Some extremely exciting news came through at the end of April 2010 from Vietnam-based birder Simon Mahood and his friends Dave Edwards and Felicity Ansel. They had discovered an accessible site for Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush (Ianthocincla konkakinhensis), a bird seen by no more than a handful of people since it’s discovery by Jonathan Eames on Mount Kon Ka Kinh in 1999.Apart from Eames and his colleagues, the Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush had only been recorded by one other birder, South Africa-based Clide Carter, in the intervening years since its discovery. Exactly two years earlier I had spent a couple of days with good friends Hanno and Ha Stamm rather optimistically searching for Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush in the same area where it had previously been seen by Clide Carter. Unfortunately I hadn’t been able to get hold of a copy of Clide’s recording before we left and without a tape it would prove to be mission impossible.
In addition to Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush, this site is the best site I know to see two other sought-after species, the near-endemic Black-hooded Laugingthrush and Yellow-billed Nuthatch. Other species that are rarely recorded in Vietnam seen during our time here included Pale-capped Pigeon, Grey-headed Parrotbill and Rufous-faced Warbler.
For a guided custom tour to Kontum province to look for Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush contact Vietnam Birding at firstname.lastname@example.org .