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Phylloscopus Warblers Passing Through Bangkok – Thailand Birding

I the morning of 11th October birding in Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan Park and although the weather was mostly gloomy with some heavy showers I saw exactly 50 species between 7 and 11,30am. I saw some of the regular, resident species which always amaze me that they occur this close to central Bangkok including Stork-billed Kingfisher, a female Laced Woodpecker, Lineated Barbet, Vinous-breasted Starling, Green-billed Malkoha, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and, of course, plenty of Pink-necked Green Pigeons.  My main aim, though, was to look for migrant species and although there was not an abundance of birds passing through I did find a total of 13 migratory species including four species of Phylloscopus; Arctic Warbler, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Sakhalin Leaf Warbler and a single Kamchatka Leaf Warbler which I located and identified on call. Read more »

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Halmahera Highlights – Birding Indonesia

Travelling from Sulawesi to Halmahera on the final leg of the Zootherabirding tour I recently led gave us the opportunity to see a whole load more new birds with Halmahera being home to many endemic species; in fact it was like starting a completely new tour and the anticipation of the new habitats and new birds gave us a whole new wave of excitement and energy.

While Sulawesi had provided us with some really great birds, birds had been sparsely distributed but in Halmahera our experience was that there was a far greater abundance of birdlife even if the forests were under pressure and bird trappers operate there. With an abundance of parrots, frequent sightings of hornbills and pigeons/doves as well as a couple of stunning target birds we all agreed that many of the best birds of the trip were seen on our Halmahera section. Read more »

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Tangkoko Delights – Birding Indonesia

With comfortable accommodation, good food and a reputation for great birds the leg of our trip that took us to Tangkoko, North Sulawesi, was much anticipated by the Zootherabirding group earlier this month. While the weather was not exactly how we imagined it, with lots of rain, we still managed, with local assistance, to find a lot of exciting birds, including one that was to be voted “Bird of the Trip”.

Ochre-bellied Boobook, Sulawesi Scops Owl, Sulawesi Dwarf Hornbill, Sulawesi (Purple-winged) Roller, Silver-tipped Imperial Pigeon, White-necked Myna, Ivory-backed Woodswallow and Tabon Scrbfowl were all highly rated by all participants and extraordinary encounters with Sulawesi Dwarf Cuscus, Sulawesi Crested Macaque and Spectral Tarsier also made for a memorable visit. However, it was the collection of Kingfishers that birders talk about when they mention Tangkoko that made for the most colourful spectacles in the forest. Read more »

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The Hunt for Lompobattang Flycatcher – Birding Indonesia

As part of the Zootherabirding tour of Sulawesi/Halmahera that I have recently finished leading, we made an excursion to Makassar, in Southwest Sulawesi, to head to the foothills of Mount Lompobattang which is a fairly recently recognized centre of endemism where there are a few endemic birds and mammals as well as a number of distinct subspecies which may well be split in the future; for us the main target was Lompobattang Flycatcher, a little-known and endangered species of Ficedula flycatcher.

We stayed at an old Dutch colonial hotel and an early start saw us walking, in darkness, around 1km through farmland and forest patches to the site for this bird. As it became light around us we could see that we were in an area of secondary forest with some original, large trees and although we hear the song of the flycatcher a few times our first efforts were completely fruitless and indeed for the first hour it looked like the whole excursion could come to an unsuccessful conclusion with no birds whatsoever seen! However, as the sun penetrated the forest bird activity increased dramatically to give us a very successful and enjoyable morning of birding. Read more »

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Lore Lindu, Sulawesi – Birding Indonesia

With endemic species including Satanic Nightjar, Hylocitrea, Malia, Sulawesi Thrush, Cinnabar Boobook, Sulawesi Masked Owl, Great Shortwing, Scaly-breasted Kingfisher, Red-eared Fruit Dove, Sulawesi Hawk Eagle and Purple-bearded Bee-eater it was hard to choose the best bird of our 5-night stay at Lore Lindu National Park, Sulawesi, on the Zootherabirding Sulawesi/Halmahera 2017 tour that I have recently returned home from leading this September.

Birding this area varied between walking along forest roads, hiking a mountain forest trail, forest/farmland edge, waiting and watching at various viewpoints and even a little rice field birding which gave us a nice variety of species even though at times the birding was quite slow and difficult, although the occasional flock of birds created the normal levels of excitement for our group that is usual when the quiet forest suddenly comes alive and birders are treated to a brief species overload. Read more »

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National Monument Jakarta – Birding Indonesia

Jakarta has not got a lot to offer in terms of green spaces but the large park in which the National Monument is set is a good spot for a few nice birds and a leisurely morning of birding. A taxi ride from our airport hotel took us through the polluted mess that is Jakarta, with a taxi driver trying to run the meter up by going the wrong way at every turn, eventually got myself and David Cousins to the park gate and within minutes we were hearing the call of Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker from nearby flowering trees. These little birds were frustratingly difficult to see at first with just some brief glimpses but soon after we were enjoying eye-level views of a stunning male in perfect light; nice. This was the first of several interesting species we were to see in the park. Read more »

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Travel & Birds in Andorra – Birding in Andorra

High mountains are a habitat I really love. The open spaces and feeling small among the massive landscapes is something that always draws me further and further into the location with a desire to see what the view is like from the top of the next mountain. So, while on a recent holiday in Europe it was exciting to spend a couple of days in Andorra. I could have chosen anywhere along the Spain/France border but I have always found small countries like Andorra intriguing. The high mountains along the France-Spain border are home to a number of exciting European birds but as I was on holiday with a non-birding partner I did not target any species in particular instead we just spent time in beautiful mountain scenery just seeing what appeared along the way; species such as European Griffon Vulture, Water Pipit, Alpine Accentor, Citril Finch, Dipper, Red-backed Shrike and Alpine Chough stood out for me but the real highlight was spending time walking within such fantastic mountain scenery.

Andorra turned out to be a great place to visit with non-birders and still enjoy the outdoors and a number of good birds. I hope the following provides some helpful information to other birders who visit Andorra as there is little online about birding within this beautiful country. Read more »

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