‘Tis the mating season: Tram Chim bird reserve beckons

By Tuan Hoang, Quy Coc Tu   December 14, 2018 | 02:25 pm GMT+7

When the water rises, the birds gather at Tram Chim National Park in southern province of Dong Thap for their mating season. 

Tis the mating season: Tram Chim bird reserve beckons (edited)

The Tram Chim National Park in the Mekong Delta was set up in 1998 with an area of 7,313 hectares. In 2012 it was recognized by the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance, the fourth in Vietnam and 2000th in the world.

Over 230 species of birds gather here for the breeding season.

Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

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From October to December is a great time for wildlife enthusiasts to visit the park.

At 4 a.m. photographers are ready with their cameras and other equipment. The canoe thrusts away into the water as the sun starts rising. Thousands of paperbark trees are reflected in the water, making the scene appear otherworldly.

After 40 minutes they arrive at the observatory as the sounds of birds echo up into the sky; there’s only room for one person and their equipment.

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Birds are everywhere, in the sky and on the trees. On each paperbark are some five bird nests with three or four young birds each, and there are thousands of trees in the park.

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The common species include the snakebird, little egret, Asian openbill, great cormorant, grey heron, purple heron, white-shouldered ibis, black-headed ibis, grey-headed swamphen.

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The mating season lasts from June to December as the birds court, find a partner, build a nest, and start breeding. Two months after birth, young birds begin to practice flying. Some don’t make it and instead fall and drown.

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The Asian openbill is a rare species here. In 2016 these large birds first came to the park to build nests, but since then they have just stopped here for a short time.

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When the sun is high the sky is filled with packs of birds. This year the high water level is offering more food for the birds.

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The park is improving as a result of authorities here acknowledging its importance and putting in efforts to conserve it. The number of poachers has decreased significantly.

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When the birds fly away to forage, tourists can visit another area where smaller birds such as kingfisher, broad-billed motmot, bulbul, and cuculus live.

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Before going into the park it is a good idea to make a short tour of nearby communes to see lotus swamps or speak with locals to hear interesting stories about the Tram Chim.

4 p.m. is the right time to visit the park to watch the spectacular scene of the birds flying back to their nests as the sun sets. Wake up very early in the morning if you want to get some great photos.

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Just come to Tram Chim and you will fall in love even more with the southern wildlife, where the birds are filling up the sky.

 
 
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