Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 20

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 20

Indonesia Trip Day 20 Thursday 10th August 2017

Halmahera with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The third part of our 6-week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Sulawesi again.

On the morning of Thursday 10th August 2017, we had our breakfast at 3 30 am for 4.00 am start to travel from the Elizabeth Hotel in north Halmahera to Keo Airport. We arrived at 5.45 am for our 8.00 am flight to Manado, Sulawesi. However, our flight was delayed and in the end, we didn’t fly out of Keo until 12.00 pm. There was nothing to do here but find a bit of shade outside.

Once we were in Manado, we had a quick lunch and headed north to Tankoko NP.

We arrived at Tankoko Mangroves at 3.30 pm, to get two local fishing boats into the mangroves where we birded until dark.

We also saw a huge python with something big in its belly.

After the boat trip, we did some birding just walking around the area.

We then went on to Tankoko Lodge where we were staying for a couple of night. We got there in time to have a late dinner and get to bed ready for an early start.
The best birds of the day were Great-billed Kingfisher, which was a catch up for Mum and Dad that they had missed a few days ago, Great-billed Heron, Pacific Reef Heron, Pied Cuckoo-shrike, Silver-tipped Imperial Pigeon and Banded Rail.

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Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 19

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 19

Indonesia Trip Day 19 – Wednesday 9th August 2017

Halmahera with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The second part of our 6-week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Halmahera.

On the morning of Wednesday 9th August 2017, we had to have our bags packed to leave at 5.30 am after breakfast.

The other group had left at 5.00 am as they were going for Wallace’s Standardwing.

First, we birded Weda forest from 6.00 am until 9.30 am.

We managed to get great views of Ivory-breasted  Pitta for everyone, which was a relief.

We then left Weda Lodge to drive up through the mountains where we would stop for some roadside birding. We were heading for a small town in the very north of Halmahera.

We drove over the mountains north and tried for birds of prey that we still hadn’t seen, but didn’t see anything at all.

The drive north was a really long one. We were heading to a site for Moluccan Scrubfowl. The birds live in the mountains and fly down to a beach at night, where they bury their eggs. 

We arrived at our hotel at 5.00 pm, had a quick dinner in a basic restaurant next door before heading to the local community who look after the Scrub Fowl at 6.00 pm.

We had to get a boat from a tiny community through mangroves to a volcanic beach in the dark which we boarded at 6.00 pm. A local guide walked around until he found a bird, which they don’t always manage, spotlight it and then wait for us to run to where they are standing. One of the problems is that the birds dig massive holes and so you have to try not to fall into a hole whilst running in the dark.

We had extended views of one bird which was stunning looking and got back to the little village at 9.45 pm.

This was up there with one of my top birding experiences ever. I highly recommend people visit Halmahera, just to get to this bird. I have the contact details for the community if you would like to visit.

After this, we headed to a nearby town to our hotel, The Elizabeth Hotel, for the night.

The best birds of the day were Moluccan Scrubfowl, Scarlet-breasted Fruit Dove, Rainbow Bee-eater, Ivory-breasted Pitta, Golden-breasted Gerygone, Moluccan Whistler, Wallacean Cicadabird, Wallace’s Standardwing and Moluccan Starling.

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Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 18

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 18

Indonesia Trip Day 18 – Tuesday 8th August 2017

Halmahera with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The second part of our 6-week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Halmahera. Today we were in South East  Halmahera in the mountains near the city of Weda.

We had crossed Weber’s Line and so were into the Australasia avifauna region.

On the morning of Tuesday 8th August 2017, we went out at 4.00 am. We drove up to Bucket Limba in the mountains for some higher elevation species. Unfortunately, there was heavy rain and we were only able to do 15 minutes of birding. That was really frustrating and I might have been on for sitting it out up there. 

In the end, we gave up and headed back to the lodge for lunch. It was still raining after lunch but we managed to get out birding between 3 pm and 6.30 pm. The day was a complete washout, which was frustrating.

In the evening, we met another tour group of European birders who had come to the lodge. The group was led by Untu, who guided my Dad in West Papua a few years ago. They were really pleased to be able to catch up. Untu and quite a few of the local guides were from Tankoko in northern Sulawesi.

The best birds of the day were Moustached Treeswift, Blue-and-white Kingfisher, Chattering Lori, Cinnamon-bellied Imperial  Pigeon, Pygmy Hanging Parrot, Purple Needletail and Great-eared Nightjar.

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Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 17

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 17

Indonesia Trip Day 17 – Monday 7th August 2017

Halmahera with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The second part of our 6-week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Halmahera. Today we were in South East  Halmahera in the mountains near the city of Weda.

We had crossed Weber’s Line and so were into the Australasia avifauna region.

On the morning of Monday 7th August 2017, we went out at 6.40 am to start birding at 7.00 am.

We were 10 mins late as Dad had forgotten to change the time by an hour. We spent the morning birding Weda Forest, until 2 pm when we went back to the lodge for lunch.

After lunch, we had to delay going out because of heavy rain as it was monsoon. Eventually, we got out birding at 3.30 pm, going back to the same forest and getting back to the lodge at 7.30 pm. Another amazing day birding.

One big target for the day was Ivory-breasted Pitta. Dad and I saw it ok several times and Mum got some short views. Just before it got dark the three of us had a 6-second clear flight view over our heads when we could see the ivory breast. Amazing. Unfortunately, a couple of others saw it really badly. We had a discussion about whether we’re going to tick the bird or not and they said they would rather not.

It’s always difficult when someone in the group misses a big bird. I think you have to go back and try and get everyone. It’s madness for some people not to bother, as you might miss something else. So we decided to keep trying

The best birds of the day were Australian Brush Cuckoo, Pale-vented Bush-hen, Red-flanked Lorikeet, Red-cheeked Parrot, Pygmy Hanging Parrot, Sultan’s Sahul Pitta, Ivory-breasted Pitta, Wallacean Monarch and Dusky Myzomela
Many of these were an island or Moluccan endemics.

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Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 16

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 16

Indonesia Trip Day 16 – Sunday 6th August 2017

Halmahera with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The second part of our 6-week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Halmahera. Today we were in South East  Halmahera in the mountains near the city of Weda.

We had crossed Weber’s Line and so were into the Australasia avifauna region.

On the morning of Sunday 6th August 2017, we had breakfast at 4.30 am before leaving for one of the highlights of our trip. By 6.00 am we were in place deep in the forest hoping to see male Wallace’s Standard-wing. These are birds of paradise with the funniest mating dance.  The males perform together in a lek.

We were lucky enough to see two males lekking for a prolonged period as well as seeing another bird from the road. The males danced and jumped on branches hoping to attract a female with their fancy grooves. This was bound to be a bird of the trip.

We then spent the rest of the morning birding from the road until 11.30 am. Lunch was back at the lodge (with some sea watching). It rained in the afternoon so we didn’t get out until the later time of 4 pm. This was followed by more roadside birding until 9.00 pm as we did some night birding.

When we got back, I had a quick dinner and then went back to our rooms to go to bed. As I opened the door, a huge plate-sized spider came scuttling out of the room, running over my flip-flop clad foot. Needless to say, I screamed very loudly. A guard who was patrolling the beach ran up to me very quickly but I was too embarrassed to say what had happened. In the knowledge that the spider was outside, I jumped into bed which my mum had helpfully tucked in with a mosquito net, so nothing could get in or out.

The best birds of the day were Wallace’s Standard-Wing, Sultan’s & Great Cuckoo Doves, Blue-capped Fruit Dove, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Umbrella Cockatoo, Moluccan Hanging Parrot, Lesser Frigatebird, Molluccan Owlet-Nightjar, Large-tailed Nightjar and Halmahera Boobook. Many of these were an island or Moluccan endemics.

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