Sunday, 16 August 1992

INDONESIA August 1992: West Java & Central Sulawesi

Introduction.  Nick Preston, Michael Grunwell and I joined Nick Gardner and the late Simon Aspinal on a trip to Sulawesi and Halmahera in August 1992.  Simon was working in Indonesia at the time, had a very good grasp of the language, did much of the organisation and was about as laid back about things as is possible without being horizontal - in other words an ideal travelling companion!  Four of us left Heathrow on the evening of 5 August and flew out to Jakarta where we met Simon on 6 August.  We were driven to his house in Bogor.  This blog, written in 2013, is based on very hazy memories, inadequate notebook entries and includes some rather poor digitised images.  Being mainly forest sites it was a hard trip for photography an dI got virtually no bird shots at all.

West Java (07-10 August).  We spent three whole days in Gunung Gede National Park including an uncomfortable night at Air Panas hut.  Unfortunately this coincided with a weekend when the main trail was very busy with local visitors.  I’d visited the park on my return from a trip to Australia in spring 1986 - I’d been very keen to see Lesser Forktail then.  A return visit was very welcome as there were a number of species that I’d not seen, in particular Blue-tailed Trogon.  In our three days I saw Pink-necked Fruit-Dove, Javan Scops Owl (found by Ben King who was leading a group there), Salvadori’s Nightjar, Waterfall Swift, Blue-tailed Trogon, Blue-crowned Barbet, Lesser & White-browed Shortwings, Lesser & White-crowned Forktails, Sunda Blue Robin, Javan Cochoa, Horsfield’s Thrush, Eye-browed & Pigmy Wren-Babblers, Spotted Sibia, Javan Tesia, Blue Nuthatch and Mountain Serin.  My only disappointment was not seeing Chestnut-bellied Partridge.  I’d missed a couple of brief sightings so decided on the last morning to walk the trail early but to no avail.  As luck would have it Michael did some packing, entered the forest some time later and had a party cross in front of him almost immediately.  Birding can seem unfair at times!  We had an afternoon in the Bogor Botanical Gardens where Yellow-throated Hanging Parrots proved elusive although ten Black-naped Fruit-Doves were some compensation.
Gunung Gede, the summit was often obscured by clouds.  We got about half-way up this trip although I made it to the summit in 2005
Stalls along the entrance road to Gunung Gede
National Park HQ Gunung Gede

once inside the entrance to the park the forest was fairly thick
Javan Scops Owl, one of two found roosting together by Ben King (photo Nick Peston)
terracing on the way back to Bogor
Bogor Botanical Gardens, main lake

Central Sulawesi (11-16 August).  Leaving Bogor early on 11th it took all day to get to Palu in Central Sulawesi, flying there from Jakarta via Ujung Pandang.  I noted seeing just four species on what was very much a travel day.  We had arranged to charter a 4WD and driver/guide called Rollex and had five days in Lore Lindu National Park based at the Ranger Station at Kamaroa.  Of all the sites visited this was the one where we felt that a much longer visit would have been needed to fully do the area justice.  Twice we went up to Anaso (on 13th & 15th)  which, due to a broken bridge, was an arduous 2.5-3 hour journey each way on very poor roads.  In hindsight we would have been better off going up once and camping there for a night as I wasn’t alone in feeling that the accommodation and food at Kamoroa wasn't as missable as a full night’s sleep!  The forest patches around Kamoroa seemed very slow going to us, although we didn’t have the time to really persevere, while we visited Danau Tambling on our last day.  Lore Lindu provided me with nearly 60 new birds of which the most impressive were Superb and Red-eared Fruit-Doves, Bay Coucal, Fiery-billed Malkoha, Purple-bearded Bee-eater, Purple-winged Roller, Knobbed Hornbill, Sulawesi Pigmy and Ashy Woodpeckers, Great Shortwing, Sulawesi Mountain Thrush, Chestnut-backed Bush-Warbler, Hylocitrea and Finch-billed and Fiery-browed Mynas.  We also saw Bear Couscous and Anoa (Dwarf Buffallo).  Most memorable were the Purple-bearded Bee-eaters, we saw four, at a roadside bank near Danau Tambling and a Giant Shortwing at Anaso.  We heard three of the latter calling, the most accessible involving a scramble down a steep ravine off the road.  Fortunately it came in to investigate Nick G’s playing of its song.  Perhaps least memorable was the Hylocitrea, known then as Yellow-flanked Whistler but now elevated to perhaps not the most impressive single species family.

south of Palu, heavily cultivated although still quite stunning
Simon Aspinal, Rollex, Nick Gardner, Michael Grunwell (partly obscured) and Nick Preston  by our jeep on a stop on the journey south from Palu

view from our veranda at Kamoroa Ranger Station
scratched slide showing forest in clouds at Kamoroa, 
extensive forest at Kamoroa
dawn at Anaso
early morning above the clouds at Anaso
rather dark image of Anaso
Dongi Dongi
Spot-tailed Goshawk at Anaso
one of the more distinctive accipiters and helpfully named too
juvenile Little Pied Flycatcher on the road at Anaso
an even younger looking juvenile Little Pied Flycatcher
view south from Kamoroa, strange lighting effect probably due to being taken through  a window

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