In autumn 2018 BirdFair in Helsinki we met our old friend Seppo Hjerppe and found out that he had been traveling a lot in Indonesia during the last 20 years and was actually living in Bali in winters nowadays. We discussed that we could come to do some birding with him one day and he thought that it would be fun.
About one year later we were planning out winter-trip with Hanna and contacted Seppo and asked if he was in Bali and wanted to do some serious birding around Christmas and New Year. And soon we were buying flights and in early winter when Seppo was still in Finland we met and planned the base of the trip. But we decided to make more exact plans once we were in Bali.
On the 22nd of December in the afternoon and early evening we drove to Vantaa Lentopysäköinti and soon got a ride to the airport. We were once again too early but finally our Qatar Airways flight left towards Doha at 10:40 p.m.
We watched movies and then tried to sleep as much as possible on the flight. It was surprisingly quiet in the plane and we managed to sleep quite well. Finally we landed to Doha, walked a long way to the right gate and spent time while watching outside through the windows. We saw some Tree Sparrows, White-spectacled Bulbuls, Laughing Doves, Rock Pigeons and Common Mynas.
Finally after a couple of hours waiting our flight left to Denpasar. Again we tried to sleep but also watched movies. And at 11:00 p.m. we landed to Denpasar. We queued to the baggage claim area and my bag was almost the first one that came through the line, but we had to wait for a long time before Hanna’s bag finally came. Then we walked to the lobby where we found our driver Bung who had a bi sign with our names on.
We followed Bung to the parking tunnel and waited for him while he got his car. It was extremely hot and humid in the tunnel but finally Bung arrived and we got to his air-conditioned car where we could cool down.
We started driving towards North and there was surprisingly lot of traffic even though Bung said that: ”There is no traffic”. Finally we arrived at Jukut Paku near Ubud and parked our car in front of some buildings. We found Seppo outside and soon carried our luggage along a corridor and through a gate to his garden. There we met also Kari Riipinen who had been living in this apartment for 7 years now and had been working with Seppo in the past. Their company had been selling Indonesian furniture and other stuff in Helsinki. Kari had been mostly living and traveling around Indonesia and sending shipping containers to Finland to Seppo who then tried to sell everything. In the garden we met also Topi, a Balinese dog.
A Sunda Scops Owl was calling while we chatted with our householders, but it was very late so soon we carried our luggage into a small guesthouse and soon we were sleeping – it was already Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve birding
We could’ve slept longer but when cocks and chickens started to call in the neighbor, also a Green Junglefowl started to call nearby. Soon also a couple of Greater Coucals were calling so I just had to go out. I climbed to the roof of the guesthouse which was build as a bird-tower. The view was amazing green!
It was hot already when the sun was rising. Other calls than coucals and cocks were Yellow-vented Bulbuls, but also some unidentified birds were heard. I immediately noticed that there weren’t songbirds. In Indonesia catching birds as cage-birds is a huge problem and on some islands there are more birds in cages than free! Now I heard a single Oriental Magpie Robin singing, but I couldn’t be sure if it was free or in a neighbor’s cage.
I also saw Pacific Swallows flying past very close and very fast, two kind of swiftlets were flying on the sky which most of them were Cave Swiftlets but also some Edible-nest Swiftlets were seen. Yellow-vented Bulbul and swiftlets were the easiest birds to see, but also Spotted Dove was numerous. Eastern Cattle Egrets and some Javan Pond Herons were seen flying towards the rice-fields, Scaly-breasted Munias flying on the sky and Olive-backed Sunbirds flying on the top of trees. Only very familiar call was a Wood Sandpiper that was calling in the sky shortly.
When Hanna and Seppo had also climbed to the roof we started to identify more birds. A high call that I had already heard a couple of times was a Chinese Sparrowhawk which was also seen soon. On the top of a distant tree Seppo found a Collared Kingfisher and soon a flock of Javan Munias came to the garden trees. A Square-tailed Drongo-cuckoo was calling and soon landed to a top of one of the trees, a Lesser Coucal was calling somewhere along the river that was nearby and a couple of Crescent-chested Babblers were calling inside the vegetation. A Common Iora and an Olive-backed Tailorbird were singing and a small flock of Grey-cheeked Green Pigeons flew over us and landed to a top of one tree visible. A lonely Asian Glossy Starling flew over us and a Javan Kingfisher was calling nearby but we couldn’t find it. We still saw a bright red Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker but then we had to have some breakfast. We had managed to get already 13 lifers in the garden!
After long travelling we had planned to start getting familiar with Indonesian and Balinese birds quite easily. So after the breakfast we left birding to rice-fields nearby. It was nice to meet many locals that Seppo knew, people were happy to meet us too and it seemed all local people were smiling at us. It was good to be in Asia again!
Zebra Doves were calling, a Plaintive Cuckoo whistling and a Lineated Barbet burring somewhere distant. We saw a flock of Pink-necked Green Pigeons and while walking along the fields, an Oriental Honey Buzzard flew over us. Soon we found the first Wood Sandpipers, Pin-tailed/Swinhoe’s Snipes which some were identified as Pin-tailed Snipes and also the first White-breasted Waterhen was seen. After we had heard and seen some Zitting Cisticolas we found the first Golden-headed Cisticola and soon we found more of these very funny sounding birds. All of their calls were just ridiculous! Then we heard and soon saw a Plain Prinia which shouldn’t be found in Bali by the books but Seppo had found them here and there. Soon we also saw a Greater Painted-snipe that a local farmer flushed. Plenty of Scaly-breasted and Javan Munias and a single White-headed Munia, Asian Glossy Starlings and Pacific, Barn and Striated Swallows were seen too.
We continued walking towards Ubud and on the way we saw some nests of Striated Swallows under water-towers. We also saw Tree Sparrows and a couple of Brown-throated Sunbirds before we walked through the famous monkey-forest where we of course photographed tame Crab-eating Macaques. These monkeys were extremely good at stealing stuff from tourists so we hid everything into our bags and pockets but anyway one young macaque managed to steal an almost empty coca cola bottle from Hanna’s bag. It just jumped over Hanna’s bag and took the bottle from the pocket even though only the cap was visible. But this stupid monkey opened the bottle upside down and only got it’s feet wet.
In Ubud we changed local money, Rupias, and we became millionaires! 100 000 Rupias is the biggest paper money which is 7 Euros. We still did some shopping and then took a taxi back to our apartment.
During the hottest time of the day we were having siesta and in the afternoon went to birding again. We walked now towards the river nearby and immediately saw an Emerald Dove flying past us. Along the river we found a big Chestnut-breasted Malkoha perched on the tree and I thought that I had already heard it calling in the morning. Also the same Collared Kingfisher was seen again.
We continued to the fields on the western side of the village and found more Zitting and Golden-headed Cisticolas, Pin-tailed/Swinhoe’s Snipes, White-breasted Waterhens and saw a couple of Greater Painted-snipes in flight. We also heard a Plaintive Cuckoo, a couple of Square-tailed Drongo-cuckoos, a Common Flameback and a Common Iora. While we were walking back we still saw a couple of Sooty-headed Bulbuls. During the walk we also saw some big Asian Water Monitors.
In the evening we had Christmas dinner even with some Finnish salted fish and rye bread. We had small Christmas-presents to our hosts. We chatted until late evening while listening to Sunda Scops Owls calling and Black-crowned Night Herons flying over. We also climbed to the ”tower” to listen to a Red-legged Crake that was calling quite actively. There were also many other animals around the garden. Soon after the sunset very noisy crickets started to call but luckily they stopped after 10 minutes. Several different kind of bats were flying over the garden, the biggest always just flew straight inside the biggest tree. Many kind of butterflies and moths, even some hawk-moths, were seen. Smaller geckos were easily found on the walls but also Toke-geckos were calling around. Big bright-yellow sided skinks were also living in the garden where was also a small pool with fish and some frogs that started to call at night. The noisiest frogs weren’t welcome to the pool.
On the Christmas Day we woke up early and climbed up to the roof to revise identification of common birds. Green Junglefowl, Crescent-chested Babbler, a couple of Brown-throated Sunbirds, Square-tailed Drongo-cuckoo, Chinese Sparrowhawk, Javan Munias, a couple of White-headed Munias, Grey-cheeked Green Pigeons and so on were seen and finally a couple of Javan Kingfishers were also seen briefly. A small flock of Chestnut-cheeked Starlings flew over with some flocks of Asian Glossy Starlings and with swiftlets there were a few Pacific Swifts flying on the sky.
When Seppo has also climbed up we heard a strange bulbul-like singer that we tried to see for a long time but without luck. I took recordings of the song and later it was identified as an Orange-spotted Bulbul.
After the breakfast we left to walk and took Topi with us. We walked to the river where we surprisingly found 3 White-crowned Forktails! An Oriental Magpie Robin was calling on the tree and a Common Sandpiper was also seen. We continued to an old temple that was along the same river and found out that there were some tourists having their yoga-session. I don’t know if they were trying to find themselves but at least Topi found himself in a cool muddy ditch.
We saw one more White-crowned Forktail and a Blue-eared Kingfisher flew past us very fast. Also a Grey Wagtail was found. It was very hot so Seppo decided to go to swim to the river. It was very rapid and Topi was very worried on the shore.
After a short siesta we headed to fields where we saw again some Golden-headed Cisticolas, White-headed Munias and a Great White Egret. Then it started to look like a rain was coming soon and we headed back. But after all it was raining only some drops. Rainy season should have started already a month ago but it was still very dry. It had been raining only a couple of times and not hard at all.
On Boxing Day, the 26th of December we started serious birdwatching. At 4 a.m. Bung came to pick us up and we headed towards the mountains. Seppo had recently found a new forest-birding place which I can’t tell where it is because of bird-trappers.
When we parked our car, we started to walk along the road while Bung started to sleep in his car. We had planned to walk about 4 hours. Immediately we heard plenty of Lesser Shortwings and Crescent-chested Babblers. After a short walk we found a bird-wave where a Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Sunda Warblers, Sunda Leaf Warblers and 4 Scarlet Minivets were found. Several Flame-throated Barbets were burring, a Ruddy Cuckoo-dove was first heard calling and then seen flying past the road, several Green Imperial Pigeons were calling and a couple of Sunda Cuckoos were calling. Grey-cheeked Pigeons were flying over us and soon we found the first Ashy Drongos and then also some Greater Racket-tailed Drongos. Birds seemed to be very shy, so it was difficult to see them well and almost impossible to get any pictures. Also several noisy Plantain Squirrels were heard and seen.
We continued walking and found lots of Mees’s White-eyes some Long-tailed Shrikes and Grey-headed Canary-flycatchers, a male Little Pied Flycatcher and then we found some Snowy-browed Flycatchers hiding low in the shadows. While watching the flycatchers we noticed a different-looking flycatcher female higher on the tree and identified it as a Mugimagi Flycatcher. Soon we found a few females more and then saw briefly a beautiful male Mugimagi Flycatcher too.
We stopped in one open area to search for Sunda Grasshopper Warblers that Seppo had heard earlier in the area, but we couldn’t find them. But after we had continued walking, we heard the first one and later a couple of more. But these birds were hiding in so dense vegetation that we couldn’t see them at all.
Soon we heard a Yellow-throated Hanging Parrot calling while flying over us, but it was just too fast, so we couldn’t see it. Then we heard a new kind of dove calling and I took my phone and listened to some Xeno Canto recordings that I had saved to my phone and found out that it was a Little Cuckoo-dove, a lifer even for Seppo. Soon we had another Little Cuckoo-dove flying over us.
Then we heard a strange bulbul-song very close to us and found a couple of bulbuls that we couldn’t identify. Luckily they were showing well enough to get some photos, so we knew we could identify them later. I had forgotten my book to car, so soon we kept on walking.
We forgot the bulbuls soon as we heard several Cinereous Tits singing and also saw a couple of them. And in the same time we heard several Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babblers calling and after some trying we managed to see these curvy-billed birds hiding in the shadows.
While we were walking on more open forest it was surprisingly quiet around us, only some Greater Racket-tailed Drongos were calling higher on the hillside, but then suddenly we heard a high call of a Javan Whistling Thrush, then another, a third and so on.
On open hillside we stopped to scan the sky and tree-tops and found a couple of Black Eagles soaring on the sky. We also heard a Javan Cuckooshrike calling and then right next to us a bird started to sing in a bush. Again I found the same song from my phone and I started to play it and so we managed to also see this Sunda Bush Warbler quite well.
We had already seen some flocks of starlings flying over us when I remembered that Asian Glossy Starling wasn’t supposed to occur this high on the mountain. When the next flock flew over us we noticed that the birds seemed to be shorter-tailed too, they were Short-tailed Starlings.
Our road ended but we continued along a small track inside the forest. Still there were Lesser Shortwings singing but now we heard also some Mountain Tailorbirds. Doves were sounding different again and while we were following one unidentified high-pitched caller, I found some Dark-backed Imperial Pigeons on the top of trees. While I was watching them I managed to lean towards a bush that burned my skin through my trousers so badly that it hurt continuously for several days and still burned 5 days later for a while! But at least I saw the pigeons well!
Soon we turned back towards our car and it seemed that birds were much more quiet during hot time of the day. So we saw just some flocks of Mees’s White-eyes and heard some Lesser Shortwings before we were back where Bung was waiting for us. I took my book and soon found out that the bulbuls we had photographed had been Javan Bulbuls. Javan Bulbul hasn’t been seen in Bali before but the biotope was correct and we were far from the place where any cage-birds were. I really think we had found the first for Bali!
We still drove to the shore of Lake Buyang but then it started to rain. We walked under a shed to check the lake with telescopes and found lots of Common Moorhens, some White-browed Crakes, Swinhoe’s Snipes, Black-crowned Night Herons, White-breasted Waterhens, a couple of Yellow Bitterns, Little Egrets, a couple of Grey Wagtails and so on. When the rain stopped we walked a little bit along the shore and found several singing Striated Grassbirds and Pallas’s Grasshopper Warblers. Seppo told that he had sometimes seen a Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler carrying food, so I would like to know what are they really doing in Bali? Even now they were singing quite a lot and even though I am not experienced, I think they sounded a little bit different than I had expected.
We also saw a small youngsters of White-breasted Waterhen, they were really cute black furry balls. Then we heard Red Avadavat calls shortly but only Seppo managed to see them in flight.
Finally we started to drive back towards Ubud. On the way Seppo bought some strawberries but they weren’t good at all. In Ubud we saw a really bad accident where a car hit a scooter. There were immediately lots of people helping the wounded scooter-driver and then the car-driver took him to the hospital. Bung said that it was his responsibility. I must say that I would never drive with scooter in Balinese traffic. Anyway there were lots of tourists driving, some without a helmet. And after all this wasn’t the only bad accident we saw…
In the evening we went to a restaurant that was nearby. We ate very well there and pretty soon we were ready to go to sleep.
On the 27th of December Bung came to pick us up at 5 a.m. and soon we were driving towards the coast. When the sun was rising we parked along River Unda and soon we were watching White-breasted Woodswallows and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters that were flying above us. We forded across the river to cleaner side as there had lots of rubbish on the ground where we had started. And soon we were walking on the delta’s sandur-area. We immediately saw flocks of Pink-necked Green Pigeons which some were extremely orange-breasted and we first identified them wrong as Orange-breasted Green Pigeons – but they were too grey-headed, so we later corrected the identification.
On the trees nearby we saw lots of cages and in some of them there were birds inside, at least some Javan Mynas. We still hadn’t seen any mynas in freedom.
On one reed-bed we heard a couple of harsh-sounded reed warblers singing and nowadays it is known that on Bali the species is Australasian Reed Warbler. We also heard a couple of Lesser Coucals and Plaintive Cuckoos and heard and also saw briefly a Sunda Pied Fantail. While following the river again we heard a Cerulean Kingfisher a couple of times but didn’t manage to see this bird yet.
From wet pools we found plenty of White-breasted Waterhens, White-browed Crakes and Yellow Bitterns. Also Intermediate Egrets were seen and a single Striated Heron too. On one reed-bed we heard Streaked Weavers calling but saw them only in flight briefly. One cuckoo-looking bird was seen in flight but it was impossible to identify as there can be several wintering species of cuculus-cuckoos.
After we had been walking between the bushes for a couple of hot hours we finally saw the first Javan Myna flying over us. Again we heard some Pallas’s Grasshopper Warblers and Striated Grassbirds and saw several Collared Kingfishers. Also a couple of flocks of White-headed Munias and a couple of Eastern Yellow Wagtails were seen.
When we came close to the shore, there was lots of mangrove and Seppo knew it was a good area for a Savanna Nightjar. We were walking around the bushes for some time before we found the first bird and then there were altogether 8 birds flushed under the same bush. And soon another 8 birds were flushed again from very small area.
There was a tiny farm in the middle of the area and there we heard a Black-naped Monarch singing shortly and then next to a small pool Hanna and Seppo saw a Barred Buttonquail running under a big bush to hide. We also saw a small cuckoo landing to a top of some stick and identified it as a Banded Bay Cuckoo.
When we were on the shore we saw some waders and new trip-ticks were Common Greenshank, Pacific Golden Plover, Kentish Plover and we managed to identify a couple of Javan Plover too. Luckily they were calling. Also a dark-blue kingfisher was seen and in this biotope it had to be a Common Kingfisher, which is a very dark sub-species in Bali.
We walked until a village called Jumpai where Bung came to pick us up. We still checked the beaches and watched to the sea but found only a distant flock of Sanderlings.
To Western Bali
On the 28th of December Kari’s trusted driver Nyoman arrived to pick us up at 7 a.m. and soon we were driving up towards the mountains. We stopped shortly on view-watching place where we saw a couple of Chinese Sparrowhawks. Then next stop we made on the shore of Lake Buyan again but there were less birds now. Striated Grassbirds and Pallas’s Grasshopper Warblers were heard but there weren’t many other birds. Only new birds were good, a soaring Changeable Hawk-eagle and a calling Rusty-breasted Cuckoo.
We continued driving towards new places. In Munduk I noticed some big birds perching on a wire over the curvy road. When we got closer we realized that they were Wreathed Hornbills! These birds were feeding on the terrace of a hotel where were big feeders for animals. Luckily we were there in the right time. We managed to see these amazing birds extremely well before they left to fly over their home-forest.
After we had been watching mountain-views for some time, we drove down along the coast and when we were near the shore, we stopped to see if there were any birds. Some Little Egrets were feeding on the rocky shore and a couple of Brown Boobies were found from the sea. But there were no other birds at all, so soon we continued towards west.
Nyoman was driving as fast as it was possible on these narrow roads where were lots of other cars and scooters. He was overtaking cars pretty much but he was a good driver and we didn’t need to be scared at all. We saw some families driving with one scooter and usually only the driver had a helmet. It could be possible to see a headline in local newspaper:” 2 scooters crashed, 10 injured”.
Finally we were driving along the western tip of Bali and right before Gilimanuk we saw some Asian Palm Swifts. Soon we turned to parking place of Hotel Lestari. We were there so early that we had to wait for 30 minutes before our rooms had been cleaned. Actually we took better rooms than we had booked as we realized that we really needed air-conditioners.
Once we got into our rooms we relaxed the hottest couple of hours but then headed to birding. We just walked across the road and followed a path to the bushes. Seppo had been birding here before and knew which paths to follow.
It was very hot but we we walked in the bushes for a couple of hours. We saw an Emerald Dove, Lineated and Coppersmith Barbets, a Common Flameback, a couple of Freckle-breasted Woodpeckers, Collared Kingfishers, Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, about 20 Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters, Long-tailed Shrikes, Common Ioras, White-breasted Woodswallows, Black Drongos, lots of Sooty-headed Bulbuls, Pink-necked Green Pigeons, a Lesser Coucal, some Javan Mynas and finally a few White-shouldered Trillers.
When we had walked back to our hotel, we continued straight towards the sea. Once we were on the shore, we found a tern perched on a buoy. It looked strange and when it opened its wings and turned to better position, we realized that it was a Black-naped Tern. From the sea we found also some Lesser Crested Terns and 6 Brown Boobies.
We kept on walking on the beach that was full of rubbish – and we saw people carrying more and more rubbish to the shoreline. Seppo called to his old friend, a local bird-guide Iwan Melali and when we had walked until Bali Barak = West Bali National Park information center, Iwan was already waiting for us.
After some chatting we walked around the area and soon heard a Bali Myna singing and found it perched on a tree. There were some nest-boxes on the trees and altogether we found 6 Bali Mynas which at least 2 were unringed while the rest had color-rings. In this place there was a big cage where Bali Mynas were living while waiting to get free. In the past there had been only about 30 pairs of these beautiful birds but the protection had been successful and nowadays there are about 350 birds in Bali Barat. But the threat still exists as cage-birders can get rich by illegal trapping of Bali Starlings. About 10 years ago armed robbers stole all 100 birds from one cage by force. But anyway the future of Bali Starling looks much brighter than it looks for many other species that are not protected in Indonesia.
It was already getting late but we still found a couple of Scarlet-headed Flowerpeckers, saw briefly an Oriental Pied Hornbill in flight and found an Island Collared Dove. Once we had planned a little bit the next day’s schedule, we walked back to our hotel along the shore.
Hanna cooked her dinner at the hotel but we walked to the city to search a restaurant with Seppo. It was more difficult than we had thought to find a restaurant but after several kilometers walking, we finally found one. Once we were walking back on the other side of the street, we saw a couple of other restaurants that were closer.
On the 29th of December we woke up early and at 5 a.m. we met Iwan and his driver Dahlan who had arrived early. Soon we were driving inside the National Park towards mangrove. Once we had parked, we continued walking and Iwan was showing the way with his torch.
After short searching we found a couple of perched Savanna Nightjars and managed to get some pictures of them even though it was still completely dark. We also heard a Large-tailed Nightjar calling somewhere in distance.
We continued to the shore where a boat was waiting for us. This was a surprise for us. Soon we were boating towards a mangrove island in front of us.
The view was absolutely beautiful with mangroves and distant mountains and the weather was again perfectly calm. Big flocks of Blue-tailed Bee-eaters with some tens of Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters were flying on the sky. When we were on the island, we started to walk around it. Golden-bellied Gerygones were singing on the bushes and soon we heard the first Indonesian Honeyeaters too. It took some time to find honeyeaters visible but after all we saw a couple of birds very well.
After finding honeyeaters already our main targets were Beach Stone-curlew, Thick-billed Heron and Sacred Kingfisher. While we kept on walking Iwan was whistling Stone-curlew calls but there was no answer. All kingfishers we saw were either Collared or Cerulean Kingfishers which we now saw pretty well. While we were checking the surrounding mangrove-beaches with telescopes, we found quite a few Lesser Adjutants and Striated Herons and a single young Purple Heron.
A stunning immature White-bellied Sea Eagle flew over us and I saw briefly a couple of Woolly-necked Storks landing behind mangroves. There were amazing numbers of red crabs on the mud. They were running in front of us and dug inside the mud if we managed to get too close. Also interesting looking sea-cucumbers and sea-anemones were seen on the pools.
We saw lots of Whimbrels and Common Sandpipers on the shore but when we had walked around the whole island we still hadn’t found our targets. So we got to the boat again and continued towards the northern end of the strait. We found more Lesser Adjutants and same waders and under water we saw plenty of huge seastars and some funny-looking blowfish.
We turned back when we were close to the harbor where we saw big flock of House Swifts. But after all we were back on the beach and soon had walking back towards our car. We still found a Savanna Nightjar perched and now got really good pictures.
Next we drove along a long forest-road while watching and listening through windows. We found Grey-rumped Treeswifts and at least 11 Oriental Dollarbirds from the wires. Also a couple of Javan Mynas, Coppersmith Barbets and a Javan Cuckooshrike were seen.
The next stop was made on the shore of another mangrove-area where we met another guide with a couple of tourists. They seemed to be watching birds too, but they were all amateurs comparing to Iwan and us. Anyway we didn’t find anything really good here either; a couple of Freckle-breasted Woodpeckers, a flock of Small Minivets, some Cerulean Kingfishers, White-shouldered Trillers and a few Common Terns.
Soon we continued across the road to a forest where we walked along a small path until a dry river. There we heard immediately an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher calling. Iwan played a tape shortly and we heard it again. We climbed a bit higher to see behind the bushes and soon found a couple of Oriental Dwarf Kingfishers perched along the river. They were behind the branches and in shadows but Hanna managed to get some pictures of them.
Soon Iwan played also Javan Banded Pitta and immediately we heard a response. But it called only once and we couldn’t locate it. So after we had put some mosquito-repellent we headed deeper into the forest. But after all there were almost no mosquitoes at all, it had been so dry.
After some walking we heard a couple of Kamchatka Leaf Warbler calling above us and found one bird very well visible. Later we heard a least 8 of them altogether. Some Hair-crested Drongos were calling nearby but they were also very shy and we saw them only in flight. Also a Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatcher was heard singing but only shortly and we couldn’t see it. But soon we heard a couple of Mangrove Whistlers and I managed to see them surprisingly well when they were fighting almost on the ground.
We climbed higher and higher in the forest all the time and still found a flock of very beautiful Ruby-throated Bulbuls and a single Black-thighed Falconet. We also tried to find a Javan Owlet but it wasn’t found even though we knew we were on its territory.
We had walked almost around the whole path when Iwan saw something moving under the bushes in front of us. He pointed us the bird and it was amazing beautiful female Javan Banded Pitta! It was inside a dense bush but anyway we managed to see it very well. But after some time it ran deeper inside the bush. We walked carefully around the bush and managed to find it again, but then noticed that this bird had even brighter orange colors, it was a male. So there was a couple!
During the midday we rested a little in our rooms but in the afternoon Iwan and Dahlan arrived again and we headed to National Park to a forest where was the biggest cage for Bali Starlings. We didn’t go to see the cage but started walking along the road to the forest. And after we had seen a couple of Bali Starlings, our goal was to finally see some Green Junglefowls and of course other forest-birds.
Pretty soon we found the first Green Junglefowl but the vegetation was too dense to get very good views. Pink-necked and Emerald Doves were seen and a couple of Green Imperial Pigeons. More surprising bird we found was a Chestnut-breasted Malkoha.
We also saw a few Oriental Pied Hornbills flying on the tops of trees where was also a big herd of Javan Lutungs, big black monkeys. Both Coppersmith and Lineated Barbets were seen and heard and a Common Flameback was calling somewhere further. Also another woodpecker was heard but it really seemed that seeing woodpeckers was impossible, so it stayed unidentified. A Yellow-throated Hanging Parrot flew over us and finally the first Black-naped Oriole was first heard but then also seen pretty well.
We continued along the road that led to a temple that was about 10 kilometers further. The road was in bad shape but anyway there were quite a few cars going to and coming from the temple. Luckily there was some silent moments and then we found more Green Junglefowls and also a Wild Boar that was walking on the road in front of us for some time.
Other birds we found were a couple of Black-winged Flycatcher-shrikes, Small Minivets, Spangled Drongos, lots of Common Ioras, some Javan Cuckoo-shrikes and White-shouldered Trillers, a flock of six Flame-throated Bulbuls, a Kamchatka Leaf Warbler and an Oriental Magpie Robin.
Finally we walked back towards the Bali Starling breeding center where we went to see this big cage from where armed robbers had stolen almost 100 birds in the past. From the garden we found a Black Giant Squirrel that crossed the road along electric wire.
In the evening we went to eat to the city with Seppo. We found a restaurant a bit closer to our hotel and got very good food but the service was the slowest I have ever seen. After the dinner we went to sleep early as the next day was going to be long.
To Java and Baluran
On the 30th of December we woke up early and at 5 a.m. we were driving towards the harbor. We were lucky to drive almost straight to a ferry and were soon crossing the narrow bay towards Java. Java is the most densely habituated island in the World with more than 350 million people. Our target was luckily only Baluran National Park on the north-eastern corner of the island.
A big flock of Little Swifts was flying over the harbor and soon the sun started to rise. We saw some Lesser Crested and Crested Terns on the buoys and a lonely Grey Heron flying towards Bali, it was only the 3rd record for Seppo on Bali.
The crossing was 12 kilometers because of the ferry had to make some curves, straight line between the islands is only about 7 kilometers. Soon we arrived at Ketapang harbor and we had to walk to the pier as cars were so well packed that only driver was able to get into the car. While waiting for our car we saw an adult and a young White-bellied Sea Eagles flying over us. Soon Dahlan arrived and we started to drive towards north and Baluran.
After about 30 kilometers driving we arrived at the gate of the National Park. It wasn’t 7 a.m. yet so the gate wasn’t open, but Iwan talked us in after we had paid the entrance-fee and soon we were climbing up to the big view-tower that was nearby.
The view was really good so soon we started to scan the tops of trees with our scopes and check every other bird that we could find. First we saw only same species that we had already seen on Bali, but soon we found that with swiftlets and swallows there were also some White-throated and Brown-backed Needletails flying on the sky. More and more needletails were coming and after all there were about 50 of them altogether.
Plaintive and Rusty-breasted Cuckoos were both seen and heard and then we found a big green bird perched on a top of one tree – it was a Black-banded Barbet. Also Black and Ashy Drongos, White-breasted Woodswallows, a couple of Scarlet-headed Flowerpeckers, Grey-cheeked Green Pigeons and so on were seen, but pretty soon we had to start driving slowly along the road inside the park.
We heard many Green Junglefowls through open windows and soon also first Red Junglefowl that sounded very different than in Thailand – actually they sounded very ridiculous. Soon we saw both species very well and managed to get some decent pictures too. We also stopped to get pictures of extremely smelly Rafflesia flowers.
We stopped along the road for some times and walked a little bit and found Coppersmith Barbets, Emerald Doves, Small Minivets and then we found a Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker climbing on the branches. While we were driving again Iwan noticed an eagle perched on the top of one tree and it had a clearly visible crest – a Javan Hawk-eagle! Hanna managed to get a couple of pictures of the eagle before it flew away and disappeared behind the trees.
Most of Baluran is dry savanna but next we parked to evergreen forest to walk. Pretty soon we heard an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher calling and then saw a couple of them flying over the road. Also Collared Kingfishers were seen and heard, a Yellow-throated Hanging Parrot flew over us and Cinereous Tits were singing. When we were driving again Iwan heard a woodpecker and identified it as a Laced Woodpecker. Once we were out, we heard it again and I remembered that this species had been easy to see with a tape, so I played a couple of calls from my phone and soon we saw this beautiful woodpecker flying across the road.
With Olive-backed Tailorbirds we saw some Common Tailorbirds and also a couple of Black-naped Monarchs, a Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike and heard a Kamchatka Leaf Warbler. We also heard strange hawling calls that we were familiar from our childhood and zoo-visits, but this time these sounds were coming from free birds – Green Peafowls!
It was again very hot when we drove through dry savanna-area and then parked to Bekol where was a small restaurant and some other buildings. There we climbed to a hill and to another view-tower with really nice views over the savanna with mountains on the background. In Savanna there were now quite a few people stopped along the road and it seemed that they were all taking selfie-pictures. Soon ”local tourists” climbed to the tower and they were all taking selfies too. It seemed that selfie-culture in Indonesia was much worse than what we had ever seen before. Seppo was asked to a couple of pictures too, as people wanted to show that they had Western ”friends” on their pictures. There weren’t many Western tourists in Western Bali or Eastern Java.
From Bekol tower we saw big herds of Javan Rush Deer that were going to drink to an artificial pool. Also some Water Buffaloes were seen. Not many birds were found but a couple of Island Turtle Doves were calling and we also heard a Crested Serpent Eagle calling somewhere nearby but somehow we didn’t manage to see it. Finally we heard a couple of Green Peafowls calling and even though one was very close, we couldn’t find it. When one bird was calling close to a couple of buildings we hurried to try to see it. Luckily we managed to find it and got a couple of distant pictures too before it went hidden inside longer reeds.
We still went to photograph bathing Water Buffaloes and Hanna also photographed local people that were taking selfies. She got some very funny pictures. There was one group taking wedding pictures too.
After we had continued driving again, we soon arrived at Bama beach. There were lots of people and most were taking selfies again. It was very hot, so we just relaxed for some time in the shadows as far as possible from the crowd and awful music.
But soon we were walking around the area and checking all the big trees. We found plenty of Oriental Pied Hornbills, but didn’t find Spotted Wood Owl that used to live in this area. Again we saw some Island Turtle Doves, Green and Dark-backed Imperial Pigeons and heard calls of Red-breasted Parakeet.
Then we continued to walk along a small path inside a forest. We had mosquito-repellent and long clothes as this place was supposed to be full of insects, but it had been so dry that we found hardly any mosquitoes. But we found again a big herd of Javan Lutungs and there were some golden-colored youngsters too.
We heard several Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatchers and heard a Blue-eared Kingfisher before I saw something yellow and red through some branches. Luckily the birds climbed higher and came well visible and we could see that it was a Crimson-winged Woodpecker! In same time we heard strange calls inside a dense bush in front of us and after some waiting we saw a couple of Horsfield’s Babblers briefly. Then Iwan found a woodpecker from another dead tree and after all there were two White-bellied Woodpeckers! So we had seen some really good birds in a couple of minutes!
On one point along the path we could see the sea, so we scanned the sea for birds. We saw some Lesser Crested, Crested and Common Terns and then found 4 very distant frigatebirds. Luckily they came a little bit closer and we could identify them as Lesser Frigatebirds.
We still found some Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters, a couple of Black-thighed Falconets and Mangrove Whistlers and several Oriental Pied Hornbills. Then we first heard and then saw briefly an Olive-winged Bulbul. Then we saw a big brown bird flushing from a top of one tree but we didn’t see it well enough. Probably it was a Spotted Wood Owl, but we couldn’t really see it well enough.
When we were back at the parking place, we started to drive back. On the savanna we were driving extremely slowly and scanning all the trees and when we found a herd of deer, we stopped to check if there were any birds following them. And almost immediately we found at least 3 Black-winged Starlings! This species is very famous cage-bird and is one of the species that might have worse future than Bali Myna.
Finally we were back at the harbor and again we managed to get to an almost full ferry without any waiting. We climbed up to the deck and Iwan managed to talk us to closed part of the deck where we had best views. But anyway we saw only some terns and Brown Boobies.
It was already dark when we were back in Gilimanuk and our hotel Lestari. Hanna stayed cooking again and with Seppo we went to the same restaurant than on the previous evening. The owner was very happy to see us again.
New Year’s Eve
On the 31st of December, the last day of the year, we had planned to have a little bit easier morning, but anyway I wanted to make another try to see the species that we had missed in mangrove. So before 6 a.m. we were driving to the National Park again. Iwan had managed to talk us inside the park without surprisingly expensive payment, but we couldn’t be there whole morning. Pretty soon we were walking towards the same place where we had taken a boat a couple of days earlier.
Island Turtle Doves were calling and Golden-bellied Gerygones were singing when we were on the dock and putting up our telescopes. Again we found some Lesser Adjutants and a lonely Purple Heron, lots of Whimbrels and Common Sandpipers. After a long scanning I finally found a single Beach Thick-knee! It was walking openly on the mud for some time but soon went under the bushes and disappeared, luckily we all managed to see it. Then we saw a couple of Sacred Kingfisher landing to a boat that was close to us, so we were doing very well! But Thick-billed Heron wasn’t found, it should have been pretty easily found while fishing along the shore in low water. Anyway we were very happy that we had made another try to this place!
Pretty soon we were walking back towards our car and on the way we found some Orange-breasted Green Pigeons on the top of bushes! So finally we managed to see this species too.
We still had a couple of hours, so we headed to a beach near harbor to scan more mangroves. Some more Lesser Adjutants and waders were seen, but most interesting animals were found under the surface. Hanna found some bright blue fish and also a couple of extremely poisonous Red Lionfish. From the sea we found some Brown Boobies and a single Pomarine Skua.
The rest of the morning we spent in the information center garden and photographed Bali Mynas. We also saw a Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Coppersmith and Lineated Barbets, a Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker and so on.
At 9 a.m. we headed back to our hotel where Nyoman was already waiting for us – an hour too early again. We packed the rest of our luggage, still had a cool shower and then it was time to say thanks and goodbye and of course also pay to Iwan and Dahlan. And soon we were driving back towards Ubud along the southern coastal road.
When we were very close to the shore, we decided to stop shortly to scan the sea and just relax a little bit. There were some terns and surprisingly we found a stunning Brown Noddy flying with them! And then a Lesser Frigatebird flew very beautifully right over us, so it was a good stop!
There wasn’t much traffic even though it was a New Year’s Eve and people were celebrating New Year here, even though it wasn’t an important holiday like in many other parts of the World. Nyoman was overtaking other cars always when it was possible but once again he was driving very well on these narrow and slowly roads.
While we were driving through bigger rice-fields somewhere, we saw a couple of Slender-billed Crows in flight. And soon we had a Lesser Frigatebird flying over the road quite far from the shore almost in the middle of the forest. Other birds we saw were just Intermediate and other egrets.
Finally we were back in Jukut Paku where Topi was happy to see us all again. During the day we just took it easy and enjoyed the weather and familiar birds that were seen around the garden. Then in the evening our project was to try to keep Topi happy and relaxed as it was a New Year and locals were having amazing numbers of fireworks! But it seemed that Topi understood that if we were just taking it easy and talking all the time, everything was fine. It was great to listen many stories that Kari had about religious life of local people in Bali. We were talking and talking and heard of course a couple of Sunda Scops Owls and a Red-legged Crake again. And at midnight the fireworks sounded like a world-war! Luckily the new law had been laid and the fireworks were at least mostly shot around the midnight, while in the past the war had already started a week before and continued a week after the New Year. Now at one a.m. it seemed that the war was almost over and we could go to sleep.
Relaxed first of January
The year 2020 we started easily. In the morning we were just enjoying the garden-birds and after late breakfast we walked to Ubud to do some shopping. We walked through the market street once and then it started to rain very heavily! We were standing under some roof for 30 minutes and waiting for the rain to stop, but it was just getting heavier. So we decided to walk back to the market with Hanna. We had to wade in almost knee-deep water to the sheltered part of the market. But then there weren’t other tourists almost at all, so it was easy to bargain the souvenirs in very cheap, about -70%, price.
When the rain finally stopped, we still went to eat and then visited a bigger market. After the rain traffic was awful, so we decided to walk back to Jukut Paku. While walking through the monkey forest we had to keep our baggage well tighten and bread and so on under our T-shirts, so monkeys weren’t able to steal anything.
Back to mountains
On the 2nd of January Bung came to pick us up at 6 a.m. and soon we were driving towards the familiar mountain again. On the way I saw a young Brahminy Kite flying over us.
Finally we parked to Bedugul Botanical Garden where Bung stayed in car while we went to walk around the park. When we had managed to get into the garden, we soon found a flock of birds where were Mountain Leaf Warblers, Grey-headed Canary Flycatchers, a Sunda Warbler and I saw a female Rusty-breasted Whistler briefly. Many Lesser Shortwings were singing and also some Crescent-chested Babblers were heard. Hanna saw briefly a female Mugimagi Flycatcher.
We continued walking in a very good-looking forest but for some reason there weren’t many birds. Along one river we heard a White-crowned Forktail calling, but a car that was passing scared it away and we couldn’t see it at all. A Sunda Cuckoo was calling and Dark-backed Mountain Pigeons were found from the top of trees. Also a couple of Square-tailed Drongo-cuckoos, several Flame-fronted Barbets and a few Black-naped Orioles were calling and singing and some lonely Yellow-throated Hanging Parrots were flying over us. Again we found some flocks of Mees’s White-eyes and flocks of Short-tailed Starlings were flying over us and we managed to see shortly a couple of Horsfield’s Babblers. Finally we managed to see also the third squirrel-species, a Horsfield’s Treeshrew too. We also saw a fresh corpse of a Civetcat.
There were more and more people inside the park and it was disgusting to see that people were leaving all the rubbish to the ground. People were also driving by cars inside the park, which wasn’t good.
After we had seen a Freckle-breasted Woodpecker, a Crested Serpent Eagle and heard a Mountain Tailorbird, we still went to see Orchid-garden. While we were already walking towards the parking place I finally found a different kind of flowerpecker and when I got it to my scope, I could identify it as a Blood-breasted Flowerpecker. Soon we were in the parking place where we woke up Bung and kept on going.
We continued to a camping area that was on the shore of Lake Buyan. It had been free in the past but now we had to buy tickets to get a tenting place. Then we took our luggage and started to search a good place for camping.
There were quite a few other people camping in the area and we were pretty sure that there were more people coming in the evening. We had checked the area beforehand in Google Maps and knew that there should be a good area for tenting also almost a kilometer from the real camping area. So we carried our luggage to the forest and continued to another beach where were nobody else. On the way we heard a couple of Flame-fronted Barbets and finally the first Yellow-eared Barbet. Soon we had put up our tents and it was already very hot, so we decided to have siesta.
It was too hot in the tent, so we couldn’t sleep at all, so pretty soon we decided to leave our luggage inside our tents and go birding. Already in our camp we could hear some Sunda, Plaintive and Rusty-breasted Cuckoos and saw a couple of Black Eagles soaring on the sky above the mountain.
We started to walk along track that led inside the forest. Several Flame-fronted Barbets and another Yellow-eared Barbet were calling and we also heard a couple of Rusty-breasted Whistlers singing shortly. Some Yellow-throated Hanging Parrots and Spangled Drongos were heard and a couple of flocks of Mees’s White-eyes were seen and some Cinereous Tits were singing.
We followed the track until it turned towards the shore and we decided to walk back to our camp along the shore. On the meadow we found at least 20 Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler, some Zitting Cisticolas, Moorhens and Yellow Bitterns. When we were back in our camp we heard a different kind of grasshopper warbler singing and it sounded exactly like Middendorff’s Grasshopper Warbler that we were familiar from Japan. I took my recording equipment but of course it had stopped singing and we couldn’t find it.
In the evening we had planned to walk to the forest and further to the shore to listen to owls, but we were still relaxing in our camp when we first saw a couple of Large-tailed Nightjars that came hunting insects above our camp and then heard a Barred Eagle Owl that started calling pretty close! We tried to get close to the owl and of course we wanted to see this amazing-looking bird. But unfortunately it probably saw us first and stopped calling and later we heard it calling very far. Anyway I had taken some pretty nice recordings. No other owls were heard either so after all we went to sleep pretty early. But there were big parties in the camping area and music was played extremely loud. Luckily we managed to sleep anyway.
On the shore of Buyan
On the 3rd of January we woke up a couple of times at night to listen if there were any owls calling, but heard only some frogs and White-breasted Waterhens. In the morning we woke up early and had noodle-breakfast while listening a White-bellied Sea Eagle family calling on the other side of the lake. Later we saw 2 adults and a youngster in flight too. Also a few Crested Serpent Eagles were seen and an Oriental Honey Buzzard flew over us.
We did a longer walk in the forest but not as many birds as we had hoped were found. A few Green Junglefowls, a couple of unidentified Cuckoo-doves, Grey-cheeked Green Pigeons, Dark-backed Mountain Pigeons, some Black-naped Orioles, a couple of Small Minivets and Black-naped Monarchs, some Sunda Leaf Warblers, a couple of Javan Whistling Thrushes and even 8 Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatchers and so on were found. On the shore we had again some Pallas’s Grasshopper Warblers and Striated Grassbirds.
When we were back in our camp we heard a strange hurring bird or another animal calling but we couldn’t find it. Later we heard the grasshopper-species singing shortly again and I managed to get a bad-quality recording, I hope it is enough the make identification later, but it still sounded like a Middendorff’s.
During the day we rested again and then the weather started to change radically. There were very dark clouds on the sky and we heard thunder further. Anyway we headed to check the wader-part of the lake with Seppo. Hanna was tired (or clever) and stayed in the camp.
We got only just outside the camping area when it started to rain. But luckily it stopped soon so we continued walking. We reached the end of the lake and I got my telescope up when it started to rain and very hard! We got under a big dredge-tractor to get some cover. From the cover we could see egrets, Moorhens, snipes and Wood Sandpipers but then we had to try to get better roof over us.
When the rain stopped again we started to walk back wearing raincoats. We still had to get cover a couple of times when it was raining. Once we stopped in a bird-shop where luckily were mostly small parakeets on the cages, but also some bulbuls and other birds caught from the nature. There was also one huge pigeon that we had no idea what it was. And then we stopped in the shop outside the camping area before we hurried back to our camp, when it was raining again.
It kept on raining the whole evening! Some thunders came almost straight above us so it was impossible to sleep. When it was already completely dark, it stopped raining for a couple of minutes and surprisingly we heard a Barred Eagle Owl calling a couple of times.
When the rain stopped again an hour or so later it was already late, but luckily none of us was sleeping, as we heard a very harsh shriek quite close above the lake – a Buffy Fish Owl! We had been listening the call earlier from my phone and it was identical! Unfortunately it was flooding outside, so it was impossible to try to go out to search the bird visible.
Pretty soon we managed to fall asleep and luckily there were no more thunders during the rest of the night. But the parties were again on in the camping area. Locals didn’t really bother the rain…
On the 4th of January we woke up with Hanna when it was still dark and heard the same unidentified hurring call than on the previous day. We walked after it but couldn’t find anything. It seemed that there were at least 3 of them and they seemed to be on the trees but in same time we heard also different kind of “kwi” calls underneath the bushes. But also this caller seemed to be impossible to find.
Soon Seppo was up too and somehow he managed to find one of the callers from the bushes and it was a Javan Banded Pitta! Later we found out that also the hurring had been was pitta, so we had altogether had 8 Javan Banded Pittas calling almost next to our camp!
We had breakfast and because it looked like it could still start raining any time, we decided to stay near the camp. We did climb up to the temple that was nearby and on the way Hanna saw one pitta briefly crossing one narrow path. Other birds we found were a big flock of Dark-backed Imperial Pigeons, a cuckoo-dove species, a couple of Emerald Doves, a few Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatchers and a Javan Whistling Thrush.
At 9 a.m. we packed our camp and soon were carrying our stuff to the parking place where Bung was already waiting for us.
On the way back to Jukut Paku we stopped in a village where was a shop were a local man was selling beautiful birds made from wood. We bought a couple of different birds as souvenirs. Soon we were back in Jukut Paku where we took the rest of the day easy. We were trying to get all our clothes, tents and so on dry but in the afternoon it started to rain again, so we had to start packing. In the evening we went to eat to a restaurant and after that we just took it easy.
Birding around Denpasar
On the 5th of January we were ready at 6 a.m. and soon packed everything to Bung’s car and started driving towards Denpasar. The best wader-place in Bali, Serangan Island, had been closed from everyone except locals for some years, so we couldn’t get there, but we headed to as close to the island as possible, where were also some good spots to see waders. We had checked that tide was good early in the morning. While we were driving towards Serangan we already saw the first Little Black Cormorant and some Thick-billed Crows and when we parked close to the beach, we saw the first Little Pied Cormorant flying over us.
We walked to the shore and immediately saw lots of Common Curlews and Whimbrels and after some searching identified the first Far Eastern Curlews. On the pools that were under mangroves we saw flocks of Wood Sandpipers and Red-necked Stints with some Common Redshanks, Kentish Plovers and a few Little Ringed Plovers and Long-toed Stints. Both Little Black and Little Pied Cormorants were flying on the sky and then we noticed that there were also some Sunda Teals under the mangroves. We were checking all the plovers carefully and identified some Javan and Malaysian Plovers and while we were checking the curlews one more time we found a single Greater Sand Plover with them. Some Cerulean Kingfishers were flying by and when it started to rain, we hurried to get cover from some trees and saw a Barred Buttonquail running under the bushes.
While we were still waiting for the rain to stop, a guardian came to tell us that we should leave. We had no idea why we weren’t aloud to stay in the area except that there was some kind of warehouse nearby. There were also lots of construction sites everywhere in the coast, mangrove was getting destroyed a lot. It seems that it won’t be possible to look for waders in this place in the future.
Soon we drove to the other side of the bay where were even bigger construction sites, but we got a permit to walk through one of them to the shore. The light was very bad, so we couldn’t identify any of the plovers there but from a big Red-necked Stint flock we found a single Curlew Sandpiper. But then they got flushed by a Peregrine Falcon that was chasing them away.
While we were driving along the long toll-road towards Denpasar, we saw some Gull-billed Terns and a couple of Pacific Reed Herons. Soon we parked next to Nua Dusa sewage ponds, walked through the gate and got a permit to go birding by the pools. We had to write our names to a book that was inside the building next to the gate.
There were several very lush pools and quite a few birds too. Right away we found some Cerulean Kingfishers, 5 Whiskered and a single White-winged Tern and both Little Black and Little Pied Cormorants which we managed to get pictures too. Purple Herons, Little and Intermediate Egrets were seen but only a couple of Black-crowned Night Herons, not a single Rufous Night Heron – unfortunately. We had hoped to see some grebes too, but there were none. While we were walking along the road by the pools we flushed a wader that was behind the bushes, but from the call we could identify it as a Grey-tailed Tattler.
We walked around the pools to the other side and still saw about 10 Javan Mynas and Pink-necked Pigeons, a Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker, some Plain Prinias and heard some Golden-bellied Gerygones. We also saw plenty of very big Asian Water Monitors. Our feet were extremely tired when we still had to walk all the way back to the parking place.
Next we continued to Ponta Kelar beach close to the airport. There we did some seawatching and saw 30 Brown Boobies, at least 25 Lesser Frigatebirds, about 10 Pomarine Skuas, Little, Crested and Lesser Crested Terns. From the other side of the road we found a dirty reed-bed area where we still heard a Plain Prinia and a couple of Australian Reed Warblers.
Then it was time to head to the airport. The last bird we saw from the car was a Peregrine Falcon. And soon we had say thanks and goodbyes to Bung and also to Seppo. Then we carried our luggage to a pre-pack room that was easy to find. There we managed to pack our luggage well and change some clothes.
Back to home
Then we had a couple of hours time to get through check in, security check, do some shopping and just wait for our flight.
Finally at 7:15 p.m. our flight left towards Doha. We watched movies but then tried to sleep the rest of the flight. We landed to Doha 30 minutes late and then we had to get quick train to right terminal – and then wait again for a couple of hours.
Our next flight to Stockholm left also late and again we watched movies and then managed to sleep the rest of the flight. We landed to Stockholm also late but luckily we still had plenty of time before our last flight.
Our flight to Helsinki left in time and we landed to Helsinki-Vantaa airport an hour later at 10:35 a.m. I was afraid that there would be one more security check as I had forgotten my Leatherman into my bag. But it had already gone through 4 security checks and luckily there was no more checks in Finland. Our luggage came amazingly quickly so soon we were in a lobby where we met my parents. We still went to eat pizza to Caesar’s and told some storied about our trip while eating.
But finally we were walking outside in surprisingly autumn-like weather and then ordered a bus to Lentopysäköinti. And then we still had a long way to drive to Parikkala.
Our 2 weeks in Bali had been very nice! Thanks to Seppo we had for once made a trip without too much planning beforehand. We really felt relaxed as we hadn’t been driving at all either. But then we suffered from jet-lag for a week anyway. Altogether we had seen 205 bird-species which 78 had been lifers. In Bali we had seen 192 species. We are for sure going back to Indonesia one day, this was just the beginning…