Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Halmahera - The Day of the Pitta!

We spent the day birding various sites from the road, with a break in the early afternoon back at the hotel in Sidangoli. At first light we were scanning from the top of a hill and had our first Cream-throated White-eyes, as well as a Red-cheeked Parrot, Halmahera Swiftlet, Blue-and-white Kingfisher, Scarlet-breasted Fruit-dove, Slaty Flycatcher, Northern Golden Bulbul, Halmahera Cuckooshrike, White-streaked Friarbird, Paradise Crow and a pair of Rufous-bellied Trillers

Scarlet-breasted Fruit Dove

Slaty Flycatcher

 But most of the morning was spent on our quest to find Ivory-breasted Pitta, and our first attempt to lure in a calling bird failed miserably. But there were plenty of other calling birds along this stretch of forest and on entering a different site we sat quietly on a small hill from where we could scan a narrow gulley below us. Once everyone was settled a short burst form the ipod got an immediate response quite a way off into the forest opposite us. Then a short while later it called closer and we then heard its noisy wingbeats as it flew off to our left, and was seen by some of the group. Over the course of the next hour or so we had plenty of views, initially of one bird skulking in the gulley below us, then working its way up the hillside off to our right and eventually perched up in the canopy from where it called repeatedly and was quite bold as it allowed us to work our way across the noisy leaf litter to get better and better views. All you can say is “wow”!!

Ivory-breasted Pitta

Ivory-breasted Pitta

 In the afternoon we drove further along the road and found a Sombre Kingfisher being mobbed by a pair of Slaty Flycatchers, Metallic Starling, Grey-throated Goshawk, lots more Blyth’s Hornbills, Moustached Treeswift and Moluccan Imperial-pigeon, before heading back to the hotel at a reasonable time for dinner - for a change!

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