Indonesia - Java and Bali: 1-16 Nov 1996
Section 1 - General information


Thailand


World

 

Overview

This report is divided into eight sections:

Section 1 - Introduction, logistics, itinerary and general information.
Section 2 - Birding sites (Java - Bogor Botanical Garden).
Section 3 - Birding sites (Java - Gunung Gede and Cibodas).
Section 4 - Birding sites (Java - Carita, Indramayu, Pantai Song and Cangkring).
Section 5 - Birding sites (Java - Baluran, Pangandaran and Segara Anakan).
Section 6 - Birding sites (Bali - Gilimanuk and Bali Barat).
Section 7 - Birding sites (Bali - Bedugal, Ubud and Sanur).
Section 8 - Annotated checklist.

Introduction

Java and Bali have a reasonable infrastructure, are relatively safe for travel, cheap, and have excellent birds. Although, now with an new field guide, they are receiving more ornithological attention from world birders, they might still not be considered a major destination, which is a pity as they have a lot to offer the adventurous birder. This report concentrates on aiding birders interested in finding the specialities of Java and Bali; primarily those species endemic to these islands, together with those restricted to the Sundas, Indonesia and/or generally rare and difficult to find elsewhere.

Internal air transportation is of a good standard with flights serving all important provincial towns. Hotels, restaurants, and the other necessities for the birder are freely available, and cheap, though bargaining is essential.
One of the saddest sights in Indonesia is the appalling amount of wild, caged birds - including many totally inappropriately caged (e.g. Long-tailed Shrike). Anything that can be caught ends up in a cage, which results in many areas suffering a notable lack of passerines. A major educational, and complete cultural/mentality change will be required before the situation improves. Any visitor notices a general disregard for the environment. Rubbish is thrown anywhere, including within national parks and botanical gardens.

Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Taxonomy and nomenclature follow Clements (1991), with additions and corrections as published since.

Flights and Getting There

Jakarta is served daily from Europe, Australia, Singapore and the USA by several airlines. The airport departure taxes at Jakarta (Java) and Denpasar (Bali) are 25,000 Rp (approx. US$11) per person for international, and 11,000 Rp (US$5) for domestic, departures. At Jakarta, domestic departures operate from the domestic terminal of the Sukarno-Hatto International Airport, with a shuttle bus (500 Rp) running every few minutes between the two. Denpasar has only one airport serving both international and domestic.

Visas

Holders of British, American, Australian and most European passports do not require a visa. A 'short stay' visa, valid for 60 days, is issued on arrival providing you enter through an 'approved' and 'official' point. As visas cannot be extended, it is necessary to leave and reenter the country if wishing to extend your trip beyond the 60 day limit. In theory a return airline ticket is also a prerequisite, though I was not asked to show mine.

Language

Bahasa Indonesia is the official language, and it is hard to get by without at least a rudimentary knowledge of the basics - the numbers being the most important. As might be expected, due to the large amount of tourists, English is widely spoken on Bali. In Java however, especially the west, few locals, other than students or those regularly coming into contact with tourists, speak English. Some of the more educated elders speak Dutch.

Money

For westerners, Indonesia can be considered a cheap destination with scope for budget travel, even though some travellers I met noted that prices had risen in the past few years. The official currency is the Indonesian Rupee (Rp). Although prices quoted in Rp throughout this guide are likely to rise in line with the ever-falling value of the Indonesian Rp, by applying the suitable exchange rate an accurate price can be obtained. In November 1996 the exchange rate was 2,400 Rp to US$1.

On Java and Bali it is easy to get by on 50,000 Rp (about $22) a day (less if travelling with a companion). Basic but clean accommodation costs in the region of 10,000-20,000 Rp a night, food little more than 5,000-10,000 Rp per day and public transport, especially long distance, is very cheap. The only relatively expensive item I noted was beer, which costs around 4,000-5,000 Rp per bottle. In general it is important to take US$ cash and traveller's cheques, except for tourist areas of Jakarta and Bali where most hard currencies are exchangeable. Not surprisingly, due to the small sums involved, credit cards are not accepted except for major expenses such as airline tickets. As banking hours usually interfere with birding it is easiest to change sufficient money at the airport, which appeared to run a 24 hour operation. Notes of large denomination (eg. anything over 20,000 Rp) are often difficult to exchange in more remote areas.

Travel and Getting Around

Almost everything in Indonesia should, and is expected to, be bargained for, except for restaurants which usually have menus with printed prices, and accommodations, which often have an official price list. However, if you ask for a discount on accommodation you will usually receive one. The main areas to watch for getting ripped-off are market stall vendors and bemo (mini-bus) drivers.

Car Hire and Public Transport Car hire, the standard birders transportation, is not really viable nor necessary in Java. Public transport is ubiquitous, goes almost anywhere (for a price), and all the important birding sites are accessible using it. Once one has experienced the packed roads and appalling driving standards, its easy to conclude that car hire is not the best option. Additionally, it is generally reckoned that any foreign driver involved in an accident is at fault, and liable to bear the brunt of any hostilities. For those interested in car rental, major car rental companies, mostly with drivers, can be found in Jakarta and a few of the principle cities. The exception to self-drive is Bali, where large numbers of tourists rent small cars and mini-mokes for exploring. It is notable that Bali is far less congested and hectic than Java. You will come across a tremendous variety of public transport during your time in Indonesia. The following are the main modes likely to be encountered:

Air: The domestic network is an efficient, though not cheap, way to get around. The main carriers are Garuda, Merpati and Sempati.

Train: Java has a small rail network and, depending on the train, can be an effective way to travel larger distances.

Bus: These are the mainstay of the transport system and come in a variety of classes. It is easy to flag down an ekonomi bus anywhere but expect it to be crowded, uncomfortable and have blaring music. For longer journeys it is better to go to the main bus stations of larger towns and ride an air-conditioned patas bus. Some of these running overnight are called bis malam. The ekonomi buses are very cheap (no more than 10,000-12,000 Rp for a day's journey). Costs for the air-conditioned buses are about double. On these bigger buses I usually found that the conductor issued tickets which thus alleviated the need to bargain. The cheaper ekonomi buses are notorious for bag thieves and pick-pockets. On several occasions I was advised by locals to keep my bag on my lap, not on the floor.

Mini-bus (Bemo): These operate around towns and shorter runs between provincial towns. They are usually extremely crowded and uncomfortable. I also found bemo drivers to be the worst people for trying to rip you off. Journeys around town cost only 300-500 Rp, but expect 2,000 Rp to be demanded.

Taxi: Found in major towns. Fares are negotiable. The exception to this rule are the taxis from Denpasar airport, which operate a fixed tariff according to destination (which is posted on the wall). In and around Jakarta, the highway tolls (on the expressways) are usually included in these negotiations, but check.

Rickshaw (Becak): Rickshaws are one of the more interesting modes of travel around provincial cities, and can be quite relaxing. I was impressed with the strength and performance of the drivers. Short journeys around town cost about 500 Rp, while longer journeys work out around 700-1,000 Rp/km. Like bemo drivers, these guys are also difficult to bargain with.

Motorcycle (Ojek): Handy and fast. A good way to get around for shorter journeys. They tend to be found principally in smaller towns and act as fast connections between smaller villages and main roads.

Tricycle (Bajaj): Smelly two-stroke three-wheel vehicles similar to the tuc-tucs of Thailand. Principally these are only found in Jakarta.

Horse-cart (Dokar): These are found in more provincial areas and take 2-4 passengers. They make an interesting and picturesque way of getting around.

The biggest disadvantage of public transport is its speed. Independent of journey length, it is almost impossible to average more than 30 km/h on any journey. This makes for some lengthy and frustratingly slow journeys. As with everything in Indonesia, the Indonesians will try to obtain the maximum price for any journey. The best tactic to circumnavigate this is to watch what the locals pay, and then pay what you consider to be approximately the correct amount. Looking nonchalant, as if you've done it many times before, also helps. The drivers soon protest if it's an insufficient amount (and often even if it isn't!). For those with more money, and less time, it is sometimes prudent to take a taxi or merely rent a bemo and driver, which can be good value. Even if not driving yourself, a road map is a useful, if not essential, item to have. Plenty of standard road maps are available; I used the 1:650,000 Nelles Map of Java and Bali which was adequate.

Telephones. The telephone system I encountered generally worked well. Call boxes in larger towns mostly use a telephone card which can be purchased in various places. and are easily obtained in the airport on arrival. These are more convenient, as otherwise you need a stack of 100 Rp coins. A 75 unit card cost 13,000 Rp. Coin boxes take 100 Rp. For 100 Rp on a local call you get about 2 minutes.

Food. The food of southeast Asia, is one of the joys of travel in the region. Almost everywhere one can find small restaurants and street hawkers selling a variety of spicy snacks and meals. Small stores and supermarkets stock a variety of foods and bottled water. As might be expected, it is best to stock-up with provisions at major towns as the more remote areas have poorer selections.

Accommodation. Readily found in all areas. Recommended (or otherwise) accommodations are dealt with under the relevant birding sites below.

Other. When travelling between Java and Bali note the one hour time difference. Being so close the equator daylight hours vary little throughout the year. In western Java daylight was approximately 05:45 - 18:00, in eastern Java from 04:30-17:15, while in Bali from 05:30-18:15. The left baggage office at Jakarta charges 3,300 Rp per piece per day and is open 24 hours.

Climate and When to go

Java and Bali have little seasonal variance in temperature. The general pattern is a wet season from October until April with a dryer period between. As a result, most birders favour visiting Indonesia between June and August, when travelling around is least likely to be hampered by rain. Western Java is especially wet between January and April, when the most important site, Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park, is closed. I would not recommend the dates of my visit, in early November, as a good time to visit, as the west of Java was exceptionally wet, resulting in much birding time lost to heavy rains. Conversely the rains had not yet arrived in eastern Java and western Bali which were exceptionally dry, hot and birdless. Throughout the wet season leeches can be a problem in any of the rain forest.

References

Primary References:

Andrew, P. (1988) Little-known Oriental Bird - the Sunda Coucal. OBC Bulletin 7. p24-26.

Balen, B. van, Margawati, and Sudaryanti. (1987). A checklist of the birds of the Botanical Gardens of Bogor, West Sumatra. Journal in which published not known. A useful summary of the species recorded from these gardens.

Balen, B. van. The identification of tit-babblers and red sunbirds on Java. OBC Bulletin.

Balen, B. van. Birdwatching areas. Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park. OBC Bulletin 15.

Biological Science Club. (1991). Biodiversity in Gunung Halimun Nature Reserve. Draft Report. Biological Science Club. Jalan Lobi-lobi 1, No. 19, Pasar Minggu, Jakarta.

Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Studies. (1996). Biological Survey Report (Halimun). University of Indonesia, Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Studies, Depok, Jakarta.

Clements, J. (1991) Birds of the World: A Checklist (Including Supplements 1 and 2). Ibis. Has been used as the primary taxonomic reference throughout.

Collar et. al. (1994). Birds to Watch 2. The ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. BirdLife International.

Howard, R., and Moore, A. (1991). A complete checklist of the Birds of the World. Academic Press.

King, B., Woodcock, M., and Dickinson, E.C. (1975). A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia. Collins. Useful, but not essential, for some of the more widespread south-east Asian birds also occurring in Indonesia.

Turner, P. (1996). Indonesia: Travel survival kit. Lonely Planet Publications.

Mason, V., and Jarvis, F. (1989). Birds of Bali. Periplus Editions, Hong Kong.

MacKinnon, J. and Phillipps, K. (1993). A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali. Oxford University Press. The essential field guide for the region.

Oriental Bird Club. Indonesian Travel Itineraries. Pamphlet on suggested birding routes and sites in Indonesia.

Sözer, R., and Nijman, V. (1995). The Javan Hawk-Eagle: New information on its distribution in central Java and notes on its threats. Tropical Biodiversity. 3(1): 49.

UNDP/FAO. (1977). Baluran National Park Management Plan 1978-1982. Bogor. Contains species lists for much fauna and flora of the park. Many interesting historic records.

Various editors. Cibodas to Cibeureum. Information Book Series Vol 1. National Park Office Cipanas, Indonesia. A trail guide covering common plants and animals to be found in the sub-montane forest. Previously available at the National Park office.

Various editors. (March 1996). Mt Gede Pangrango National Park. Information Book Series Vol 2. National Park Office Cipanas, Indonesia. A rather informative general guide to the National Park. Copies available at the National Park or in Freddie’s Homestay. ISBN 979-8698-02-9.

Trip reports

Many unpublished notes and trip reports are in circulation for Indonesia, Java and Bali. The following were very useful.

Bakker, T. (1996). Indonesia 1996. Notes on species recorded Java and Bali 18 July - 15 August 1996.
Cook, S. (1985). Birding in Sumatra and Java Dec 1984 - Jan 85.
Drijvers, R. (1994). Java 16th May - 11th June 1994.
Heath, Phil. (1991). Greater Sundas 1991 (Sumatra, Bali and Java).
Hornbuckle, J. (1989). Indonesia.
Lewis. A., Morris, P., and Higgins, N. (1989). West Indonesia 1989. Sumatra, Java and Bali.
Myers, E. (year unknown). Indonesia.
Richards, G., and L. (1988). Java and Bali 26th June to 23rd July 1988.

Commercial Tape Recordings:

Marshall, J. Smaller nightbirds (Otus owls, nightjars and frogmouths).

Several privately published tapes of some Indonesian birds. Eg: Smith, Gibbs, and White.

Acknowledgements

I would especially like to thank Theo Bakker, Bas van Balen, and Jon Hornbuckle for their assistance and supplying much up to date information.

Itinerary and Personal Experiences

Overview
01 Nov 96 - Flight from Perth to Jakarta. Taxi to Bogor. Bogor Botanical Gardens.
02 Nov 96 - Bogor Botanical Gardens. Bus to Cibodas.
03 Nov 96 - Birding Cibodas - climb Gunung Gede.
04 Nov 96 - Birding Cibodas - lower elevations.
05 Nov 96 - Birding Cibodas - climb Gunung Gede.
06 Nov 96 - Bus from Cibodas to Carita.
07 Nov 96 - Carita. Overnight bus to Indramayu.
08 Nov 96 - Birding Cangkring.
09 Nov 96 - Birding Pantai Song. Bus to Jakarta. Flight to Bali. Taxi to Bedugal.
10 Nov 96 - Birding Bedugal Botanical Gardens. Bus to Gilimanuk. Birded Gilimanuk Bay.
11 Nov 96 - Birding Gilimanuk Bay. Arrange guide and boat for Bali Barat. Birding Manjangan and Bali Barat.
12 Nov 96 - Birding Bali Barat. Ferry, bus and taxi to Baluran.
13 Nov 96 - Birding Baluran.
14 Nov 96 - Birding Baluran. Taxi, bus and ferry to Bedugal.
15 Nov 96 - Birding Lake Bratan and Lake Buyan
16 Nov 96 - Birding Lake Bratan. Bus to Denpasar. Flight to Europe.

Personal Experiences

1 Nov 96. Taking advantage of a business trip to Perth, Australia, I took Garuda Indonesia airlines to Jakarta, via Bali, arriving on schedule at 13:05. Impressions and the reputation of Garuda vary, but I found them reliable, with a standard of service, both on and off the plane, more than adequate. While taxiing at Jakarta airport it was interesting to note the complete absence of birds around the runways and airport; a premonition for the rest of the trip? Facilities at the airport were reasonable, and I was able to deal with all the necessaries such bank, phone, ticket reconfirmation etc. Having exchanged further cash, I noted that the Thomas Cook exchange office in Perth Airport gave me a marginally better rate of exchange for my Australian Dollars than did the Jakarta airport bureau de change. I next purchased a phone card to call BirdLife Indonesia in Bogor, and then made enquiries about flights to/from Bali. Most of the major airlines have offices at the airport (open usual office hours) and I was able to reconfirm my return flight to Europe, without the hassle of having to phone or call-in at the city office. I was also able to deposit a redundant suitcase at the left-luggage office at the international terminal which charges 3,300 Rp per day. In order to save an unnecessary trip into Jakarta, I negotiated a deal with one of the many taxi-touts to drive directly to Bogor. Eventually agreed to pay 75,000 Rp, including the 11,000 Rp of highway tolls, for the 70 kilometre trip, arriving in Bogor around 16:00. Checked into the Wisma Ramayana (30,000 Rp), and in the last hour of daylight had a brief birding session in the botanical gardens in the centre of town. Weather was rather cool and overcast, following heavy rain earlier, so bird activity rather subdued. Some first Javan endemics seen such as Bar-winged Prinia, as well as a small group of Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon being a species of note. After dark had a wander through the shops opposite the gardens, stocking-up on food basics and water.

2 Nov 96. As the botanical gardens do not open until 08:00, I took the opportunity to have a relatively late breakfast. Having arrived at the gardens gate by 07:30, I tried to negotiate, without success, an early entry. By 08:00 many people were queuing to get in, so it is advisable to arrive early. I spent most of the time birding around the lake and its western side, eventually obtaining nice views of Black-naped Fruit-Dove and Blue-eared Kingfisher. Left around 11:00, checked-out, and walked to the bus terminal. From here I took an extremely uncomfortable minibus (3,000 Rp) as far as the Cibodas turn-off and then another the short distance to Cibodas itself (300 Rp). Firstly, enquired at the botanical gardens guest house, only to find it full, so stayed at Freddy's Homestay in town. Returned to the botanical gardens, but saw very little due to the hoards of weekend visitors, so walked the main trail toward the waterfall, also seeing very little. Heavy rain from 16:00 - 17:00, when I took shelter near the Blue Lake.

3 Nov 96. An awful day - Hoards of people, heavy rain, few birds and lost my poncho. The day got off to a bad start when I was awoken at 04:15 by the amplified prayers from the mosque immediately adjacent - this has to be the biggest disadvantage to staying at Freddy's. Walked to the botanical gardens and was allowed in at 06:00 by the friendly guards, even though not officially open until 08:00. Firstly I tried the zig-zag trail, but saw nothing, so walked the "dead end" trail up from the old PHPA office, seeing a few of the commoner endemics. Returned to Freddy's around 09:00, shopped, packed my rucksack with overnight gear and food, and started up main trail to Gede. It rained heavily from 11:00 - 12:00, and then remained cool, misty and overcast with little bird activity.

Even though it was a Sunday the trail was incredibly busy with young Indonesians hiking toward the summit. The hut at Kandang Badak, where I had intended to spend the night, was hopelessly overcrowded, wet, muddy and full of rubbish, so I continued on to summit regardless, arriving at the Gede crater by 15:00. Fortunately there were sufficient breaks in the cloud to sometimes get reasonable views into the crater area, where a few Volcano Swiftlet were seen. Shortly after, torrential rain started, forcing a descent. Given the problem with the overnight hut I decided at this point to return to Cibodas, arriving back Freddy's at 19:00, where I discovered I must have dropped my poncho en route.

4 Nov 96. Again awoken by the blaring mosque. An early breakfast and entered the botanical gardens by 06:00. Tried the zigzag trail again, but nothing interesting found. Discovered the old trials, radiating from behind the old PHPA hut, to be now hopelessly overgrown, so birded the "dead end" and "bird watching" trails, where a few good flocks observed until about 09:00 when rain started. Whilst waiting for the rain to stop, spent the time sheltering under the shelter at the Blue Lake where found a pair of Sunda Bulbul. Rain eased off by 12:00 but started again at 13h:0 till 16:00. Dodging the worst of the rain was possible using scattered shelters along the main trail and managed to cover the area as far as HM 50. I was incredibly lucky in meeting my poncho being worn by a local on the way down the trail, who was kind enough to return it to me despite the rain. Thereafter returned to the Cibeureum Falls for dusk, and was rewarded with two Salvadori's Nightjar circling above the falls well before dark, as well as a pair of Lesser Forktail.

5 Nov 96. With the mosque providing the perfect early morning alarm, an early start at first light along the main trail toward Gede. Despite the early hour the guard at the PHPA office was checking permits. The whole day was spent on a slow walk to and from Gede summit, which was unfortunately cloudy by the time I arrived at 13:00. At 13:30, just on the start of the descent, the heavens opened in a torrential storm the likes of which I have never seen. With the trail almost a river it was difficult to follow - it would not be much fun to get lost up here. With only light reprises the rain continued till 19:00 when I arrived back at Freddy's.

6 Nov 96. As the rain had continued through the night and did not look like stopping I decided to cut my losses on many of the specialities not yet seen and move on to Carita, which I hoped, being at sea level, might not be so wet. Left Freddy's by 05:30, this time paying 500 Rp for a bemo to the main road, and from there 3,000 Rp to Bogor. Had to hang around for more than an hour for a bemo for Rangkasbitung to fill up, and paid 3,000 Rp for the privilege of the extremely uncomfortable ride. Caught a good connection at Rangkasbitung to Labuan (3,000 Rp), and then took another to Carita (500 Rp after much arguing) arriving 13:30. Even though the rain had continued to pour the whole day, and was still pouring, after checking in at the Sunset Losman (20,000 Rp), I walked the track to the waterfall and forest in the hope of finding at least some of the specialities of the area. En route to the waterfall I discovered that the heavy rain had produced a landslide, making the last kilometre of forest before the waterfall inaccessible. A miracle happened at 17:00 and it stopped raining for an hour, during which time several interesting species were observed including Black-capped Babbler, Javan Sunbird and Grey-cheeked Tit-Babbler. Despite the rain, some effort at spotlighting was made, though not surprisingly little of note other than a giant flying squirrel, and myself tripping into a large muddy puddle. Dinner at the Maya Kantin (2,800 Rp) next to the Sunset View Losman.

7 Nov 96. Awoken in the night with rain on my face and had to move the furniture around in the room to avoid the leaking roof. Rain continued all night, some heavy. Had a lazy breakfast at Tinah's (5,000 Rp) while waiting hopefully for the rain to ease. Eventually gave up waiting and headed out by 07:00 and got as far as the shelter halfway to the waterfall when the heavens opened again. Spent the next few hours with a variety of locals in the shelter including a police officer who decided to make a fire out of the rustic table in the shelter. Gave up waiting for the rain to stop and decided to leave western Java for another time. Returned to the hotel, checked out (13:00), and took a bemo to Cilegon (2,000 Rp). From there took an overnight bus to Lohbener (8,000 Rp - a bargain but a gruelling journey) and then a ojek to Indramayu, arriving 01:15. Having tried to check into a cheaper Wisma, which was full, ended up in the fancy-looking Hotel Wiwa Perkasa (22,000 Rp with a/c) as it was one of the few places open at that time in the morning.

8 Nov 96. Up and out by 06:00. A while spent trying to negotiate a ojek to Cangkring, as the drivers were unsure to which Cangkring I was referring, which only came clear after I drew a map and indicated it was about 30 kilometres away. The 40 minute ride cost 6,000 Rp. As I was dropped in an area that did not immediately correspond to a sketch map that I had, it look me some while to orientate myself. Several coucal sp. were heard in roadside mangroves - presumably Sunda - but none was seen. All day spent exploring the mangrove edge and fish ponds north and east of the village, with eventual views of Javan White-eye. The mud paths between, and around, the fishponds were extremely muddy, and the mosquitos terrible. I also managed to fall into a fishpond courtesy of a collapsing bank. The hot cloudless morning was followed by the usual afternoon downpour from 16:00 - 17:00. On trying to return to Indramayu after dark, I discovered that ojeks were not running, but I eventually secured a lift with a young local who dropped me at the main road free of charge. This was amazing for being the first time someone had not tried to rip me off as a matter of principle. We even stopped in at a friend's house en route where I was given free refreshment. Actually I suspect there must have been a lot of prestige in carting a foreigner around in an area which receives almost no tourists. From the main road I took a rickshaw back to Indramayu (4,000 Rp) and was suitably impressed with the speed these guys can obtain on a flat road. Had dinner at a restaurant in town (15,000 Rp inc. beers - lavish). Overnight at the Hotel Wiwa Perkasa again.

9 Nov 96. Took a rickshaw (3,000 Rp) the few kilometres to the coast at Pantai Song. Not much left in the way of mangroves on this side of the river, though slightly better patches were visible on the other side. However one small group of Javan White-eye was seen. Worked the area around the fish ponds for about an hour, discovering two or three Charadrius plovers, one of which was definitely a male Javan Plover. A couple of other distant birds were seen on the sand split. Walked back through and beyond the village and found a freshly drained fish pond absolutely loaded with waders including 30+ Javan Plover and a group of six Oriental Plover - a scarce migrant in this area. With the temperature soaring rather early in the morning, negotiated a rickshaw back to Indramayu for 5,000 Rp (not a good price!) Checked out of the hotel by 10:00 and took a rickshaw to the bus station (1,000 Rp) and then a bemo to the main road at Lohbener (1,000 Rp). Caught a bus to Jakarta (5,000 Rp) and from the outskirts of Jakarta a taxi to the airport. Bargaining with the taxi driver resulted in a price of 30,000 Rp. Interestingly, the meter was left running and showed a price of 28,500 Rp - not too bad a bargain considering. Took the 20:00 Sempati Air flight to Denpasar, Bali, which arrived as scheduled. On arrival at Denpasar I was surprised not to find hoards of locals trying to tout everything to the tourists. Things were surprisingly well-organised, including the taxis, all of which operate at a fixed price according to a published list. Due to the late hour, and to save spending a night in Denpasar I took a taxi direct to Bedugal (70,000 Rp) arriving around midnight, where I found a room at the Dahlia Indah Guesthouse (20,000 Rp).

10 Nov 96. Walked the kilometre to the botanical gardens. Initially I had a few problems to find the forest trail behind the gardens, as it is not marked. Spent about three hours on the trail, climbing to the top. Birding generally slow - best birds seen were Dark-backed Imperial-Pigeon and Golden Whistler, but no sign of Russet Warbler. After a short walk in the actual gardens, seeing Indonesian Honeyeater, returned to the guest house, checked-out, and took a bemo to Singaraja (2,000 Rp). From here it was necessary to take a further bemo (500 Rp) to arrive at the correct bus terminal, and from there a hassle-free bus the two hours to Gilimanuk (3,000 Rp). Ojek from bus terminal to the Homestay Nusandara II cost 1,000 Rp (should have been 300 Rp). Choice of accommodation in Gilimanuk is limited; the 12,000 Rp paid being typical for the rather poor accommodation. With the last couple of hours of daylight I walked the beach scrub to the north finding several Lesser Adjutant around the mangroves. Dinner was taken in one of the small restaurants by the ferry terminal (6,000 Rp inc. a warm beer). Word evidently gets around when one of the few tourists hits town, as during the evening I was visited by both local ladies and free-lance bird guides looking for work. During the night one discovers that the Bali-Java ferries operate 24-hours, and insist on blaring horns each time they dock.

11 Nov 96. Up at first light and walked the beach scrub as yesterday evening. Similar species found, but with the addition of several Orange-breasted Green Pigeon. Despite the low tide a search of the exposed mud did not reveal Beach Thick-knee. Around 09:00 headed for the Bali Barat Park headquarters at Cecik by ojek (1,000 Rp) a couple of kilometres from town. Writing in advance had been a good idea, as a guide, permit and the director's permission had already been arranged and I soon set off with Udi, one of the experienced park wardens who spoke good English and was a keen conservationist and birder. Because of the heat of the day we took a bemo a short distance along the road and then walked a few kilometres through the excellent dry forest of the reserve to the Bali Starling captive breeding centre where at least seven breeding pairs were present. A further walk through the forest back to the main road, and then a bemo to the Lovina Dive Centre at Labuan Lalang. It was interesting to see the expression on the face of the bemo driver having to charge me the same price as my guide (ie. local prices) - a mixture of indignation and amazement. Lunch and a few cokes at the dive centre restaurant, then a quick walk along the beach, but too hot for any serious birding.

At 14:00 we took one of the dive boats (15,000 Rp/hour, minimum of four hours), out to Manjangan Island. The sun and heat ware intense, so we just hung out in the shade of the warden's accommodation. Around 15:30 walked the concrete walkway along the scrub edge, and almost immediately had a pair of Yellow-bellied White-eye feeding in the scrub. Crossed the island and looked on exposed rocks for Beach Thick-knee, but none present - only a few terns and a Lesser Frigatebird flying over. Around 16:00 took the boat across to the northern end of the Bali Barat reserve at Brumbun, to meet the armed wardens patrolling the area. Udi very kindly used their short-wave radio to call the Baluran reserve on Java to confirm my accommodation and arrival for tomorrow. As it was still too hot to walk to the Starling roosting area we hung-out and birded the immediate surroundings where several Green Junglefowl were calling, but could not be seen. However, we were shortly summoned by one of the guards who had heard a Bali Starling calling from the ridge above. We quickly hacked up the ridge and were rewarded with distant views of a feeding pair. This is an impressive bird - far larger than I had imagined. From here we trekked across the top of the ridge and spent an hour or so watching for birds flying to roost. However, none was seen, but en route down we found another pair feeding near the warden's hut. Paid the guards (10,000 Rp total). Boat back to Lovina, arriving at dusk. We then had difficultly to find a bemo back to Gilimanuk, as they stop running after dark. Eventually we were given a lift by a passing truck. Night again at Nusandara II.

12 Nov 96. Udi and I started the day early at the park office, birding the grounds, where Udi said Javan Myna can usually be found. However, on this occasion none seen, although a fruiting tree held numerous Orange-breasted Green-Pigeon and Lineated Barbet. From here we walked across the road into the 'educational trails'; an area of trails though several habitats used for lecturing to school children. Nothing much of note found, so we took a bemo toward Lovina and walked a dry river bed behind the Makam Jayaprana temple (1,000 Rp entrance). We were hoping for Javan Kingfisher, but found Fulvous-breasted Jungle-Flycatcher instead. Around 11:00 returned to Gilimanuk, paid Udi 25,000 Rp for the two days (there is no official rate), and made a donation of 40,000 Rp to the Starling project. Checked-out of Nusandara II and took the next ferry to eastern Java. On arrival at the Javan side tourists are met by an official from the "tourist agency" who asks for passport details and asks you to fill out some official book. You are then offered help with buses, maps etc. Around the terminal I stocked up with food, water and fruit and negotiated a fare of 2,000 Rp by bemo to the entrance of Baluran park. Signed in at the park gate (2,000 Rp for permit), and then took a ojek (5,000 Rp not negotiable) the 15 kilometres to the accommodation at Bekol. The weather was extremely hot and dry - the rains imminently expected. Walked the loop trail seeing almost nothing and then spent the rest of the day viewing the waterhole from the tower and walking the dry scrub immediately behind. It was disappointing not to find either White-headed Munia nor Java Sparrow which are normally expected in the area. In the evening met Kevin and Lori Loath from the UK who had been travelling and birding across Asia and Indonesia for many months. I also met a British biologist who had been studying at Baluran for the last five years, and who was an interesting source of information about the birds of Baluran. Both Large-tailed Nightjar and Savanna Nightjar were calling around the cabins.

13 Nov 96. Out into the field by 04:15 - sunrise at Baluran, due to its easterly position on Java. We walked the main road to Bama, and spent the day in the evergreen forest checking the water-holes unsuccessfully for Buffy Fish-Owl, Java Sparrow and munias. Spent the early evening listening for Spotted Wood-Owl around Bama, but none heard. One or two were calling late in the evening in the large tress near Bekol, but they could not be located.

14 Nov 96. At first light we walked the road back toward the entrance, concentrating on the evergreen forest area. Due to the lateness in the dry season Baluran was parched, hot and the birding difficult. However we found a pair of Javan Kingfisher and taped out a calling Horsfield's Hawk-Cuckoo - a scarce bird on Java. By 08:30 the heat of the day took over, so we checked-out and took a taxi (15,000 Rp) back to the main entrance. We had negotiated with the driver to take the three of us to the Java-Bali boat terminal for an extra 4,000 Rp, but he reneged on the deal after a few kilometres along the main road when it was apparent that he could not find further people travelling in the same direction. He then tried to transfer/combine us to another bemo, whose driver wanted 6,000 Rp for the three of us. Then ensured a lengthy argument between the drivers about who was paying for us, with us refusing to pay more than the 4,000 Rp extra that had been agreed (as a matter of principle). Eventually as no agreement could be reached, we walked off and took a different bemo, whose driver only charged us 1,000 each! A shared taxi from the bus terminal to the boat terminal cost 400 Rp each. Although the boat to Bali took only 15 minutes the actual docking took more than 45 minutes of trial and error. This was the most incompetent piece of seamanship I have ever witnessed and can only believe that a trainee was trying to dock the ship. No sooner had the front-end been docked than the back end would drift out - it was really painful to watch, and even more frustrating to be on the ship waiting to get off. Eventually having docked, we split up, myself proceeding to Singaraja by bemo (3,000 Rp). I arrived at Singaraja bus terminal just as it was getting dark, which proved be a problem as bemos had stopped running toward Bedugal and Denpasar. Eventually myself and five locals chartered a bemo for 7,000 Rp each, arriving Bedugal 20h00 and once again checked-in to the Dahlia Indah Guesthouse. Looking back, this short journey from Baluran had taken almost 11 hours!

15 Nov 96. Another rude awakening from the mosque just after 04:15, especially as the time difference between Bali and Java means that it does not get light until around 05:30. Walked down the hill and took the trail around Lake Bratan. A three hour hard hike to the top was probably not worth it for birds, as most were seen along the lower parts of the trail. At 10:30 heavy rain started so returned, drenched, to the guesthouse. Decided to try the Strawberry Hill "hotel" out of town, as for the same price (20,000 Rp) it offered hot showers and no noise from the mosque. In the afternoon took a bemo to Lake Buyan (500 Rp) and worked the trail around the southern side which gives access to some interesting marshy edges and secondary forest. Best bird was Sunda Ground-Thrush surprisingly found in a small remnant forest patch. All afternoon spent here, and then again had a problem to return to Bedugal as no bemos running. Hitching attempts failed. Eventually hired a ojek for 2,000 Rp.

16 Nov 96. Walked the Lake Bratan ridge trail again, this time exploring a couple of side trails, one of which proved very interesting and along which I found five Black-backed Fruit-Dove. A lot of leeches along this trail. Returned to the hotel around 10:00 and started return journey to Denpasar for flight home. Torrential rain en route nearly resulted in me missing the flight, but made it with a few minutes to spare. Took 16:00 Sempati Air to Jakarta and KLM back to Europe. All-in-all a good trip, but key endemics missed due to insufficient time and more than sufficient rain.

Specialities of Java and Bali

This report concentrates on the specialities of Java and Bali; species endemic to those islands, plus others restricted to the Sundas or Indonesia. A wider definition of specialities might also include species which an observer has a good or better chance of finding here than elsewhere, due to their scarcity or restricted ranges; Eg. Dusky Woodcock, Mountain Serin, Waterfall Swiftlet or Javan White-eye. Considered as a whole, these species fall into five broad categories (best sites in brackets):

Endemic to Java
Javan Hawk-Eagle
Chestnut-bellied Partridge
Javan Plover
Javan Lapwing
Sunda Coucal
Javan Scops-Owl
Javan Frogmouth
Volcano Swiftlet
Brown-throated Barbet
Black-banded Barbet
Rufous-tailed Fantail
White-bellied Fantail
Javan Cochoa
Pygmy Tit
Javan Tesia
Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush
White-breasted Babbler
White-bibbed Babbler
Grey-cheeked Tit-Babbler
Javan Fulvetta
Spotted Crocias
White-capped Munia
White-flanked Sunbird
Javan Sunbird

Endemic to Bali
Bali Starling 

Endemic to Sumatra and Java
Sumatran Green-Pigeon
Pink-headed Fruit-Dove
Salvadori's Nightjar
Blue-tailed Trogon
Sunda Minivet
Sunda Robin
Sunda Forktail
Orange-spotted Bulbul
Sunda Bulbul 
Bar-winged Prinia
Sunda Warbler

Endemic to Indonesia
Spotted Kestrel
Green Junglefowl
Grey-cheeked Pigeon
Black-backed Fruit-Dove
Pink-headed Imperial-Pigeon
Dark-backed Imperial-Pigeon
Yellow-throated Hanging-Parrot
Yellow-crested Cockatoo
Javan Owlet
Small Blue Kingfisher
Javan Kingfisher
Flame-fronted Barbet
Elegant Pitta
Javan Cuckooshrike
White-shouldered Triller
Black-winged Starling
Lemon-bellied White-eye
Javan Grey-throated White-eye
Olive-backed Tailorbird
Crescent-chested Babbler
Javan Munia
Black-faced Munia
Java Sparrow
Red-chested Flowckeerper
Blood-breasted Flowerpecker
Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker

Good chance Java or Bali.
Dusky Woodcock
Waterfall Swiftlet
Mountain Serin
Javan White-eye


Widespread but scarce. (Gede).
Mountains of west and central Java. (Gede).
Scarce coastal resident. (Indramayu).
Extinct. (formerly northwest and southeast Java).
Endangered. Mangroves. (Cangkring, Segara Anakan).
Mountains of west Java. (Gede).
Widespread but scarce. (Carita).
Volcanos of central Java. (Gede crater).
Mountains of west Java. (Gede).
Widespread in lowlands. (Carita).
Mountain forest. (Gede).
Mountain forest. (Gede).
Mountains of west Java. (Gede).
Mountain forest. (Gede).
Mountain forest. (Gede).
Mountains of west and central Java. (Gede).
Mostly west Java lowlands. Scarce. (Carita).
Mountain forest. (Gede).
Lowland scrub. Fairly common. (Carita, Baluran).
West Java. (Gede).
Mountains of west Java. (Gede).
Widespread, but local. (Muara Angke).
Mountain forest. (Gede).
Widespread but not common. (Carita).


Northwest Bali. (Bali Barat only).


Mountains of Sumatra and west Java.
Mountains of Sumatra, Java and Bali. (Gede)
Mountains of east Sumatra and west Java. (Gede).
Mountains of Sumatra and west Java. (Gede).
Mountains of Sumatra and Java. (Gede).
Mountains of Sumatra and Java. (Gede).
Mountains of Sumatra and Java. (Gede).
Mountains of Sumatra, Java and Bali. (Gede, Bromo).
Mountains of Sumatra and Java. (Gede).
Widespread on Sumatra, Java and Bali. (Common).
Mountains of Sumatra, Java and Bali. (Gede).


(Pangandaran, Gede).
(Baluran).
(Bogor Botanical Gardens).
(Bedugal)
Rare. (No sites).
(Bedugal).
Widespread but scarce. (Bogor).
(No sites).
Scarce. (Carita).
(Bogor Botanical Gardens).
Widespread but local. (Baluran, Carita, Ubud).
(Gede, Bedugal).
(No sites).
(Baluran, Bali Barat).
(Baluran, Bail Barat).
(Baluran, Bail Barat).
(Bali Barat).
(Gede).
(Gede, Bogor).
(Gede, Bedugal).
(Common).
(No sites).
(Baluran).
Rare. (Halimun).
(Gede, Bedugal).
(Bogor, Baluran).


Scarce resident. (Gede).
Scarce resident. (Gede).
Uncommon. (Gede).
Scarce northern coast. (Cangkring/Indramayu).

Section 2 - Birding sites (Java - Bogor Botanical Garden).
Section 3 - Birding sites (Java - Gunung Gede and Cibodas).
Section 4 - Birding sites (Java - Carita, Indramayu, Pantai Song and Cangkring).
Section 5 - Birding sites (Java - Baluran, Pangandaran and Segara Anakan).
Section 6 - Birding sites (Bali - Gilimanuk and Bali Barat).
Section 7 - Birding sites (Bali - Bedugal, Ubud and Sanur).
Section 8 - Annotated checklist.