So I find myself in Sumatra and based at Gunung Kerinci, a still active volcano and at 3805m is the tallest peak in the country. The slopes of the volcano are covered in lush forest and home to some of the most celebrated endemics in the entire island and I got off to a great start within the first half hour of walking up the single track, when a pair of Salvadori’s Pheasants were found.
Other endemics followed with stunning views of these Rusty-breasted Wren-babblers, which gave crippling views as they sang back at the ipod from point-blank range.
Then Shiny Whistling-thrush became increasingly common.
There were plenty of other more widespread birds around including showy Lesser and White-browed Shortwings, Grey-throated and Golden Babblers, Sunda Warbler and Pygmy Wren-babbler.
My search for the near-mythical Sumatran Cochoa turned up a blank and it was quite a tough, muddy walk up to the so-called ‘Cochoa Camp’. But it was worth it for the views of Sumatran Wren-babbIer – a split from Long-billed Wren-babbler. I think I spent too long up here waiting and searching for the cochoa, as the rain came in around 4pm and was torrential indeed! Not quite up to Mt Kitinglad proportions but very close and the walk down wasn’t pleasant at all. Must remember to bring wellingtons next time as my hiking boots became waterlogged and now face the prospect of spending the next week with wet feet..!
Still, a successful day and my thoughts are turning to how exactly to find Schneider’s Pitta tomorrow…………