Friday, 4 August 2017

Indonesie Trip 2017 Day 13

Indonesia Trip Day 13 - Thursday 3rd August 2017

Sulawesi with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The first part of our 6 week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Sulawesi. Today we were in northern Sulawesi. 

On the morning of Thursday 3rd August 2017 we left the Patra Jasa Hotel in Kotamobagu at 4.00 am again driving an hour and three-quarters to bird at Max's Trail at Tapakulingtang from 5.45 am to 11.00 am. As well as also birding on the roadside nearby.

It was a quiet morning of birding. The day always goes much more slowly when it's quiet. 

It was great to see the rare and endemic Short-crested Miner close to the road. 

At 11 am it had become really hot so we then drove half an hour for lunch and a rest in a local basic hotel, where we had rooms we could use. Today rather than sleep, I tried to catch up on writing blog posts.

We left the hotel at 3 pm for a half hour drive to go birding.

We birded back at Tarout again from 3.30 pm to 7 pm to try and see birds we had missed.

We also birded in an agricultural area outside the forest where we all picked up bad chiggers. They are the larvae of some spider species that leave really itchy bites.

We looked for birds we had missed the day before. We were back on the raft to get across the river and back which was fun. 

The afternoon had been really good birding, Moluccan Drongo-Cuckoo, Sulawesi Roller, Ornate Lorrikeet and Barred Buttonquail in fields behind.

When we got back to our cars, it was getting pretty dark. Our driver pointed into a tree showing me a bird. He made a movement with his head and arms indicating that the bird was asleep. It took me seconds to get onto the bird in the dimming light. I knew immediately that it was a large Cuckoo species.

I immediately called my Dad, Chris Craig, over and said "I've got a Cuckoo here". Dad couldn't see the bird so thought I was joking and didn't really look for it. 

We had been trying for Sulawesi Cuckoo (a large very shy Cuckoo) here at this site as Carlos, one of the Bird Tour Asia guides had stumbled across one here 2 weeks ago. Would I joke about a thing like this? Mum then appeared and immediately got onto the Cuckoo, saying "It's really big!" which made Dad realise that I was being serious. Suddenly, Dad got into my Cuckoo. "OMG, Sulawesi Cuckoo!". He shouted to get everyone onto the bird, but Tony was missing. 

We were all thinking the same, if Tony missed the bird, he would not be happy. In fact he would be gutted. So gutted that it might ruin his trip. Our happiness would also have to be dampened down in front of him.

At that moment Tony reappeared, Mike grabbed him and Dad got him onto the bird. We could now relax and enjoy watching the bird by torch light for a couple more minutes before it must have sensed the eyes on him and flew into the forest. Unfortunately nobody got more than a blurry record shot of this near-mythical bird.

What an amazing finish to the day.

Once into the car, our guide Mike Nelson, was texting his colleagues at Bird Tour Asia, telling them that he had gripped them off. What an amazing and rare bird. It turns out that the driver had been watching the bird for 20 minutes before we had returned. We didn't manage to see another one. 

We also looked for other birds we had missed the day before. We were back on the raft to get across the river and back which was fun. 

The best bird of the day was obviously the obviously Sulawesi Cuckoo. 



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