Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Speckled Boobook and Sulawesi Scops Owl

We first saw one of these at Gunung Ambung. Then we were taken to an abandoned building by a research station where this bird has been roosting for several years. This species apparently isn't that common.

The Sulawesi Scops Owl was heard frequently and as many a scops owl eager to respond to playback.
This one from Ambung as well.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ochre-bellied Boobook

One thing that stood out to me while in Minahassa, Sulawesi, was the relative ease at which one could spot Owls.
Not to say that I would have found these on my own. Our guide at Tangkokok, Samuel, knew of this day time roost for Ochre-bellied Boobook. There were 3 birds next to a fallen tree. The birds watched us as we approached but didn't feel alarmed enough to take off. I wasn't able to get a clean shot of all 3 birds. The one to the left I believe is the young and the one to the right the female adult.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Red-bellied Pitta

There isn't much that can live up to the excitement of getting a new Pitta species. In this case I knew the Red-bellied wouldn't be that hard once I was within its distribution range. But how to get to either the PI or Sulawesi.
Happily so, Airasia opened up a route from KL to Manado. Prompto, there I was!
I wanted to see the many endemic birds to the island but the Pitta was still my top of the list bird.

Samuel, the guide at Tangkoko knew the whereabouts of a pair. I had seen poor views of it at Tambun and was keen to get the 'real thing'. Samuel whistled and soon the birds responded. It was amazing to see how relatively confiding they were. Try doing that with a Blue or Eared Pitta in Thailand and you'll see what I mean.

I still struggled to get good shots as there were a lot of branches, bushes, etc blocking from clear views.
Eventually I ended up with these and a memorable encounter.....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Kingfisher Paradise

Tangkoka forest reserve (or is it National Park?) at the Northern tip of Minhassa region in Sulawesi is an incredible place for Kingfishers. I saw 9 different species in 3 days. This one is a bird of the forest. Very approachable as it sits motionless waiting for a prey. It was difficult to get shots without flash and the flash tends to enhance the colors a bit much but, still, lovely looking bird it is.

Lilac Kingfisher, endemic to Sulawesi

The Green-backed Kingfisher is a bit bigger and more numerous. It also hunts in wooded areas and can be approached real close with care. Endemic to Sulawesi.

Sulawesi Dwarf Kingfisher

An incredible shiny little jewel of the interior forest. Very approachable.
Also endemic.

Ruddy Kingfisher

Even though not an endemic or lifer for me, I still just love the color of this bird and I think it is the prettiest of them all.

This one was perched over a stream.

Black-billed Kingfisher

lives in the mangroves and a boat ride was necessary to get to see them

I also saw Common Kingfisher, Sacred Kingfisher and Collared Kingfisher