Saturday, 26 August 2017

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 st 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 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.

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 the Wallace's Standard-wing.

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 for 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.