Monday, September 24, 2012

Batu Gajah, Sawah Ring, Sungei Balang, Parit Jawa, Malacca Strait 22-23Sep12

From KH

Con, Danny and I joined Ang and his friends for birding at the padi fields and Malacca Strait.

We spent the first day in the padi fields and what a hot day it was. As the padi fields were pretty dry, there were not many waders, although we did find Wood Sandpipers, Common Sandpipers, Pacific Golden Plovers and Red-wattled Lapwings. Herons (Purple and Little), egrets (Cattle, Little, Intermediate and Great) and bitterns (Cinnamon and Yellow) were common in the fields. Other birds of note were a Watercock, Oriental Reed Warblers and Grey Wagtails. In one of the rivers, there were Common Moorhens, Purple Swamphens and Lesser Whistling Ducks.

At Sungei Balang, there were many grassland birds - munias (White-rumped, White-headed and Scaly-breasted), Baya Weavers, Zitting Cisticolas and a Paddyfield Pipit. We managed to locate two boxes with Barn Owls in them. As it was still too early for raptors, we only saw Black-winged and Brahminy Kites.

The second day, by contrast, was really wet! It rained on and off the whole morning. While having breakfast, a pair of Oriental Pied Hornbills on antenna were a welcoming sight. After breakfast, we took a boat trip from Parit Jawa to the Malacca Strait and spent about 4 hours out in the sea (around 9 am to 1 pm).

Lesser Adjutants - the iconic birds of Parit Jawa.

Lesser Adjutants

First, we encounter the commoner terns, like Little Terns, White-winged Terns and Great Crested Terns pretty near the coast and at the kelongs.

White-winged Tern

Great Crested Tern

As we went further out, we started seeing Bridled Terns heading south. We counted about 100 birds by the end of the boat trip.

Bridled Tern

The first star bird of the trip appeared around 9:45 am. It was an Aleutian Tern - a lifer for the Malaysian birders. The bird can be told apart from others by the white forehead, thin black bill, thin black trailing edge on the secondaries, white leading edge and pale rump.

Aleutian Tern

Before long, we encountered our first Swinhoe's Storm Petrel - another lifer for the Malaysian birders. We would see another two later. Finally, we spotted a pod of dolphins on the way back.

The final count of pelagic birds:
Swinhoe's Storm Petrel 3
Aleutian Tern 1
Common Tern 2
Bridled Tern ~100
Lesser Crested Tern 1
Great Crested Tern ~50
White-winged Tern ~10
Little Tern ~5

And water birds at Parit Jawa:
Lesser Adjutant 15
Grey Heron 5
Little Heron 3
Little Egret 5
Greater Sand Plover 1
Lesser Sand Plover >20
Common Greenshank 1
Common Redshank >20
Common Sandpiper 3
Terek Sandpiper >20
Whimbrel 1
Black-tailed Godwit 2
Red-necked Stint 5

From Con

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bay East Garden 16Sep12

From Danny

I was last Sunday at Marina Park, East to check on the BSK nesting. On arrival, one adult BSK was thermalling up to get away from 2 mobbing House Crows, rather ominous sign. Coming across the ditch just after the Barrage was the famous and friendly Ruddy breasted Crake, water level was low and it was foraging in the ditch about 5 ft from the path, unfortunately when I set up my scope further away (too near to focus), it moved further away- just a few moving away fuzzy pics. This is a good place to get close up pic of the crake, but is sensitive to rising water level (not tide) as when I left the ditch was flooded

I set up my scope after the fence barrier to check on the Nest, there was no sign of activity. After 10-15 min, I moved off towards the golf course side and came across a Long Tailed Shrike foraging on the ground, lighting good and manage a few reasonable pics. Then an Adult BSK flew in low but went way back behind the nesting Tree . Thinking the nesting had failed, I moved on to look for sign of any migrant - sadly only local birds, no migrating flycatcher.

As I left, a quick estimation of time convinced myself either the nesting failed due to the mobbing Crows or it could still at incubation. I set up my scope from another angle to look at the nest. It took me a while to manage to spot the relatively long and white undertail of a sitting BSK. It was practically motionless until for a quick moment, a wing flapped up and everything fell motionless again . The adult was incubating .

Refer to pic the white undertail is barely visible in the center of pic, just above the left slanting branch behind those dangling green leaves.

Singapore Strait, Imbiah 15Sep12

From Colin

Swinhoe's Storm-petrel 470 W
Bridled Tern 296 E
Aleutian Tern 15-20
Common Tern 1-2
Great Crested Tern 22
Lesser Crested Tern 1
White-winged Tern 1

The numbers of all are remarkably similar to same weekend in 2011.

From Con

Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins

Great Crested Tern

Bridled Tern

Aleutian Tern (front) and White-winged Tern (back)

Aleutian Tern

Swinhoe's Storm-petrel

From JS

Swinhoe's Storm-petrels

From KH

After the boat trip, Danny, JS and I went to Imbiah to look for the Hwamei, but none were found...

There were also not many birds, but we did see Coconut Lorikeet, bulbuls (Olive-winged, Yellow-vented) and other common birds.

Simpang 13Sep12

From KH

I spent half an hour or so at Simpang in the late afternoon. A Grey Wagtail flushed from the drain. Then small flocks of Purple-backed Starlings were seen. Other birds of note were Straw-headed Bulbul (heard), Coppersmith Barbet, Common Flameback and other common birds.
Mt Faber 9Sep12

From Danny

Went over to Mt Faber late morning for my Sunday birding routine after a good night sleep. From car park A up the slope of Mt Faber Road, about half way to the top, two birds flew in but only one perched and started foraging like a typical flycatcher . It stay about two minutes among a clump of thin branches, foraging for insects, clear features visible were yellow eye ring, clean yellow underpart, olive green crown and upperparts, two pale wing bars, dark bill but pale near base for lower mandible - female Green-backed Flycatcher. While looping back to car park A, behind block 43, a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher was seen.

Another interesting observation was 3 Asian Koels, one male and two females. The two females were confronting each other on the same tree while the male was calling on another nearby tree in Car Park A. The two females stared at each other with raised wings, stretched necks and funny way of twitching their tails strongly, creating a strong whip sound alike . Never knew female Koels could fight over a male, lucky fellow.
Sulawesi, Halmahera, 29Aug-8Sep12

From JS

Just returned from Manado this evening and was welcomed by the haze. The trip went pretty smoothly but it would surely be better if we could see all the birds parading in full view before us. Unfortunately, as we all know, that will never happen, so we are just happy to see whatever birds that showed. Overall, we recorded a total of at least 175 species including 119 lifers notwithstanding. Although the numbers pale in comparison to my Myanmar's trip (350, 150), photographing all 3 species of scrubfowls, 2 out of 2 bops, 7 out of 9 kingfishers and 2 out of 4 pittas would certainly make the trip satisfactory. Below is a short day-to-day summary of our trip.

Left: Juvenile Blue-and-white Kingfisher ©Danny Lau. Right: Pallid Cuckoo ©Lau JS

Left: Female Black-bellied Koel - common, usually heard but difficult to see. Right: Metallic Starling ©Danny Lau

29 Aug, Day 1:
We started the trip awfully with 20min delay in flight arrival due to bad weather at Manado Airport. Thereafter, we got stuck in a heavy downpour and knee-deep flooded roads. Alas, an expected evening arrival at Kotamobagu at 5-6pm became a night arrival at around 8pm... Additionally, we also had a change of guide from Samuel to a non-stop coughing Antry (Con's guide at Tangkoko) because the former had a bad stomach. No birding was done today but from the car ride, I was able to identify 1 white-bellied imperial pigeon, so that's lifer no. 1.

30 Aug, Day 2:
Instead of heading to Gn Ambang today, we went for the Maleo at Tambun. Was told by Max, the local ranger of Tambun, that there was no rain on the day before but unfortunately, he said that too soon. It rained throughout the night and most of the ground birds would naturally move on. The sole compensation is a longer-than-normal view of open-perched Maleo and a friendly Sulawesi Dwarf Kingfisher that woke up to a larger home. Other noteworthy finds were a family of Bay Coucals, a White-Necked Myna amongst a flock of Grosbeak Starlings and a female Black-Naped Fruit-dove on nest. That was for our morning. In the afternoon, we birded Toraut. Alas, the raft and its anchoring tree was washed away by the rain and we could not reach the better forest. As a result, we dipped on the Maroon-Chinned Fruit-Dove but was relieved to see the Speckled Boobook was back at its manmade roost, a dilapidated building. Rain came again at 6pm to our misery. Fortunately, by then, we had opened our account on the raptors with a Spotted Harrier and added a flush oriental hobby subsequently. No night birding. Night at Tata Min Homestay.

Speckled Boobook - other than the white speckles, notice the olive green bill, white nictitating skin that rolls down and the ability to roll or wink with one eye ©Danny Lau

Left: Black naped fruit dove - only see the female, missed the beautiful male. Right: Sulawesi Dwarf Kingfisher - almost like our ODKF ©Danny Lau

31 Aug, Day 3:
Started at 3am, we reached Sisingon at 5.30am. By motorbikes, we reached the start of the trail of Gn. Ambang. Along the trail, we ticked the montane Yellow-and-Green Lorikeet, Fiery-Browed Starling, Streak-Headed Ibon (Dark-Eye), Mountain White-eye, Yellow-Vented Whistler, Mountain Tailorbird, Sulawesi Drongo and Rusty-Bellied Fantail. Nothing spectacular actually. the real target would be the range-restricted Matinan Flycatcher. Sharp-eyed Ah Teng, our driver, spotted its movement in the undergrowth without the use of playback. Besides, Ah Teng also found us a blue flycatcher that is pending identification but in the field, we started celebrating like it is/was a Rufous-Throated Flycatcher, a difficult to find Sulawesi montane endemic. Other good birds seen were 3 brightly-colored Superb Fruit-Doves, a Spotted Kestrel and an Island Verditer Flycatcher. However, we dipped miserably on the Cinnabar Boobook (if only we had Samuel instead of Antry.), Scaly-Breasted kingfisher, Red-Eared Fruit-Dove, Crimson-Crowned Flowerpecker and Sulawesi Masked Owl. Oh well...

Fiery-browed Starling - unmistakeable eye-brows. Yellow-vented Whistler ©Danny Lau

1 Sep, Day 4:
From Julies's Homestay in Sisingon, we spent the morning traveling to Manado for our flight to Ternate, skipping Mt Mahawu. Reaching Ternate, Iskandar readily identified my father and brought us to Sidangoli by a 45-min chartered boat. Due to inexplicable reasons, we did not see any seabirds except for the lone Common tern. Eager to get us on a Beach Kingfisher, Iskandar recklessly identified every Collared Kingfisher on the beach as a Beach Kingfisher. We didn't fall for that and subsequent sighting of the Beach Kingfisher on the way to Tobelo made us not regret that decision. Kicking off our birding on Halmahera, Iskandar brought us to his favored viewpoint on Kali (River) Batu (Land) Putih (White) [KBP] and we were rewarded with a pair of roosting White Cockatoo, a Chattering Lory, 4 Blyth's Hornbill, 2 Great-Billed Parrots, small flocks of Red-Cheeked Parrots and Violet-necked Lories. The best find for the day is the rarely seen Great Cuckoo Dove. Night in a Hotel with a disco.

Left: Blyth's Hornbill pair. Right: Red-cheeked Parrot ©Danny Lau

Left: Beach Kingfisher - We saved US$40 from hiring a boat out as we found this Kingfisher along the road. Right: Large Sulawesi Hanging Parrot - we dipped on the small hanging parrot which has red bill instead of black ©Danny Lau

2 Sep, Day 5:
Setting off from the entrance of the trail to the Standardwing Lek at KBP at around 5am, we reached the lek at 7.30am. It would be much better to reach the lek earlier but poor hiking condition and rain forbid us. No torch and so we missed the owl that perched above us just like at Cat Tien. Therefore, the first bird that we saw for the day was none other than the Standardwings. Having a handful of calling males was really nice but having a female would make a better sight. That was just unfortunate. Still, seeing the shining green breast plate of the male firsthand was a real treat in its own rights. After leaving the Lek, we found ourselves a trapped Dusky Scrubfowl, Grey-Headed Fruit-Dove, a Blue-Capped Fruit-Dove, a Rufous-Bellied Triller and a Cream-Throated White-Eye. The biggest find though was an Ivory-Breasted Pitta that I managed to photograph. (I need another shirt for this one! :D) That concluded the morning birding session. In the afternoon, we headed to a trail located at the 12km mark of KBP. Upon arrival, we struck gold with an immature Moluccan Goshawk but failed to get good views of the calling Paradise Crows - that's Halmahera! Unfamiliar with the birds of Halmahera, we had problems identifying the birds in a mini-birdwave in the field.  Subsequently, using the guidebook, we identified that the mini-birdwave had a Spectacled Monarch, a Slaty Monarch, a White-Naped Monarch, a White-Streaked Friarbird and a couple of Black Sunbirds. Deeper inside the trail, we called in another Ivory-Breasted Pitta but seeing a female golden whistler was the sole new bird. Before dusk, we returned back to the small clearing where the mini-birdwave took place and saw a Paradise crow, two grey-headed fruit-doves and a chattering lory! At dusk, we called in a Moluccan Owlet-Nightjar (but did not try finding) and noted several calling Moluccan Scops Owls. What a day!

Left: Grey-headed Fruit Dove, one of many colourful doves. Right: Black Sunbirds, adult with young fledgling ©Danny Lau

3 Sep, Day 6:
Without a cuckooshrike in the bag or any of the myzomela or even a common dollarbird, we spent the early morning at Transmigrasi, the site that is only routinely visited by Iskandar, just like the viewpoint on KBP. Located between the forest and the transmigrated population of Javanese farmers, birding at Transmigrasi is essentially birding along the forest edge - really good for scoping. In a nutshell, we twitched a pair of rare Purple Dollarbirds (What a surprise! Iskandar was simply ecstastic about it, having only last seen the species two years ago!), an adult Grey-throated Goshawk, an adult Moluccan Goshawk, a couple of White Cockatoos, nearly-a-dozen of "missable" Paradise Crows (Missable because Nick Brickle actually did at Foli and required to visit KBP on a separate one-day trip just for this species and three others.), Pied, Cinnamon-Bellied and Spectacled (Guide-only) Imperial Pigeons, a White-Streaked Friarbird, a pair of Shining Flycatchers and a couple of Brush Cuckoos. Two surprise finds were a Stephen's Dove that was flushed by the road (all brown, except for the green on the wings, two black bars on the rump and "white" lore/forehead) and a Rufous Fantail that Iskandar tried vehemently to point out to me but to no avail. On the way back to our hotel for lunch, we stopped by Mamin for the Common Paradise Kingfisher. Two birds replied the tape but only I saw one flying passed. Our guide added another circling Grey-Throated Goshawk while I saw at least one Red-Flanked Lorikeet. This morning calls for a nice lunch to celebrate our Purple Dollarbirds find and we do so with more fried fish. In the afternoon, we went to another site at KBP to try for the Common Paradise Kingfisher. Initially, birding was very, very slow. But, after a what-seem-like-an-eternity wait, we got a responding Common Paradise Kingfisher. Our patience rewarded us with astonishingly views of this gem! Other than the kingfisher, we found no other birds and decided to return to the 12km trail, where the remaining light allowed us to twitch a family of three Common Cicadabirds, another Spectacled Monarch, another Slaty Monarch and a pair of Golden Whistler. During our night birding, we had a couple of Moluccan Scops Owl circling us in the dense foliage around us while a Moluccan Owlet-Nightjar showed openly only for my clumsiness to flush photography attempt!!! Sigh... Rain came and called it a night.

Left: Pied Imperial Pigeons. Right: Cinnamon-bellied Imperial Pigeon ©Danny Lau

White Cockatoo - fortunately still doing well in Helmahera. A pair keep returning to a tree where we stood observing birds flying in a valley at end of day. Later, we realised the tree next to us was the roosting site. The guide was ecstatic as his duty is to observe this species in Halmahera ©Danny Lau

4 Sep, Day 7:
On the last day of our stay at Sidangoli, we headed out early for birding at Lame Forest. Eager to bird, I went ahead without the group. This, I paid the price of missing both the Moluccan Cuckooshirke and the pair of White-Bellied Cuckooshrikes. While I did see a pair of courting Brown Cuckoo-doves and what-appears-to-be a dusky myzomela, I am still regretting the miss. I guess that I can't really see everything. Although I did not make up for my misses, for the rest of the morning, birding was rather consoling. Noteworthy species seen were a family of Goliath Coucals (including one bay coucal-like juvenile), many White Cockatoos, a pair of cream-throated white-eyes, a Drab Whistler, a Spectacled Monarch, and a pair of courting Spotted Kestrels, concluding the morning birding. In the afternoon, our first bird was a Spectacled Imperial Pigeon perched by the roadside and a couple of Red-Cheeked Parrots. Arriving at the entrance of the 12km trail, as we did not want to bird with the two Japanese photographers and their guide, we stuck to roadside birding. I had my day back when I walked ahead and flushed a pair of Scarlet-Breasted Fruit-Doves that were feeding inside the tree. Unfortunately, both Iskandar and my father missed the birds. As the mini-imperial pigeon-like birds flew out and turned away from my view, I noted green head and orange-red belly on one of the birds. Checking with Iskandar, both of them should be the Scarlet-Breasted Fruit-Doves that could be the birds that had previously been calling from afar and may have came in to my tape. Such hit-or-miss appears to be to a characteristic of birding at Halmahera and it is about being at the right place at the right time. Other noteworthy species seen were three Chattering Lories, six Paradise Crows, a small flock of Violet-Necked Lories, more Red-Cheeked Parrots, a pair of White-Streaked Friarbirds and many showing Cinnamon-Bellied Imperial Pigeons. For night-birding, we had a frustrating, unfruitful session elsewhere, summing this uneventful but less rewarding day.

Left: Spectacled Imperial Pigeon. Right: Pink-headed Imperial Pigeon ©Danny Lau

5 Sep, Day 8:
Since we were still short of the Sombre Kingfisher, we checked out from our hotel at around 3am to visit a site where Iskandar had yet to not find the bird. Before reaching, we enjoyed a Beach Kingfisher perched on the overhanging power cables near the beach (I shouldn't say), more views of Goliath Coucals and a small flock of five Red-Flanked Lorikeets. True to his words, upon arrival, we saw a calling Sombre Kingfisher perched high up in the tree from a position that is less than 20m from the road. Subsequent playing of the tape attracted two birds to a lower perch for a photography session. Crossing the same road, we birded the forest edge and saw a hepatic morph female Oriental Cuckoo being chased around by a pair of olive-backed sunbirds and on a different, a slaty monarch. Other noteworthy species would include a White-Streaked Friarbird, a White-Naped Monarch, a pair of Moluccan Hanging-Parrots (flyby), a female Flame-Breasted Flowerpecker (seen briefly perched before flying off), three more Paradise Crows, more Red-Flanked Lorikeets and another Sombre Kingfisher. While I am able to identify the Moluccan Hanging Parrot and the Flame-Breasted Flowerpecker, I am not satisfied with the view (and I want to id them with photographs) and as such, I would not count these ticks, just as I have previously rejected the Beach Kingfisher, Dusky Myzomela or Halmahera Cuckooshrike. Continuing to the township of Tobelo, we settled into the best (probably the only one with some stars) accommodation during our stay in Halmahera or even the entire trip. From there, we visited a lake at Galela to photograph the large flocks of Red-Flanked Lorikeets flying around the lake. Instead, we left the lake with a series of satisfying photographs of flying lorikeets and another tick in the form of a pair of Moustached Treeswifts. After dinner, we headed for the black-sand beach of Galela to see our million-rupiah chicken, namely Moluccan Scrubfowl. Along the way, we encountered rain and more rain, which miraculously stopped at Galela. However, the flashes of lightning and peals of thunders would mean the worst has yet to come. Indeed, we had to sit on the black sand for about 3h with an umbrella while waiting for the rain to stop. Thankfully, we need not break Iskandar's record of waiting past 12 midnight to see the bird; we simply equaled it, spotlighting one bird at 12am. Probably due to the rain, we had to undergo two heartbreaks (first is a duck that was spooked by our torch and later, a rufous night heron) before a sitting scrubfowl (Not duck! Ducks dont sit; they only get flushed at night!) wrapped up our birding exerience on Halmahera. What a night!

Sombre Kingfisher - localized forest Kingfisher ©Danny Lau

6 Sep, Day 9:
Due to yesterday's late night, we decided to wake up later and skipped any form of last-ditch birding on Halmahera or Ternate. Thus, we took our chartered ferry to Ternate at 10am after a 3.5h drive from Tobelo. During the ferry journey, we counted dozens of Red-Necked Phalaropes and tens of Common Terns feeding with a school of tuna fishes. From Ternate, we took a domestic flight to Manado, followed by a 2h car-ride to Tangkoko. This time, Samuel was with us instead of Antry. In the car, I informed Samuel of our key targets and his replies carried both the tunes of pessimism and optimism. He was optimistic of the nightbirds, namely the Sulawesi Scops Owl and Ochre-Bellied Boobook, and dead-certain of seeing the Red-Backed Thrush(es). However, when I mentioned pittas, he was uncertain and could only suggest trying for them. Starting our birding in Tangkoko with such mixed feelings, we are bound for surprises. After depositing our luggage into our room at Mama Roos, we headed straight for the forest trail by car. First bird seen was the ubiquitous but beautiful Green-Backed Kingfisher. Next, we recorded a Barred Rail at the site where the car was parked. From then, it was an enjoyable, enriching birding session. The Thais may have perfected the "feeding" and "waterhole" technique but Samuel and Ah Teng were surely experts in surveying the forest floors for ground skulkers. Splitting up, Ah Teng would flushed the thrushes in our direction while Samuel would spot the movements. Within minutes, we were locked onto a pair of beautiful Red-Backed Thrushes. Thrush in the bag, two more pittas to go. Subsequently, we spent the remaining daylight hours photographing Lilac-Cheeked Kingfishers, Tabon Scrubfowls, a family of Sulawesi Scops Owl at their daytime roost and more Green-Backed Kingfishers. Night in Tangkoko belongs to the Tarsier and one other special bird, the Minnahasa Masked Owl. We were simply ecstatic when Samuel's spotlight landed on an onlooking bird. For once in the trip, night was blissful - and my CF card filled.

Tabon Scrubfowl ©Danny Lau

7 Sep, Day 10:
Today was all about pittas. Thus, we spent the morning and afternoon scouring the forest for any signs of these forest jewels. Alas, our accompanying rain came along. Still, we managed to find a Hooded Pitta. Maybe we had flushed a Red-Bellied Pitta but it was obvious that both the Red-Bellied and Elegant Pittas have no intention to make their presence felt. Sometimes hard work leads to nothing and today was such a time. The pittas were not showing, the Ochre-Bellied Boobook was nearly missed, the pair of Pied Cuckooshrikes were elusive and the adult Sulawesi Hawk Eagle did not return for their chick. Yet, we had to endure walking through the forest in the rain. Just our fortune... While we may have dipped on our primary  targets, we savoured nice views of a pair of calling Spot-Tailed Sparrowhawks, Blue-Backed Parrots, Purple-Winged Rollers, an Isabelline Bushhen, a Buff-Banded Rail, a Sulawesi Black Pigeon, a family of three White-Rumped Cuckooshrikes and large flocks of Silvery-Tipped Pigeons. Additionally, we had another successful outing at night, twitching the Large-Tailed Nightjar-like Sulawesi Nightjar. Things could have been better but all we could wish for on this night was for better weather tomorrow.

Left: Hooded Pitta. Right: Sulawesi Black Pigeon is one of the most beautiful pigeon in Tangkoko

Left: Silver-tipped Imperial Pigeon - endemic to Sulawesi - interesting features are grey, silverish tertials, slaty blue bill, tipped yellow. Right: White-rumped Cuckooshrike ©Danny Lau

Left: Male Spot-tailed Sparrowhawk. Right: Juvenile Sulawesi Hawk Eagle ©Danny Lau

8 Sep, Day 11:
Luggage in the boot of the car and gears accounted for, we checked out from Mama Roos and headed for Temboan Hill to do our final birding in Tangkoko. Briefly, Temboan Hill is probably the lookout point for all the hornbills, parrots and pigeons. True to its reputation, we recorded three Sulawesi Dwarf Hornbills and a male Knobbed Hornbill. For the pigeons, we recorded a pair of Grey-Headed Imperial Pigeons, Green Imperial Pigeons from the Paulina race, two male Black-Naped Fruit-Doves, Grey-Cheeked Pigeons, Silvery-Tipped Pigeons, a Sulawesi Black Pigeon and a White-Bellied Imperial Pigeon. For the parrots, we recorded Ornate Lorikeets, Blue-Backed Parrots, Golden-Mantled Racquet-Tails, a pair of Yellow-Breasted Racquet-Tails and numerous Sulawesi Large Hanging-Parrots. What have been listed are nothing more but the regular species. This day, we had more. From the middle-storey, Samuel scoped a Maroon-Chinned Fruit-Dove, which was only his second sighting for this species in his many years as a guide at Tangkoko. This was simply amazing! I guessed that at Toraut, besides the bamboo raft and its anchoring tree, the rain had also washed away a Maroon-Chinned Fruit-Dove to Tangkoko. This was not the end of birding. A check of a dead tree revealed a pair of small, bump-headed, dark-colored birds. Following "They look like Sulawesi Crested Mynas." and "Yes, they are.", the celebration continued. With the flushed Isabelline Bushhen, we ended our final birding of our trip to Northeast Sulawesi and Halmahera in an enjoyable, satisfying fashion.

Sulawesi Dwarf Hornbill. Left male, right female ©Danny Lau

Male Knobbed Hornbill, first glance, the male looks like a typical clown make-up ©Danny Lau

Left: Ornate Lorikeet - Endemic but pretty common. Right: Female Yellow-breasted Racquet-tail - racquet but forked tail; only 3 species in Wallacea, the other endemic on Buru island ©Danny Lau

Female Golden-mantled Racquet-tail - notice square tail ©Danny Lau

This pic was at the famous valley outside Tangkoko where we had breakfast before heading down the valley just after sunrise. Bird activites lasted from sunrise till 9.30 am before it got hot and birds just disappeared.