Birdwatching and crocodiles in Cat Tien National Park


“I am watching you” said the heron to the crocodile, while standing in the grass by the edge of the lake.
“I am going to get you” replied the crocodile to the heron, while swimming back and forth, slowly approaching the bird then moving further away as if studying what was the best approach.

Purple heron
Purple heron flying away from the croc

The “dance” between them kept us entertained for some time, as we were resting at the ranger station by Crocodile Lake. After an early start (6:30am), a lot of birdwatching and a 5Km walk, we had reached the lake by 10:30am and were now observing animal behaviour around us.

I am on a 3-day birdwatching tour in the Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam, with my Aussie travel buddies. Let’s be clear: I am not a birdwatcher and to the complete disappointment of our guide I can barely remember two-three names of birds even after seeing them dozens of times. But the tour is very interesting and a great opportunity to visit the National Park and get to know its varied fauna.

Black-shanked langur
Black-shanked douc

One of the best sightings of today (apart from the dance between heron and crocodile) was actually a monkey: the endangered black-shanked douc (Pygathrix nigripes). The individual we saw was on a watch, sitting high up on a tree for quite some time. Unfortunately the long lens on my camera is “only” 300mm, so taking decent photos proved challenging.
Only when birds were quite close, I managed to take some cool shots:

Stripe-throated bulbul
Stripe-throated bulbul (Pycnonotus finlaysoni)

But don’t ask me any birds’ names tomorrow morning as I will have probably forgotten them all!

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