Had a lie-in today with a 5.45am departure. Woohoo..!! Then spent the morning birding along the road into the National Park, which turned out to be quite productive. It took no time at all to get one of the most desired birds of the tour, so when an Elegant Pitta began calling a quick burst from the ipod and a great spot by Freddie, our local guide, resulted in wonderful views of the bird perched on a horizontal branch at head height. Wow! Even better was to come when on our second attempt, we all got Chestnut-backed Thrush on our life lists – what a bird that is.
Our first attempt only resulted in flight views for some of us, but when we walked into the forest along a trail and one began singing from the slope below, we slipped and skidded down closer and sat in the leaf litter and waited. Eventually it flew onto an open horizontal vine and began to sing back and we were able to study it for several minutes, marvelling at its striped face, white belly and orange flanks – oh and the chestnut back of course! In fact we were treated to repeated views over the course of an hour. There were also a few more Elegant Pittas that kept flying around us, but only once did it perch up and that was right over our heads. So with Sumba Jungle-flycatcher showing well, Marigold Lorikeets flying around and perching briefly and a few previously seen species it was a good morning’s birding.
In the afternoon we returned to the same forest and a few of us quickly got on a skulking Sumba Flycatcher that soon disappeared. The next couple of hours were slow going, although we did get a pair of Sumba Myzomela in a big tree that were with a bunch of commoner birds mobbing an unseen predator. Apart from that there was the distinctive Grey-headed (Canary) Flycatcher that looks and sounds very different to mainland Asian forms, more Marigold Lorikeets screeched overhead, and we heard Little Sumba Boobook after dark. But our night birding didn’t produce anything else so we returned to the homestay for dinner around 8pm.