Following a very early breakfast we drove 45 minutes to the start of the famous Anaso Track and began our ascent in search of some very special birds. The beginning of the walk was undertaken in the dark but as the day dawned clear yet again, the forest came alive with birdsong. There was nothing new however, until we spotted a Red-eared Fruit-dove feeding on some berries at the top of a tree and followed this with brief views of Spot-tailed Goshawk perched beside the trail. But it’s about 3km to the Diabolical Nightjar site from the road and we didn’t waste any time in walking up to the small plateau area, and sure enough we had crippling views of this much-wanted endemic in the morning sunshine.
It’s uphill all the way to the top of the mountain and another 3km or so, but we took our time and found a number of goodies such as Small Sparrowhawk, flyover Golden-mantled Racquet-tails, Sulawesi Myzomela, Greater Sulawesi Honeyeater and Sulawesi Leaf-warbler. Pride of place went to a pair of Purple-bearded Bee-eaters perched over the trail and we watched them in perfect light as they hawked for insects right in front of us. As we approached our lunch stop we made a couple of attempts at the always tricky Maroon-backed Whistler which gave several very brief views allowing some of the group to get onto it. A flyover White-bellied Sea Eagle was a surprise as we checked out the highest area for the endemic Mountain Serin, a number of which were seen flying over at various stages today.
A couple of Grey-headed Imperial-pigeons were seen here as well, including one sat on a nest and a few Streak-headed Dark-eyes were also found. However the undoubted highlight of the day happened after lunch and on our return to the same spot after our excursion to the top of the mountain. Firstly, a small flock was seen beside the path and scanning through this finally revealed our one and only Hylocitrea of the trip, after much searching and sweating over this bird it was a total relief!
As we enjoyed repeated views of this bird, Royke said the local guide accompanying us had seen a Geomalia close by inside the forest. So after all the waiting and watching along the trail we had already done for this species we were not too hopeful of seeing it to say the least. Yet you just never know in birding and amazingly most of us who attempted the walk over fallen trees and tree roots were rewarded with varying degrees of views. Amazing! So on that note we headed back down to our waiting vehicles, seeing another Purple-bearded Bee-eater, and a much needed cup of coffee and a cracking slice of cake!
Other endemics seen today included Sulawesi Pygmy Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Malkoha, Great Shortwing, Cerulean Cuckooshrike, Sulawesi Cicadabird, Malia, Blue-fronted Flycatcher, Rusty-bellied Fantail, Fiery-browed Myna, Fiery-browed Myna and Sulawesi Drongo.
|Fiery-browed Starling (Myna)|