Thursday, 25 July 2013

Sumba Day 3

Another early departure this morning as we had to try and claw back Sumba Boobook having missed it on our previous two attempts. So you can imagine what a relief it was to have a bird calling back at us form a bare branch of a huge roadside tree within minutes of firing up the ipod. Shame I didn’t have the camera with me!! A quick try for Mees’s Nightjar once again drew a blank so we then drove some two hours to another patch of forest, parked the cars up and walked across some fields to a small hill where we stood for a coupe of hours scanning the forest edge. We had a nice view of several forested ridges with huge trees that looked particularly inviting for hornbills, but initially there was no sign of them. Instead we enjoyed great scope views of Eclectus Parrots, plenty of Great-billed Parrots, Green Imperial-pigeons, Wallacean Cuckooshrike, Black-faced Mynas, Rusty-breasted Cuckoo and others. 

Sumba Hornbill

After some time Tracy and Chris both had brief views of a Sumba Hornbill in the distance, but it was an anxious wait for the rest of us until four more were seen flying into a huge tree. After the initial frantic directions everyone had nice scope views, but we needn’t have worried as a pair flew up onto the ridge in front of us and flew across the clear blue sky into another bare tree where they gave stonking views. Amazing! 

Spotted Harrier

So elated with this we decided to leave and walk to the vehicles, getting superb views of this Spotted Harrier along the way. On the way back to the homestay we had brief views of the ever-elusive Sumba Flycatcher and quite a few Indonesian Honeyeaters at another spot. After lunch and a siesta we headed along the road and birded the same patch of forest as yesterday, trying really hard to find a stationary Sumba Flycatcher, but we only ended up hearing two birds at different locations and neither responded to the ipod or a recording of their call. The birding was generally slow but we spent ages sat down at the top of a slope inside the forest listening to Chestnut-backed Thrush singing below us and waiting for that damn flycatcher to show. A few Golden Whistlers, Spectacled Monarch, a Pale-shouldered Cicadabird for Christian, and an Orange-footed Scrubfowl for Brian were also seen here. The forest resounded to the songs of Elegant Pittas as we walked along the road, a quite amazing experience although we couldn’t locate a perched bird as the light began to fade way too quickly for our liking! Then we drove to a new spot at dusk and within minutes of walking found ourselves being circled by a pair of the endemic Mees’s Nightjar (at last!) and they performed absolutely brilliantly for us, and it wasn’t even dark yet. So we had the bonus of an early return to the homestay, an early dinner and several extra hours sleep before our departure to Waingapu tomorrow.

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