fauna : To date, more than 200 bird species
have been recorded at Xuan Thuy. The site is the most
important staging and wintering area for migratory waterbirds
in the coastal zone of the Red River Delta. It regularly
supports large numbers of commoner migratory waterbird
species, including Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank
and Eurasian Curlew. Many rare species can also be found
at Xuan Thuy, including the largest wintering population
of Black-faced Spoonbill in Vietnam, with around 60
birds each winter in recent years. Other rare species
that regularly occur at the site include Saunders's
Gull, Spotted Greenshank, Spoon-billed Sandpiper and
Asian Dowitcher. In addition to its importance for waterbirds,
Xuan Thuy is also an important migratory stop-over for
non-waterbirds, with large numbers of passerines and
cuckoos passing through the site during the spring and
autumn migrations. During the summer months, small numbers
of Painted Stork and Spot-billed Pelican occur as non-breeding
Other features : Estuarine
habitats and traditional aquaculture activities.
Transportation : Car
and boat. Xuan Thuy is about 150 km by road from Hanoi
or three and half hours by car. The site is not well
known and, for this reason, may be difficult to find.
From the national park headquarters, the site can be
visited by boat or by foot. It is important to take
account of tide times when planning a trip to Xuan Thuy,
as some of the best birdwatching areas can only be reached
at high tide.
Accommodation : At
the moment, accommodation at Xuan Thuy is basic. The
park has only one four-bed guestroom with no hot water
or electricity. However, a new guesthouse with 10 standard
rooms is currently under construction. In addition,
there are two guesthouses in Ngo Dong town (20 km from
Xuan Thuy) and a resort area in Quat Lam (40 km from
Xuan Thuy), where there are many hotels and restaurants.
Permission : An entrance fee
system has not yet been established; visitors should
contact the park authorities in advance to arrange permission.
Both Vietnamese and foreign visitors can visit the park,
providing they secure the approval of the park staff
and the local border army station.
Birding routes :
As a staging and wintering site on the East Asian-Australian
flyway, the best time to visit Xuan Thuy is September
to April. In August and September, it is still possible
to see non-breeding Painted Stork, as well as early
migrants, such as Black-winged Stilt. Later, from October
onwards, it relatively easy to find wintering Black-faced
Spoonbills, particularly at their roost sites in the
Visitors can ask for assistance from the national park
staff, who know the site well, and can advise on places
to look for particular species. Hiring a guide from
the park is recommended.
Birding routes: Visitors can travel by foot to some
places of interest; others can only be reached by boat
at high tide.
Walking routes: Walking through the shrimp ponds on
Con Ngan island, where the park headquarters is located,
can be rewarding, especially at high tide when Black-faced
Spoonbills and various gulls, ducks and waders come
to roost and feed in the shrimp ponds.
Boating routes: At high tide, boats can be chartered
to reach the offshore mudflats and sandy flats, where
Spoon-billed Sandpiper can be found among large flocks
of waders. Saunders's Gull can also be found here during
December and January, as well as other gulls and ducks.
An alternative boat route involves visiting Con Xanh
island, which is planted with Casuarina, which shelters
migrating passerines, including pittas, and the outer
edge of Con Ngan island, where waders, ducks and herons
feed in the Tra river mouth.