Sunday, 28 September 2014

Sulawesi - arrival & Karaenta

Clare took me to the airport for my flight to Jakarta on 27th September.  The flight was delayed because of debris on the runway! Arrived in Jakarta on time, despite this & then the nightmare of paying for a visa & getting through immigration! Finally got to my hotel at 1.15 am! Off again at 5.30 am to fly to Makassar (Ujung Pandang) on the southern tip of Sulawesi.  Quite excited at this prospect, as Sulawesi has been on my radar for around twenty years, but for one reason or another I never got around to visiting before today.

 Views of Makassar from my hotel room.
A real Asian mixture of old & new.
Very tempting offer?

Managed around three hours sleep before off again on my flight to Makassar. The weather was lovely & first impressions of the place were favorable. Spent the afternoon catching up on sleep, before the meet up dinner in the evening. A very pleasant evening meeting the group & then the news we have to be up at 3.30 am!

 The forest was good, but impossible to access.

Birding along the main road - 
a hazardous undertaking in Sulawesi!

We drove in the dark to the limestone karst forest found at Karaenta.  Arrived at dawn, to hear birds calling all around. The place was actually a very busy main road & the only access to the forest was by walking along the road! We did see some great birds here, but birding & photography were very difficult & I got very few good shots of anything!
Sulawesi Serpent Eagle: Sulawesi Goshawk; White-bellied Imperial Pigeon; Silver-tipped Imperial Pigeon; Blue-backed Parrot; Sulawesi Dwarf Hornbill; Piping Crow; Sulawesi Babbler; Ivory-backed Woodswallow; White-necked Myna; Yellow-sided Flowerpecker & the real reason we were here, the endemic & highly localized Black-ringed White-eye, two of which gave us the runaround before giving good views.
Sulawesi Serpent Eagle.
Photo courtesy of Andy Livermore.

Blue-backed Parrot
Photo courtesy of Andy Livermore.

Sulawesi Dwarf Hornbill
Photo courtesy of Andy Livermore.

A terrible shot of the Sulawesi Brown Flycatcher.
My defense is that it is new for science! 
So I thought I had better get any shot!
Photo couresy of Andy Livermore.

We also saw 2 of the so far undescribed species of flycatcher, which is known as Sulawesi Brown Flycatcher. It really is quite different from the normal Brown Flycatcher.

Moor Macaque (Macaca maura)

We also were lucky enough to bump into a troop of eight Moor Macaques, but they were very distant down the bottom of a heavily forested valley. It is an endemic primate though, so I was very pleased. 
It was then time to depart & head for our short flight to Palau in central Sulawesi. I think everyone was shattered from all the travelling & the lack of sleep over the last two nights.

One of the many short flights on this trip.
Even our intrepid leader Frank, was bushed!

We arrived at Palau & then had a rough journey to our accommodation for the next five nights, the Sendy Guesthouse. All of were tired, but I was excited as well, as we had arrived at one of the great Sulawesi bird spots - the legendary Lore Lindu National Park. 

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