Saturday, 16 October 2021

Indonesia, Flores Birding Trip Report September 2021

In September I made a short birding trip over to Flores, part of the Lesser Sunda region of Indonesia, just an hours flight from Bali. It was an excellent trip, loads of fantastic endemic birds and some really beautiful landscapes. I've put together a brief trip report below, where you can read all about it and see some photos. 

Flores Scops Owl was one of many highlights during the Flores birding trip.

Indoneisa - Flores Birding Trip Report AW20211008 by Andy Walker on Scribd

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Indonesia, Lombok Trip Report August 2021

Had an excellent and really enjoyable birding trip to Lombok, Indonesia in August 2021 and I've put together a trip report below, with a couple of photos too, take a look! 

Rinjani Scops Owl was our main target and we got great views of this endemic owl on our first night.

 Indoneisa - Lombok Birding Trip Report 2021 by Andy Walker on Scribd


We got some excellent views of Wallacean (Lombok Spangled) Drongo during our trip. 

I do like a pitta! Here we got some fabulous looks at Ornate Pitta

Sunday, 1 August 2021

A Bali Update

Since my last update in October 2020 things have been fairly similar, in that most of my birding has been from my garden in Ubud, Bali. Though I've found a great ecolodge to visit and have done a couple of birding sessions near the coast when I've had to go down into the city to sort out my visa etc. Very little dedicated "proper" birding, but the odd bit of casual birding here and there which has actually been quite rewarding.

The spring period (March-April) here was amazing, with a really pronounced visible migration period featuring really impressive sights of Crested Honey Buzzard, Chinese Sparrowhawk, Japanese Sparrowhawk, White-throated Needletail, Pacific Swift, and Blue-tailed Bee-eater all migrating over Bali in great flocks. Most of this was documented from my swimming pool and I'll be writing some proper notes up about that soon too! I also found a really rare bird for Bali - Blue-and-white Flycatcher. After some digging in difficult to access literature, not probably as rare as first thought, but still very rare for the island and pleasing - it was a stunning male bird.

In April, after 1 year at my house in the center of Ubud I moved a kilometre or so out of town to a place with a bit more of a garden and, more importantly, some trees! The change in bird life was instantly noticeable and I've been enjoying some great birds in the garden in the 4 months that I've been here, including Bali Myna, Javan Kingfisher, Oriental Pied Hornbill, (Javan) White-crowned Forktail, Brown-cheeked Bulbul, Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo, Chestnut-breasted Malkoha, Java Sparrow, Black-naped Fruit Dove, and many more!  

Hopefully the next few months will allow for a bit of travel in Indonesia, things are not great out here at the moment so most of the year has, so far, been spent staying "out of the way". But hoping to get one or two exciting Indonesian birding trips in during the year within and outside Bali. 

Here are a few of my photos from the last few months in alphabetical order to give you a sample of what I've been enjoying...

Blue-and-white Flycatcher

Blue-tailed Bee-eater

Chestnut-breasted Malkoha

Chinese Sparrowhawk

Crested Honey Buzzard

Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon

Java Sparrow

Javan Kingfisher

Javan Plover

Javan Pond Heron

Olive-backed Sunbird

Olive-backed Tailorbird

Oriental Pied Hornbill

Pacific Swift

Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo

Striated Swallow

White-throated Needletail

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Bali Lockdown Birding - Garden List Hits 50!

There's been another shift in the winds recently in Bali along with several severe thunderstorms and I've had a few garden ticks in the last couple of weeks too (I'm in Ubud) - such as Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Pacific Swift, White-breasted Woodswallow, White-throated Needletail, Common Myna, and Javan Myna. 

Today, after a huge storm that lasted most of the night and all morning I got two ticks in two minutes once it stopped - firstly a flock of three Wood Sandpipers, followed by a single Grey Heron, happy days! 

Grey Heron actually took my garden list to 50 species! I've been here almost 7 months now. 

  1. Olive-backed Sunbird
  2. Yellow-vented Bulbul
  3. Javan Pond Heron
  4. Cave Swiftlet
  5. Plaintive Cuckoo
  6. Collared Kingfisher
  7. Eastern Cattle Egret
  8. Edible-nest Swiftlet
  9. Zebra Dove
  10. Spotted Dove
  11. Javan Munia
  12. Eurasian Tree Sparrow
  13. Javan Kingfisher
  14. Large-billed Crow
  15. Striated Swallow
  16. Chinese Sparrowhawk
  17. Scaly-breasted Munia
  18. Pacific Swallow
  19. Intermediate Egret
  20. Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon
  21. Pied Bush Chat
  22. Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
  23. Black-naped Fruit Dove
  24. Black-crowned Night Heron
  25. Savanna Nightjar
  26. Olive-backed Tailorbird
  27. Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon)
  28. White-headed Munia
  29. Rusty-breasted Whistler
  30. Asian Glossy Starling
  31. Pink-necked Green Pigeon
  32. Little Spiderhunter
  33. Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker
  34. House Swift
  35. Common Iora
  36. Java Sparrow
  37. Sunda Scops Owl
  38. Barn Swallow
  39. Short-tailed Starling
  40. Little Egret
  41. White-throated Needletail
  42. Brown-backed Needletail
  43. Zitting Cisticola
  44. Javan Myna
  45. Blue-tailed Bee-eater
  46. White-breasted Woodswallow
  47. Pacific Swift
  48. Common Myna
  49. Wood Sandpiper
  50. Grey Heron
Here are a few photos of some of the birds from the garden, my camera has been packed away for the most part so I've missed some very good photo ops.. such as the only time I've seen the Java Sparrow perched... about 10ft away from me at eye-level - DOH! Happy with the ones below though...

Javan Kingfisher

Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon

Pied Bush Chat

Scaly-breasted Munia

(Eastern) Spotted Dove

Yellow-vented Bulbul

Zebra Dove

Sunday, 4 October 2020

Halmahera Birding Trip Report - September 2020

After a great few days birding in Sulawesi in early September (details here) I took a short flight from Manado to Ternate in the North Moluccas. Ternate is a small island dominated by a huge volcano, it's really impressive, as are the adjacent volcanoes when flying in to the island (the ones around Manado are good to be fair too!). After getting bags I took a short (c10 minute) ride to Ternate Port and boarded a speedboat for c30 minutes to Sofifi on the island of Halhamera. After catching up with my driver and local guide we commenced the c4/5 hour 4x4 drive to our accommodation in Weda Bay (it was a slow ride as we did stop to check out a few birds along the way - the best being a really photogenic pair of Blyth's Hornbills). We didn't stop to bird on the way back a few days later and did the journey in about 3 hours. 

I had a few birds I really wanted to see in Halmahera, those being Wallace's Standardwing, a restricted-range bird-of-paradise, Ivory-breasted Pitta, and North Moluccan Pitta. All three dropped into place rather nicely and I had great views of all three and even managed to get some photos. 

I only did two morning birding sessions and one one-hour evening session to look for owls (which was very successful before the rain came down). Full sighting details can be found on my eBird profile here.

There were plenty of other great birds around the area too, such as (Halmahera) Paradise-crow (another bird-of-paradise), Goliath Coucal, Invisible Rail, Blue-and-white Kingfisher, Sombre Kingfisher, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Beach Kingfisher, Halmahera Boobook, Moluccan Scops Owl, Moluccan Owlet-nightjar, Cream-throated (Halmahera) White-eye, Gurney's Eagle, Halmahera Flowerpecker, Halmahera Swiftlet, and lots more. Several fruit doves, cuckooshirkes, and other great birds too. 

Can't wait to go back and spend longer here on my tour in July next year. Details here.

Here are some photos of the one I managed to get shots of!

Ivory-breasted Pitta

(Wallace's) Standardwing

(Wallace's) Standardwing

North Moluccan Pitta

Halmahera Boobook

Beach Kingfisher

Blue-and-white Kingfisher

Blue-capped Fruit Dove

Blyth's Hornbill

Common Paradise Kingfisher

Cream-throated (Halmahera) White-eye

Grey-headed Fruit Dove

Halmahera Flowerpecker

Long-billed Crow

Moluccan Scops Owl

Moluccan Starling

Oriental Dollarbird

Red-flanked Lorikeet

Sombre Kingfisher

Variable Goshawk

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Sulawesi Birding Trip Report - September 2020

In early-September 2020 I took a flight from Denpasar, Bali to Manado, North Sulawesi (via Makassar, South Sulawesi). Nice easy and fairly quick journey of about 4 hours including the stops with a bit of faff for Covid-screening etc. 

The plan was for 3 nights at Tangkoko with 1 night at Tomohon (for birding at Mt Mahawu) on the tip on the Minahassa Peninsula. I think I was the first western person to have gone birding around Tangkoko National Park/Nature Reserve since Covid happened and everything shut down, as a result the usual known stakeouts for many of the birds were not currently known as the local guides hadn't been into the park for many months. I had two mornings in Tangkoko Nature Reserve, one afternoon session there and one session at nearby Temboan Hill, and one morning on the mangrove boat ride. Weather at Tangkoko was hot and dry. Over near Tomohon I had one wet morning birding session of a couple of hours at Mt Mahawu. The birding at Tangkoko was really enjoyable. Quiet at times with lots of walking to cover the distance but I got a lot of the targets I was after. Birding at Mt Mahawu was not very successful due to the poor weather conditions. Full sighting details on my eBird profile here. It was a useful trip to go and check out a few spots that we visit on our July Sulawesi and Halmahera tour - details of which can be found here

Here are a few of the highlight birds that I managed to photograph during the trip:

Green-backed Kingfisher - front view!

Green-backed Kingfisher - back view!

Lilac Kingfisher

Great-billed Kingfisher (Black-billed Kingfisher)

Knobbed Hornbill

Knobbed Hornbill

Ochre-bellied Boobook

Ashy Woodpecker

Yellow-billed Malkoha

Bay Coucal

Isabelline Bush-hen

Red-backed Thrush

Sacred Kingfisher

Snowy-browed Flycatcher

Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher

Citrine Canary-flycatcher

Uniform Swiftlet

Warbling (Mountain) White-eye

White-faced Cuckoo-Dove

White-necked Myna

Yellow-sided Flowerpecker

Lesser Frigatebird

Sulawesi Black Macaque

Spectral Tarsier

Sulawesi Bear Cuscus

Sulawesi Lined Gliding Lizard

After these few days in North Sulawesi I flew across to Halmahera where I had some amazing birds. I will post details of that trip soon...