Trip Report – December 2017
Comments: This was definitely a more relaxed birding trip than we have done in the past. We were combining some sight-seeing, birding and family time. The net result was a great trip with lovely accommodation and a reasonable number of birds. Unfortunately, Bali has not done a good job of protecting the environment or their birds and they are few and far between added to which there is a depressing amount of extensive habitat loss and degradation in many areas!
Day 1: Our guide, Kim Seng ( the most expensive bird guide in the world!) picked us up from our hotel and we headed to the Central Catchment Area. It was still dark and we managed to get the Brown Boobook on the walk out to the tower. An hour on the tower produced 24 species – 12 of which were life birds for us – Plume-toed Swiftlet, Blue-throated Bee-eater, Banded Woodpecker, Long-tailed Parakeet, Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Olive-winged and Cream-vented Bulbuls to name a few. From there we stopped at 2 spots in the Botanical Gardens to see Buffy Fishing Owls and a VanSchrenk’s Bittern that had shown up.
Stopped for a late breakfast and then Bakit Botok Reserve quickly delivered our target, Straw-headed Bulbul and another lifer for us, Rufous-tailed Tailorbird. It was getting very hot but we went over to Sungi Buloh Wetland where a walk on the boardwalk offered great views of the target, Copper-throated Sunbird.
Lunch at the Kranji Golf Club and then into Kranji Marsh. It was raining a bit but we still had some great birding. Several new birds for
the trip (including several Yellow Bitterns) and 3 lifers for us (Duarian Starling, Black Baza and Ashy Tailorbird) made it a great end to a great day! Night at Pan Pacific.
Day 2: Today we were going over to Pulau Ubin Island but the village around the ferry terminal, Changi Village, not only offered a great breakfast but some fantastic birding!
Any day you can get 5 lifers before breakfast is a good day – Golden-bellied Gerygone, Sunda Woodpecker, Tanimbar Corella, Little Bronze Cuckoo and Pied Triller. Our main focus on the island was Mangrove Pitta, Mangrove Whistler, Chinese Egret and Great-billed Heron. Although it was reasonably birdy we really didn’t have much luck and a distant view of the Great-billed Heron was all we managed.
After lunch, we stopped at Sengkang Reserve Park where there is a fascinating floating park with several sparrow species and then to Lower Pierce reserve for some roosting Sunda Scops-owls to end the day.
We decided to call it a day ( it was also Christmas Eve) and enjoy some of the city as we only have one day left here and Singapore is fascinating! Night at Pan Pacific
Day 3, 4 & 5: We took Christmas day as s lazy day in SIngapore which is a great city with lots to do and amazing architecture.
On Boxing day we stopped at the Paranaken houses on the way to the airport and then took a short flight over to Bali.
We stayed for a couple of nights at the Intercontinental, Denpasar enjoying another lovely lazy day around the hotel.
Day 6: Back to birding!! Our guide, Madi, picked us up early and we did a short drive to Nasadua Logoon (which are actually sewage works). Lovely peaceful spot in the middle of a crazy town and 5 life birds for us. Small Blue Kingfisher, Slender Billed Crow, Sunda Teal,
Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker and Cave Swiftlet.
Then onto to Serangen, which is a huge area of mudflats, ponds and shrubs. Terek Sandpiper was our target and while we didn’t get that, we did get some great birds including 6 life birds – Javan Plover, Grey-tailed Tattler, Barred Buttonquail, Island Collared Dove, White-shouldered Triller and Black-naped Tern.
After lunch at a strange little surfing spot in Serangen, we drove up to Ubud to a wonderful hotel. Night at Villa Luxe.
Day 7: Started by walking through a great area to the Korsa Kafe where we had a great breakfast. On the way we had some wonderful birds – they weren’t numerous but they were great. Javan Kingfisher, Grey-cheeked Pigeon, Horsfeldt’s Babbler, Bar-winged Prinia, Short-tailed Starling and Javan Munia were all new for us.
We headed down to the coast ( blessing the A/C in the car) to the Unda Delta which was supposed to be good for crakes – it was sooo hot that not a lot was moving but we did see White-headed Munia which was new for us.
Lunch at the beach at Ponta Lekih and then back to hotel for a lazy afternoon. Night at Luxe Villas.
Day 8: Lazy breakfast and then drove up to Bedugal. After we checked into our hotel, we made a late afternoon visit to the Botanical Gardens. It was a bit frustrating – we heard at least 10 lifers but only actually saw 2 of them – Dark-backed Imperial Pigeon, Javan Grey-throated White-eye. Night at the Royal Tulip.
Day 9: Decided to try the Botanical gardens again because this is supposed to deliver some great birds. Unfortunately it wasn’t much better than yesterday but we did add Sunda Cuckoo, Fulvous-breasted Jungle-flycatcher and Black-winged Flycatcher Shrike to our list.
A stop at Bayoun Lake provided great views of Crescent-chested Babbler but not a great deal else so we adjourned for lunch at a great ‘all you can eat’ buffet nearby.
We decided to try the Golf Course in the afternoon but after a frustrating morning and an unfruitful afternoon we called it a day. Night at Royal Tulip. Happy New Year!!
Day 10: Checked out of the Royal Tulip and decided to try the Golf Course one more time on the way out of town. Still a bit frustrating but did add Little Cuckoo-dove and Thick-billed Flowerpecker (quite unexpected!)
Drove to the north side of the island where we said goodbye to our guide and checked into a lovely resort the Plataran Menjangan where we enjoyed the afternoon relaxing.
Day 11: Met our new guide, Iwan, and first stop was a hillside that was supposed to produce a number of species – but it was quite quiet. We did get fantastic views of a nesting Yellow-throated Hanging-parrot. Then it started to rain very hard so we decided to go back down and check out the Bali Mynas at the park headquarters.
The whole place was quite birdy and it was a great spot. We then checked out the harbour for sandpipers but it wasn’t our day! The rain stopped and we went back to our morning spot on the hillside where we lucked out with Ruby-throated Bulbul and Rufous-backed Kingfisher. Night at the Plataran Mengajan.
Day 12: Took an early morning boat ride from the harbour across to the mangroves. Stopped to check out a number of spots for the Mangrove Pitta but no luck there. In fact pretty much nothing was happening so we decided to call it a day. On the way back to the hotel we heard a Mangrove Whistler calling so jumped our of the car and manged to get one lifer!!
Night at the Plataran Megajan – check out the beach side cafe at the resort next door – walk past the Plataran restaurant and security check point and you can’t miss it – lovely spot!
That was the end of the birding for us – we spent the last 3 days down in Seminyak being completely spoiled at the Legian.
Guides & Resources
Birds of BorneoSumatra, Java and Bali – McKinnon & Phillips
A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore.
Lonely Planet guide for points of interest.