Our first Birdwatching in Phnom Penh tour group at our Arey Ksat site (about 30 minutes away from central Phnom Penh).
On the weekend of World Tourism Day, Sam Veasna Conservation Tours introduced the first Birdwatching in Phnom Penh Tour. As part of the Explore Wild Cambodia EcoTourism Fair, SVC was invited amongst fellow ecotour organisations to participate in a month-long eco-tourism fair, dedicated to introducing Phnom Penh residents to conservation and community development programs offering unique experiences to explore wildlife and nature across the country.
Organised by USAID & hosted at Farm to Table Restaurant and Community Space, each weekend brought opportunities to connect our eco-tourism network with a community of nature & wildlife enthusiasts through information booths, children-activities as well as a Wild Trivia fundraiser! With the pressures being put on vulnerable wildlife and ecosystems during the COVID-19 crisis, the event brought an important opportunity for guests to learn about various conservation programs and how eco-tourism can alleviate the threats of the global pandemic.
As part of the eco-tourism fair, we were thrilled to launch the first Phnom Penh Birding Tour! This new tour has been designed to make birding accessible to residents looking to explore wildlife & nature in Arey Ksat, and was met with much enthusiasm:
“Our city tours are a great opportunity for people in Phnom Penh to learn more about Cambodian bird species that are just next door, and to see one of the endemic bird species- Cambodian Tailorbird.” – Mardy Sean, SVC Tour Guide
In the early hours, our group of 10 birders and nature enthusiasts met at Farm to Table, greeted by our lead guides Mardy Sean and Mony Sang. Taking a sunrise ferry across the Mekong river, we headed to our first site, for the early feeding. Our first hour didn’t disappoint as we spotted a variety of rare and unique species such as the Lesser Coucal, Blue Tailed Bee Eater, Chinese Pond Heron, and the Cambodian Tailorbird.
[Left] Expert SVC Bird Guide Mardy Sean introducing our group to Cambodian Bird Species
[Right] A Cambodian Tailorbird ( Orthotomus Chaktomuk), an endemic bird species
After enjoying some morning pastries and coffee, we then headed to a nearby pagoda in hopes of seeing an owl. Under the shade of the beautiful tall trees surrounding the pagoda, Mony and Mardy helped our group spot more species such as the Brown-throated Sunbird, Malaysian pied fantail, and the Yellow-vented Bulbul. While we didn’t manage to spot an owlet, we were blessed with a close encounter with a beautiful Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, one of the smallest bird species in Cambodia.
“Loved the trip, Mardy and Mony were incredible hosts. Nice touches like good food, good coffee and high quality scopes made it lovely” – Marianne Teoh
Our final stop was at Wat Pich Mong Kot near the Arey Ksat ferry port, where we saw Freckled’s breasted Woodpecker, Coopersmith Barbet, and a Plaintive Cuckoo. Walking through the peaceful and lush surroundings of this beautiful old monastery, it was hard to believe that we were not far away from the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh. After seeing our last bird, our group headed back to Farm To Table, continuing to bond over a love for birds while enjoying a scrumptious brunch.
A close encounter with a Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum)
“Really I had a great time! I was very excited to join and at the end, I was thrilled! The transportation was great, big very clean mini-van. We had two guides that were very careful, kind and attentive. They were surprisingly fast to find birds (and providing description) and we could enjoy a beautiful view in amazing scope. I also very liked the bird drawings displayed on the tablet, nice touch! We also end the morning with a tasteful brunch at Farm to Table. We could also enjoy a booth presenting brochures of SVC’s tour and some goodies, I personally took the big beautiful map sticker, I love it! Thank you for everything!” – Emilie Languedoc
SVC would like to thank the event organizers, our eco-tourism network, and the Phnom Penh community for a month of supporting eco-tourism and conservation. Even if we are faced with the many challenges of COVID-19, we hope that people continue to learn and explore the incredible wildlife sites and adventures that Cambodia has to offer, whether it’s all the way up in the Northern Plains or just a ferry ride to the outskirts of Phnom Penh.