BIRDING AROUND THE WORLD

Subtitle

EASTERN INDONESIA 26TH SEPT TO 25TH OCT 2012         Jon Hornbuckle

Participants: Brian Foster, Jon Hornbuckle, Dave Pitman

I returned to Indonesia for the 9th time to bird 3 rarely visited islands and to see birds I had missed on my short trip to Timor back in 2001. I joined Brian and Dave on Ambon after their visit to the Tanimbars, Kai and Seram that I had done in 2009. We proceeded to Buru in the Moluccas, Peleng in the Banggai islands, and Alor, via Timor in the Lesser Sundas. The trip went very well, largely thanks to help throughout from local people – we did not use any agencies or tour companies.

Buru is being invaded by aspiring gold-miners - there are said to be 75,000 men digging for gold with some making good money, and more arriving all the time. This causes congestion on the ferries, fuel shortages and serious crime. Buru has had a reputation for unfriendliness, with no English spoken and poor logistics, but we were pleasantly surprised to find the people to be friendly and helpful, with a few speaking English. Road improvements were in progress and some vehicles for hire. The only mishap was with the police at Airbuaya imposing a fine, equivalent to a total of £70 for the 3 of us, because we had no proof of registering with them on Ambon and Buru. We saw all the birds we expected to see, 15 or so ticks for me, but only Lesser Masked Owl of the 5 others hoped for.

The Peleng leg went smoothly because we were able to contact local man Labi, by mobile phone, and pay him to organize the week-long trip. He met us at Luwuk airport on mainland Sulawesi, and guided us throughout. After this we made an overnight detour from Makassar, Sulawesi, to Mt Lompobattang to see the highly localised flycatcher there, successfully. The final destination, the Timor region, was also largely successful. I had 5 ticks on Alor including an undescribed Myzomela taxon, and 4 on Timor plus 2 likely splits, but not the difficult Sunda Thrush and undescribed Parrotfinch (identified recently by James Eaton). We had intended to visit Roti island, near to Timor, by ferry from Kupang but decided time was too short to see more than another undescribed boobook, and instead we visited the island of Pantar, by ferry. This was a disappointment as we could not find the 2 hoped-for owls, but did have the unexpected bonus of a reasonable view of a Blue Whale on the way back to Alor. We then had the unusual experience (for us) of “chilling out” for 2 days at a dive resort on the small island of Alor Kecil, enjoying the best food of the trip thanks to the French lady in charge. The final 3 days or so were spent on Timor seeing most of what we wanted and being lucky with good weather on Mt Mutis.

Photos from the trip are on my website http://jonathanhornbuckle.webs.com/          

ITINERARY

Sept 26 Arrive Ambon, via Jakarta, then overnight ferry to Buru.

Sept 27 Arrive Namlea, drive to Airbuaya, visit police and Wamlana logging camp, overnight Waspit Resort near Wamlana.

Sept 28 a.m. BF and JH bird river area at Wamlana, DP returns to Namlea (with Ali) to obtain permission to visit logging area, driving back to Resort. P.m. with police and logging management, night at Resort.

Sept 29-30 Wamlana logging road all day, charter boat on 30th from Airbuaya – Bara 18.00-19.30, night at homestay.

Oct 1-2 Bara area, nights at homestay.

Oct 3  Bus Bara – Airbuaya 04.30- 06.30, bemo to Namlea 10.00-13.00, overnight ferry to Ambon.                            

Oct 4 Fly Ambon to Luwuk via Makassar, 13.45-17.20, overnight ferry with Labi to Salakan, Peleng.

Oct 5 Car to Tataba, hike up to Kokolomboi with Labi, night at Labi’s guesthouse.

Oct 6 – 7 Birding above Kokolomboi.

Oct 8  Birding near Kokolomboi till 12.00, walk down to Tatengeng, car along coast to Salakan, night at Yason’s new house.

Oct 9 Birding near Salakan.

Oct 10 Birding a.m., ferry to Luwuk 16.35-20.45, night at Ramayana Beach Hotel.                                   

Oct 11 Luwuk am, fly to Makassar 16.30-18.00, taxi 70km to Malino, night at large run-down Pasanggarahan Malino hotel.

Oct 12  Lompobattang and Air Terjun 05.40–10.30, drive to Makassar airport 11.00-14.00, fly to Bali 16.30-17.30, night at Mertha Jat Hotel/bungalow.                        

Oct 13 Fly Bali – Kupang, Timor 09.20-10.50, birding at Camplong till dark, night at Hotel Susi, Kupang.

Oct 14  Fly Timor –  Alor 14.20-13.05, night at hotel in Kalabahi.           

Oct 15 Ojeks to Apui 06.15-07.30, then local ojeks to Telekom tower where birded and walked down trail to Apui, night at Linda’s house.

Oct 16 Ojeks at 07.00, earliest possible, along lower tracks then to Telekom tower, walked back to Linda’s.

Oct 17 Birding at Apui, DP returned to tower, BF to Kalabahi, JH to paddies, then DP and JH owling.                 

Oct 18 Owling, ojeks to Kalabahi, ferry to Baranusa, Pantar by 2 boats, owling till 20.00, night at Habib’s house but none of the promised food.                                         

Oct 19 Walk 06.00-07.00, ferry back to Alor 07.35 - 12.30. Bemo 14km for short boat trip to La Petite Kepa Dive resort on Alor Kecil where BF was already staying, night at resort.                                      .

Oct 20 Chilling out on Alor Kecil.

Oct 21 Alor Kecil till 12.00, airport at 14.00, Timor flight delayed till 16.45, arrived Kupang 17.30, night at Hotel Susi.

Oct 22 Taxi to Bipolo 05.00 till 10.30, BF back to Kupang in taxi, JH & DP take bemos to Fatumnasi on Mt Mutis, arriving 16.00, night at homestay.

Oct 23 Mt Mutis all day. [BF day trips to Camplong].

Oct 24 Mt Mutis 04.00 – 07.30, bemo to Kupang 08.00-12.30, BF and DP fly to Jakarta, JH night at Hotel Maliana.     

Oct 25 JH Bipolo 04.30-11.15 by ojek, returned to hotel Maliana, fly to Jakarta 17.15-20.15.

Oct 26 Fly Jakarta – Doha – Manchester 00.10-13.20 by Qatar Air.

DAILY LOG

 Sept 26:  I arrived at Ambon from Jakarta at 06.30 (2hours ahead) on Bratavia flight, forgot to check in with police as no-one asked me to. Caught bus into town, 30 min wait for other passengers, arrived at Victoria Guest House at 08.45. Met Dave and Brian, took ojeks (motorbike taxis) up the hillside to look for Ambon White-eye, seen poorly, with Slaty Flycatcher. Brian bought tickets for a tiny cabin on a private overnight ferry to Namlea, Buru as the cheaper public ferry was full, mainly with gold-miners. Arranged to meet Karina, traveling on the faster private ferry, in Namlea as she had offered to help. Ferry was slow but I had a bed for the first since home 3 nights earlier! 

 Sept 27: Spectacular dawn with numerous Red-necked Phalaropes on the sea. Landed at 07.30, mey by Karina at the harbour, with ojek driver Ali, an English-speaker who turned out to be very helpful. Stopped at Karina’s house for some time, as she offered us a lift to Airbuaya near Wamana logging road, the key birding site. We tried to book a 4x4 to go up the logging road in subsequent days but the best offer was 2.5 million a day = £170 so we decided to gamble on getting a vehicle on site. We thought of registering with the police but Ali said it wasn’t necessary. Departure delayed by lack of fuel in town, eventually left at 14.00. Passed several very long queues of vehicles at petrol stations before reaching Waspit Resort near Wamana at 15.00. We found this huge expanse of new buildings only charged 500k = £33 a night for a large room, and had no guests as only a handful of tourists a year come to Buru, so booked a room. Continued to the logging camp where we were told they could provide transport into the mountains if we got permission from the authorities, so we went to the nearby police chief’s house. He was friendly and said he could give us what we wanted provided we got written permission from Namlea. We thought we could go on to Bara for 2 days then return to Namlea for the permit but realized that would then be a Sunday when offices would be shut so there was no option but for someone to return now with Karina. Dave reluctantly volunteered, while Brian and I stayed at the resort.

 Sept 28: Up at 05.45, walked to nearby river and birded along it, finding a fruiting tree with drongo, friarbird, oriole, Pale-grey Cuckooshrike, Slaty Flycatcher and Northern Fantail. Walked to a small wood where 3 Moluccan Cuckoos were in territorial dispute, but by 09.00 all was dead. Back at the resort Dave arrived on Ali’s bike with a letter from the Forestry Dept authorizing us to go up the mt. We lunched while Ali prayed, then the police appeared from Airbuaya, the town beyond where we had seen the police chief, and asked for our passport and surat jalan, which we didn’t have. They threatened to send us back to Ambon unless we paid for the missing papers and after a long debate we agreed to pay £65 and hand over passports till we left the area, when we could collect them from the station. I went with Ali and a young policeman to the logging camp to see the site manager who agreed to grant us a vehicle at 06.00 to take us up the mountain. We visited Airbuaya police station to see where to collect our passports. Ali returned to Namlea, we dined at the resort. A trying day, with no alcohol to ease the pain on this muslim island!

 Sept 29: Frustratingly there was no sign of transport at the logging camp until 07.30 when a big truck arrived and took us up to the pass at km15. I elected to dismount here while the others continued for a few more km and although I walked on for 7 km before turning back, I failed to find them. I saw a selection of birds including good views of Racquet-tails lower down but missed some of the expected endemics. I hitched a lift at km9 back to the resort; the others returned later on the original truck. They had seen more than me and were particularly elated because of seeing the rare Rufous-throated Dark-eye, or so they thought. They had also arranged a lift back up at 05.00 on the morrow.    

 Sept 30: The lift didn’t materialize and no other vehicles were going up because it was Sunday. We eventually found the promised lift but the owner said he could not take us until 08.00. Fortunately a truck appeared at 07.00 and offered to take us, dropping us off at Km20 at 07.45. We asked the driver to pick us up at 2pm as we wanted to go to the lowland forest at Bara in the afternoon. Birding was slow, possibly because it was hot and sunny, but I eventually saw Buru Honeyeater, Tawny-backed Fantail and Buru Pigeon, endemics I’d missed. DP and BF realized what they’d seen yesterday was a young Wakolo Myzomela, not a Darkeye. Brian and I walked quickly down to the junction at Km11 to try for a lift as the truck failed to appear, and finally got one at 5pm. DP birded on the way down but was fortunate in being picked up by truck about 6pm. By the time we met up in Airbuaya it was nearly dark so our only way of getting to Bara was by hiring an open long boat (for 600k). With a calm sea and good visibility, this took 90mins – I wouldn’t like to have traveled this way in rough water. We reached the village at 21.00 and were escorted to the home-stay, arranged for us by Karina. There was a meal and an English-speaking teacher laid on too, so we were able to discuss plans for the morrow.

 Oct 1:  The 2 available ojeks took Dave and Brian 3km to the river at dawn (05.30), before returning for me. They heard a Tyto calling near the river and soon had good views of it, a Lesser Masked-Owl. It responded to play-back when I arrived but wouldn’t show. We waded across the stony river in sandals, then walked along a new road being built to an enlarged port, finding a fruiting tree holding lots of fruit-doves and imperial-pigeons but no green-pigeons. We continued along a left fork into remnant forest, largely bird-less, but eventually found the target endemic Black-tipped Monarch, along with White-naped Monarch and Forsten’s Scrubfowl, before returning to Bara for lunch. After a siesta till 16.00, we walked through palms then secondary forest by the coast until a fruiting fig tree was found. This was favoured by parrots, especially Red Lories, and eventually Brian and I had a good view of a Buru Green-Pigeon flying out. I had heard 1 calling, like a Pompadour in the Philippines, but never saw another. We did see a Buru Cuckooshrike perched in a bare tree, good news for me as I’d not had a good view on the logging road. Walked back to the river and was relieved to see the Masked-Owl at dusk. Later an adult and young Moluccan Scops performed nicely but we only heard a distant Boobook. Poor night’s sleep due to a few mozzies in the room, a fairly rare experience fortunately.

 Oct 2: 05.45 back to the Tyto site, the bird soon appeared giving a great view but before I could photo, it moved out of sight, never to be seen again. Went with Brian to the afternoon fig tree but not much action, then along the forest-lined main road where the only good sighting was a beautiful reticulated python sunning itself on the road. Saved it from being crushed by a vehicle by throwing a rock at it to make it move. Did see and hear an Indian/ Sunda Cuckoo. Walked back to the river, past chain-saws but no birds. Brian crossed the river to look for Dave who claimed a Green-Pigeon, Black-tipped Monarch and Gray’s Gropper; I walked back to Bara only seeing a Forsten’s Scrubfowl. No ojeks available in the afternoon till Rissel arrived on one at 5pm and took Dave back to the river, then came back to take me to a village where Moluccan Scrubfowl lay eggs on or near the beach. I spent some time with a local at 2 sites but they didn’t look promising. It was full moon time but I hadn’t realized the moon would be late rising. I walked back to the village to await Rissel’s return, which at 20.30 was later than hoped. Drove back to Bara just as the moon appeared, passing a civet-type animal feeding on a road kill.

.Oct 3: We took the only bus of the day out of Bara at 04.30, fording a very wide, quite deep river before arriving at Airbuaya at 06.30. Collected our passports when the relevant policeman arrived at 08.00. Birded along the shore, seeing our only Intermediate Egret, Little Pied Cormorant and plovers on Buru before taking a bemo to Nemlea at 10.00. Arrived at 13.00 and explored the town with its large covered market by the coast and 1000s of motorbikes. Dave met up with Ali. We ojeked to an up-market restaurant near the ferry terminal to dine with Katrina and her husband (an artist) on good sweet corn soup and scraggy chicken. Walked to the ferry, with Ali joining us to help and say farewell – a great guy. Boarded at 18.30, rather hot, departed 2 hours later. We had so-called VIP berths in a line with many locals, tolerable when underway as there was then a sort of air-conditioning.

 Oct 4: Reached Ambon at 05.20, very busy terminal. Ojeks to Victoria GH where we all shared a room, with hot shower for a change. Emailed for some time. Tried 2 travel agents for onward flight bookings but useless. Left for the airport by taxi at 11.10, arriving 12.05. The 12.46 flight to Makassar left an hour late so we only had a 90 min wait for the 4pm Luwuk flight on Wings/Lion Air. Arrived at Luwuk at 17.45 and were met by Labi who took us to town in a large taxi. Had a simple meal and my first beer of the trip (£2 for a litre bottle)! Caught the 9pm ferry to Sandakan..

 Oct 5: Arrived at Peleng in the Banggai islands at 01.15! Labi found a decent car and we drove westwards to Tatengeng on the coast where Labi lived, arriving at c.5am. I was rather squashed in at the back but got some sleep. After a little more on Labi’s floor, we drove to the police station at Tataba to report our presence. After breakfast at Labi’s we returned to Tataba to meet the village council, in session, who were all very friendly. We hiked up the hillside with 3 porters to the hamlet of Kokolomboi at 530m, arriving 12.30, and installed ourselves in Labi’s spacious new guesthouse, equipped with electricity, mattresses and TV (watched by all the locals). After lunch and siesta, birded in the vicinity of the village, highlights being a distant Banggai Crow and a close Banggai Scops Owl. Had an early night after fish, noodles and rice, our staple diet on Peleng.

 Oct 6: After a surprisingly cold night, we had a sweaty climb to 840m, lead by Labi’s assistant Maleso. Birded the good forest around this locality for several hours, sheltering from rain in the observation tower for one hour, partly spent snoozing. Notable birds were endemic Helmeted Myna, Slaty Cuckooshrike and “Banggai” Warbler, but Sula Pitta was only heard. Visibility became poor due to low cloud and bird activity died so we returned to the village down the steep hillside, without mishap. Labi had been down to the coast and returned with a large fish, giving the best meal we had had so far.

 Oct 7: Breakfast of 2 fried eggs and rice, then up a little way to look for Banggai Fruit-Dove, seen there by Brian yesterday. No luck but one was called in further up. The same couldn’t be said for calling Sula Pittas. Visibility was good at the tower, but activity slow. Two “Moluccan” Drongo-Cuckoos, a proposed split, were in altercation, 5 Banggai Crow in the air together and both “Common” Cicadabirds and Slaty Cuckooshrikes were evident. Also had good views of the scarce Jerdon’s Baza on several occasions. We set off for lower forest and were soon assailed by monsoon-type rain, saved by umbrellas and a wooden hut. It stopped after an hour or so but the descent was very slippery. Ruddy Kingfisher and Henna-tailed Jungle-Flycatcher were seen well at last, both having been heard several times. We spent some time trying to see Sula Pitta in the logging area near the village, and eventually succeeded briefly with a responsive bird.  

 Oct 8: It was dry today for a change and we decided to concentrate on the 500m elevation area, mainly for Red-and-black Thrush, helped by both Labi and Maleso. We eventually had a few brief views of a thrush, before splitting up. I stuck to Maleso who had exceptional eyes and helped me to have two good views of a thrush perched in fairly small trees, along with a pair of Rusty-flanked Fantails. We returned to the lodge for an early lunch before taking a 2 hour walk down to the coast. Labi took our passports to the police to report our departure to Sandakan at the eastern end of the island. This scenic drive was notable for a Red-legged Crake crossing the road. We stopped at Sandakan to buy provisions before continuing to Yason’s incomplete new house, our home for the next 2 nights. We slept together on the first floor, taking care to avoid where the floor-boards were missing, with B and D soon fast asleep.

 Oct 9: After coffee and chips, we walked along the road, soon stopping to try for Sula Pitta. This time 2 were more obliging, though I only had flight views. It was to become a hot, dry day with much waiting for Yason, with his 2 dogs, and Maleso searching for Sula Scrubfowl in the scrubland and forest. Luck was against us, consolations being close views of adult and immature Sulawesi Serpent-Eagles and a Slaty Cuckooshrike on a tiny nest on a bare side-branch 10m up. Four accipiters soared up as though migrating, most probably Chinese Goshawks.

 We returned to the house for lunch then back in the field at 14.15. Yason saw 2 individual Scrubfowl but they didn’t flush into trees for us to see as hoped. We did see a good number of birds including Vinous-breasted Sparrowhawk, Golden-mantled Racquet-tail, Drongo Cuckoo and Gray’s Warbler, especially in a fruiting tree that held fruit-doves and Grey-cheeked Pigeons. We took a long route back in the dark, through many piles of road-making stones and gravel. The sound of parrots calling in the starry starry night was intriguing until we eventually realised they were Blue-backed.

 Oct 10: Up at 04.30 for coffee, 45 min walk to the forest to resume the Scrubfowl search. No joy so moved to a different area where we heard it call and saw a nest-mound but no birds. Silver-tipped Imperial-Pigeons were common and we also saw Purple Heron, Woolly-necked Stork, Black Pigeon, Black-billed Malkoha and a pair of Helmeted Myna. I walked back to yesterday’s Pitta site while Yason had a final unsuccessful try for the Scrubfowl. At 11.00 3 pittas responded to my play-back and a Red-and-black Thrush flew off the ground. I sat down on the bank and a Sula Pitta hopped silently up to me but rapidly disappeared when I pointed the camera at it. I tried on the other side of the road and had a similar experience. Three men arrived to collect rocks so I called it a day, well satisfied except for the Scrubfowl. After a good lunch at the house, we packed and took ojeks to the port to board the ferry for the 4hour journey to Luwuk. After a 90 min wait, trying to avoid the ubiquitous cigarette smoke, while the mosques wailed their greetings, the ferry had a tricky departure through coral reefs in shallow water, against a scenic vista of hills, fishermen and white sand. From the number of smoking plots visible, I suspect all this eastern lowland hill forest is destined for agriculture. After some sleep on the bunk beds we reached Luwuk at 20.45 and walked to Ramayana Beach Hotel where Brian and I paid 150k for bed and breakfast for the 2 of us while Dave and Labi visited bars and then slept on the ferry for 30k each.

 Oct 11: Lie in till 07.00, then internet and clothes-washing. Taxi to the small airport at 2pm but the Batavia flight didn’t arrive till 4pm and there was nowhere worth birding. Late departure, arriving Makassar at 6pm. Met by taxi, pre-ordered through fellow passenger on our flight. Jacob, an English-speaking tour-guide, joined us for the drive to Malino, a hill-station at 1000-1150m on the side of Mt Lompobattang. With heavy traffic in Makassar and a winding road, it took 3 hours to reach Malino, at 21.30. We booked into a large, ok but rundown hotel Pasanggarahan Malino with nice gardens, only 150k for a 3-bed room. Jacob kindly booked us a car for 05.30 to take us birding and back to the airport, before returning to Makassar in the taxi.

 Oct 12: After coffee and crackers, we drove to Mt Lompobattang at 05.40. We clambered up to the ridge trail and saw a smart Lompobattang Flycatcher fairly easily. Another quiet one was 100-200m further on but both disappeared after a few mins, never to be seen again. A modest selection of other birds was seen including Sulawesi Warbler, Flyeater, Rusty-breasted Cuckoo, Ornate Lorikeet, Black Sunbird, Citrine Flycatcher and Golden Whistler, before we returned to the car and drove to nearby Air Terjun waterfall. A few trees held a good variety of birds such as Sulawesi Woodpecker, Black-ringed and Yellow-bellied White-eye, Sulawesi Myzomela, Crimson-crested Flowerpecker and a Tree Martin for Brian. We left the hotel at 11 and drove down beside the dry, stony valley of a wide river, reaching the airport at 2pm after a Big Mac lunch stop. As usual our flight was late, but it eventually landed at Bali at 17.45. Surprised to see 2 Aus RAF planes on the tarmac. Checked in at the cheap Martha Jatr Hotel, away from the action, and had a nice meal nearby.

 Oct 13: Up at 06.00, to airport for 08.50 Lion Air flight to Timor, a mere 30 mins late. Reminded me that on my previous visit 11 years ago, I’d been allowed on with a vicious knife (for mist-netting assistance) as hand-luggage! Two Aus Pratincoles were seen as we landed at Kupang. Taxi to Hotel Susi on the coast, thought by DP to be good value on his previous visit. Took a room but subsequently regretted it – rather a shit-hole. Hired a taxi for the rest of the day to take us to Camplong and back. Although very dry and windy, it was surprisingly birdy with Slaty Cuckoo-Dove, Bushbird, Fruit-Doves, Honeyeater and Whistler. At dusk 2 Boobooks started responding and eventually one flew in. The coastal road outside our hotel was occupied by food stalls, good for fresh fish and fruit-shakes so we had our supper there. Decided to abandon our plan to go to Roti tomorrow because of the ferry times – we wouldn’t be able to get back on 15th in time to catch the 2pm flight to Alor. 

 Oct 14: We went to the airport at 7am to try to bring forward the Alor flight by a day -  succeeded but had to pay an extra of nearly 300k as the 45min Merpati flight was more expensive today. This 1pm flight was late arriving and took off at 2.20pm. On arrival we talked to 2 local teachers, Linda and Ingrid, while awaiting our bags. One was teaching at Apui in the hills where we wanted to stay so she kindly offered to put us up. We took ojeks into Kalabahi town and stayed at a nice hotel, then dined at a good restaurant with a few locals including Ingrid.

 Oct 15: Ojeks were ordered for 05.30 but didn’t come; it took us till 06.15 before we found 3. Wanted to leave early for Apui because we’d been told it would take 3 hours to get there. This was wrong as it only took 80 mins, traveling East along the coast then inland and up to 715m to Linda’s house just before the main village. On the way up Brian was lucky enough to see a single Flores Green-Pigeon.  After socializing, we took local ojeks, bought provisions, scanned the forest beyond and saw a Flores Hawk-Eagle, the only one of the trip, then climbed to the Telekom tower on the horizon. The road was steep and very rough in places so we had to walk a few times. It was cloudy when we got there at c.1200m. There was a trail down to the village so we spent some time going up and down the stretch near the top where the main interest was. Birds were quite scarce but we did locate the main quarry, an undescribed Myzomela – similar to Crimson-hooded on Wetar but with less red on the body – at two places, some 100m apart. We also saw Golden Whistler, Mountain White-eye and Cinereous Tit. We went a bit lower down to grassy habitat suitable for Timor Bush-Warbler, recently discovered not far away by Filip Verbelen and Colin Trainor. Play-back resulted in a strong response from 2 birds, eventually giving good views. Black-backed Fruit-Dove was nearby and lower still were Short-tailed Myna and Thick-billed Crow. The walk to the road was steep and slippery in places but not too arduous and it was only a mile or so from the bottom to Linda’s.

 Oct 16: No ojeks available till 7am because the drivers were busy with lifts for locals. Linda collected eggs from the market and rustled up breakfast, then I did some photography in the village. Churches were surprisingly numerous – Alor is 60/40 Christian/Muslim but most of Apui is Christian. We set off on the ojeks to drive round the lower levels of the mountain through some good forest, along rough and steep tracks, up and down. Red-backed Buttonquails were the only birds of interest until we walked up to a ridge. Here we saw a Flores Green-Pigeon perched up nearby, my target for this drive, but it flew off before I could take a photo. Elegant Pittas called but we were unable to see any. We returned to the road and on up to the Telekom tower, seeing a small presumed Japanese Sparrowhawk and 2 Oriental Honey-Buzzard near the top.  After lunch here we pursued the quest for a good photo and recording of the Myzomela - no success but were able to watch a party of 5 for some time feeding with 2 Indonesian (Brown) Honeyeaters. The Timor Bush-Warbler gave little response this time but a similar song was heard at 1000m in thick grassy scrubland, and must have been one. Good numbers of dark-skinned locals trekked up the mountain, burdened with items bought at the Tuesday market. As it started raining we slithered down asap and back to base at 16.45, just as the heavens opened.

 Oct 17: The local birdman took us to open forest above a steep forested valley behind Linda’s at dawn. We heard several Mees’s Nightjar calling loudly and then 2 Alor Boobook in the valley, but they soon stopped. Brian decided to go down to Kalabahi and Dave and I to stay on for another shot at the owl. First we checked some wetland at Apui for Red-legged Crake, only seeing Ruddy-breasted Crake (well). Then we returned to the valley and saw a few birds but nothing outstanding. We returned to the mountain to look for Timor B-W at Filip’s site, failed to find the site but did hear one lower than expected. Dave carried on to the tower and had a similar experience to yesterday’s while I went down and explored the paddy-fields, finding a large mixed flock of Five-coloured and Scaly-breasted Munias along with 20+ Yellow Wagtail. Then recce’d the owl site for a good viewing spot, going back at dusk with Dave. There was some response by 2 birds to play-back at dusk but no sighting till Dave moved lower and saw one silhouetted in a tree. I saw it fly closely past but we couldn’t bring any out so returned to Linda’s to eat then tried play-back in the village, hearing one briefly in woodland near the paddies. I went back to sleep on my mat on the floor.

 Oct 18: At 03.45 we woke birdman to take us to a site in forest on the valley-side that would be a surefire success according to Dave. Unfortunately, birdman couldn’t understand where we wanted to go and we couldn’t find the trail in the dark. We took a higher trail and eventually heard a boobook and a tyto but as daylight soon came, we didn’t see either. A disappointing cock-up. As we’d had enough of Apui, we ojeked down to town, finding Brian at a different hotel. We wanted to take the ferry to Pantar where Filip and Peter Collaerts had found Alor Boobook to be easy and heard a probable undescribed Scops Owl but were told it had broken down. We went to the ferry terminal at 10am hoping to find a boat and sure enough there was one but we couldn’t understand what was going on. However at 10.20 it suddenly signaled it was leaving for Kabur, on Pantar but some distance before Baranusa where we wanted to be. Dave and I risked it while Brian went to a Dive resort 20km away. We docked at Kabur at 12.30, only to find there were no driveable roads or public ferries to Baranusa. We managed to charter a small boat for 300k that was about to leave to a village part of the way with a few muslim ladies laden with shopping, being warned that it could be very rough. The ladies were very friendly, giving us sweet drinks and some food, and we arrived after 1 hour in choppy conditions. Fortunately the final leg, by ourselves, was fairly calm and we reached Baranusa after another hour. Jacob in Makassar had been given Dave details of Habib, a contact who would put us up, so we ojeked there, on the west side of town. We were given snacks and decent beds, and ordered dinner, then found ojeks to take us another 6km SW along the coast to the mangroves where the owls were said to be. Although optimistic with the way things were going, we soon found a big problem – no birds. Walking further along the road just revealed a burnt landscape, so we slowly walked back, playing-back in the dark but to no avail. To cap it all, our hosts had disappeared when we reached their house at 8pm and there was no food on offer. I just went to bed but Dave complained bitterly of the absence of food.  

 Oct 19: As there was no sign of life before dawn and little prospect of getting an ojek, we had a lie in till 6 and decided to go back to Alor. I walked along a road going inland to the scrubby base of a mountain, seeing a few birds and friendly kids going to school. I recorded good local music coming from some distance, later learning it was being played on a multi-stringed instrument unique to Pantar. We left at 7am for the ferry, scheduled to leave at 8 am, it was being loaded with motorbikes, a huge sail-fish and other freight. I boarded but Dave wandered off to talk non-stop to the locals when suddenly the boat was cast-off at 7.30. Fortunately for him another ojek arrived and the ferry was held while that was loaded, allowing Dave to board. The boat was slow, probably with one defunct engine, and took over 5 hours non-stop but at least it went all the way to Kalabahi. There were a few birds, such as Brown Booby and Reef-Egret, but the major bonus was a huge whale, not far away, that blew vertically 3 times before finally diving for good. It was later confirmed to be my first Blue Whale! As we approached Kalabahi, we saw some 6-8 large fins in the water close by, almost certainly Orcas. 

Brian texted that he was at La Petite Kepa Dive resort on Alor Kecil, a small island 14km down the coast and a great place. We debated whether to go back to Apui or to the resort to chill out for 2 days and look for cetaceans, deciding on the latter. After collecting some of our things from the hotel in town, we took a bemo to where the resort boat ferried us across the narrow straight to the island, passing a pod of dolphins on the way, some leaping right out the water. We settled down for 150k a day full board, good value, sleeping under mozzie nets on mattresses under Brian’s house on stilts. The food was the best of the trip, thanks to Anne, the French manageress, and beer readily available. The 5 or 6 friendly couples from different countries slept in more expensive bungalows. Diving and snorkeling was said to be excellent, with 2 dive instructors, one of whom, Martin, was British.

 Oct 20: After pancakes and honey for breakfast, we birded the hillside, lightly covered with mainly secondary forest. Highlight was Elegant Pitta, with an Orange-footed Scrubfowl for DP, and snorkeling for BF. Later watched a pair of adult White-bellied Eagles with an immature wheeling round. Told there had been a Boobook but it was “removed” for superstitious reasons. I spent some time in the sea-watching area for cetaceans but never saw any more.

 Oct 21: We took Martin to see a pitta, successfully after some time. Also found an Arafura Fantail with a small mud nest on a thin branch 6-7m up, while Brian saw a pair of calling Aus Hobby. We had a free early lunch and left at noon after a pleasant and relaxing stay, a most unusual thing for Dave and I on a birding trip. We took a car (booked by Anne) to the airport, arriving at 12.30 but weren’t allowed in till 14.00 because the Merpati flight was delayed by 2h 30. Arrived at Kupang at 17.30 and took a cheap room at Hotel Susi as we would be leaving early; ate at the food market.

 Oct 22: 05.00 taxi to Bipolo, staying from 06.00 till 10.30. Quiet in the forest at first, highlight being a Tricoloured Parrotfinch in a small flock in a huge tree, for Brian. Drove further to look for paddies but missed the intended track on the left between forest edge and village, taking next track beyond the village. Lucky error as we found a few Timor Sparrows feeding on the ground with a large flock of Munias, near the coast. Went back to the intended track, through the paddies to the shrimp ponds - good for waterbirds: Royal Spoonbills, marsh terns and a few waders including Long-toed Stints. Back in the forest had good views of Orange-banded Thrush. Drove back to the Camplong road, where Dave and I caught a crowded bemo to Soe while Brian returned in the car to Kupang and moved to the better Hotel Maliana. Our aim was to get to the base of Mt Mutis, achieved by taking an ojek to the bemo terminus near Soe, a bemo to Kapan, followed by a third bemo to Fatumnasi at 1500m. The last leg was rather slow due to the very bad and hilly road, so we didn’t arrive till 4pm. We were dropped at the only homestay, given a welcome hot tea and shown to a 3 bed room – 150k each for full board. There was an all-white cuscus in a small cage in the garden and a tame Rainbow Lorikeet.  Explored the village, a simple hill-station and hive of activity with girls playing in a volley-ball competition and many youngsters involved in a tug-of-war contest. Most of the houses were traditional “lopos” of “bee-hive” construction, entirely thatched. At our host’s suggestion, we explored the woodland below the village for Iris Lorikeet but only found Streak-breasted Honeyeaters. Then I walked up the main track above the village till dark, hoping for “Timor” Nightjar but not a sound, before returning to the homestay for a substantial supper.             

 Oct 23: After breakfast at 05.00, we took ojeks on the track up Mt Mutis. It was a rough ride but we stopped a couple of times to look for Iris Lorikeet among the numerous Olive-headed Lorikeets high in tall trees. Dave spent more time doing this than me as I was keen to get higher. When we met up again at the open area where we left the ojeks, I found he had seen 4 Irises feeding and 3 Timor Imperial-Pigeons perched, the 2 birds I needed. I had seen one Iris flying past quite low while walking and a Brown Goshawk perched low near the track. We walked slowly along the trail at c.1700m through beautiful moss forest until reaching an extensive bare area, completely devoid of trees and understorey, giving a clear view to the top of the mountain at 2450m. Few people see this as it’s usually obscured by cloud and mist – lovely day today. We had seen many Island Thrush, but no much-wanted Sundas, a few Timor Leaf-warblers and one Timor Imperial-Pigeon for me. We explored the nearby gullies, looking especially for the endemic form of Pygmy Wren-babbler that Dave had seen on his previous visit, but no luck. He decided to try going higher but soon turned back; I had already started back as I couldn’t see a trail. I watched a pair of Sunda Bush-Warbler, feeding in a fallen small tree before disappearing into low grassland, still ticking to each other. A little later Dave saw another pair not far away, and pished out a Pygmy Wren-babbler which I tried to see a few mins later without success. I flushed another probable Imperial-Pigeon and saw a few other birds including Plain Gerygone. Little Pied and Snowy-browed Flycatchers. We were back at the start of the walk by 2pm – I continued back to the village while Dave had a rest. It must have been about 5km as it only took 2 hours and I spent some time looking for Dave’s Imperial-Pigeons. Good views of Island Thrush and a few other birds including Timor Blue Flycatcher but no pigeons. Looked for our host at the village to cancel the ojeks we’d ordered to pick us up but as I couldn’t find him, decided to go back up the trail. One ojek came, I took it and found Dave 2km further on, claiming another 3 Imps, but no sign of them. We tried hard for the nightjar as Brian had said he’d seen it below Fatumnasi when he came with BirdTour Asia – no joy but did hear 2 Boobooks calling for some 10 mins. Afterwards James Eaton told me we were too high, they see it near Soe.

Oct 24: Up at 4am to walk down below the village for the nightjar but no luck. The only ojek available at 5am took me to the Imp area, with Dave collected soon after.  He concentrated on Iris Lorikeet while I hunted for Imps. I’d all but given up when I saw a large dark pigeon fly a short distance, land and glisten with multicoloured feathers in the bright sunlight, enabling me to photo it. I thought it was an Imp but later realized it to be a Metallic Pigeon, a scarce Lesser Sundas split off White-throated and doubtless what Dave had seen around here before. We returned to the homestay for a quick breakfast of banana fritters before boarding the only bemo of the day to Kupang, for 8 am departure. I could have stayed another day but decided to take the easy option of a bemo all the way back to Kupang and to spare my aching back from further damage on the ojeks. We were dropped off at the Hotel Maliana at 12.30 (for 75k each). I checked in and Brian and Dave left at 15.30 for their flight to Jakarta while I took it easy.                

Oct 25: After a simple breakfast at 4am, I took a pre-booked ojek to Bipolo. Birds were quite active, except at the shrimp ponds where a local had flushed nearly everything and others were collecting full sacks on their motorbikes. Highlights in the forest were 1 Olive-shouldered Parrot, 2 Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher, 2 Oriental Honey-Buzzards soaring up high together, and a fig-tree full of Rose-crowned Fruit-Doves, whistlers and figbirds. Another bird dropped out of the tree, giving me the impression of a Timor Green-Pigeon but the view was too brief for me to claim such a rare species on West Timor. Returned to the hotel on the ojek 11.15 – 12.30, had a good £1 hair-cut, then to the airport just before it started raining, quite heavily, for the first time in 6 days. The flight left about 6pm, stopping at Surabaya and arriving at Jakarta domestic at 9pm (10pm my time). Took the shuttle bus to International, and after checking into my flight home went to Immigration. Here I was reprimanded for being a day over my visa limit of 30 days, by mistake, and fined 200k = £13. Good flight home.  

 LOGISTICS

Exchange rate: 15,000-15,200 Rupiah to the pound.

 Best book: Birds of Wallacea (1997) by Coates, Bishop and Gardner.

 Best trip reports: Henk Hendriks for the Lesser Sundas (2008). 

The Lesser Sundas and Remote Moluccas (including Buru), (2009) by George Wagner.

Both the above have most of the information needed for undertaking such a trip, including maps.

 The Lesser Sundas including Roti, Alor and Pantar (2011) by Peter Collaerts.

 Useful articles: Peleng list is from Bull. BOC 2010 130(3),

Alor list is from Forktail 29  2012

Article on Alor birds is in Emu, 2005, 105, 127-135 by Colin Trainor.

 

Visas – 30 day on arrival by air in Indonesia or 60 day elsewhere, eg in London by post. Must leave by 30 / 60 days or face fine if slightly over.

 Note that it is strongly advisable to report to the police in this part of Indonesia in main towns and if staying overnight, to avoid potential trouble.

 

Weather: sun and cloud most days, often hot, with some rain, mainly showers, on 7 days out of the 30 total.

 Buru  See George Wagner’s report.

Wamlana logging road is the key site holding all the birds with the possible exception of the Green-Pigeon and Masked Owl. The cheap way to travel up it is to wait at the bottom of the road, by the logging camp, and hitch a lift. Lifts might be difficult to obtain in the first hour of daylight and on Sundays. You can easily get to this point by ojek but most ojeks won’t go any further because the first km or two of the logging road is very steep. There is a good chance of hiring a 4x4 from an owner living next to the garage and shop at the junction of the main coastal road and the approach road to the logging camp, a km east of Wamlana village. 

 The logging road climbs to c.1000m and splits at Km 11. Some vehicles continue straight on here while others bear right. Take the right fork and at Km 15 you reach the pass at 1290m according to George’s GPS (1230 according to my watch, higher still according to Craig Robson).  Continuing to Km 20, the road splits with the right turn seeming to be the best, at least for the next 10-15 km. Along this part of the road the forest is in excellent condition with many mature trees. You can walk back to Km 7 or 8 and see most of the key birds on the way. Stay till dark to get the Boobook, most probably a new species, and for probably the best chance of Black-lored Parrot, although the latter was seen in the daytime by BirdQuest near the Km 15 summit.

 Bara village is on the westerly continuation of the north shore road from Wamlana and the bigger village of Airbuaya. It was difficult to ford the wide river when we were there but a long bridge was being built and should be complete in 2013. Transport should then be easy. The best habitat is after the river some three kilometers beyond the village. Wade the river, if low ojeks will probably cross it, then walk to the right and after another few km there are trails and sidetracks through some lowland forest, although this is being cleared. The Masked Owl, Boobook, Green-Pigeon and Black-tipped Monarch are here.

According to BirdQuest’s brochure, they visit some relict lowland forest at Waslabi an hour’s drive west of Namlea – it purportedly holds all the Bara birds except owls and Green-Pigeon.

 

Peleng  [Read the relevant chapter of Chris Gooddie’s “The Jewel Hunter”]

Luwuk airport is the nearest access by air to Peleng, the home of 11 endemics (although Sula Pitta has been lumped by IOC). There is plenty of transport to the quay for ferries to Peleng, but the only daily ferry is to Salakan, in NE Peleng. From here it is 3-4 hrs to Tataba, the base for birds in the mountainous west where most of the endemics occur. The optimum route would be to sail Luwuk-Sabang or Tataba in the west, and then go back to the mainland from Salakan-Luwuk, but there may not be a ferry to the west on your arrival day in Luwuk, or you may arrive too late to catch it. Salakan is the biggest town, but for birding its better to stay at the village of Kawalu, c10km east of Salakan. The road to Tataba from Salakan is winding but good so you could go by ojek if you can’t afford a car, although it may take 4 or 5 hours and knacker you. The only bird you wont see in the west is the difficult Sula Scrubfowl (which we missed in the east), so you could consider forgetting this to save time and money.

 The way to do Peleng is to employ Labi, a nice guy who lives in Totengeng on the coast and Kokolomboi in the hills of western Peleng. Book him on 0812-45-45-08-34, he speaks some English, and he will take you to Tataba and walk you up to Kokolomboi at 530m where his main house is. If you cant contact him at Tataba or Totengeng (at the east end of the village, about 2km east of the main Tataba village/town), you can ask for his assistant Maleso. You need to register with the police in Tataba on arrival - Labi will do this for you. From Tataba it's a 3 hour easy walk uphill to Labi's upper house at Kokolomboi just below the montane forest. The main birding is above here, especially around the observation tower at 850m, but birds of interest can be seen all the way up.

 Labi will also take you to Kawalu where you can  stay with his relatives, notably Yason who can find Sula Scrubfowl, helped by his 2 dogs. Lowland endemics can also be found here such as Sula Pitta, Helmeted Myna and Slaty Cuckooshrike.
Taliabu Island lies in the Sula islands but is considerably further away. It holds Taliabu Owl, Sula Cuckoo-shrike, Taliabu Leaf-Warbler, Taliabu Bush-Warbler and Bare-eyed Myna. The warblers have not been described yet and the Myna difficult to find. The only way to get there is by ferry, which usually goes no more than once a week, taking 2 days, or by hiring a very expensive speed boat.

Togian, holding an endemic White-eye and Boobook, is said to be quite easy to do, only requiring 3-4 days from the mainland including travel to and from the island. Manado-Gorontalo is a 10 hour drive, you can take a bus or slightly more comfortable shared car (with 8 seats or so) - pay between 100.000 and 150.000 (front seat). There may be daily flights from Manado to Gorontalo. There is a large ferry to the Togians once a week from Gorontalo – it was Friday evenings, arriving in Wakai city (on Batudaka island) at around 06.00 am saturday morning. You can stay in Pondok Wakai, also known as Wakai cottages, owned by the Black Marlin Dive Center that also owns more upmarket diving accommodation on nearby Kadidiri island. There is also a smaller wooden boat going from Gorontalo to Wakai once a week or so. If you do not want to go back to Gorontalo, you can take the ferry onwards (on saturdays) to Pagimana (mainland Sulawesi again) and take buses to Luwuk from there. Alternatively, go from Luwuk to Pagimana and take ferry or speed-boat to Wakai.

A good trail leading to forest for the Hawk-owl is about 3-4 km from Wakai. Ask an Ojek driver to drop you at Tanempo village (known locally as a tourist site because of a waterfall). Stop at the football field when coming from Wakai (at the junction to the waterfall). Cross the football field and then a small river at the start of a trail that climbs into forest mixed with local gardens etc. The owl is easily heard from there but seeing it may be another story - easiest to ask a local to guide you, although not really necessary.  The white-eyes have not been found in these forests.

Togian White-eye can be found in coastal scrub, degraded forest areas, etc, a few kms outside Wakai along the road to Taningkola village and in the degraded forest 2 km or by the roadside beyond Taningkola village. It responds to play-back of its call. The owl has been heard at night by entering the forest and walking up a hill from Taningkola village with a local guide.

Lompobattang, Sulawesi - fly to Makassar, take a car or bus to Malino and stay at one of the 2 hotels. At dawn take a motorbike or taxi towards the Air Tujun (nearby waterfall, worth a visit afterwards) – it’s a left turn coming down the hill from the top of Malino. The road goes mostly down from that turning and ends up at a bridge over a river. Immediately after the bridge turn left (the other way goes to the waterfall) uphill through a village, for 2-3km. Near the end of this road is a junction where you turn right. After this there are still houses on both sides for maybe 400m and then fields. Keep going and at the end of the sealed road look for big pines high up on the hillside on the left. Clamber up the short steep bank to the rice fields on the left, cross a stream and go up a steep, scrubby hillside into the edge of the forest and onto the ridge where the tall pines grow (some cattle were grazing in the bushes there). Follow the good ridge trail up the slope for a km or so and you should see the flycatcher, probably on a low perch, provided you are early. 

 

Alor – daily flights from Kupang go to Kalabahi airport, there are few from elsewhere. The roads that go into the hills above Kalabahi have only secondary and degraded forest, so you need to go further east to the mountain forest around Apui to look for species like the endemic Alor Boobook N. plesseni, Flores Green-Pigeon, Flores Hawk-Eagle, Timor Bush-Warbler and an undescribed endemic form of Myzomela. It’s desirable to stay in Apui so best to find the village head and ask him to find somewhere. The key site is a trail immediately below the obvious Telekom tower on the distant ridge, reachable by ojek. Patches of forest near the village, eg on the left just as the houses start, are good for the Boobook and Mees’s Nightjar.

The sea around Alor is notable for cetaceans, including Blue and Sperm Whales, Orcas and several species of dolphin. Possible ways of seeing them are to take ferries, eg to Pantar, or stay at the delightful La Petite Kepa Dive resort on Alor Kecil (good for Elegant Pitta) and sea-watch.

Timor – Bipolo and Camplong are only an hour or so from Kamplong by car or ojek, and easily birded on foot. Fatumnasi, the gateway to Mount Mutis, can be reached by bemo via Soe. There is basic accommodation there, and ojek transport along 5km of rough track to an extensive open area where the walking really starts. Accommodation and food is better at Soe but then you would really need 4x4 transport to get to the mountain early. Key birds here are Iris Lorikeet and Timor Imperial-Pigeon, an undescribed Parrotfinch has recently been found, while other localised taxa are Metallic Pigeon, Sunda Thrush, Sunda Bush-Warbler, Timor Leaf-Warbler and Pygmy Wren-Babbler.

 Roti – Pelni Perintis ferries from Kupang ferry terminal to Pante Baru/ Pantaburi leave daily at 0900 for the 4 hrs journey to Roti, returning at 1400. Its some 5.5 km to the site where a Roti Boobook, staked out by F Verbelen, can be seen. Local villagers should be able to guide you straight to the tree. The fast ferry from Kupang goes to the small village of Ba’a, 30km away from Pantaburi, where you can stay at Ricky’s or other hotels near the mosque. Sotimori is also good for the Boobook and general forest birding. Near the village of Bolatena there are a few small patches of forest where all specialities can be seen. A guide here is Yarsos Hersmen Maku (also known as Rens Maku) - ask the local people for him, they all know him. Rens only knows the Boobook but can guide you around in the forest.

 East Timor (courtesy of Colin Trainor) – Timor-Leste, an independent country, is now worth considering because its safe and straightforward to visit, with a good chance of seeing the otherwise difficult Wetar Ground-Dove, Iris Lorikeet, Timor Green-pigeon, Timor Imperial-pigeon and Timor Bush-warbler. There are several papers available on its birds - google "Colin Trainor timor bird" and you should easily find recent articles. Daily flights go from Jakarta and Bali to Dili, about $US120 one way, with visa issued on arrival for $30 for more than 10 days, perhaps less if less than 10 days.

Costs are a little more than in Indonesia but coming down with increasing tourism. It’s easy to hire a car, from $50-100 day depending on what you want. Something with a little height/clearance is needed because some of the roads are not good. The main language is Portuguese, but some English is spoken in the towns if not in the countryside. You can get a cheap non-birding guide for say $20-30/day. You need about 8-10 days, 6-7 days would be pushing it.

Wetar Ground-dove’s only known site is about 7-8 hr drive from Dili on the south coast; should also get Slaty Cuckoo-Dove and possibly Timor Green-Pigeon, although a better site for this is Tutuala, 5-6 hr drive from Dili in the far east.

Timor Bush-warbler is a 5 hr drive plus walk from Dili, but no other birds of interest at this site. Need to stay overnight, so will take 1.5-2 days; or drive on to Suai to near WG Dove site.

 Iris Lorikeet - good chance on the road to Aileu above Dili, perhaps 40-70 min drive, if missed elsewhere.

 Timor Imperial-pigeon is possible in a 40 min drive from Dili (with Iris Lorikeet) or could get it easily from Dili as a base, a 4 hr round trip.

 Timor Coucal, a likely split off Pheasant Coucal, is only found here, and does not appear to have been photo’d apart from a chick in a nest at Parlemento (C Trainor).

 

ACKNOWLEGEMENTS

We are very grateful for all the assistance freely given by many people, most notably Ali, Ami, Karina, Labi, Jacob, Maleso and Linda in Indonesia. Elsewhere Mikael Bauer, Mark van Beirs, Peter Collaerts, Nick Dymond, James Eaton, Chris Gooddie, Henk Hendriks, Filip Verbelen, Colin Trainor and George Wallace were a great help, with apologies to anyone whose name is not mentioned.

 

CONTACTS    [hoping to find mobile no’s]

Mr Ali, ojek driver and mr fix-it, Namlea, Buru: 095796875070 or 082346426864.

Karina, NGO worker on Buru, from Ambon.

[email protected]  English speaker at Bara, Buru.

Linda, teacher at Apui, Alor.

Jacob Lolly Latupapur, English-speaking tour-guide based at Makassar  081241014154 (mobile), 0411 455450 (land).

 

SPECIES LIST

 

Sula Scrubfowl, Megapodius bernsteinii: only heard calling near Salakan, Peleng, despite 2 days of searching – arguably the biggest dip of the trip.

 

Forsten's Scrubfowl, Megapodius forstenii: a few singles in the Buru lowlands.

 

Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Megapodius reinwardt: 1 or 2 on Alor Kecil.

 

Brown Quail, Coturnix ypsilophora: 5 near Apui on Alor

 

Red Junglefowl, Gallus gallus: a few heard, eg on Mt Mutis, Timor, but whether any were wild is unknown.

 

Brown Booby, Sula leucogaster: 1 from the Pantar to Alor ferry.

 

Little Pied Cormorant, Phalacrocorax melanoleucos: 2 on the Buru coast and 10 from Alor to Pantar.

 

Little Black Cormorant, Phalacrocorax niger: 1 on Buru and 4 at Bipolo shrimp ponds, Timor.

 

Lesser Frigatebird, Fregata ariel: up to 10 daily on the Buru coast.

 

Purple Heron, Ardea purpurea: singles at Namlea, Buru, near Salakan, Peleng and near Malino, Sulawesi.

 

Great Egret, Ardea alba: 10+ at Bipolo shrimp ponds and paddies.

 

Intermediate Egret, Egretta intermedia: one at Airbuaya, Buru and a few at Bipolo shrimp ponds and paddies.

 

White-faced Heron, Egretta novaehollandiae: one at Bipolo shrimp ponds.

 

Little Egret, Egretta garzetta: c.15 at Bipolo shrimp ponds.

 

Pacific Reef-Heron, Egretta sacra: 3 from Alor to Pantar.

 

Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis: common in paddies at Bipolo, with some in breeding plumage.

 

Javan Pond-Heron, Ardeola speciosa: only 1 noted on Sulawesi.

 

Striated Heron, Butorides striata: 1 at Malino, 4 at Bipolo shrimp ponds.

 

Woolly-necked Stork, Ciconia episcopus: 2 near Salakan, Peleng.

 

Royal Spoonbill, Mycteria cinerea: 6 at Bipolo shrimp ponds.

 

Jerdon’s Baza, Aviceda jerdoni celebensis: 1 of this scarce bird above Kokolomboi, Peleng for some time on Oct 7.

 

Oriental Honey-Buzzard, Pernis ptilorhynchus: 3 at Bipolo forest and 2 near the telekom tower above Apui, Alor. Not in range according to Clements 6.7

 

Black-shouldered Kite, Elanus caeruleus hypoleucus: 2 near Bipolo village.

 

Black Kite, Milvus migrans: only 2, at Bipolo.

 

Brahminy Kite, Haliastur indus: a few on Buru and Peleng.

 

White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Haliaeetus leucogaster: a pair of adults and an immature on Alor Kecil.

 

Sulawesi Serpent-Eagle, Spilornis rufipectus sulaensis: an adult and an immature at Salakan.

 

Chinese Goshawk, Accipiter soloensis: 4 soaring out of the forest on Peleng and 1 at Malino.

 

Vinous-breasted Goshawk, Accipiter rhodogaster sulaensis: 2 near Salakan.

 

Brown Goshawk, Accipiter fasciatus hellmayri: 1 immature perched on Mt Mutis.

 

Japanese Sparrowhawk, Accipiter gularis: a small accipiter below the telekom tower at Apui was thought to be this.

 

Black Eagle, Ictinaetus malayensis: 2 on Buru on 3 days.

 

Flores Hawk-Eagle, Spizaetus floris: 1 soaring above the telekom tower at Apui and flying later above the village.

 

Spotted Kestrel, Falco moluccensis: 1 or 2 most days throughout.

 

Oriental Hobby, Falco severus: an adult feeding a juv near the pass on Buru.

 

Australian Hobby, Falco longipennis: a pair at Alor Kecil (BF).

 

Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus: 1 on Buru.

 

Barred Rail, Gallirallus torquatus: 1 near Salakan.

 

Red-legged Crake, Rallina fasciata: 1 crossing the road as we travelled to Salakan.

 

White-breasted Waterhen, Amaurornis phoenicurus: 1 dead on the road near Salakan.

 

Red-backed Buttonquail, Turnix maculosa: 4 near Apui, Alor.

 

Ruddy-breasted Crake, Porzana fusca: 1 at Apui.

 

White-browed Crake, Porzana cinerea: 1 at Bipolo shrimp ponds.

 

White-headed Stilt, Himantopus leucocephalus: 1 at Bipolo shrimp ponds.

 

Pacific Golden-Plover, Pluvialis fulva: 1 at Bipolo shrimp ponds.

 

Wood Sandpiper, Tringa glareola: 6 at Bipolo shrimp ponds.

 

Grey-tailed Tattler, Tringa brevipes: 1 on the way to Pantar.

 

Common Greenshank, Tringa nebularia: 1 at Bipolo shrimp ponds.

 

Common Sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos: a few on Buru, Alor and at Bipolo.

 

Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus: 2 at Alor harbour.

 

Red-necked Stint, Calidris ruficollis: 10 at Bipolo shrimp ponds.

 

Long-toed Stint, Calidris subminuta: 2 at Bipolo shrimp ponds.

 

Red-necked Phalarope, Phalaropus lobatus: 100 from the ferry from Ambon to Buru and 10 from Luwuk to Peleng.

 

Australian Pratincole, Stiltia Isabella: 1 at Kupang airport.

 

Gull-billed Tern, Gelochelidon nilotica: 4 at Bipolo shrimp ponds.

 

White-winged Tern, Chlidonias leucopterus: 4 marsh terns at Bipolo shrimp ponds certainly included this species and probably Whiskered Tern, C. hybridus as well.

 

Common Tern, Sterna hirundo: up to 10 to and from Pantar.

 

Great Crested Tern, Thalasseus bergii: 6 near the harbour at Buru, up to 50 to and from Pantar and a few at Alor Kecil.  

 

Spotted Dove, Streptopelia chinensis: up to 6 on Buru, 5 on Alor and 3 on Pantar.

 

Dusky/Bar-necked Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia magna: at least 1 on Alor.

 

Brown/Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia amboinensis: fairly common on Buru and Peleng

 

Little Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia ruficeps: a few on Alor and Pantar.

 

White-faced Cuckoo-Dove, Turacoena manadensis: a few singles on Peleng.

 

Slaty Cuckoo-Dove, Turacoena modesta: at least 1 at Camplong, Timor

 

Pacific Emerald Dove, Chalcophaps (indica) longirostris: widespread with up to 5 daily.

 

Barred Dove, Geopelia maugeus: up to 5 daily on Alor Kecil

 

Grey-cheeked Pigeon, Treron griseicauda: 15+ in a fruiting tree near Salakan and a few others in the area.

 

Flores Green-Pigeon, Treron floris: 2 singles below Apui.

 

Buru (Pompadour) Green-Pigeon, Treron aromatica: 2 singles in fruiting trees at Bara and 1 heard calling.

 

Banded/Black-backed Fruit-Dove, Ptilinopus cinctus: up to 3 daily above Apui.

 

Banggai (Maroon-chinned) Fruit-Dove, Ptilinopus subgularis: 1 on 2 days above Kokolomboi and 2 near Salakan. Unseen Fruit-Doves were quite often heard in the western hills, it is likely that Superb P. superbus was also there.

 

Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove, Ptilinopus regina: 10 at Bipolo and 5 at Camplong.

 

Black-naped Fruit-Dove, Ptilinopus melanospilus: several chrysorrhoa near Salakan and 3 melanauchen at Alor Kecil.

 

White-breasted Fruit-Dove, Ptilinopus rivoli: 4 on Wamlana logging road and 1 at Bara, Buru.

 

Claret-breasted Fruit-Dove, Ptilinopus viridis: 10-15 at Bara.

 

Metallic Pigeon, Columba (vitiensis) metallica: up to 3 perched at Mt Mutis.

 

Green Imperial-Pigeon, Ducula aenea sulana: up to 10 at Salakan.

 

Spectacled (White-eyed) Imperial-Pigeon, Ducula perspicillata: 5 near Salakan.

 

Pink-headed Imperial-Pigeon, Ducula rosacea: only heard, at Bipolo.

 

Timor Imperial-Pigeon, Ducula cineracea: only 1 for sure at Mt Mutis.

 

Pied Imperial-Pigeon, Ducula bicolor melanura: 15 at Bara.

 

Silver-tipped (White) Imperial-Pigeon, Ducula luctuosa: 20 near Salakan.

 

Buru(Long-tailed) Mountain-Pigeon, Gymnophaps mada: 1 (3 BF,DP) on Wamlana logging road.

 

Red Lory, Eos bornea: common on Buru.

 

Ornate Lorikeet, Trichoglossus ornatus: 2 at Malino, Sulawesi.

 

Rainbow Lorikeet, Trichoglossus haematodus: up to 10 daily on Buru.

 

Olive-headed Lorikeet, Trichoglossus euteles: abundant at Apui and Mt Mutis.

 

Yellow-and-green Lorikeet, Trichoglossus flavoviridis: 2 at Malino.

 

Iris Lorikeet, Psitteuteles iris: 2 singles for JH and a party of 4 for DP at Mt Mutis.

 

Red-breasted Pygmy-Parrot, Micropsitta bruijnii: 2 on Wamlana logging road (DP).

 

Red-cheeked Parrot, Geoffroyus geoffroyi: up to 5 on Wamlana logging road.

 

Golden-mantled Racquet-tail, Prioniturus platurus: 6+ near Salakan.

 

Buru Racquet-tail, Prioniturus mada: 10 on Wamlana logging road.

 

Great-billed Parrot, Tanygnathus megalorynchos: only 1, on Wamlana logging road.

 

Azure-rumped/Blue-backed Parrot, Tanygnathus sumatranus: several parties heard calling while flying over at night near Salakan, torch-light views.

 

Eclectus Parrot, Eclectus roratus: 1 at Salakan.

 

Moluccan King-Parrot, Alisterus amboinensis: 1 or 2 on Buru and up to 4 on western Peleng.

 

Olive-shouldered Parrot, Aprosmictus jonquillaceus: only 1, at Bipolo.

 

Sulawesi Hanging-Parrot, Loriculus stigmatus: 1 at at Mt Lompobattang.

 

Sula Hanging-Parrot, Loriculus sclateri: common on Peleng.

 

Oriental/ Sunda Cuckoo, Cuculus optatus/ lepidus: singles at Bara and at Apui, with 1 or 2 heard on Mt Mutis.

 

Brush Cuckoo, Cacomantis variolosus variolosus: 1 at Bipolo.

 

Rusty-breasted Cuckoo, Cacomantis variolosus sepulcralis: 1 at Peleng and heard on Ambon, Mt Lompobattang and Alor.

 

Moluccan Cuckoo, Cacomantis heinrichi: 3+ competing in secondary woodland near Airbuaya, Buru, 1 at the logging camp, with others heard elsewhere.

 

Little Bronze-Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx minutillus: 1 at Bipolo.

 

Moluccan (Asian) Drongo-Cuckoo, Surniculus lugubris musschenbroeki: Rheindt et al (Bull. BOC, 2010) say they had the first record for the Banggai islands on 20-21 April 2009, at 100m near Salakan but didn’t record it. I saw and recorded 2 at 800m at the tower above Kokolomboi.on 07.10.12, and we all saw at least 1 near Salakan, Peleng. Not mentioned in Clements 6.7.

 

Black-billed Koel, Eudynamys melanorhynchus: 2 near Salakan, others heard elsewhere on Peleng.

 

Asian/Pacific Koel, Eudynamys scolopaceus/cyanocephalus or orientalis: 2 seen on Buru and 4 above Apui, others heard here and on Peleng. A female photo’d on Alor was identified as the Pacific (Australian) species.

 

Lesser Coucal, Centropus bengalensis: a few seen on Buru and singles near Salakan and on Alor.

 

Lesser Masked-Owl, Tyto sororcula cayelii: a noisy bird was seen at Bara at the same place on both days – a likely split from Tanimbar Owl, T. nigrobrunnea.

 

Eastern Barn Owl, Tyto alba delicatula: a Tyto calling in the dark on open ground and woodland edge behind Apui was assumed to be this species.

 

Banggai (Sulawesi) Scops-Owl, Otus (manadensis) mendeni: 1 seen well above Kokolomboi and another heard.

 

Moluccan Scops-Owl, Otus magicus: a pair and a juv at Bara.

 

Streaked/ Timor Boobook, Ninox (boobook) fusca: a pair at Camplong and 2+ heard on Mt Mutis.

 

Southern/ Alor Boobook, Ninox (boobook) plesseni: 1 was seen and its mate heard in a wooded valley behind Apui and 2 others heard calling from different sites near the town. The voice is very different from other boobooks, hence its recommendation for splitting (Trainor, Verbelen and Johnstone, Forktail 28, 2012). 

 

Hantu / Buru Boobook, Ninox squamipila: 1 heard at Bara without realizing what it was at the time; call is different from Seram birds.

 

Great Eared-Nightjar, Eurostopodus macrotis: 1 or 2 at Kokolomboi and Sandakan, with others heard.

 

Large-tailed Nightjar, Caprimulgus macrurus: common on Buru.

 

Mees's Nightjar , Caprimulgus meesi: 1 seen at Apui and others heard.

 

Seram Swiftlet, Collocalia ceramensis: common on Buru.

 

Sulawesi Swiftlet, Collocalia sororum: a few on Peleng and in the Makassar area.

 

Glossy (White-bellied) Swiftlet, Collocalia esculenta: common throughout.

 

Fork-tailed Swift, Apus pacificus: 6 at Camplong, 20 at Bipolo and 4 at Apui.

 

Little/House Swift, Apus affinis: 2 at Makassar..

 

Grey-rumped Treeswift, Hemiprocne longipennis: 4 above Kokolomboi.and 6 near Salakan, Peleng.

 

Moustached Treeswift, Hemiprocne mystacea: 1 at Airbuaya and 8 at Bara, Buru.

 

Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis: 1 on the river near the resort on Buru.

 

Ruddy Kingfisher, Halcyon coromanda pelingensis: 1 or 2 above Kokolomboi and 1 near Salakan, with others heard.

 

Collared Kingfisher, Todiramphus chloris: widespread in small numbers including on Mt Mutis.

 

Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher, Todiramphus australasia: 2 at Bipolo.

 

Sacred Kingfisher, Todiramphus sanctus: a few at Bara and Bipolo.

 

Rainbow Bee-eater, Merops ornatus: 8 at Bipolo.

 

Dollarbird, Eurystomus orientalis: 1 above Apui and at Bipolo.

 

Sulawesi Woodpecker, Dendrocopos temminckii: 1 at Malino.

 

Brown-capped (Sunda) Woodpecker, Dendrocopos moluccensis: 2 near Apui.

 

Red-bellied Pitta, Pitta erythrogaster: 2 rubrinucha heard on Wamlana logging road, Buru.

 

Sula Pitta, Pitta dohertyi: 5 heard above Kokolomboi with 2 seen, and 3 seen near Salakan. Lumped back with Red-bellied Pitta by IOC but still retained by Clements6.7 in 2012. Was my pen-ultimate pitta, with only African needed, but now Banded has been split I need the Bornean form.

 

Elegant Pitta, Pitta elegans concinna: heard on Alor with 2 or 3 seen on Alor Kecil.

 

Indonesian Honeyeater, Lichmera limbata: common on Alor and Pantar, a few at Camplong.

 

Buru Honeyeater, Lichmera deningeri: 1 (3 BF,DP) on Wamlana logging road.

 

Yellow-eared Honeyeater, Lichmera flavicans: a few at Camplong and Bipolo, common at Mt Mutis.

 

Crimson-hooded Myzomela, Myzomela kuehni: 2 to 5 just below the Telekom tower above Apui. This is an undescribed taxon, discovered by Trainor and Verbelen in 2009, most similar to but differing from M. kuehni (endemic to Wetar) and only known from 1 other site on Alor at present. It is likely to be a new species.

 

Sulawesi (Scarlet) Myzomela, Myzomela chloroptera: 1 male eva above Kokolomboi and 3 juga at Mt Lompobattang.

 

Wakolo (Scarlet) Myzomela, Myzomela wakoloensis: up to 8 on Wamlana logging road, Buru.

 

Black-breasted Myzomela, Myzomela vulnerata: 2 at Bipolo.

 

Streak-breasted Honeyeater, Meliphaga reticulate: 1 at Camplong, 2 at Bipolo and abundant at Mt Mutis.

 

Timor Friarbird, Philemon inornatus: a few at all 3 Timor sites.

 

Buru/Black-faced Friarbird, Philemon moluccensis: common throughout Buru.

 

Helmeted Friarbird, Philemon buceroides buceroides: common on Alor with a few on Pantar and Timor, although the Pantar birds could have been neglectus.

 

Long-tailed Shrike, Lanius schach: 2 at Kupang airport and Apui.

 

Slaty Cuckooshrike, Coracina schistacea: up to 4 above Kokolomboi and 3 near Sandakan.

 

Wallacean Cuckooshrike, Coracina personata: single alfrediana on Alor and Pantar, 3 personata at Bipolo.

 

Buru Cuckooshrike, Coracina fortis: only 1 on Wamlana logging road on Sept 30 and 2 on Oct 1.

 

Common Cicadabird, Edolisoma tenuirostre: up to 5 pelingi daily on Peleng and 2 presumed timoriensis above Apui. The 2 forms differed in voice and female plumage; some splitting of this species is overdue but probably too complex for anyone to tackle.

 

Pale Cicadabird (Pale-grey Cuckooshrike), Edolisoma ceramense: up to 3 most days on Buru, also found on Seram.

 

White-rumped Triller, Lalage leucopygialis: 2 near Salakan and 1 at Malino

 

White-shouldered Triller, Lalage sueurii: 10 at Bipolo, 1or 2 above Apui and up to 3 at Alor Kecil.

 

Banggai Crow, Corvus unicolor: only 2 seen each of the first 2 days above Kokolomboi, then 8 on the third day including 5 in the air together from the tower. This rare bird is confined to the hills in western Peleng.

 

Slender-billed Crow, Corvus enca mangoli: common in the lowlands of Peleng.

 

Large-billed Crow, Corvus macrorhynchos: a few throughout Timor, Alor and Pantar.

 

Black-naped Monarch, Hypothymis azurea: up to 5 daily on Peleng, probably overlooked at Malino and on Alor.

 

White-naped Monarch, Carterornis pileatus buruensis: 2 at Bara.

 

Island Monarch, Monarcha cinerascens: 2 near Salakan and 1 at Bipolo.

 

Spectacled Monarch, Symposiachrus trivirgatus: 3 at Apui and 1 at Alor Kecil.  

 

Black-tipped Monarch, Symposiachrus loricatus: 1 at Bara.

 

Slaty/Moluccan Flycatcher, Myiagra galeata: 2 on Ambon and a few on Buru.

 

Broad-billed Flycatcher, Myiagra ruficollis: 1 at Bipolo shrimp farm.

 

Pacific Swallow, Hirundo tahitica: fairly common throughout the lowlands.

 

Tree Martin, Hirundo nigricans: 2 at Kalabahi, Alor.

 

Striated Swallow, Cecropis striolata: 10 at Fatumnasi, Timor.

 

Cinereous/Great Tit, Parus major cinereus: a few at Apui and Alor Kecil.

 

Pygmy Wren-Babbler, Pnoepyga pusilla: 1 on Mt Mutis (DP).

 

Sooty-headed Bulbul, Pycnonotus aurigaster: a few at Makassar and Malino,

 

Northern Golden Bulbul,  Alophoixus longirostris: common on Peleng.

 

Buru Golden Bulbul,  Alophoixus mysticalis: common on Buru.

 

Zitting Cisticola, Cisticola juncidis: a few at Bipolo and Apui.

 

Golden-headed Cisticola, Cisticola exilis: 2 at Bipolo shrimp ponds.

 

Timor Stubtail, Urosphena subulata: 2 heard at Bipolo.

 

Sunda Bush-Warbler, Cettia vulcania everetti: 2 pairs seen on Mt Mutis, at least 1 heard singing at the upper edge of Fatumnuasi.

 

Timor Bush-warbler, Bradypterus timorensis: 1 seen very well below the telekom tower above Apui at 1120m and 2 others heard there, another was heard lower down the trail at c.1000m and one more at a similar or lower elevation at least 5 km away.

 

Buru/Chestnut-backed Bush-Warbler  Bradypterus (castaneus) disturbans: 1 skulker on Wamlana logging road (JH).

 

Gray's Grasshopper-Warbler, Locustella fasciolata: several on Buru and Peleng with 2 seen at Bara, 1 at Kokolomboi and Salakan, and others heard calling. Only recorded on Peleng for the first time in March 2009.

 

Australian Reed-Warbler, Acrocephalus australis: 2 singing at Bipolo shrimp ponds.

 

Mountain Tailorbird, Orthotomus cuculatus: a few on Buru, Peleng and Mt Lompobattang but more often heard than seen.

 

Arctic Warbler, Phylloscopus borealis: singles identified at Kokolomboi and Camplong.

 

Timor Leaf-Warbler, Phylloscopus presbytes: 3 or 4 on Mt Mutis.

 

Peleng Leaf-Warbler, Phylloscopus sp. nov: 3 or 4 of this undescribed Phyll. above Kokolomboi.

 

Buru Leaf-Warbler, Phylloscopus poliocephalus everetti: up to 10 on Wamlana logging road.

 

Sulawesi Leaf-Warbler, Phylloscopus sarasinorum: 6 on Mt Lompobattang.

 

Buff-banded Bushbird, Buettikoferella bivittata: a pair at Camplong.

 

Buru Jungle-Flycatcher, Rhinomyias addita: 1 or 2 on Wamlana logging road.

 

Henna-tailed Jungle-Flycatcher, Rhinomyias colonus: 1 seen between Kokolomboi and the watch tower and 2+ heard singing.

 

Grey-streaked Flycatcher, Muscicapa griseisticta: a few on Buru and 1 at Kokolomboi.

 

Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Ficedula hyperythra: a few on Mt Mutis.

 

Lompobattang Flycatcher, Ficedula bonthaina: 2 at Mt Lompobattang near Malino.

 

Little Pied Flycatcher, Ficedula westermanni: 1 or 2 on Wamlana logging road, Mt Lompobattang, Alor, Pantar, Bipolo and Mt Mutis.

 

Timor Blue-Flycatcher, Cyornis hyacinthinus: 3 at Bipolo and 2 at Mt Mutis.

 

Pied Bushchat, Saxicola caprata: common on Timor, Alor and Pantar.

 

Timor Bushchat, Saxicola gutturalis: 1 at Camplong (BF).

 

Red-and-black Thrush, Zoothera mendeni: at least 2 at Kokolomboi and 1 near Salakan. Only seen 3 times by Rheindt and Verbelen in 9 days around Kolomboi and only on the day we looked hard for it there, indicating how difficult it is to see.

 

Orange-banded Thrush, Zoothera peronii: 3 [6 at Camplong, BF] at Bipolo.

 

Island Thrush, Turdus poliocephalus: 10+ at Mt Mutis.

 

Lesser Shortwing, Brachypteryx leucophrys: heard at Apui.

 

Northern Fantail, Rhipidura rufiventris: up to 10 on Buru, 3 on Peleng, 4 at Camplong, 2 at Bipolo and Mt Mutis.

 

Willie-wagtail, Rhipidura leucophrys: fairly common in the Buru lowlands.

 

Rusty-flanked/bellied Fantail, Rhipidura teysmanni: 2 sulaensis at Salakan and 2 toradja on Mt Lompobattang.

 

Arafura (Rufous) Fantail, Rhipidura dryas: fairly common except absent from Buru and Peleng.

 

Cinnamon/Tawny-backed Fantail, Rhipidura superflua: 2 singles on Wamlana logging road – Endemic to Buru.

 

Citrine Canary-Flycatcher, Microeca/Culicicapa helianthea: 2 above Kokolomboi and on Mt Lompobattang.

 

Fawn-breasted Whistler, Pachycephala Orpheus: fairly common on Timor.

 

Golden Whistler, Pachycephala pectoralis: a few in forest throughout throughout except at Camplong and Bipolo where not seen.

 

Drab Whistler, Pachycephala griseonota examinata: 10 on Wamlana logging road and singles at Salakan.

 

Mountain White-eye, Zosterops montanus: 6 on Wamlana logging road, common on Alor’s hills and Mt Mutis.

 

Yellow-bellied White-eye, Zosterops chloris: 10 at Malino.

 

Ashy-bellied White-eye, Zosterops citronella: 1 at Malino then common at Camplong and Apui.

 

Black-ringed White-eye, Zosterops anomalus: 3 at Malino.

 

Yellow-spectacled White-eye, Zosterops wallacei: 4 above Apui.

 

Black-fronted White-eye, Zosterops atrifrons subatrifrons: fairly common throughout Peleng, a potential split.

 

Buru White-eye, Zosterops buruensis: 10 on Wamlana logging road.

 

Ambon White-eye, Zosterops kuehni: 4 on Ambon.

 

Timor (Spot-breasted) White-eye, Heleia muelleri: 10 on Camplong and Bipolo.

 

Golden-bellied Gerygone/Flyeater, Gerygone sulphurea: 2+ on Mt Lompobattang, 2 above Apui and 1 on Pantar.

 

Plain Gerygone, Gerygone inornata: 4+ at Camplong and 2 at Bipolo.

 

Brown-throated Sunbird, Anthreptes malacensis: a few on Peleng.

 

Black Sunbird, Leptocoma sericea: common on Buru, Peleng and Mt Lompobattang area.

 

Olive-backed Sunbird, Cinnyris jugularis: common on Buru, of the endemic buruensis Black-breasted form, a few robustirostris on Peleng and 2 plateni at Malino.

 

Flame-breasted Sunbird, Cinnyris solaris: a few on Alor and Pantar.

 

Crimson-crowned Flowerpecker, Dicaeum nehrkorni: 1 at Malino.

 

Thick-billed Flowerpecker, Dicaeum agile obsoletum: 1 at Camplong, a potential split.

 

Buru (Flame-breasted) Flowerpecker, Dicaeum erythrothorax: 4 or 5 on Wamlana logging road.

 

Black-fronted Flowerpecker, Dicaeum igniferum: 1 at Apui.

 

Red-chested Flowerpecker, Dicaeum maugei: 1 at Camplong.

 

Grey-sided Flowerpecker, Dicaeum celebicum sulaense: 1 or 2 daily on Peleng.

 

Timor Oriole, Oriolus melanotis: 1 or 2 at Camplong, Bipolo and Mt Mutis.

 

Buru (Black-eared) Oriole, Oriolus bouroensis: fairly common on Buru.

 

Black-naped Oriole, Oriolus chinensis: 2 at Salakan and 2 or 3 at Apui.

 

Timor Figbird, Sphecotheres viridis: 4 at Bipolo.

 

Sulawesi Drongo, Dicrurus montanus: 1 on Mt Lompobattang.

 

Hair-crested Drongo, Dicrurus hottentottus banggaiensis: common on Peleng.

 

Wallacean Drongo, Dicrurus densus: several on Alor, 2 on Pantar, I at Bipolo.

 

Buru (Spangled) Drongo, Dicrurus bracteatus buruensis: several on Buru.

 

White-breasted Woodswallow, Artamus leucorynchus: several throughout Peleng, Alor and Pantar.

 

Metallic Starling, Aplonis metallica: several on Buru.

 

Moluccan Starling, Aplonis mysolensis: common on Buru and a few at Salakan.

 

Short-tailed Starling, Aplonis minor: good numbers on Alor and a few on Timor.

 

Helmeted Myna, Basilornis galeatus: 1 or 2 above Kokolomboi and 4 near Salakan included a male bowing to a female.

 

Finch-billed Myna, Scissirostrum dubium: only 1, near Salakan.

 

Eastern Yellow Wagtail , Motacilla tschutschensis: 20+ in paddies at Apui and a few on Alor Kecil.

 

Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea: a few on Buru and 1 at Bipolo shrimp farm.

 

Oriental Pipit, Anthus rufulus: 1 on Ambon, 4 on Alor and 2 on Mt Mutis.

 

Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Passer montanus: widespread and common.

 

Timor Sparrow, Padda fuscata: 5 feeding with Black-faced Munias in grassland and perched in lone tree canopy just beyond Bipolo village.

 

Red Avadavat, Amandava amandava: 10+ near Bipolo.

 

Zebra Finch, Taeniopygia gut:  50+ at Alor Kecil

 

Tricoloured Parrotfinch, Erythrura tricolor: 1 at Bipolo in a mixed canopy flock (BF).

 

Black-faced Munia, Lonchura molucca: common on Buru, 10+ at Bipolo and 20 at Apui.

 

Scaly-breasted Munia, Lonchura punctulata: 50+ in a mixed flock with Five-coloured Munia in paddies at Apui and 10 at Mt Mutis.

 

Five-coloured Munia, Lonchura quinticolor: 50+ in a mixed flock with Scaly-breasted Munia in paddies at Apui.

 

 

UNCERTAIN RECORDS

Short-toed Eagle, Circaetus gallicus: a raptor at Bipolo

Buff-banded Rail, Gallirallus philippensis: heard on Peleng

Little Whimbrel, Numenius minutus            2 at Kupang airport (DP)

Black-naped Tern, Sterna sumatrana: 3 terns at Alor Kecil, 10 at Pantar

Spot-tailed Goshawk, Accipiter trinotatus: 1 near Salakan (DP)

Great Cuckoo-Dove, Reinwardtoena reinwardtii: 1 on Buru

Sulawesi Hawk-Cuckoo, Cuculus crassirostris: heard near Salakan.

Black-banded Flycatcher, Ficedula timorensis: a female at Camplong (DP)

 

DIPS,

Moluccan Scrubfowl, Megapodius wallacei Buru coast

Blue-fronted Lorikeet, Charmosyna toxopei  Buru mountains

Black-lored Parrot, Tanygnathus gramineus            Wamlana logging road, Buru

Timor Nightjar, Caprimulgus (macrurus) sp. nov.                  Soe, Timor

Buru Thrush, Zoothera dumasi                                    Wamlana logging road, Buru

Sunda Thrush, Zoothera andromedae                  Mt Mutis

Rufous-throated Dark-eye, Madanga ruficollis            Buru mountains

Timor Parrotfinch, Erythrura sp. nov.                  Mt Mutis.

                       

ANIMALS        

Blue Whale                                   1 off-shore from Pantar             

Orca                        6 or 7 in straight off-shore from Alor c.10km from Kalabahi

Dolphin – probably Spinner                                         c.10 near Alor Kecil                

Genet                                2 sightings at night on the road near Bara, may have been the same animal.           

Mouse? Deer                        1 very small deer in lowlands of Peleng                                 

Reticulated Python - large and live             1 on the road at Bara, Buru

 

 

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