special target birds is the scarceand habitat-specific White-rumped Falcon. Other great birds that we will be on the lookout for in this interesting habitatinclude Burmese Nuthatch, White-browed Fantail, Small Minivet, Common Woodshrike and Golden-fronted Leafbird. Additional noteworthy species possible today include Crested Serpent Eagle, the scarce and attractive Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle, Asian Barred Owlet, the popular Himalayan Flameback, impressive White-bellied Woodpecker, Pin-striped Tit-Babbler, Brown-
cheeked Fulvetta, Blue-throated Blue and Taiga Flycatchers, the rare and extremely elusive Pale-headed Woodpecker, Lesser and Greater Necklaced Laughingthrushes, showy Rufous Treepie, Rosy and Scarlet Minivets, Hair-crested and Bronzed Drongos, Maroon and Black-hooded Orioles, an amazing five species of Parakeet: Blossom-headed, Red-breasted, Alexandrine, Rose-ringed and the localized Grey-headed–and many more! If we are fortunate enough to find a fruiting tree, we could even be rewarded with an incredible display of beautiful Barbets (Coppersmith, Lineated and Blue-throated) as well as Yellow-footed Green Pigeon. We aim to reach our destination above the small village of Kanpetlet by late afternoon. The villa is situated atabout 1,400m (4,200ft) above sea level to the south-east of Mt. Victoria and is the perfect base from which to explore the mountain.
Accommodation in Mount Victoria
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 05 to Day 08: Mount Victoria area

Have four full days to explore the 180 square mile (470 square kilometres) Nat-mataung (Mt.Victoria) National Park, which is home to one of Myanmar’s most famous endemics, the splendid White-browed Nuthatch! This park is also one of Asia’s most exciting birding destinations and supports a great diversity of habitats. These include mixed Oak and Rhododendron forests towards the 3,110m (10,200ft) summit, montane bamboo, broad-leaved evergreen forest, temperate pine forest, secondary growth with tall grass and scrub, as well assemi-cultivated fields and grasslands. With such a great diversity of habitats, it’s not surprising that the park is so exceedingly rich in birdlife. A further two extremely localized endemics, Burmese Bushtit and Mt. Victoria Babax, are almost exclusively found on the mountain, and we will also concentrate our efforts on finding the host of near-endemics (Brown-capped and Striped Laughingthrushes, Spot-breasted Scimitar Babbler and Chin Hills Wren-Babbler). While journeying from our accommodation to and from the top of the mountain, wewill be on the lookout for some very rare species that could, with much luck, include Mrs. Hume’s Pheasant, Mountain Bamboo Partridge and the near-mythical Blyth’s Tragopan. All of these species have been seen on previous trips to Mt.Victoria but we would have to be extremely fortunate to see any of these exceptionally rare species! Mt. Victoria also supports a multitude of other exciting species that we hope to see during our time here. Higher altitude forest specialties include Black-bibbed Tit, Burmese Bushtit, Mount Victoria Babax, Brown-capped and Assam Laughingthrushes, Grey-sided and Eye-browed Thrushes, Darjeeling, Rufous-bellied and Crimson-breasted Woodpeckers, Bar-tailed Treecreeper, White-browed, Chestnut-vented and White-tailed Nuthatches, Streak-throated Barwing, brightly-coloured Large and Vivid Niltavas, Grey Sibia, White-browed and Rufous-winged Fulvettas, stunning Mrs. Gould’s Sunbird, extremely scarce but beautiful Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker, Black-eared, Blyth’s and rare Black-headed Shrike-Babblers,
Accommodation in Mount Victoria
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 09: Bagan

Today we make our way back to Bagan. En route we will make several stops for any lowland specialties that we may have missed on our journey in. Exciting new species could include Kalij Pheasant, Red Junglefowl, Lesser and Greater Racket-tailed Drongos, gorgeous Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Large and Black-winged Cuckooshrikes, Rufescent Prinia, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Greater and Lesser Yellownapes, Black-naped Monarch, Crested Treeswift, Blue-winged Leafbird, Yellow-vented and Plain Flowerpeckers and dazzling Ruby-cheeked Sunbird.
Accommodation in Bagan
Meal: Breakfast

Day 10: Bagan - Kalaw

Take an early flight to Heho and then drive west to Kalaw, a hill station located at an altitude of around 1,300m (4,000ft.). En route we will make a few stops that could yield Black-collared Starling and the sought-after and near-endemic Collared Myna. With a lot of luck, we could even connect with the rare and localized Rufous-winged Buzzard and migratory Grey-headed Lapwing. After another delicious lunch in town we will venture into an area of secondary forest, grassland, scattered bushes and pine forest that hugs the hills around town in search of some interesting species such as Spectacled Barwing, Rusty-cheeked and White-browed Scimitar Babblers, White-browed Laughingthrush, Brown-breasted and Flavescent Bulbuls, Crested Finchbill and Chestnut Bunting.
Accommodation in Kalaw
Meal: Breakfast

Day 11: Kalaw

We will spend the morning birding an area of pine forest,secondary growth and adjacent fields and thickets, as well as a delightful patch of mid-altitude, broad-leaved forest near town. Specialties that we will be on the lookout for in the early morning include White-browed Laughingthrush, eye-catching Daurian Redstart, Black-collared Starling, Striated Grassbird and Black-tailed Crake, while Slender-billed Oriole, Eurasian Jay and the localized Black-headed Greenfinch will be sought in the nearby pine forest. Our walk up into the hills passes through stands of tall, weedy grass and thickets and here we will search hard for the difficult Spot-breasted Parrotbill as well as Hill and Brown Prinias. The main focus of the morning though will be a beautiful and luxuriant grove of hill forest that is probably the best and most accessible site on earth to see the extremely range-restricted and elusive Burmese Yuhina. Besides the Yuhina, other noteworthy species we will also be on the lookout for include Streaked Spiderhunter, sensational Orange-bellied Leafbird, iridescent Black-throated Sunbird, fast-moving Yunnan Fulvetta, Rufous-capped and Golden Babblers, White-throated Fantail and the secretive Silver-eared Laughingthrush. In the afternoon we will visit another nearby forest patch in search of any species we may have missed this morning, as well as Spot-throated Babbler, Grey-crowned Warbler, Dark-backed Sibia and Black, Mountain and Puff-throated Bulbuls.
Accommodation in Kalaw
Meal: Breakfast

Day 12: Inle Lake

After a brief drive to a nearby monastery in the early morning, we will embark on our walk to the
Yay Aye Kan Reservoir, which is surrounded by excellent mid altitude broad-leaved forest, our
main focal point of the day. The walk is not very far and is easily negotiated along a wide, gravel road. The track passes through pine forest, thickets and paddyfields and interesting birds that we may see along the way include Red-billed Blue Magpie, Hill Prinia, Oriental Turtle Dove, Scaly-breasted and White-rumped Munias, Slender-billed Oriole, Eurasian Jay, Black-headed Greenfinch, Daurian Redstart and Greater Flameback. We hope to arrive at the area of broad-leaved forest in the early morning to maximize our chances of seeing the areas’ many special birds. The forest edge here harbours White-browed Scimitar Babbler, Spectacled Barwing and Dark-backed Sibia among others. The trail then continues through the luscious forest interior and this is where we will focus our efforts on trying to find Ashy, Black-crested, Mountain and Black Bulbuls, beautiful Silver-eared Mesia, the rarely seen Black-breasted Thrush, Maroon Oriole, Yellow-cheeked Tit, Black-throated Bushtit, Oriental, Japanese and Chestnut-flanked White-eyes, White-bellied Erpornis, Scarlet-faced Liocichla, Hill Blue Flycatcher, handsome White-crowned Forktail and the secretive Slaty-bellied Tesia. Streaked Wren-Babbler and Asian Stubtail are also found in the area, although both species are rare and tough to see.

In addition, the region hosts further exciting species including Red-headed Trogon and Silver-breasted and Long-tailed Broadbills although these desirable species appear to be rather rare, elusive and unpredictable here. We also hope to locate a good selection of wintering or migrant warblers, including Martens’s and Grey-crowned Warblers, as well as Hume’s and Davison’s Leaf Warblers, while further chances exist for Burmese Yuhina as well as all of the forest species that
were possible yesterday. Upon exiting the forest at the reservoir, we may encounter the smart White-capped Redstart, Grey Wagtail and Green Sandpiper, with Red-rumped Swallow and Himalayan Swiftlet overhead and, if we are very fortunate, Black-tailed Crake could reveal itself at the edge of the rank stream-side vegetation. To maximize our time in thefield while in this fantastic birding area, we will take a picnic lunch with us and enjoy this at the forest edge near the reservoir, before heading back through the forest and up to the monastery where our bus will await us.
Accommodation in Inle Lake
Meal: Breakfast

Day 13: Inle Lake - Yangon

The lake is situated on the Shan Plateau at about 900m (3,000ft.) above sea level. Here we will be searching for the highly localized and habitat-restricted Jerdon’s Bush Chat and Collared Myna. Several othernoteworthy reed-dwelling specialties also occur and these include Black-browed, Oriental and Clamorous Reed Warblers, Greater and Lesser Coucals, Striated Grassbird, Bluethroat, skulking Chestnut-capped Babbler and Yellow-bellied Prinia, with an outside possibility for the secretive Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler. Species occupying areas of shallowly flooded grass include the striking Citrine Wagtail, Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas and Cotton Pygmy Goose, while the vast open waters of Inle could yield a number of migrant waterfowl such as Lesser Whistling, Indian Spot-billed, Tufted and Ferruginous Ducks, Ruddy Shelduck, Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Garganey and Common Teal. Thousands of Brown-headed Gulls and a few Black-headed Gulls usually follow the boats as we motor along, while both Eastern and Western Marsh Harriers are likely to be seen soaring low over vast expanses of reed-beds. By midday we will have lunch, after which we will then transfer to Heho Airport to catch our domestic flight back to Yangon, where we should arrive in the early eveningdepending on flight times.
Accommodation in Yangon
Meal: Breakfast

Day 14: Yangon Departure

Relax before our international flights to do some final birding at the nearby Hlawga Park. This area of mostly dry, mixed lowland forest and scattered small wetlands is home to a wide array of interesting species, many of which will be new for us on the trip. Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters perch up in the open while understory species include Black-naped Monarch, Puff-throated Babbler, shy Racket-tailed Treepie, White-crested and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrushes, White-rumped Shama, Dark-necked Tailorbird, Stripe-throated Bulbul, Forest Wagtail, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Green-billed Malkoha, Indochinese Cuckooshrike and with much luck, the scarce, nomadic and highly sought-after Pale-capped Pigeon. We might also see the beautiful Finlayson’s Squirrel along with introduced Wild Boar, Rhesus Macaque, Sambar and Hog Deer. Mixed flock species that we hope to see include Rosy Minivet, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Black-naped Oriole andGreater Racket-tailed Drongo, while the small, open wetlands could produce Asian Openbill, Oriental Darter, White-breasted Waterhen, Western Osprey, Cotton Pygmy Goose and Green Sandpiper, amongst others. We will leave Hlawga Park by late morning and make our way back to our hotel to pack and freshen up before a final lunch in town. Thereafter we will head to the nearby Yangon International Airport to connect with our international flights home
Accommodation: Not available
Meal: Breakfast

What's included ?

- Transportation in private air-conditioned vehicle
- Accommodation in twin shared room
- Boat trip as stated in above sights
- Local English speaking guides
- Domestic flights as mentioned
- Admission fee to indicated sights
- Meals as listed in the itinerary: B - Breakfast, L - Lunch, D - Dinner
- Government tax and service charge
- Cool mineral water and tower during the tours

What's Excluded ?

- Visa on arrival for Burma.
- International airport departure tax
- Travel Insurance in all kinds
- Other meals not mentioned
- Single room (quoted separately)
- Tip, drinks, personal expenses and others

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