Wednesday 28 August (continued). We arrived in Jakarta on time and proceeded to the Sriwijaya desks. Our flight wasn't listed on the departure board rather confirming the e-mail Paul had received of its cancellation. The staff at the counter were very helpful and one of the managers was called and offered us a choice of an evening flight with another airline or a night in a hotel and the rescheduled flight to Balikpapan at 06:25 the following morning. Paul had not heard from Pak Agusdin at Sungai Wain for several months and not being sure that they were expecting us we felt a late evening arrival might not be ideal. Staying the night in Jakarta gave us an afternoon to look for Milky Stork which would be new for Paul so we decided to go for that option, Nick persuading them to throw in a free dinner too. A shuttle bus took us to the hotel from where we took a taxi to Maura Angke. After failing to find a boat for hire we walked around to the reserve entrance, paid a minimal entrance fee and were directed to the end of the boardwalk. From here 5 distant Milky Storks were feeding on the edge of the mangroves. Other birds seen included 30 Sunda Teal, 5 Orange-breasted Green Pigeons, 100+ Whiskered Terns, a selection of herons, 2 Collared Kingfishers, 2 Oriental Darters, 2 Small Minivets and 2 Sunda Pied Fantails. We soon found a taxi to return us to the hotel where much to our disappointment, the free dinner was a very ordinary Nasi Goreng.
|Milky Storks at Maura Angke|
|Whiskered Terns at Maura Angke|
Friday 30 August. Today seemed to sum up Sungai Wain, at least during a hot August. We looked unsuccessfully for Sunda Frogmouth from 04:40-05:10, had a box breakfast then spent all day birding in the forest with experienced guide Pak Iman and returned at 18:10 by which time I had seen just ten species. After a box dinner we returned into the forest from 19:30-20:50 looking for nightbirds and seeing none, not helped towards the end by the battery on Paul's speaker dying when a Bornean Wood Owl started to respond and me not having a spare. During the morning we heard a distant Bornean Ground Cuckoo in an area Iman knew they frequented but it did not respond to playback. Later in another area he knew one did respond. Paul put his speaker some distance away and we crouched down hoping it might come in without seeing us. No chance, I saw a movement appearing in a small gap off to our right that looked about the right size but raising my bins it had vanished. We tried hiding behind a tree a bit further down the trail in the hope of pulling it across a more open area but with no success. We tried hiding by the trail at the extent of blue-tooth range and hopefully scanned the trail beyond. We then heard the bird call again and not being able to determine its direction Nick indicated that it was somewhere behind us. Looking down the trail we were facing the wrong way and about the only other place I could see the ground was along narrow strip in the vegetation level with us. The Bornean Ground Cuckoo suddenly appeared side on for an instant half way down the strip then ran roadrunner like directly away and out of site. Paul had been watching the strip too and we didn't have a bad view through binoculars but unfortunately Nick was unsighted. The bird was incredibly wary as both Paul and I already had our binoculars raised when it appeared but it still clocked us and shot off. We kept trying but to no avail. Several attempts during the day to see Bornean Peacock Pheasant either at display areas or by walking narrow ridge trails also failed although Paul heard one in the distance. My other sightings were 100+ Edible-nest Swiftlets, 2 superb Brown-backed Needletails and a Pacific Swallow over the reservoir, Buff-necked Woodpecker, a flight view of a Rufous-backed Kingfisher, Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler, 4 Chestnut-winged, a Sooty-capped and 2 Ferruginous Babblers.
|box lunch at the second 'camp' at Sungai Wain|
|Nick taking first watch at a Bornean Peacock-Pheasant display area, unfortunately they mainly visit in the spring.|
|Diard's Trogon at Sungai Wain|
|Garnet Pitta at Sungai Wain|
|I'd hoped to see Garnet Pitta in Borneo having only seen them in West Malaysia and not since 1987. It did not disappoint|
|Garnet Pitta at Sungai Wain|
|did I really look that srange?|
|boardwalk into the forest|
|the homestay's rather creepy front door|
We'd gone to Borneo knowing that August probably wasn't the best time to visit - my two and Nick's three previous trips had been at this time and we'd found them hard work. With few targets we almost got away with it but came up short on Bornean Peacock-Pheasant. I've not seen everything occurring in Borneo but the peacock-pheasant is about the only Bornean species I'd return for and with Sungai Wain being so easy to access from Balikpapan I might consider adding a return visit to some, as yet unplanned, future Indonesian trip, provided it was not in August.
I'd like to thank Nick, Paul and Lori for being excellent companions and helping someone (me) not as sharp as they were to get onto some of the trickier birds, although I surprisingly held my own with the pittas which was pleasing. Paul arranged the main part of the trip which ran very smoothly and even the delayed flight probably worked to our advantage. He was brilliant on calls too, as exemplified by the first Hose's Broadbill. Thanks for inviting us along. Nick arranged his and my pre-trip visit to Bali where we saw most of what I'd hoped to, and all that was probably realistically possible given how badly many species have been hit by the cagebird trade. Lori was only able to join us in Sarawak but was great company there. Many people helped us throughout and I'd particularly like to thank Made Surya (firstname.lastname@example.org) who guided Nick and me in Bali, Isak and Wendy at the Tropical Jungle Hideout and Pak Agusdin and Pak Iman at Sungai Wain.