Sunday 2 January 2022

Birding Indonesia 2021 - A Summary

I ended up recording exactly 400 species in Indonesia and 164 species in Bali during 2021 (following eBird/Clements taxonomy) - 82 of those on my local patch in Ubud (Campuhan Ridge). 

The first half of the year was spent entirely within Bali (and didn't really involve that much birding until April). Most of my birding was undertaken from my town center garden, then from my new, much better garden a kilometre or so out of town and then the local area from April onwards. When in my new spot I did a spell of early morning and late afternoon birding sessions from my balcony (mainly during the passage periods) which gave some great species - in fact I got 74 species from my new garden between April-December 2021. See the blog posts here: Bali early 2021 and Bali late 2021 for some of the Bali birding highlights.

During the second half of the year, mainly in the last quarter of the year, I managed to get to a few other islands for some high quality Indonesian birding. I visited the following islands (click the name to see the specific blog/trip report and lots of photos):

  1. Lombok
  2. Flores
  3. Rote
  4. Timor
  5. Sumba
  6. Central Sulawesi
  7. Northern Sulawesi

There were loads of birding highlights during the year, I found some great birds, a few rarities in the form of Blue-and-white Flycatcher in Bali, Grey-streaked Flycatcher in Timor, and Pectoral Sandpiper in Sumba as well as witnessing a really pronounced and impressive spring migration of raptors passing over Bali. The off-Bali trips yielded a load of range-restricted and highly prized endemics, some of them rarely seen and/or photographed (see the linked trip reports above for loads more details). 

With a bit of luck I'll get to explore some more areas of Indonesia during 2022 (and hopefully a little further afield too, as I've got loads of amazing tours all lined up if the Covid-19 situation allows...). In Indonesia I'm planning on some birding in Java, Sumatra, Borneo (Kalimantan) and then thinking of Seram, Buru, Tanimbar, Kai Islands, and probably some more in Sulawesi too... still loads of incredible birds to look for! Let's see what happens. 

Indonesia 2021 Totals....

Bali 2021 Totals

Bali Update (2nd half of 2021)

During the second half of 2021 I managed to get a few great birding trips in around a few different parts of Indonesia (see my recent posts below for details of those). I also saw a few good birds in Bali during this period, most of the birding was carried out in my garden in early morning or late afternoon sessions and I did manage a couple of brief trips to the coast. See also here for some information on the first half of 2021 in Bali.  

Some of the highlights of this second half of 2021 in Bali included Brown Booby, Lesser Frigatebird, Bulwer's Petrel, Wilson's Storm Petrel, Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Streaked Shearwater, and Black-naped Tern all from the ferry between Bali and Lombok (in Bali waters). 

Garden birding in this period gave me Bali Myna, Javan MynaEastern Barn Owl, Black-winged Kite, Marsh Sandpiper, Peregrine Falcon, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Chinese Sparrowhawk, Crested Honey Buzzard, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, White-throated Needletail, Pacific SwiftGreen Junglefowl, Common Flameback, Oriental Magpie Robin, (Javan) White-crowned Forktail, and an Oriental/Himalayan Cuckoo.

A couple of trips to the coast nearest my house resulted in Barred Buttonquail, Savanna Nightjar, Sacred Kingfisher, Brahminy Kite, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Little Tern, Great Crested Tern, Whiskered Tern, Little Ringed Plover, Javan Plover, Pacific Golden Plover, and Sanderling

Eastern Barn Owl

Black-winged Kite

Common Flameback

Greater Coucal

Oriental Magpie Robin

Himalayan/Oriental Cuckoo

(Javan) White-crowned Forktail


Savanna Nightjar

Little Tern

Brown Booby

Bulwer's Petrel

Lesser Frigatebird

Streaked Shearwater

Wedge-tailed Shearwater

Monday 20 December 2021

Birding North Sulawesi, Indonesia - November 2021

Following on from my previous post on Central Sulawesi, which you can read all about here (feat. Purple-bearded Bee-eater, Sulawesi Woodcock, Hylocitrea etc.), this post covers my couple of days birding in North Sulawesi, or more specifically, at the incredible Tangkoko National Park. I'd covered this site last year, but since I was so close with my trip to Palu and Lore Lindu National Park in Central Sulawesi I couldn't resist another trip north...

The always spectacular Knobbed Hornbill put on a great show, as too did their smaller cousins, the Sulawesi Hornbill. Parrots were very obvious with Yellow-breasted (Minahassa) Racket-tail, Blue-backed (Azure-rumped) Parrot, Ornate Lorikeet, and Pygmy (Small Sulawesi) Hanging Parrot all seen. The area is full of kingfishers and I enjoyed close views of Green-backed Kingfisher, (Sulawesi) Lilac Kingfisher, and Ruddy Kingfisher, along with excellent looks at Purple-winged (Sulawesi) Roller, Ashy Woodpecker, and Sulawesi Pitta, (Sulawesi) Crimson Sunbird, and excellent Spot-tailed Sparrowhawk.

Philippine Megapode (Tabon Scrubfowl), Bay Coucal, Hair-crested (White-eyed Spangled) Drongo, Slender-billed (Sulawesi) Crow, Red-backed Thrush, Yellow-billed (Sulawesi) Malkoha, Black-billed Koel, and Grosbeak Starling (Finch-billed Myna) were all seen too, as were a pair of Pied Cuckooshrike. Doves and pigeons are always plentiful here and I enjoyed watching Sultan's (Sulawesi) Cuckoo-Dove, White-faced Cuckoo-Dove (Sulawesi Black Pigeon), Black-naped Fruit Dove, Green (Paulina's) Imperial Pigeon, and Silver-tipped Imperial Pigeon. One of the highlights was how well Isabelline (Sulawesi) Bush-hen showed as it called out in the open.

A bit of birding at night yielded Minahassa Masked Owl, Sulaswesi Scops Owl, and Great Eared Nightjar, while during the day Ochre-bellied Boobook and Sulawesi Nightjar were both seen.

Interestingly while driving in towards Tangkoko from Manado in the evening, a random stop for a bakery resulted in the finding of a roost or probably 5,000 Barn Swallows right in a town center along the main road, all on the power lines, a pretty spectacular sight!

You can see more specifics about this trip on my eBird account where I've used the new "Trip Report" tool to put some details together,  see that here

Knobbed Hornbill

Knobbed Hornbill

Ashy Woodpecker

Green-backed Kingfisher

Hair-crested (White-eyed Spangled) Drongo

Isabelline (Sulawesi) Bush-hen

(Sulawesi) Lilac Kingfisher

Ochre-bellied Boobook

Pied Cuckooshrike

Purple-winged (Sulawesi) Roller

Spot-tailed Sparrowhawk

Spot-tailed Sparrowhawk

Sulawesi Hornbill (male)

Sulawesi Hornbill (female)

(Sulawesi) Crimson Sunbird

Birding Central Sulawesi, Indonesia - November 2021

My final birding trip away from Bali in 2021 was to Sulawesi. Over late 2021 I enjoyed several excellent Indonesian birdwatching trips, to Lombok, Flores, Timor, Rote, Sumba, and of course a fair bit of birding from my garden in Ubud, Bali. I had a bit of free time so decided to spend just over a week in Central and Northern Sulawesi. I'd had two great trips to Sulawesi in 2020, which included birding time on Peleng Island, Tangkoko National Park, and into the North Moluccas where I covered Halmahera too, so I was looking forward to getting back. I firmly believe Sulawesi offers some of the best birds and birding in Indonesia. This blog covers the Central Sulawesi portion of my trip. 

I flew in to Palu, in Central Sulawesi and headed across to Lore Lindu. I enjoyed a couple of days birding here. Unfortunately it wasn't possible to get up the famed Anaso Track during my visit, but I still saw plenty of excellent birds, including Sulawesi Woodcock. I love birding at 1,000 - 1,800m (3,300 - 6,000ft) anywhere in the world, there's always something special about the habitats found there that always results in amazing birds and beautiful plants.

I'm not going to lie, I was majorly gutted to not be able to get up the Anaso Track but finding a feeding Sulawesi Woodcock on the side of a trail was one great sighting, as were a pair of Purple-bearded Bee-eaters (one of my major targets), along with Hylocitrea, Sulawesi Thrush, Great Shortwing (Heinrichia), Malia, Maroon-backed Whistler, Blue-fronted Blue Flycatcher (Hoevell's Warbling-flycatcher), Red-eared Fruit Dove, Grey-headed Imperial Pigeon, White-bellied Imperial Pigeon, Sulawesi Hawk-Eagle, Cinnabar Boobook, Speckled Boobook, Sulawesi Pygmy Woodpecker, Yellow-cheeked Lorikeet, Dark-eared (Lesser) Myza, Sulawesi Myzomela, Ivory-backed Woodswallow, Cerulean Cuckooshrike, Pygmy Cuckooshrike, Sulawesi Cicadabird, Sulawesi Drongo, Sulawesi Fantail, Sulawesi Leaf Warbler, Sulawesi (Short-crested) Myna, Fiery-browed Starling (Flame-browed Myna), Citrine Canary-flycatcherCrimson-crowned Flowerpecker, and plenty more! Pictures of many of these below.

As I got one less day up in the mountains than I expected I decided to have a morning birding in some lowland forest near Palu, this proved to be a good choice and I enjoyed seeing Sulawesi Pitta, Sulawesi Pygmy Kingfisher, Spotted Harrier, Great (Sulawesi) Hanging Parrot, Long-tailed Shrike (either a recent arrival into the country or an escaped cage bird), Bay CoucalPale-headed Munia, and Sulawesi Streaked (Sulawesi Brown) Flycatcher

You can see more specifics about this trip on my eBird account where I've used the new "Trip Report" tool to put some details together, you can see that (and get a sneak early peak at what I saw in Northern Sulawesi), here

Purple-bearded Bee-eater

Great Shortwing (Heinrichia)

Sulawesi Thrush

Blue-fronted Blue Flycatcher (Hoevell's Warbling-flycatcher)

Cerulean Cuckooshrike

Citrine Canary-flycatcher

Crimson-crowned Flowerpecker

Fiery-browed Starling (Flame-browed Myna)

Ivory-backed Woodswallow

Red-eared Fruit Dove

Sulawesi Fantail

Sulawesi (Short-crested) Myna

Sulawesi Hawk-Eagle

Sulawesi Myzomela

Sulawesi Pygmy Woodpecker

Spotted Harrier

Sulawesi Dwarf Woodpecker

Sulawesi Streaked (Sulawesi Brown) Flycatcher

Sulawesi Pitta