Friday, 4 August 2017
Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 11
Indonesia Trip Day 11 - Tuesday 1st August 2017
Sulawesi with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.
The first part of our 6 week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Sulawesi.
On the morning of Tuesday 1st August 2017 we left the Patra Jasa Hotel in Kotamobagu at 4.30 am driving an hour and a half to Tambon to visit the Maleo Conservation Centre. We arrived at 6.00 am, to gave a good chance of seeing Maleo.
Maleo is the national bird of Sulawesi and is a Megapode (a turkey). The centre was set up by a local conservationist called Max about 20 years ago. There is a natural hot spring at the site which the Maleo use to incubate their eggs.
The male and female dig a hole and bury their egg in the sand. The biggest predators are Monitor Lizards and humans. So the centre dig up the eggs, incubate them in a safe place, look after the chicks before releasing them. As well as seeing a male in a tree, I held a egg that was being incubated, watched Max find a new egg and then got to release a chick back into the wild. It was a fantastic experience, and another example of eco-tourism saving birds.
We birded until 11 am and then drove half an hour for lunch and a rest in a local basic hotel, where we had rooms we could use.
In the afternoon we left our lunch spot at 2.30 pm and then birded a trail that Max had found in Tapakolingtang from 3.00 pm until 5.30 pm. It was an hour and a half drive back to our hotel, where we arrived at 7 pm. It's a long day as dinner isn't until 7.30 pm, then we do the bird list and get sorted for getting up early the next day again.
The best birds of the day were Maleo, White-faced Cuckoo Dove, Oberholser's Fruit Dove, Black-billed Koel, Sulawesi Serpent Eagle, Ruddy Kingfisher, Pygmy Hanging Parrot, Sulawesi Serpent Eagle, Sulawesi Dwarf Hornbill, Ruddy Kingfisher and ivory-backed Wood-Swallow.
An amazing day that I will never forget.