Hanoi Bai Da Song Hong & Botanic Gardens

When:  October 2015              Weather: Hot. 30C

Nikon P900 and Leica Q

In Hanoi for 24 hours to give a lecture and managed to get away to spend a couple of hours in the afternoon at Bai Da Song Hong riverside and a couple of hours in the early morning at the Botanic Gardens Hanoi.  Would have been nice if it was a few degrees cooler but I guess we can’t have it all!

The excellent Lotte World Hotel in Hanoi....

The excellent Lotte World Hotel in Hanoi….

Bai Da Song Hong is an odd place; I had searched the internet for birding sites in Hanoi and this was one of the places which popped up. I stayed at the beautiful new Lotte World Hotel and it was a 30 min drive there down Ngo264…I was expecting a quiet patch of forest so it was a bit of a rude shock to find that there were many couples there having their wedding photos taken, swimmers in the river and loud music blaring out….not a good sign!

Bai Da Song Hong riverbank

Bai Da Song Hong riverbank

We headed away from the people and the noise up a green embankment

We headed away from the people and the noise up a green embankment

Almost immediately we spotted this solitary fellow on the wire...

Almost immediately we spotted this solitary fellow on the wire…

He flew off and found a snack...

He flew off and found a snack…

And I'm informed by Nishant that this is a femaleSiberian Stone Chat

And I’m informed by Nishant that this is a female Siberian Stone Chat

pretty flowers dotted the meadow...

pretty flowers dotted the meadow…

A flock of juvenile munias was nearby ? black headed juveniles...

A flock of juvenile munias was nearby ? black headed juveniles…

juvenile munias

juvenile munias

munia

munia

the flowers were quite pretty too in the early evening sunlight

the flowers were quite pretty too in the early evening sunlight

plain prinia

plain prinia

plain prinia

plain prinia

Walking back to another part of the riverbank...

Walking back to another part of the riverbank…

Walking back to another part of the riverbank, we saw this glamorous vietnamese lady in her ao dai

we saw this glamorous vietnamese lady posing in her ao dai

In a flurry of action, this unidentified bird disturbed the reeds

In a flurry of action, this unidentified bird disturbed the reeds

and perched...

and perched…

this rather smart white wagtail strutted his stuff

this rather smart white wagtail strutted his stuff

white wagtail

white wagtail

pretty reeds...

pretty reeds…

photogenic corners...

photogenic corners…

sunset over bai da song hong

sunset over bai da song hong

The next morning, we headed over to the Hanoi Botanic Gardens at 7am….it was already surprisingly busy with lots of people exercising and dancing ….to overbearingly loud music again.  A tiny botanic garden, it is nonetheless a refreshing oasis in the heart of busy Hanoi…

The main entrance..where you have to pay a small entry fee...

The main entrance..where you have to pay a small entry fee…

There is a verdant bordered lake which you can walk around...

There is a verdant bordered lake which you can walk around…

as the early morning light seeped in..we heard a lot of bird song, but the birds were way up in the canopy

as the early morning light seeped in..we heard a lot of bird song, but the birds were way up in the canopy

this was one of many little birds zipping in and out amongst the leaves....maybe a female flowerpecker?

this was one of many little birds zipping in and out amongst the leaves….maybe a female flowerpecker?

white throated fantail

white throated fantail

As usual, I have my famed 'ass' shot of the fantail fanning its tail :)

As usual, I have my famed ‘ass’ shot of the fantail fanning its tail 🙂

there were loads of huge pigeons everywhere, thanks to a large pigeon house on the central island

there were loads of huge pigeons everywhere, thanks to a large pigeon house on the central island

So the birding was not very dramatic in either location but it was still pretty enjoyable and welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi city.

I don’t normally blog about restaurants/food but on this occasion, we were recommended a local restaurant  a few blocks west of the Lotte World Hotel..called Hue Restaurant….it was the best meal we had in Hanoi….esp the Bun Bo spicy noodles…..and the spring rolls….

awesome noodles...

awesome noodles…

Hue Restaurant

Hue Restaurant

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