Friday, 4 August 2017

Indonesie Trip 2017 Day 13

Indonesia Trip Day 13 - Thursday 3rd 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. Today we were in northern Sulawesi. 

On the morning of Thursday 2rd August 2017 we left the Patra Jasa Hotel in Kotamobagu at 4.00 am driving an hour and a half to bird at Max's trail and along the roadside. It was a quiet morning of birding.

We then drove half an hour for lunch and a rest in a local hotel, where we had rooms.

In the afternoon we birded  Tarout again from 3.30 pm to 5.30 pm to look for the Great-billed Kingfisher that Mum and Dad Missed  yesterday.


The best birds of the day were Sulawesi Cuckoo, Short-crested Miner.

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 12

Indonesia Trip Day 12 - Wednesday 2nd 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. Today we were in northern Sulawesi.

On the morning of Wednesday 2nd August 2017 we left the Patra Jasa Hotel in Kotamobagu at 4.00 am driving an hour and a half to bird at Tarout from 5.30 am to 10.30 am. Here we had to get a raft over the the river to the birding site. Here the habitat has been reduced so much that if it continues within a year or two nothing will be left. There was a large research station here.

We then drove half an hour for lunch and a rest in a local hotel, where we had rooms.

In the afternoon we birded  Tower Marsh 4.00 pm to 5.30 pm.  The habitat here has been destroyed so there won't be any decent birding here within a year or two.

The best birds of the day were Pink-necked Green Pigeon, White-browed Crake, Dusky Moorhen, White-bellied Sea Eagle,
Sulewesi Dwarf Kingfisher, Minahasa Racquet-tail, Blue-backed Parrot, Pied Cuckoo-shrike and Great-billed Kingfisher which Mum and Dad both missed.


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. Today we were 

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.

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. It was a fantastic experience, and another example of eco-tourism saving birds.

We then drove half an hour for lunch and a rest in a local hotel, where we had rooms.

In the afternoon we birded a trail that Max had found in Tapakolingtang.

The best birds of the day were White-faced Cuckoo Dove, Oberholser's Fruit Dove, Black-billed Koel, Sulawesi Serpent Eagle, Ruddy Kingfisher, Pygmy Hanging Parrot and ivory-backed Wood-Swallow.


Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 9 & 10

Indonesia Trip Day 9 & 10 - Sunday 30th July 2017 and Monday 31st July 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 Sunday 30th July we left Sendy Guesthouse at 5.00 am to bird Lore Lindu National Park again. We birded until 10.30 am and then went back to the guest house for our bags and then head off for our flight after and early lunch at 12 pm.

We travelled to Palu, stopping by a bridge where we saw lots of Savannah Nightjar roosting as well as Red-Backed Buttonquail which we had seen before in Queensland Australia. It was ridiculously hot and so it wasn't a long stop.

It was Dad's birthday today as he's 2 days younger than Mum.

The best birds of the morning at Lore Lindu NP were Ashy Woodpecker, Rufous-winged Buzzard, Makassar Miner and Black-faced Munia.

We stayed at a very upmarket hotel in Palu, with a fancy glass surrounded shower. Mike arranged for a birthday cake for Mum and Dad, which was lovely of him.

The next day, Monday 31st July was a travel day. We met at 3.45 am with our bags, to catch a flight from Palu back down to Makassar, then another flight to Manado in the north of the Island.  We spent our time at Makassar Airport sitting in Starbucks, using their wifi with a big box of Dunkin' Donuts for me!

As we flew into Manado airport, it was shocking to see how much of the land was destroyed and now Covered in palm oil.


Once in Manado, we had a 5 hour drive to Kotamobagu, where we're were staying for four nights at the Patra Jasa Hotel. Its main benefits were western toilet, warm shower, air conditioning and most importantly working (sort of) wifi.

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 8

Indonesia Trip Day 8 - Saturday 29th July 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 Saturday 29th July we left Sendy Guesthouse at 5.00 am to bird Lore Lindu National Park again. We birded until 11.30 am and the went back to the guest house for lunch and a rest during the heat of the day. We were meant to go out again at 3.30 pm but couldn't go out because of a torrential downpour until 4.30 pm.

We stayed out to see Great-eared Nightjar and go back for 6.00 pm.


The best birds of the day were Sulawesi and Spot-tailed Goshawk, Maroon-Backed Whistler, Scaly-Kingfisher and Crimson-crowned Flowerpecker.

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 7

Indonesia Trip Day 7 - Friday 28th July 2017

Sulawesi with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The first part of our 6 week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Sulawesi. 

In the morning of Friday 28th July we left Sendy Guesthouse to bird the world famous Lora Lindu National Park in the mountains. 

It was Mum's birthday. We were up at 3.15 am to meet at 4 am. We were at the Anasso Trail. We hiked up the mountainside to try and be in place for the endemic G, but things were stacked up against us. Firstly, a couple of guys went past on a motorbike (probably up to no good), then there was a lot of water around, meaning it would not need  to come to the path to grub for worms. We had an amazing days birding with loads of new birds including a whopping 7 Satanic Nightjar, what a fantastic name. 

We birded from the road and saw the stunning Purple-bearded Bee-eater, my 4500th bird in the world. 

We then did more owling seeing Sulawesi Masked Owl, Speckled and Cinnebar Boobok.

Next day and a half we carried on birding Lori Lindu NP, seeing 

On 30th July, it was Dad's birthday with a few new birds for Dad.  We birder the mountain in the morning and stopped enroute on the way back to  Palu including Makassar Miner and Savannah Nightjar. Palu is the biggest city in Central Sulawesi and is right on the sea with a population of 200,000.


Tomorrow we fly via Makassar to Milando, with no birding planned.

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 6

Indonesia Trip Day 6 - Thursday 27th July 2017

Sulawesi with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The first part of our 6 week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Sulawesi. 

In the morning of Thursday 27th July we left Sendy Guesthouse to bird the world famous Lora Lindu National Park in the mountains. 

It was our first morning at Lore Lindu and we had a late 5am start. It was a 40 minute drive, for some extra sleep. We had breakfast (of Nutella chocolate sandwiches for me) in the car park of the national park centre before walking in the area of a lake. Here there were a couple of Indonesian young birders camping with their wives, who Idris, our local guide, gave some gen to. That was encouraging to see.

We spent the day birding the roads and trails before night birding at the lodge. seeing a Sulawesi Scops Owl which had kept us awake the previous night.

Some of the birds of the day were Red-eared Fruit Dove, Small Sparrowhawk, Black Eagle, Meyer's Lorikeets and Hoevell's Warbling-Flycatcher.

After dinner and the bird list, we were in bed by 9.30 pm, as we had a long day the next day.


There had been an earthquake in that part of Indonesia just 2 weeks before. The school and village centre was destroyed and the lodge restaurant went from being on stilts to being a ground floor building. 

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 5

Indonesia Trip Day 5 - Wednesday 26th July 2017

Sulawesi with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The first part of our 6 week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Sulawesi. 

In the morning of Wednesday 26th July we left the hotel in Makassar at 5 am and birded at Makassar fish ponds. It's was interesting to see the modern factories with traditional stilt houses next door. Here we saw Javan Plover, Wandering Whistling-duck, Sunda Teal, Buff-banded Rail and Far Eastern Curlew.

We were then back to the hotel to grab our bags and get to the airport. There we went straight to a restaurant where again lunch was waiting whilst Mike and team went to check in our bags.

Our 1.30 pm flight to Palu in Central Sulawesi was delayed by an hour, so Mum and I got another power nap in whilst we waited.


After arriving in Palu mid afternoon we had a 4 hour drive to the tiny village of Waesa, where we had 4 nights at Sendy Guesthouse to bird the world famous Lora Lindu National Park in the mountains. 

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 4

Indonesia Trip Day 4 - Tuesday 25th July 2017

Sulawesi with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The first part of our 6 week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Sulawesi. 

The morning of Tuesday 25th July we started out at 4.30 am from the town of Malino and headed for the Lompobattang mountains. Here we saw Lompobattang Flycatcher,  Lompobattang Leaf Warbler, Red-eared Fruit Dove, Hylocitrea, Sulawesi  Thrush, Sulawesi Heleia, Sulawesi Fanrail and Lesser Myza.

In the afternoon we headed back to Makassar and stayed in the same plush hotel, Makassar Dalton, enjoying the western  loo and shower. Luxury!


We had dinner in the hotel, before bird list and another early night.

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 3

Indonesia Trip Day 3 - Monday 24th July 2017

Sulawesi with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The first part of our 6 week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Sulawesi. We started our trip from the southern city of Makassar.

Our first day of birding on Monday 24th July was a 4 am start. We spent the morning birding along the roadside, into limestone karst forest at Karaenta. The key target we saw here was the very localised endemic Black-Ringed White-eye as well at Sulawesi Hornbill, Piping Crow, White-necked Myna.

We then birded around some shops along the road but dipped the recently described endemic Sulawesi Brown Flycatcher, the only opportunity on our trip to see this. We did see an endemic macaque.

We stopped for lunch in Makassar at a roadside restaurant where our delicious Indonesian meal was ready and waiting for us.

It was then a 3 hour drive to the town of Malino, in the mountains east of Makassar where we arrived at 4pm. We had the afternoon chatting and then went for dinner st a local restaurant. After the birdlist, we got an early night. The bathroom had a stand up loo and buckets in a tiny area, so I decided to pass on the bathing.

The next morning on Tuesday 25th July we started out at 4.30 am and headed for the Lompobattang mountains. Here we saw Lompobattang Flycatcher,  Lompobattang Leaf Warbler, Red-eared Fruit Dove, Hylocitrea, Sulawesi  Thrush, Sulawesi Heleia, Sulawesi Fanrail and Lesser Myza.

In the afternoon we headed back to Makassar and stayed in the same plush hotel, Makassar Dalton, enjoying the western  loo and shower. Luxury!

We had dinner in the hotel, before bird list and another early night.

In the morning, Wednesday 26th July we left the hotel at 5 am and birded at Makassar fish ponds. It's was interesting to see the modern factories with traditional stilt houses next door. Here we saw Javan Plover, Wandering Whistling-duck, Sunda Teal, Buff-banded Rail and Far Eastern Curlew.

We were then back to the hotel to grab our bags and get to the airport. There we went straight to a restaurant where again lunch was waiting whilst Mike and team went to check in our bags.

Our 1.30 pm flight to Palu in Central Sulawesi was delayed by an hour, so Mum and I got another power nap in whilst we waited.

After arriving in Palu mid afternoon we had a 4 hour drive to the tiny village of Waesa, where we had 4 nights at Sendy Guesthouse to bird the world famous Lora Lindu National Park in the mountains. 

The first morning at Lore Lindu on Thursday 27th July we had a late 5am start. It was a 40 minute drive, for some extra sleep. We had breakfast (of Nutella chocolate sandwiches for me) in the car park of the national park centre before walking in the area of a lake. Here there were a couple of Indonesian young birders camping with their wives, who Idris, our local guide, gave some gen to. That was encouraging to see.

We spent the day birding the roads and trails before night birding at the lodge.

Some of the birds of the day were 

After dinner and the bird list, we were in bed by 9.30 pm, as we had a long day the next day.

There had been an earthquake in that part of Indonesia just 2 weeks before. The school and village centre was distorted and the lodge restaurant went from being on stilts to being a ground floor building. 

On Friday 28th July it was Mum's birthday. We were up at 3.15 am to meet at 4 am. We were at the Anasso Trail. We hiked up the mountainside to try and be in place for the endemic G, but things were stacked up against us. Firstly, a couple of guys went past on a motorbike (probably up to no good), then there was a lot of water around, meaning it would not need  to come to the path to grub for worms. We had an amazing days birding with loads of new birds including a whopping 7 Satanic Nightjar, what a fantastic name. 

We birded from the road and saw the stunning Purple-bearded Bee-eater, my 4500th bird in the world. 

We then did more owling seeing Sulawesi Masked Owl and Cinnebar Bubbok.

Next day and a half we carried on birding Lori Lindu NP, seeing 

On 30th July, it was Dad's birthday with a few new birds for Dad.  We birder the mountain in the morning and stopped enroute on the way back to  Palu including Makassar Miner and Savannah Nightjar. Palu is the biggest city in Central Sulawesi and is right on the sea with a population of 200,000.


Tomorrow we fly via Makassar to Milando, with no birding planned.

Indonesia Trip 2017 days 1 & 2

Indonesia Trip Day 1 & 2

Saturday 22 July 2017 to Sunday 23 July 2017

I finished school early at 12.15 pm on Friday 31st July 2017 and went to Chew Valley Lake picnic site to have fish and chips (or just chips for me) at Salt and Malt with my mates. We then walked to a friends' house in Bishop Sutton before Mum picked us up and took us to do the car parking for Miles Leonard's Fifty Fest. Miles is the Chief Exec of Parlaphone Records and Warner Bros Records and owns our local pub, The Ring O' Bells. I did it with a group of friends as a favour as I still hadn't packed. It was 11pm before I got home, when I chucked my laptop, IPad, Kindle and phone into a bag with chargers and one novel, The Handmaiden's Tale which I'd borrowed from school and 2 revision guides, one for Biology and one for Latin. Lets just hope Mum has packed enough clothes for me! I've decided to go make-up and product free for our entire 6 week trip.

Ayesha arrived at Midnight, just as I was heading to bed. We were up again at 3 am, so that Ayesha could drive us to Bristol for our 4.30 am coach to London.

After checking in, breakfast and boarding our flight, we were almost in the Indonesia zone. After watching two films, I was flat out lying over two seats thanks to my Mum. Our plane sat on the runway for an hour and a half at Heathrow, making it unlikely that we would make our connecting flight at Kuala Lumpa (KL).

When we arrived in KL, we had an hour until our next flight, so there wasn't much chance of getting onto that, and no chance of out bags getting on, we thought. But we were in luck, as we got off flight, our next flight was literally boarding at the gate next door and a lovely man told us that our bags were already on board.

It was a 3-4 hour flight from KL to Denpasar, Bali in Indonesia. Then we had a day of waiting for our next flight. The seats in the airport were uncomfortable, so Mum and I slept on the floor, with no shame, whilst we waited.

Mum went to buy water, but would only let me buy one bottle between all of us which she thought had cost £5.00. I told her that surely she had the decimal place in the wrong place because i doubted that Pringles could cost £16.00. But no, Mum is always right. Back talking to Dad, it turned out that the bottle had cost 50p not £5.00, but there was no time now to get any more drinks.

Our next flight was to Makassar, Sulawesi on the southern tip of the Island.

We were met by a local guide and driver at 7.00 pm and taken to our rather plush hotel which was next to the airport. After dumping our bags, we headed for dinner. Mike Nelson our Bird Tour Asia Guide came to greet us and catch up. 

Bird Tour Asia are the top bird tour company in Asia and have the most amazing owner guides, Rob Hutchinson and James Eaton. In 2014 we had birded Sabah in Borneo and a bit of Malaysia. Rob had been touring Borneo a week ahead of us and had been really generous with his up to date birding gen.

Myself and Mum had met Mike in Frasers' Hill briefly during that trip. Dad had been in West Papua and so Mum  and I had gone to Frasers' Hill on the Malaysian Peninsular. We bumped into Mike with Richard Schofield and his partner Di. We had met Richard in Colombia (a well known Tour Leader with Birdquest before retiring). It was funny because Di had immediately recognised me from the BBC4 programme "Twitchers: A Very British Obsession". We had been having a nightmare with a hopeless local guide and so Mike gave us some birding gen and tips.

Mike said that when he had agreed to guide us for the whole summer back in Jan 2015, he had remembered meeting me and Mum the previous summer.

There were 3 people joining us for the first part of our trip, which was Sulawesi and Halmahera. They were Nick and Claire and Tony. We had met them on the Isles of Scilly and also Dad had met them at the Amur Falcon twitch in Cornwall last week. Their flight was arriving at 11pm and so they were going to be exhausted when we meet at 4 am tomorrow morning, Monday 24 July 2017, for the start of our birding tour.