Saturday, 20 August 2011

Bedugal and back to the beach

Dawn over Lake Bratan looking from Bedugal
Today was a long day. Up at 4.30am and headed inland for an hour and a half to arrive at Bedugal Botanic Gardens just before sunrise. Lovely temperature, and the first time since Java that I've had to wear a 2nd layer on top of my t-shirt. A nice sunrise, with a view over Lake Bratan and the distant volcanic peak though the action started quickly.
Indonesian Honeyeater
Not 100% familiar with all the Asian sounds, I know a Barbet when I hear one - and though it took a bit of time to see, I did manage to get good views of a Flame-fronted Barbet early doors. Then there was some more quality, in the form of a Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatcher that was just warming itself up in the morning gloom. A Little Pied Flycatcher was nearby while Short-tailed Starlings and Javan Grey-throated White-eyes were both fairly numerous. The Botanic Gardens were a beautiful place to walk around, and I pretty much had the whole place to myself from 6am until 8am, when a few workers etc started to arrive.

Dark-backed Imperial Pigeons were impressive, both in terms of their size and bellowing call. However, once I'd settled into the site and had my fill of the 'common' species at this altitude (Mountain Leaf Warblers and Blood-breasted Flowerpeckers were both easy here, despite not having seen them anywhere else), it was time to get grafting and go for a couple of specialities. The first one, Sunda Warbler, was found in some low scrub adjacent to a dried riverbed, busily feeding away and showing off its white eye ring on rather chestnut head. However, as I kind of thought before I set out, the last one would be a real struggle... Sunda Thrush. Typically a skulking Zoothera, I'd fortunately been given a fairly specific site within the gardens to search and, after some time of hearing leaf litter being flicked about, one revealed itself on the forest floor before bombing off never to be seen again! Excellent stuff.
Javan Pond Heron - a roadside bird in Bali
It was now 9.30am and activity was dying down a bit, so I travelled the short distance to the shores of Lake Bratan for a quick look. As usual with the type of habitat, loads of Javan Pond Herons flopping about as well as more unusually a nice Yellow Bittern that flushed from a small lakeside rice paddy.
Yellow Bittern
I took in a quick stop at Bedugal market on the way back. The fresh fruit and vegetables out here put the stuff we eat in the supermarkets back in the UK to shame. And predictably, it's a damn site cheaper too.

Back on the beach in Sanur for the afternoon, the first couple of birds that I saw were Lesser Frigatebirds; I knew that others had seen them here from trip reports, but these were the first of my trip so always nice to see. After having the usual Mie Goreng I walked to the southern extremity of the beach and found a stinking mangrove channel where, alongside the rabid dogs, I managed to find a Barred Buttonquail on the deck as well as a couple of Javan Plovers in the channel just as the tide was going out.
Lesser Frigatebird - note the white belly patch extending onto axillaries

Barred Buttonquail on the beach at Sanur

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