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Ultimate Indonesia: 4 month search for endemics

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Old Friday 16th June 2017, 13:24   #1
Rgallardy
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Ultimate Indonesia: 4 month search for endemics

Hi all,

My wife and I have just started our four month trip to Indonesia. The first section of the trip focuses on the Lesser Sundas where we started out on Sumba. My original game plan was to spend 4-5 days on the island, but after just 2 1/2 we had already seen all the endemics and other targets! It was a fantastic few days starting out with Sumba Buttonquail near the Yumbu bridge and then a fantastic morning near km51 with Red-naped Fruit-dove, Sumba Green-pigeon, Chestnut-backed Thrush, and Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher. Our second morning was spent scanning a hillside at km88 where we managed to find our last four remaining targets, Orange-crested Cockatoo, Sumba Hornbill, Marigold Lorikeet, and Sumba Myzomela.

Check out the blog for the full report and pics!

https://budgetbirders.com/2017/06/16...ght/#more-3237

Best,

Ross
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Old Friday 16th June 2017, 13:50   #2
Aidan G. Kelly
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Hi Ross,
Thanks for posting. Brought back memories of an independent trip I did to the Lesser Sundas in 2012, especially of that National Park on a main highway where they want to charge you to be on the road! Otherwise I liked my visit there, and managed all the endemics, though not as quickly as you did.

My trip report is at:

http://burung-nusantara.org/wp-conte...n-Kelly_v2.pdf

I look forward to reading more from you as your trip progresses.

Aidan
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Old Friday 16th June 2017, 14:58   #3
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Ross

Enjoying your reports - brings back memories of my trip to Sumba with NB in 1992. A trip camping and on the bus! We managed excellent views of all endemics (including the small owl, undescribed at the time) but Sumba Boobook was a heard only - maybe I'll get back one day.

Good luck in the rest of the Lesser Sundas.

cheers, alan
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Old Friday 16th June 2017, 20:05   #4
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Great report Ross. Definitely deja vu for me having stayed at the same place and visited the same sites just last year! And the same hassle about having to pay to walk along the road in the national park. If they were doing something in terms of investing in park infrastructure I'd be more amenable... Have fun in Timor!
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Old Friday 16th June 2017, 22:35   #5
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Yea, the National Park ranger was a huge annoyance. It's bad enough trying to charge us to walk along a very busy narrow road to bird, but even worse that there's garbage all along the road and that the ranger had all afternoon to follow us on his motorbike, but couldn't find the find to pick up a single piece of trash. At one point, an Indonesian couple parked on the roadside threw a plastic bottle onto the ground in front of the ranger and he didn't even say a thing! Hard to demand money for a National Park when you can't even correct the locals!
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Old Wednesday 21st June 2017, 08:22   #6
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Birding Timor

Hi all,

The second island we visited was the island of Timor. Our luck continued and we were able to clean-up (except Timor Figbird) in 4 days. The first afternoon we spent around Camplong, followed by a morning at Bipolo/afternoon at OleNase, and then two days in the Fatumnasi/Mt Mutis area. Overall, the birding was good, but we both enjoyed birding Sumba more. Luckily our bet to head to Rote without the Timor Figbird paid off as we were able to see a pair on Rote, but I'll leave that for the next blog post...

Here's the link to the post about our time on Timor

https://budgetbirders.com/2017/06/21...res/#more-3286

Best,

Ross
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Old Wednesday 21st June 2017, 12:17   #7
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Sounds like you got everything! At least you came back down on a potato truck--we did it on a truck full of green onions and smelled of onions the whole of the day...
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Old Tuesday 27th June 2017, 01:42   #8
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A quick trip to Rote

Hi all,

After finishing up with Timor, we took the fast ferry over to Rote arriving around 1100. We found a taxi, but it took longer than expected to make it to the northern part of the island, since the drive thought he knew where he was going (and refused to let me show him a better way). Regardless, we arrived with a little time to bird and was still able to find one of our main targets, Jonquil's Parrot.

After dark we had great looks at Rote Boobook and then the next morning was able to cleanup on our remaining targets and also find Timor Figbird, the only bird we had missed on Timor!

Check out the blog for the full report

https://budgetbirders.com/2017/06/26...ate/#more-3319

Best,

Ross
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Old Tuesday 27th June 2017, 05:58   #9
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Nice reports. My days of potato trucks and mud huts are probably over, but its nice to see the rewards are still there for those willing to suffer for the cause.

Cheers
Mike
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Old Friday 30th June 2017, 05:40   #10
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Birding Alor

Hi all,

After our return ferry to Timor from Rote, we boarded a plane and headed off to Alor. We only spent 3 days on the island, but luckily this was plenty of time to see of the endemic targets. Although Alor Boobook was very cooperative, both the Alor Cuckooshrike and Alor Myzomela took much longer to find. The biggest highlight of the visit though was an extremely cooperative pair of Flores Hawk-eagle that had recently nested in the area. During the course of the day we were able to enjoy the pair on a number of occasions including a few times at eye level!

Check out the blog for the full report and pictures!

https://budgetbirders.com/category/t...ndonesia-2017/

Best,

Ross
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Old Tuesday 4th July 2017, 22:54   #11
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24 hours in Lombok....

Hi all,

With our trip to the Lesser Sundas going very well, we ended up 7 days ahead of schedule only three weeks into the trip! Luckily changing flights in Indonesia is fairly inexpensive (for two people the one flight cost $3 to change, while the most expensive change was still only $40 for two people) so we decided to add in the islands of Lombok, Bali, and East Java.

Our first stop on this mini extension was Lombok and although we ran into some logistical issues on arrival, we still managed to find our biggest target Rijani Scops-owl. Unfortunately, having only one morning on the island proved to be too short of a time to find Lombok Drongo which is supposed to be fairly common in the area. It was inevitable, but we finally had our first dip of the trip!

Read more about it on the blog...

https://budgetbirders.com/2017/07/04...ves/#more-3379

Best,

Ross
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Old Thursday 6th July 2017, 21:19   #12
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great report

Really envious of the coverage of your trip. Best we can manage is 23 days in Java, Sulawesi and Halmahera later this year
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Old Friday 7th July 2017, 18:08   #13
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If you're going to dip something, may as well be a drongo!
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Old Thursday 13th July 2017, 07:55   #14
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Really envious of the coverage of your trip. Best we can manage is 23 days in Java, Sulawesi and Halmahera later this year
Thanks. Let me know if you have any questions of Java/Sulawesi/Hal. Just got done with Halmahera. Will be visiting northern Sulawesi in about another week. Not going to central/south though.
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Old Thursday 13th July 2017, 07:55   #15
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If you're going to dip something, may as well be a drongo!
No bird left behind!
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Old Thursday 13th July 2017, 08:03   #16
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Bali: Land of the mynas

Hi all,

Sorry its been a while. Haven't had much internet in the last week as we cleaned up on Halmahera and Morotai (more on that later though!).

Anyways, after Lombok, we had a single day in Bali. Due to access issues with the National Park and not having been able to do much research, I decided to hire a bird guide for the day. I'm not usually a fan of guides, but I'm also not a fan of dipping birds that will be extinct in the wild the next time I can visit! (i.e. Black-winged Starling...). Long story short, the guide did a great job and we had a nice day seeing a lot of good birds including Bali Myna, Black-winged Starling, Javan Flameback, Javan Plover, ect.

We actually ended up having another day on Bali after visiting East Java, so I visited the Bedegul Botanical Gardens hoping to connect with Sunda Thrush. Unfortunately the little bugger was no where to be found despite a few hours of searching.

Read more about it on the blog!

https://budgetbirders.com/2017/07/13...of-rare-mynas/
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Old Friday 14th July 2017, 09:15   #17
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East Java: Mt Ijen and Blue Fire

Hi all,

Wrapping up our "extra week" in the middle of our Lesser Sundas trip, we spent two days birding Mt Ijen in East Java. I can't say it was a total success and a few target birds frustratingly remained heard onlys (i.e. Grey-breasted Partridge and Pink-headed Fruit-dove), but it also wasn't a complete failure with good views of White-bellied Fantail, Javan Bush Warbler, and Horsfield's Thrush.

Read more about our time on Ijen and a visit to see the Blue Fire on the blog

https://budgetbirders.com/2017/07/14...ith-your-dips/

Although it was fun to explore a bit west of Wallace's Line, I was also happy to get back to the original itinerary with our flight to Flores, but more on that for the next post!

Best,

Ross
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Old Thursday 20th July 2017, 21:28   #18
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Flores: Finding all the owls!

Hi all,

After our short stint across Wallace's line, it was good to be back on schedule in the Lesser Sundas. We flew into Ruteng in the middle of Flores and had set aside a few days dedicated to finding the endemics in the area. Overall, this section of the trip went very well and we managed fantastic views of both endemic owls (Flores and Wallace's Scops-Owls) as well as Moluccan Scops-Owl. Other interesting birds included the bizarre Bare-throated Whistler, Wallace's Hanging Parrot, Leaf Lorikeet.

Once again we manged to clean up a day ahead of schedule and headed west to the coast to pick up our last remaining targets (Yellow-crested Cockatoo and Flores Monarch), but that will be covered in the next post.

Read more about our time in central Flores visiting Pocko Ranaka, Golo Lusang, Pagal Road, and Kisol Village on the blog!

https://budgetbirders.com/2017/07/20...y-little-owls/

Best,

Ross
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 05:42   #19
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Another enjoyable installment.

Kelimutu (a volcano with three crater containing lakes of different colours) was actually the final stop on a 5-month birding trip I did around SE Asia in 1989. I went there from Ruteng and remember the bus driver being drunk. His idea of fun was and hanging out of the door trying to kick dogs as we drove up the mountain.

Much less was known about Flores' birds back then and you certainly saw many more than we did. However Bali Starling was gettable and Black-winged Starling was common - and we did get the cockatoo on Komodo!

Cheers
Mike
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 14:02   #20
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Another enjoyable installment.

- and we did get the cockatoo on Komodo!

Cheers
Mike
As did I in 2000, it was pretty much THE place back then

Just for curiosity, how are independent birders doing Komodo these days and at what cost?

I did it from Labuanbajo on Flores where I chartered a boat on my own for two days with just two crew. They provided meals and I slept on deck on a roll mat, cost, c50 pounds, I've heard that it's waaaaaay more these days?

It was an amazing experience, we first visited the island of Rinca on day one where we saw more Dragons than we did on Komodo. Dusk at sea on the small boat was amazing as thousands of Fruit Bats screached over us as they left their roosts for the night, a scene repeated as they returned at dawn, magical.

A

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Old Monday 24th July 2017, 07:45   #21
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As did I in 2000, it was pretty much THE place back then

Just for curiosity, how are independent birders doing Komodo these days and at what cost?


A
If all you wanted to do was hire a boat for a long day (0400 start) to Komodo and back it will run around 1.5 million ($110ish). My friend did an overnight trip similar to what you described last year and I think it cost him around $350 for two people. We did things a bit different as we wanted to dive as well. Our private overnight trip with 6 dives each was quoted at about $750, but in the end we ended up paying a good bit less, as we had some boat issues and didn't get in as many dives as expected. We also had to visit both Rinca and Komodo (originally plan was only Komodo) as we dipped the dragon on Komodo! More on all that in the next blog post though which should hopefully be up somewhat soon. Haven't had much wifi lately as last three island visited were Morotai, Obi, and Talaud!

Best,

Ross
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Old Monday 24th July 2017, 09:02   #22
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Dragons and Cockatoos

Hi all,

Well as stated above, after birding central Flores, we headed west in order to pick up the last remaining endemic (Flores Monarch) as well as visit the Komodo Islands to see Yellow-crested Cockatoo and Komodo Dragon. Although everything didn't go exactly as planned, in the end, everything worked out and we were able to finish cleaning up on Flores as well as see some dragons.

https://budgetbirders.com/2017/07/24...-diving-oh-my/

This also concluded the first section of our big trip "Lesser Sundas & Bali/East Java Extension". This section of the trip lasted from June 8- July 6th and cost a total of $1412 for two people. This does not include the internal airfare or our Komodo trips (~$700) since it was also a diving trip. Internal airfare was $900 for two people, starting in Sumba and ending in Flores. This price was quite inflated though as our mid-trip extension from Timor to Bali and back cost nearly $450 of that $900. A more well thought out plan could have easily eliminated that cost entirely. Still even with all the costs of the extension, $1150 per person for 29 days ($40 per day per person) isn't too bad!

Best,

Ross
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Old Monday 24th July 2017, 11:31   #23
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This also concluded the first section of our big trip "Lesser Sundas & Bali/East Java Extension". This section of the trip lasted from June 8- July 6th and cost a total of $1412 for two people. This does not include the internal airfare or our Komodo trips (~$700) since it was also a diving trip. Internal airfare was $900 for two people, starting in Sumba and ending in Flores. This price was quite inflated though as our mid-trip extension from Timor to Bali and back cost nearly $450 of that $900. A more well thought out plan could have easily eliminated that cost entirely. Still even with all the costs of the extension, $1150 per person for 29 days ($40 per day per person) isn't too bad!

Best,

Ross
Hi Ross,
I'm keen at some point to return to Komodo with my wife and daughter, did you organise a boat locally at the waterfront as I did back then or did you use an intermediary?

A

Edit: Just read your blog, looks like it's all changed a great deal since I was there, I'm sure there were no dive shops?

I guess you paid a premium for diving and I wonder what they charge now just for a straight up cruise to the islands without diving. I remember the boatman asked me if I wanted a swim at a particular place, I said yes and dove overboard at the recommended spot. I had a snorkel on and had my face in the water for less than a minute. When I looked up, I was about 200m away from the boat! Luckily I'm a strong swimmer but it was quite a battle against the current to make to distance back to the boat.

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Old Monday 24th July 2017, 15:37   #24
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Last year we paid Rp 1,250,000 to charter a boat for a day trip to Komodo. We organised this at the harbour through the uniformed guy at the main entrance gate, who helped us find a boat and make arrangements the evening before. I'm sure he got a cut, so it might be possible to get a cheaper price talking directly to a boatman, but the arrangement worked well.
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Old Monday 24th July 2017, 15:48   #25
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Last year we paid Rp 1,250,000 to charter a boat for a day trip to Komodo. We organised this at the harbour through the uniformed guy at the main entrance gate, who helped us find a boat and make arrangements the evening before. I'm sure he got a cut, so it might be possible to get a cheaper price talking directly to a boatman, but the arrangement worked well.
Thanks,
can't remember they're being any kind of gate or guard either?

As I recall, I walked between some rickety buildings and just emerged at the waters edge.

Wasn't it a bit rushed doing it as a day trip and it would be a pretty long day?


A

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