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Peter Ericsson | profile | all galleries >> Tripreports! >> Sulawesi/Halmahera/Indonesia October 2013 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Sulawesi/Halmahera/Indonesia October 2013

Sulawesi/Halmahera, Indonesia, 4-15th of October 2013

Participants: Kjetil Sjoelberg (photographer and camera shop owner from Norway), Eirik Groenningsaeter (wildlife photographer and guide from Norway), Marc Bulte (field biologist and photographer from Holland), D. Davison (avid birder from England) and Peter Ericsson

Trip length: 12 days in total though most of day 1 and day 12 meant traveling

The purpose for this trip was to target some of the special birds while trying to see as much as possible along with it but not killing ourselves in pursuit of every little thing. Time for photography and individual preference of time spent in the field was to be allowed.
Sulawesi and Halmahera is not for raking in a long list of ticks but much more for the deeper appreciation of the areas unique birdlife with its many endemic birds.

Lots of people would like to visit the Wallaceas but simply donít have the time or the budget to do a full tour that normally stretches from 18-20 days. Thus I thought of coming up with an option of a 12 tour. My 1st trip was in 2009 and it was the same length of time. My 2nd trip was a full trip and the report is found here: http://birding2asia.com/tours/reports/Sul-HalAugust11.html

The best way to reach Manado in Northern Sulawesi is by Silk Air from Singapore. The flight leaves around 9 am so it might be necessary to stop over in Singapore one night.

Day 1.

I, Marc and Dominique flew from Singapore to Manado. Kjetil and Eirik arrived a day later.

We were greeted warmly upon arrival by our local agent and accompanied driver.

The comfortable bus we used for the trip took us slowly through the winding road in a hilly landscape towards Kotamobagu some 5 hours away. We did several stops along the way and caught up with a number of common birds which included 40 enigmatic and endemic Grosbeak Starling roosting in a dead tree. This bird is so attractive that it has made it on the cover of the Birds of Wallacea by Coates, Bishop and Gardener.

The ever present Uniform Swiftlet was another endemic we saw as well as the rather common Large Sulawesi Hanging Parrot.

In some green paddies we spotted many wetland birds which included good flight views of Sunda Teal. Other birds: Olive-backed Sunbird, Slender-billed Crow, Pacific Swallow, Grey-rumped Treeswift, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Javan Pond-Heron, Wood Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Chestnut Munia, Scaly-breasted Munia, Paddyfield Pipit, White-breasted Wood Swallow, Whiskered Tern, Brahimy Kite, Sooty-headed Bulbul and Spotted Dove

The evening was spent in a comfortable air-conditioned room that even included Wi-Fi and swimming pool.


Day 2: Next morning we set out early enough to catch the first sunlight near Gunung Ambang at the village of Sinsingon. The area around the village is full of agricultural produce and the humble houses in the village sport genuine village life with playing children, fruits and veggies for sale, house wifes sweeping floors and farmers leaving for the fields.

Walking up G. Ambang is a bit tiring and it is best to wear either rubber boots or strong hiking boots.

It is often wet and slippery but the walk is rewarding as it brings about many montane species otherwise not seen on a tour that doesnít include Lord Lindu in Central Sulawesi.

Some of the great birds seen on this walk were Purple-bearded Bee-eater, Purple Needletail, Isabelline Bush Hen, Sulawesi Crested Serpent Eagle, Black-fronted White-eye, Grey-sided, Red-crowned and Yellow-sided Flowerpeckers, Sulawesi Babbler, Citrine Flycatcher, Ornate Lorikeet, Sulawesi Leaf Warbler, Sulphur-bellied Whistler, Island Verditer, Malia, Matinan Flycatcher, Streak-headed Dark-eye, Rusty-flanked Fantail, Golden-mantled Racquet-tails and Lesser Sulawesi Honeyeater. We stayed on the mountain till late afternoon when we went for genuine Indonesian home cooked dinner at a local rangerís house. After dinner we returned to Kotamobagu a
Dinner!
Dinner!
Good food!
Good food!
Gunung Ambung
Gunung Ambung
River crossing at Toraout
River crossing at Toraout
The team
The team
Theo and Max's son at Tumbun
Theo and Max's son at Tumbun
Marc Bulte
Marc Bulte
Eirik Groenningsaeter
Eirik Groenningsaeter
Kjetil Sjoelberg
Kjetil Sjoelberg
Crested Black Macaques
Crested Black Macaques
Spectral Tarsier
Spectral Tarsier
Off to the mangroves!
Off to the mangroves!