Friday, 2 August 2013

A Day with Dragons..

This was the day we had all been waiting for – a visit to Komodo Island and its dragons. We left Labuanbajo at 6am and sailed out through many beautiful islands in a speedboat. It was a stunningly impressive hour long ride, albeit a little bumpy once we hit deeper water. 

Komodo Island
A few Lesser Frigatebirds were seen, along with a probable Christmas Island Frigatebird, Great Crested and Black-naped Terns and unfortunately a very brief and unidentified storm petrel that crossed in front of us and just vanished into thin air. But I think it must have been a Wilson’s Storm-petrel –the most likely species in these waters. 

Yellow-crested Cockatoos
On approach to Komodo we saw 3 Yellow-crested Cockatoos perched in the treetops near the quay, and upon arrival we had a brief talk by the park rangers, trying to ignore the Barred and Island Collared Doves in the process. Then we set off on the long walk which produced several awesome Green Junglefowls (for a chicken..!), an Orange-footed Scrubfowl for some, Wallacean Cuckooshrike, Yellow-bellied White-eyes, and some really great looks at more cockatoos. Must admit, I was really taken with these birds - full of character, loud and noisy, and this pair I photographed were obviously an item!

Komodo Dragon
Then we had an incredible hour with the Komodo Dragons near the beach and had several walking around and posing for us, with a hulking 10-footer male that bellowed out a loud hiss at another dragon that got too close to him. I must admit they were very impressive for a non-bird! A lovely snorkelling session followed with many fantastic brightly-coloured fish and was a very relaxing way to spend a few hours, especially as the water was crystal clear. To cap off a great day, the owner of the boat took us to their private resort for drinks and snacks. What a great day..

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