Monday, 1 October 2012

Going to Halmahera - 21st September

Another early start saw us bid farewell to our wonderful hosts and spend a little time back up on the ridge, which gave us further views of all the usual species. Then we drove to Manado and took the 45 minute flight to the island of Ternate where we hopped into some taxis which took us down to the seafront. Here we boarded a speedboat and set off across the channel that separates Sulawesi from Halmahera. I was really looking forward to the crossing and hoped for a few seabirds but the whole channel was very quiet and all we had was a single Great Crested Tern, several Lesser Frigatebirds and a few Red-necked Phalaropes. As we approached Halmahera the boat slowed down and cruised close to the Mangroves where we found at least 4 Beach Kingfishers before reaching the tiny harbour at Sidangoli. Upon landing we were aware of many locals congregating to take a look at these strange visitors before driving just a few minutes away and our accommodation for the next few nights. 

Black-chinned Golden Whistler

Moluccan Scops-owl

After a siesta we drove into the hills and scored with our first endemics on this new island with Moluccan Goshawk, Grey-faced Fruit-dove, White Cockatoo and Black-chinned Golden Whistler. Numerous Blyth’s Hornbills were seen and giving some impressively close flybys and one male was even seen visiting its nesting hole and feeding the female walled up inside. A pair of Eclectus Parrots showed well from our viewpoint and were seen mobbing a White Cockatoo at one stage. As dusk fell we managed to finally call in an owl quite quickly, when a Moluccan Scops-owl was spotlighted beside the road.

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