Saturday, 3 August 2013

travelling to West Papua (3-4 August 2013)

Sunday 4 August.  Touched down on time at KLIA at about 07.30 and transferred terminals for our flight to Jakarta.  A few birds seen included Purple Heron, House Swift, Edible-nest Swiftlet, the ubiquitous (in SE Asia) Tree Sparrow and India House Crow.  Left KLIA at 09.10 and arrived in Jakarta at the international terminal at 10.10.  We found a left luggage store for our bags and got a taxi to Muara Angke, an area of mangroves and marshes on the western edge of the city 30-40 minutes from the airport.  Here we spent the afternoon with a small payment made to gain access, in lieu of a permit which was only obtainable in Jakarta. 
This was much more successful than my previous visit (in 2005) as the boardwalk had been repaired and enabled much better access to the site.  We saw Oriental Darter, Black Bittern, Purple, Night and Striated Herons,  Purple Swamphen, White-breasted Waterhen, Pink-necked Green Pigeon, Banded-Bay Cuckoo, Javan Coucal (new for all of us), Fulvous-breasted and Sunda Pygmy Woodpeckers, displaying Common Iora, at least 4 Black-winged Starlings, Flyeater, Pied Fantail and Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker.  At dusk we flagged down at taxi and returned to Jakarta airport, reclaimed our bags and caught the yellow shuttle bus to the domestic terminal.  There we met Jon Hornbuckle and Rod Martins.  They had arrived in Jakarta the night before us but had had a somewhat more trying day, stuck for 5 hours in a traffic jam while attempting to reach a Javan White-eye site to the east of Jakarta.  Now being at full complement, the 6 of us checked in for our 22:45 Sriwijaya Air flight to Biak via Makassar.
Pink-necked Green Pigeon at Muara Angke
pigeons in the UK are generally not that special although Turtle and Stock Doves are nice and I've even got a soft spot for Wood Pigeons.  In SE Asia the Green Pigeons, such as this one, are excellent and Fruit Doves even better ...

Saturday 3 August.  Up early and walked to Shoreham Station to catch the 06.13 train to London Victoria.  Sadly no Swifts on the way, they'll be gone before I'm back.  At Victoria bought an Oystercard and caught the tube to Heathrow, arriving a little before 09.00.  Soon met Nick Preston, Nick Gardner and Malcolm Oxlade and we checked in for our noon Malaysian Airlines flight to Jakarta via Kuala Lumpur.  An Airbus A380 with a good selection of films and TV programmes competing during the 13 hours to KLIA with last minute swotting of the Field Guide.  A comfortable flight but didn't sleep much.

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