This was not a birding trip, but a vacation with my wife Jose and some additional birding. It was my wife’s first real visit to an Asian country, we visited Kuala Lumpur for a few hours in 2007 when we had a stop on our way to Australia, and my first to Indonesia. In Kuala Lumpur we took a taxi and went to K.L. Botanical Gardens for 4 hours, Bali was just a week. When going on a vacation with Jo, I’m able to do some birding before breakfast and in the afternoon, and I always go out birding for one day. This strategy has proven successful on 3 vacations to Australia, a vacation to The Gambia, Tenerife and West-Mexico (and even a week shopping in New York in 2011 where I could add 3 lifers to my life- list).
Bali was always in the back of my head, my brother had been there twice and told us colourful stories and Bali Myna was in my personal top-50. After seeing the pictures from Jan van der Laan on the BD site in 2011, I realised I had to hurry. But when? During my school vacations it’s just too expensive to go for just one week. The chance came sooner that I had expected; this year my school closed for one week in June and the cheap vacations were calling me. I didn’t hesitate for long; I contacted Oswald Huma (Jan’s guide) to learn that he was able to guide me for one day to Bali Barat N.P., so I booked a trip. A week before we left Holland, Oswald mailed me he was not available, but Hery Kusumanegara (he joined Jan in 2011) was. Hery would be my guide, he was pleasant company and a good birder with knowledge of sites and sounds.
Travel agency: Arke Flight, Bed & Breakfast €1977 for 2 persons.(+ we had to and extra € 100 for fuel-costs)
Hotel: Bali Agung Village, Seminyak
Flight: Cathay Pacific
16-06-2012 CX270 Amsterdam -- Hong Kong 14:00 – 07:05 flying time 11.05 hours
17-06-2012 CX785 Hong Kong – Denpasar Bali 10:20 – 15:00 flying time 4.40 hours
24-06-2012 CX784 Denpasar Bali – Hong Kong 16:10 – 20:40 flying time 4.40 hours
25-02-2011 CX271 Hong Kong -- Amsterdam 00:10 - 06.25 flying time 12.15 hours
Daylight: from 06.15h till 18.15h
Currency: Rupiah, €1 around Rp11.600
Bird guide: Hery Kusumanegara email; email@example.com , I paid US$155 for transportation, guide, water and entry to Bali Barat N.P.
Bird books: A field guide to the birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali by John MacKinnon & Karen Phillipps
A photographic guide to the birds of Java, Sumatra and Bali by Tony Tilford.
Trip report: Jan van der Laan, 2011
Visa: On arrival, € 22 or US$ 25 and passport must be valid for 6 months.
When leaving another theft; Rp 150.000
Taxi: We rented a taxi with driver and fuel, 10 hours Rp 500.000. It’s possible to hire a car, but driving is difficult due to the lack of good road signs and the very busy traffic.
Sunday June 17th
After some delays and a lot of turbulence, we landed (Cattle Egret, first bird seen from the plane) around 15.30 h at Denpasat Id Ngurah Rai International Airport where we were welcomed by an employee of Panorama, they’re representing Arke travels on Bali. After a rather long trip (it was rush hour and it took us nearly 50 minutes) we arrived at the hotel at around17.00h. Time for a first exploration trip. It took me 4 minutes to walk the entire area seeing some birds; Tree Sparrow, Nutmeg Munia, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Spotted Dove, Glossy Swiftlet and a singing male Olive-backed Sunbird. I returned to the room and while I was sitting on the balcony my first lifer flew by; in 5 minutes around fifteen Javan Pond Herons. Satisfied we had dinner at the hotel and went to bed at 21:00h.
Monday June 18th
Got up at 07.45h and walked around the compound. One of the first birds I saw was a Java Munia, followed by a few Yellow-vented Bulbuls. I walked to the wall and was frustrated that I could not reach the fields (with cows and birds) at the other side of it. I went to the only place where it was possible to have a look over the wall and one of the first birds I saw was a Javan Sparrow sitting in a tree. I rushed back to the room to get my videocamara, but by the time I returned he was gone. I continued my walk and saw many other birds, a pair of Grey-cheeked Pigeons in the top of a tree with very good light, a few Olive-backed Tailorbirds; from time to time calling, two Purple Herons flew over, about a dozen Edible-nest Swiftlets together with the Glossy’s, a Collared Kingfisher in a distant tree, about ten White-breasted Woodswallows over our room and from time to time flying Javan Myna’s. It was time to explore the area outside the compound, this was disappointing because I hoped to reach the fields at the other side of the wall but I didn’t. But just outside I saw a few Sooty-headed Bulbuls in a tree, a Pied Fantail flew around and a male Scarlet-headed Sunbird announced it brief visit to a bare tree by singing loudly.
I was very satisfied with the first birds, and at 9.00h I returned to the room for breakfast. After breakfast we were sitting on our balcony when I saw a few White-headed Munia’s in a distant tree. We had to be at the reception again at 11.30h for a meeting, and when we walked to the reception a Bar-winged Prinia suddenly flew on the path in front of us. It stayed only for a few moments, but it was very close so I could see all the fieldmarks without bino’s.
After the meeting we went to the beach and did some shopping, the rest of the afternoon we stayed at the swimming pool. I made a brief walk at around 16.00h, again to look over the field when a Long-tailed Shrike flew in a tree close to me and started singing. Unfortunately he was just behind some leaves so I could not video him. We had dinner in a restaurant outside. It was a great day with 8 on a total of 9 lifers so far.
Weather: Very good, around 28-30 degreesC, some scattered clouds, no wind in the morning some wind in the evening.
Tuesday June 19th
When I woke up at 6.30h, there was a little drizzle, it had rained that night, but it stopped at 6.45h and I started to walk around. I only had an hour, we would have breakfast at 8.00h and our taxi would pick us up at 8.30h. This morning walk was not as good as the day before, but I could add White-breasted Waterhen tot the list, was able to video Long-tailed Shrike and saw a nice Javan Pond-Heron.
At 08.30 h. we left the compound to go to Bedugul Botanical Gardens. But we first made a stop at Taman Ayun to visit the temple there. It’s a beautiful temple and I added Brown-throated Sunbird to the list and had another Bar-winged Prinia and a small Water Monitor.
On to Bedugul, we reached the gardens at around 10.45h. where Jo and I walked around for an hour. I had no idea where to go; it was a large lawn with trees, in my eyes not very suitable for birds, besides the Swiftlets that were flying there and the green pigeons that flew out of the trees but to quick and far to identify. Than my attention was drawn by a loud noise and I walked there. It came out of a three very close by, but took me more than 5 minutes before I had a decent view of Indonesian Honeyeaters. We than walked to the path left of the main entrance, in one of the last trees on the lawn I saw a Cinereous Tit (recent split from Great Tit). On the path I immediately saw a Fulvous-chested Jungle-Flycatcher and heard Barbets, but was not able to identify these. High up in a tree I also saw a Little Pied- and a Grey-headed Flycatcher. And I heard (sound are my problem) lots of birds; unfortunately there was not enough time to look for them.
We returned to the car and drove on. A little further we got forest with undergrowth but due to driving through I hardly saw birds. I however saw one bird, again a Fulvous-chested Jungle-Flycatcher with good video options. While taking a shot of it, I heard the barbet above me and this time I could see it; a Flame-fronted Barbet. Our driver discovered an Ashy Drongo, much darker than the ones I’ve seen in other Asian countries.
We left the garden and went to Lake Bratan where we visited the temple near the lake.
After lunch we drove to Gitgit for the waterfall, stopped at the Silver Leaf-Monkeys. There are three falls and we had to get a guide, a local from the village. It was very expensive, R 200.000 to see the falls and I think we had been cheated. But the walk was gorgeous and the falls were great. And I saw a few Oriental White-eyes and a White-crowned Forktail. We left and drove to Jatiluwih to look at the Rice Fields, unfortunately it was pouring, so we left and headed to Seminyak. We arrived at the hotel at 18.30h, 10 hours after we left. After dinner at The Lucky Day we went to bed.
Weather: Rain in the morning, good during the day, but again rain during the afternoon. High 30 degrees, low around 22 degrees.
Wednesday June 20th
This day we had planned a trip to Nusa Lembongan. We were picked up at 07.45h and 25 minutes later we reached the harbour where we had to wait till 09.00h until we sailed away on the Aristocat, a sailing catamaran. In the harbour I saw two Greater Crested Terns and a few Little Terns flying, but on the 2-hour trip I didn’t see other birds. Close to the island I saw a group of Dolphins. We arrived at the island at 11.00h, were briefed and waited till we could join the first snorkelling trip at 12.00h. The snorkelling was great, sadly the weather wasn’t, completely over clouded and a drizzle, therefore we could not enjoy the bright colours that would have been if there was sunshine. After returning to the island again (for the snorkelling we had to sail 7 minutes to a reef, during this short trip I saw one white- and one dark morph Pacific Reef-Egret), we had an excellent lunch. After lunch weather improved and I wanted to do another snorkelling trip but Jo was reading and would not join me.
Then I saw there was a road that let out of the Beach Club, into a village. Change of plans, no snorkelling but walking. During this one-hour walk I had good video opportunities of a Long-tailed Shrike and saw an adult Black-naped Monarch feeding a young, lots of Oriental White-eyes, Sooty-headed Bulbuls, a Blue-trailed Bee-eater, a singing Black-naped Oriole and a Collared Kingfisher. When I returned at 15.00h it was nearly time to leave and I packed my things when I saw a dark Pacific Reef-Egret on the shore. I could not resist this and unpacked, as a reward I got very good video footage.
At 15.45h we left the island and ran into the same group of Dolphins. Again no birds until we reached the harbour. It was low tide and there were many birds on the mudflats, most of the Great- and Little Egrets, but also Javan Pond Herons, some waders I could not identify because of the distance and small groups of Little Pied Cormorants flew over.
At 18.00h we docket, but due to the crowd and traffic, It took us nearly 1 ½ hour to reach the hotel.
Weather: most of the day clouded with some rain around 13.00h. the entire day a light breeze.
Thursday June 21st
At 04.00h I was picked up by Hery and his driver and after a long drive, with some rain, we reached Bali Barat National Park at 07.00h. By that time it had cleared and when we entered the park the first bird we saw was a male Green Junglefowl. A good start of the day.
We continued and within five minutes Hery heard Bail Myna. We stopped the car and there were two birds feeding in a tree. Unfortunately they were both banded. (Hery told me there were thirteen free flying birds in B.B.N.P., most of them banded, a few not banded and of wild origin. There are also around around hundred Myna’s at Nusa Penida, but they are all released). Two other birds of which one was not banded soon joined them!! Here I was looking at one of the world’s rarest birds, probably the rarest wild bird I will ever see. They flew from tree to tree, eating fruits and I was able to make decent video footage of them. We watched them for fifteen minutes before they left. At one moment they were very stressed and alarmed loudly. Hery thought there was a raptor or snake (Last year one bird was caught by a Crested Serpent Eagle and rangers killed a Python. It’s belly contained two Myna’s).
We continued and saw other birds like Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker Cinereous Tit, Common Iora, Olive-backed Tailorbird, Asian Magpie-Robin, Green Junglefowl (more than ten), Island Collared Dove and some Barking Deer. We stopped at a tower and we climbed it to look for falconet. No falconet. Hery heard Black-winged Starlings calling, but they were far and unable to see. Hery wanted to go closer, but before we left I discovered two white birds and a black bird in the distance; a Black Drongo and also Bali Mina’s. These were definite other birds than the ones we had encountered previous. (Hery saw three birds). They took off and we drove into the location of the Black-winged Starlings where we soon located them. There was one bird in a tree canopy and two birds low in another tree a little further. Another target- and endangered endemic (sub) species seen. We continued to the mangroves where Hery did know a roosting place for Sunda Scops-Owl, here we found two of these small owls.
Time to leave the forest and to go to the saltpans. This is the best location for Javan Plover; we had no problem finding this endemic for Java and Bali. It’s very similar to Kentish Plover but with a near white collar, and Kentish is an uncommon winter visitor. We finally saw more than ten of them. Near the mangroves we had no problem finding Golden-bellied Gerygone, Yellow-belled White-eye and hearing Small Blue Kingfisher, but seeing the last one was difficult. It was only a matter of time and persistence before we saw the first one, we later saw about six of them. We also saw some Sunda Teal flying very far away, fortunately they landed and when driving up there we discovered three birds in a saltpan at close range. They didn’t allow me to video them and took off as soon as I opened the door. Other birds at the saltpans were a White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Cave-, Glossy- and Edible-nest Swiftlets, a Common Redshank, a few Black-winged Stilts, a Striated Heron, a Grey-tailed Tattler, Sacred Kingfishers and in the heronery we heard a Black-crowned Night-Heron calling.
Around noon we had lunch, after lunch we drove to another tower. Here we had another chance for the falconet but again nothing. We moved to the forest for Javan Banded Pitta, but since lunch it seemed that our luck had changed. We walked the forest for more than two hours having excellent views of the small Rufous-backed Kingfisher, but not a sigh from the Pitta. We heard a Hair-crested Drongo singing and calling loudly in a tree above us, but were unable to find it. There was a Greater Flameback drumming on a tree, we did see that one.
When we wanted to leave Hery heard some noise of leaves on the ground; a Pitta!. But before we could see it, it took of. The yellow on the head was very obvious. I felt really frustrated, after two hours so close to my 10th Pitta species and now he was gone.
Time to try our luck at another location. When we stopped the car we heard a Pitta calling and we quickly entered the forest, but despite taping, no reaction. While walking we searched the forest floor when Hery thought he saw some movement. We looked for a few minutes but nothing and just when we wanted to continue I saw some movement. A bird with the size of a Pitta hopped behind a trunk. Hery didn’t see it, but I watched the spot very concentrated and suddenly a male Javan Banded Pitta hopped in my binoculars and stayed thee for about ten seconds. Although he was behind some twigs I could see everything on this bright coloured bird. Was a beauty!
At this same location we saw a souring Crested Serpent Eagle, a pair of Malaysian Cuckoo-Shrikes, a Liniated Barbet, lots of the red headed subspecies of Coppersmith Barbet, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater and Grey-rumped Treeswifts. We also heard the high pitch of Yellow-throated Hanging-Parrot but were unable to see it.
Last location was near the coast where we saw a roosting Savanna Nightjar, a Great-billed Heron and three Beach Thick-knees.
It was 17.15h and the end of a great birding day. Hery proved to be of great value, not only because his birdingskills and never stopping effort to show me the birds, but he also is pleasant company and I can recommend him to every birder who’s visiting Bali. Due to the traffic it took us more that four hours to reach Seminyak, many times we could only drive as fast as 25 km/h because we were stuck behind a truck.
Weather: clouds 40-60%, no rain during the day and a little wind. Around 30 degreesC.
Friday June 22nd
We were picked up at 08.30h by Gusti, the driver from Thursday, to go to Ubud and Samur. We reached Ubud at 10.45h, Hery had told me where to look for Javan Kingfisher, the track through the rice field that starts at Campuhan Bridge. We found the bridge, and we found a track, but after walking this track for twenty minutes, we still didn’t see rice fields. It was however a beautiful track on a ridge so we enjoyed the view. But I wanted to find the rice fields (and the kingfisher) so we returned to the bridge, but we were half way back when I heard a bird calling loudly and I saw some very light bird fly into a tree. When I looked I could not believe my eyes, I was looking at a Bali Myna. It was banded and it was way out of range. I could not see the other bird that was calling inside the tree and I don’t know if that one was banded too. I quickly took some video footage of the banded bird when the other bird came out; unfortunately they both took off at that moment. What a sighting!
Other birds here were swiftlets and Pacific Swallows. Gusti picked us up at 12.00h and we drove to the rice-field near Monkey Forest, but despite looking I could not find a Javan Kingfisher. We than drove to Ubud Palace where we enjoyed the rice fields. It was a nice road with gorgeous views but still no Kingfisher. I’m afraid Javan Kingfisher has to wait till next time when we visit Bali.
After lunch we drove to Samur where we spend a few hours on the beach. At 18.00h we were back at the hotel.
Weather: In Ubud it was hot and we had a few raindrop, at Samur it was nice, not that hot. Clouds 40-100%
Saturday June 23rd
This was a relaxing day, no trips planned, breakfast at around 09.00h. But first some birding in the area of the hotel. I got up at 06.45h and tried to find the entrance to the fields behind the hotel, I hoped that the Javan Sparrow would be there again. When I reached the asphalt road I went right, but this didn’t lead to the fields. It only saw more hotels and houses, but here I saw two Pied Fantails and three Bar-winged Prinia’s. But more important, a man asked me what I was doing there. I told him about the field and the trouble finding it, he knew the field and he told me how to get there. I had to go to the main road, turn left and take the next left again. So I did and I ended up at the fields and noticed there were also rice fields, to my opinion good for Javan Kingfisher. There were lots of birds there, Collared- and Sacred Kingfishers, Javan Pond Herons, a Zitting Cisticola, all three Munia’s, Javan Myna’s, a Long-tailed Shrike, White-breasted Waterhen and Scarlet-headed Sunbirds. I was able to take some nice video footage.
I returned to the hotel and after breakfast we went out shipping in Seminyak, the afternoon was spent near the swimming pool.
Weather: Good, partly clouded and around 30 degrees.
Sunday June 24th
This was the final morning in Bali, I wanted a last chance for Javan Sparrow, so at 06.45 I left to room and went straight to the field. When I was filming a Javan Myna, a Javan Kingfisher flew over the field, landing in a palm tree at the edge of the rice fields. Unfortunately there was a man on a motor making a lot of noise, so the kingfisher took off soon after and landed in a tree a little further. Here he also left quickly and disappeared in the garden behind the fields. In the next hour I didn’t see him again, but I was very lucky to see this bird during my final birding hour in Bali.
This next hour was very nice, I saw two Zebra Doves, in the bare tree above our room five White-breasted Woodswallows landed, two White-breasted Waterhen were walking on a wall, not aware of my presence they took their time and didn’t ran into vegetation, Grey-cheeked Pigeons landed in the same bare tree above our room and at one moment I counted fifteen of them and the Zitting Cisticola showed itself very nice on a bare stick. The only birds I didn’t see were the Sacred Kingfishers.
It was a very nice end of a wonderful week in Bali. After breakfast we packed and were picked up by the taxi from Panorama that took us to the airport.
Weather: Good, not too hot and some scattered clouds.
1-Bali Myna; because it’s rarity, the way I saw them, the unringed bird and the two birds at Ubud.
2-Javan Banded Pitta; after a search for more than 2 hours a bird took off to soon, and finally the reward of seeing it good at another location.
3-Javan Sparrow; seeing this bird in the first 5 minutes and never seeing it again, it was high on my list because it’s a rarity and as an 8 year old boy I caught an escaped one in Holland, but this escaped again.
4-Javan Kingfisher; after looking for it at Ubud and not finding it, I saw it in my last birding hour.
5-Green Junglefowl; it’s just a beautiful chicken.
Checklist ( L = lifer)
Sunda Teal Anas gibberifrons L
Green Junglefowl Gallus varius L
Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos
Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
Great Egret Ardea alba
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Pacific Reef-Heron Egretta sacra
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Javan Pond-Heron Ardeola speciosa L
Striated Heron Butorides striata
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster
Crested Serpent-Eagle Spilornis cheela
White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus
Beach Thick-knee Burhinus magnirostris
Javan Plover Charadrius javanicus L
Pied Stilt Himantopus leucocephalus
Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes
Common Redshank Tringa totanus
Little Tern Sternula albifrons
Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica
Great Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii
Island Collared-Dove Streptopelia bitorquata L
Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis
Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
Zebra Dove Geopelia striata
Orange-breasted Green-Pigeon Treron bicinctus
Grey-cheeked Pigeon Treron griseicauda L
Yellow-throated Hanging-Parrot Loriculus pusillus L
Sunda Scops-Owl Otus lempiji L
Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis L
Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta
Cave Swiftlet Collocalia linchi L
Edible-nest Swiftlet Aerodramus fuciphagus L
House Swift Apus nipalensis
Grey-rumped Treeswift Hemiprocne longipennis
Small Blue Kingfisher Alcedo coerulescens L
Rufous-backed Kingfisher Ceyx rufidorsa
Javan Kingfisher Halcyon cyanoventris L
Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris
Sacred Kingfisher Todiramphus sanctus
Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus
Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Merops leschenaulti
Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata
Flame-fronted Barbet Megalaima armillaris L
Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala
Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopos macei
Greater Flameback Chrysocolaptes lucidus
Javan Banded Pitta Pitta guajana L
Indonesian Honeyeater Lichmera limbata L
Golden-bellied Gerygone Gerygone sulphurea L
White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorynchus
Common Iora Aegithina tiphia
Javan Cuckoo-shrike Coracina javensis L
White-shouldered Triller Lalage sueurii
Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach
Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis
Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus
Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus
Hair-crested Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus L
Pied Fantail Rhipidura javanica
Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea
Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica
Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis
Cinereous Tit Parus cinereus
Sooty-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus aurigaster
Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier
Grey-cheeked Bulbul Alophoixus bres
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis
Olive-backed Tailorbird Orthotomus sepium L
Bar-winged Prinia Prinia familiaris L
Fulvous-chested Jungle-Flycatcher Rhinomyias olivaceus L
Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni
Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis
White-crowned Forktail Enicurus leschenaulti L
Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus
Yellow-bellied White-eye Zosterops chloris L
Short-tailed Starling Aplonis minor
Javan Myna Acridotheres javanicus L
Black-winged Starling Acridotheres melanopterus L
Bali Myna Leucopsar rothschildi L
Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker Dicaeum trochileum L
Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis L
Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
Javan Munia Lonchura leucogastroides L
Nutmeg Mannikin Lonchura punctulata
White-headed Munia Lonchura maja
Java Sparrow Padda oryzivora L
I had a very nice vacation, saw 100 species of which 32 were lifers.