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Day 5 (Monday 3
rd April)

     Banjuwedang Fish ponds and saltpans near Bali Barat

     

Lagoon Lagoon

This morning’s birding was a totally different experience to that so far on the island. We drove only a short way from the hotel to the local fish ponds, and had a superb full morning covering most of the area. They are situated just to the East of Bali Barat, and adjoin both a narrow strip of mangroves and the sea. From the latter, the coast and volcanoes of Java can be seen in the not too distant view. From the entrance to the fish ponds, a track follows a channel forming a border to a narrow strip of ponds, then turns to the right, passing a couple of open ponds first, and then some larger fishponds. A track immediately to the left after the entrance has some very productive salt pans to the right initially – these were covered later in the morning. So, back to the track straight on to the entrance, and barely the first open pans on the left were reached, when Hery excitedly called out Javan Plover. This is very much like a slightly darker version of Kentish Plover, and so probably a little more tricky in winter when the latter also pays a visit. The channel to the right hosted the first of many Cerulean Kingfishers, a gem of a bird, especially when the light hits it. The corner here had another Triller. There had been some discussion the day before around the identity of the birds on the open grass, with a consensus being that they were White-shouldered Trillers. This one however, was a brownish female, pointing squarely to White-shouldered Triller. Around the corner then to a couple of very productive small pans, the latter of which had some vegetation on its boundaries. The more open pans hosted a couple of Little Terns, with what initially proved to be a tricky Gull-billed Tern in non-breeding plumage. Waders were the order of the day on the last smaller pool, headed by White-headed Stilts, but with lesser numbers of Grey-tailed Tattlers, and a few Common & Green Sandpipers, and what turned out to be a single Long-toed Stint after some discussion.

Beach Beach Beach

The track wasfollowed around towards the beach, a narrow sliver of sand and shells which leads to a small mangrove, and we left the car to walk there. The pans just in from the beach held many Little Egrets, with this particular subspecies having fully black legs. A juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagle landed in the distance before becoming airborne again shortly after. Groups of Scaly-breasted Munias hosted a few smart White-headed Munias in their ranks. There were a couple of specialities we were looking for along the beach, one of which was Malaysian Plover. A Javan Plover initially was a false start, but a short way after, just after a non-breeding Grey Plover, and the quarry was located. The single female seen at first turned out to be with a male, both looking daintier than Javan & Kentish Plovers, with a good smattering of cinnamon around the head and neck. The mangroves were reached, followed by a couple of open pools, which held another pair of Cerulean Kingfishers, and another Grey-tailed Tattler. A couple of Great Crested Terns flew in off the sea and over our heads. On the way back, Hery successfully lured in a couple of Golden-bellied Gerygones, and a roosting Savanna Nightjar was found in the sand – a bit of a regular this one by all accounts!

The next job in hand was to explore the other side of the area, and after passing a couple of Zitting Cisticolas, a perched Striated Heron, and more Cerulean Kingfishers, we entered the track which was to the left after the entrance to the site. The track here was a lot dicier than earlier, with some small but tricky mud patches. We drove a short way along, but decided to abandon the idea of using the car as a hide all the way to the next beach and mangroves, and walk this instead. This turned out to be a great idea, since we probably notched up a few extra birds by doing this. It was obvious that White-headed Stilts, Little Egrets, and a variety of waders were the main components of the bird population here, but the much more open and expansive saltpans always seemed to have something of interest as we walked along the central track. A group of 4 non-breeding (unfortunately) Red-necked Stints were the first offering, but after a group of the difficult to see Sunda Teal which decided to take flight after a short while,  there was the excitement of a couple of Beach Stone Curlews flying over towards the mangroves – another of the hoped for specialities here. After this sighting, we quickened the pace a little to see if we could relocate them. Temperature and brightness seemed to soar when we hit the light coloured sand of the ribbon of beach, but some strange calling by Hery hit pay dirt, with the pair of singularly stunning birds wandering out of their mangrove hideout to see what was calling to them. They didn’t seem to welcome too close an approach, so we kept our distance and made do with with watching from there. We completed this section of the site by taking a different track to meet the car on a less hazardous surface, passing single Terek Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank on the way.

Beach Stone Curlew Cattle Egret Cerulean Kingfisher

Beach Stone Curlew

Eastern Cattle Egret

Cerulean Kingfisher

Common Sandpiper Grey Plover Javan Plover

Common Sandpiper

Grey Plover

Javan Plover

Javan Pond Heron Little Egret Little Tern

Javan Pond Heron

Little Egret

Little Tern

Red-necked Stint Long-toed Stint Malaysian Plover

Red-necked Stint

Long-toed Stint

Malaysian Plover

Savanna Nightjar White-bellied Sea Eagle Striated Heron

Savanna Nightjar

White-bellied Sea Eagle

Striated Heron

Sunda Teal Grey-tailed Tattler White-headed Stilt

Sunda Teal

Grey-tailed Tattler

White-headed Stilt

Wood Sandpiper White-headed Munia Zitting Cisticola

Wood Sandpiper

White-headed Munia

Zitting Cisticola

     Bali Barat and Gilimanuk

After lunch at the same restaurant as yesterday, and another quick gander at the supplied Bali Mynas, we headed to Hery’s office within the national park itself, and near to one of the entrances. Next job was to look for one of the small groups of Javan Lutung (Ebony Leaf Monkey), which in Bali are only found within the Bali Barat vicinity. The metalled track almost immediately passed the large enclosure that is the main captive breeding and pre-release pen for the Bali Myna, and is quite a large affair, holding nearly 200 birds. We then entered the forest, and soon came across a small group of the aforementioned monkeys. They seemed to prefer to be secretive, and despite being quite noisy when moving through the canopy, were proving difficult to get views of. We tried this for some time, with marginally good looks at the group, before continuing on and exiting at what was almost a savannah type of area backed by the hills. A nice area, yet only adding Black Drongo and Crested Serpent Eagle to the list. After a short information break with Hery telling us how in the last 5 years he and his team have got the locals onside in their now pro-Myna and general conservation views, we took a small interlude by walking through the wet forest for 150 metres to look for Sunda Teal at an enclosed pond. Birds were there but flying around and difficult to see due to tree cover.Late afternoon stop was at a shrine site near to Gilimanuk. This had some open grassed habitat bounded by trees. Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker (seen) and Green Pigeon (one briefly flying through) were among the targets, but stars of the show turned out to be a small group of Javan Lutung. They broke all their own rules by feeding out in the open within sight of our lookout place,  entertaining for some time before seemingly starting to snooze. From the same lookout point, we spotted a pair of Small Minivets and an Ashy Drongo. A short walk through the trees to the next open area found Island Collared Dove, Coppersmith Barbet, Javan Myna, Olive-backed Sunbird, and a trio of Freckle-breasted Woodpeckers.

Shrine Shrine

Wood Sandpiper

Zitting Cisticola

Lutung Lutung White-breasted Woodswallow

Javan Lutung

Javan Lutung

White-breasted Woodswallow

We had been looking forward to some more snake hunting, this time with Hery, who was confident that he could find us Banded Krait. This was going to be an evening’s venture, walking along the forest bounded banks of a small river. We parked the car near to the bridge over the river, waiting for darkness to fall, when the rain started to hammer against the car. Okay, hammer is a slight overstatement, but plenty of water was falling, and only really slowed somewhat as we decided to leave for our quest.  Then it started again, and didn’t really stop for the rest of the evening. Suffice to say that we didn’t see any snakes, but we still strangely enjoyed the potential of the outing. And that is despite being wet through after the hour trudging through muddy tracks, many partially enclosed by vines and creepers. Hery was disappointed that this was his first failure in finding Kraits, but it was still and experience for us!

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Content

Introduction

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7 Day 8

Species list

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