SUMATRA - EXTREME BIRDING IN THE RAINY SEASON
With Sumatran Ground Cuckoo being seen for the first time by birders in November 2006 a trip was planned to visit the site. John Gregory and myself were both aware that December would be in the rainy season but we still fancied our chances. It was a mini adventure to get to the site, 16 river crossings all knee deep and a 4 hour walk. We encountered many leeches, they even made it into our sleeping bags also many mozzies in the daytime but none at night. We camped under a tarpaulin but our local guides done an amazing job by keeping a constant supply of coffee and milo along with tasty fish, rice and noodles.
The highlights were:
Sumatran Ground Cuckoo, 1 seen calling perched up but obscured, I noticed it because it was pumping its tail when it was calling, it was in view for a few minutes but not really the view I had wanted, the second view was of it running with wings opened out, close but very brief. All in all I was unhappy with my views, it was so frustrating because it at times called very close, sometimes 2 birds were dueting close by but always in very thick cover. I only heard them call once in the afternoon, and one day not after 0930. We were not helped by the weather, heavy rain in the afternoon was the norm, sometimes at 1100 the skies opened.
Ferruginous Partridge, good views of a pair in response to playback, another was flushed from its perch late in the afternoon and was seen well as it walked off.
Salvadori's Pheasant, 3 birds seen very close after I had been sheltering in a butrace tree for a couple of hours.
Other endemics seen were Sumatran Drongo, Sumatran Trogon, Cream striped Bulbul, Sunda Forktail and Black-crowned Pitta.
Christmas Island Frigatebird 1 seen on crossing back to Java
Ferruginous Partridge 2 good views at Way Titias, heard a few times calling at dawn
Salvadori's Pheasant very good views of 2 males with 1 female
Sumatran Ground-Cuckoo 2 brief views only, heard very close at times
Malaysian Nightjar heard
Sumatran Trogon 1 female seen
Rhinoceros Hornbill heard
Helmeted Hornbill heard
White-crowned Hornbill great views of 1 feeding
Great Slaty Woodpecker
Green Broadbill 2 seen in fruiting tree
Black-crowned Pitta 1 heard , 1 seen by JG
Hooded Pitta heard
Cream-striped Bulbul 3 seen
Eastern Crowned Leaf-Warbler common
Mugimaki Flycatcher 1 male
Rufous-browed Flycatcher several seen all low down
Sunda Forktail good views of 1, others glimpsed
Black Laughingthrush red billed sub species
Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo
Sumatran Drongo very good site for these, many seen well
Asian Glossy Starling
Eurasian Tree Sparrow