Trip Report Bali 4-5th December 2019

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This is a trip with one guest from Spain, Federico,  who took 2 days of his vacation for birding in Bali after having his job done in Jakarta. Even though not many places we visit and not really deep into the forest, but we got more than 60 species in just 2 days of birding. Within those species, lots of Indonesian endemics were seen.


We start from Ubud at 5 AM then drive for 3 hours to Bali barat national park in the most western part of Bali Island. Arriving there, we were welcomed by a ranger who accompanied us for birding through the day.


First we saw Long tailed shrike flew off from one dry branch to another. Then our attention quickly full to the sight of flock of Bali starling. This is bali island endemic. Our main target. They were fairly easy and happened to be seen wherever we go to the national park areas.


Our ranger told us that in the year 2004 there was only 5 individuals left in the wild. One year after that, they found none of bali starling live in the wild again. So the national park changed their bali starling conservation program by collaborating with more communities within the surrounding park. Now, in November 2019 monitoring, the amount already 256 individuals live in the wild. Many of them do not have ring in their legs. Indicates they were born in the wild.


The national park authorities optimistic that they will have 20% increment of population next year. We also feel optimistic about that, since we saw some of the birds flying with nest material in their bill. The birds brought those materials to their nest boxes.


Within those iconic starlings, we also saw Javan myna in several group. Some flying, some foraging and some standing on the grassland. There were also Yellow vented bulbul, Sooty headed bulbul, Common iora, and Ornate sunbird flying around. These were the common species in the park.


Still in the same spot, we saw Black-winged flycatcher shrike. 4 individuals, 2 males 2 females fly and perch on a low branch. One Indonesian endemic, Scarlet-headed flowerpecker pair also seen. They were close to a Muntingia calabura tree. Which cherry is the most favorite fruit for flowerpeckers.


We heard Lineated barbet and coppersmith barbet calls, so we decided to search for it and play our speaker. Not long, the lineated barbet seen on top open canopy. But the coppersmith was not seen yet. Black drongo, Collared kingfisher, Chesnut headed bee-eater, Blue tailed bee-eater and Small minivets were the ones who seen instead. Two types of primates were seen close by too. The Long-tailed macaque and Javan lutung (Trachypithecus auratus). One of them was carrying its baby. Which javan lutung baby has a golden color.


Satisfied with this spot, we moved to a spot where Savanna nightjar usually found sleeping on sand. We immediately found one when arrived in the area. Even though it was very well camouflaged within the sand, dried leaves, and branches, we can see it clear with our binocular and scope. Lemon bellied gerygone seen between mangrove trees.

Then we go to a hide. It only took 5 minutes of waiting before a couple of Javan banded pitta come. Then there were several bulbuls, Fulvous chested jungle flycatcher, Horsfield’s wren babbler and Rufous backed kingfisher showed up. To my surprise, a Racket-tailed treepie was coming to the hide. Even though not for a long time, but we can recognized it very clear. Another surprise was an Indonesian endemic mammal; Javan treeshew (Tupaia javanica). After about 75 minutes we moved to another hide where we saw Laced woodpecker.

Coming out from the hide we saw Common dollarbird perched on top of a dead tree. Then we go for lunch.

Full with good Indonesian food and fresh coconuts, we start searching for other Indonesian endemics. First we went to a roosting site of Sunda-scops owl (Otus lempiji). It was known always sitting behind a villager house on a mangosteen tree. It was there and sitting on a quite open area. Very nice one!

Feel enough with him, off we go to a river. Where we saw Javan kingfisher and also Blue eared kingfisher. They were catching small fish from the river under bamboo groves.


Black naped fruit dove, Grey cheeked green pigeon, were seen together with Coppersmith barbet foraging in the same fruiting tree. Their population was enormous. After that, three males Green junglefowl were truly one of our best highlight that day. Even though we tried to seek Blue eared barbet and Falconet, but no luck.


Our next target was another kingfisher, which is Small blue kingfisher. It was seen flying across on a small lagoon beside a mangrove beach. Not only one, but two. Perhaps a pair. Common sandpiper and Sunda pied fantail was also seen.


Almost late in the afternoon we go to an area near water pond in the forest. We thought many animals would be visiting this pond within the hot weather these days in Bali. Our thought paid off. Flocks of Pink headed green pigeon and Orange-bellied green pigeon easily observed. Then Green imperial pigeon, many Javan lutungs, Timor deer, Plaintain squirrel also seen. Leuseur triller, and we ended that day with Javan flameback.


We pass the night in a very nice homestay near the national park. Have a delicious fish grilled as dinner and discussing about birds we saw during the day, made us sleep very well.


In the morning, off we go to a lake in the middle high elevation of Bali. Common moorhen, White breasted waterhen, and Javan pond heron were very common. Then we see Javan tailorbird, very close. Zitting cisticola, Pacific swallow, Javan heleia, Scarlet minivet, Indonesian honey eater, Javan munia and Striated grassbird were seen later.


When we moved to Bali botanical garden, we saw Asian glossy starling, Little cuckoo dove, Sunda warbler, and flocks of Javan heleia. Pied flycatcher was seen but not in a good view. While looking at feeding frenzy of pigeons on a fruiting tree, unfortunately we have to end the day for birding. Since suddenly, there was heavy rain coming and not stopping for quite a time. So after lunch, we head off to Seminyak hotel where Federico stayed before leaving to Spain. But to my surprised, in the hotel he found flocks of Java sparrow who forage above the grass garden area of the hotel. That species is Java-Bali endemic. What a nice surprise to end a trip!

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