Saturday, 26 August 2017
Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 14
Indonesia Trip Day 14 - Friday 4th 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 Friday 4th August 2017 we left the Patra Jasa Hotel in Kotamobagu at the ridiculously early time of 2.45 am, driving an hour and a half to bird at Gunung Ambang National Park to the north of Kotamobagu so that we could do some pre-dawn owling. By the time we arrived at the mountain forest site, had breakfast (Nutella sandwiches for me again) and started walking the steep trail, it was still only 4.50 am. This is a submontane forest with some good tracks but which have been decimated by deforestation. It had been raining a lot and the main track was dangerously slippy. The track was a narrow coombe, where the sides of the Hollie come up above our heads. In the dark using only dimmed light it was treacherous.
The first birds to try for and the main reason we had arrived pre-dawn, firstly another subspecies of Cinnabar Boobook which you only get in northern Sulawesi, Speckled Boobook and the very rare Matinan Warbling-flycatcher.
We first heard the Cinebar Boobook, which came in to investigate pretty readily.
A highlight was seeing a Spectral Tarsier, moving through the forest.
To get to the forest we walked through agricultural fields where we picked up chiggers. I had a really bad attack all around my ankles, legs and middle.
We left Gunung Ambang at 10 am driving to Manado where we arrived 6 hours later at 4pm, had lunch on the sea front in a fancy restaurant and then stayed at the Peninsula Hotel which was very luxurious. There was a pool but we didn't have time for that which is a shame. It was good to have a long warm shower, a comfortable bed and AC.
At dinner, most of us ordered pizza which took ages to come but was a lovely change. The food has actually been brilliant on the trip, even for us veggies.
The hotel was the first place with decent broadband and so I downloaded 10 episodes of "Peepshow" from Netflix to watch later. Then it was off to bed, for an early night.
The best birds of the day were Sulawesi and Moluccan Brush-Cuckoos, Sulawesi Honey-buzzard, Sulawesi Babbler, Cinebar Boobook, Specked Boobook, Sulawesi Fantail, Sulawesi Leaf Warbler and Turquoise & Matinan Warbling-flycatchers.