Zoothera Global Birding

Zoothera Global Birding



To finish off my story we spent a travelling day as we flew from Flores to Bali and then got caught in a major traffic jam that resulted in a 5 hour drive to our luxurious lodge set amidst superb forest at Bali Barat National Park. Along the way we had a whole bunch of Savanna Nightjars flying around us when we stopped at a small shop to buy some water, and quite a few White-headed Munias roosting in a tree bordering the car park here as well.

One last push the following morning as we had a 4.30am breakfast and then drove for one hour to a small quay where we boarded a small boat for a forty minute crossing to the site where we would search for a couple of very special birds. With lofty mountains, volcanoes, forested islands and a lovely clear blue sea it certainly was a beautiful crossing and as luck would have it we spotted our first major target bird from the boat, with a Black-winged Myna riding the back of a Timor Deer on an open hillside. We found a couple of others later as we zigzagged our way across the volcanic and rocky hillside – with a pair teed up nicely in the scope. There was also Black and Ashy Drongos, plenty of Java Sparrows, a Changeable Hawk-eagle on a nest, and 3 Black-thighed Falconets.

Black-thighed Falconet – see the black…. thighs?

The highlight for me was a pair of Beach Thick-knees we scoped on a distant sand spit – I’ve wanted that baby for a long time! But we were struggling for Bali Myna – only a handful survive as free flying wild birds, but there is a reintroduction programme with captive birds being released on a frequent basis. Eventually we found one in the mangroves of all places and had great views of this stunningly beautiful bird. In fact there were several more free-flying ringed birds around the release pens that also gave great views. So that was it and we set off on the boat trip back to the mainland and a veritable feast for lunch.

Bali Myna – a nice looker!

In the afternoon we visited the forest and had Fulvous-chested Jungle-flycatcher responding well to the ipod, both Blue-eared and Rufous-backed Kingfishers, Black-naped Monarch and at least 6 calling Javan Banded Pittas at dusk.

Sunda Scops-owl

Oh and we nailed a roosting Sunda Scops-owl here as well.

So that’s it, more or less! Quite a successful tour despite being stuffed over flight schedules and a lost day on Timor. We saw around 244 species and could have easily bumped the list up with some wader watching, but we decided to concentrate on the endemics really. it was a pretty tough tour and, I must admit, without such a wonderful group it could have been a lot harder. Their good humour, willingness to get up early every day, and being ok with some ‘dodgy’ accommodation made my life so much easier. I always feel privileged to have so many loyal people who repeatedly come along on our tours, so I cannot thank them enough. So a huge “THANK YOU” to you all.

And that’s it for 4 months. My first long break in something like 13 years of leading tours. But we’re still travelling to California for some whale watching, making a quick visit to Sumatra, more whale watching in the Maldives and finally a long-awaited holiday in Ethiopia before getting ‘back on the horse’ again. So stay tuned…..

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