Sunday, 2 November 2014


It had been a long day already! But at 7 pm we were once again getting ready to leave our hotel (which we had only just arrived at) to drive a couple of hours north to a deserted beach. That wasn't the end of it, first we had to walk through coastal forest, then catch a canoe across the creek to get onto the beach. All this was accomplished without mishap & we settled down to wait, just me & the sandflies! We were here for the chance of viewing one of the hardest species to see on this tour: the range restricted & very rare Moluccan Scrubfowl. It flies in the the nearby forested mountains to lay its eggs on a lonely beach by the sea. It is another Megapode, which means mound breeder. We waited nearly three hours before one was seen in the torchlight. I must say it was quite exciting & I really appreciated seeing this bird strut around on the beach. It was really prehistoric looking & had amazingly thick, powerful legs & feet. We arrived back aat the hotel at 2 am, totally exhausted but elated by the experience.

 Dawn at Subaim.
 Birding along the road.

We were once again up very early, this time for another long drive to Subaim. This area has some very nice foothill forest along the roadside & our time here was very birdy & productive. New species came thick & fast!

 Great Cuckoo Dove.
 Scarlet-breasted Fruit Dove
 Just so you can see the breast!
 Cinnamon-bellied Imperial Pigeon.

 Blyth's Hornbill.

Red-faced Parrot.
Photo courtesy of Andy Livermore.
 Moluccan Cuckooshrike.

Halmahera (Golden) Bulbul.
Cream-throated White-eye.
Photo courtesy of Andy Livermore.

Great Cuckoo Dove; Scarlet-breasted Fruit Dove; both Blue-capped & Grey-headed Fruit Dove; Cinnamon-bellied Imperial Pigeon; Flocks of Violet-necked & Chattering Lory's flashing overhead; Red-flanked Lorikeet; White Cockatoo; large flocks of Red-cheeked Parrots; Great-billed Parrot; Moluccan Hanging Parrot; flocks of Blyth's Hornbills; Moluccan & Halmahera Cuckooshrikes; Rufous-bellied Triller; Halmahera Golden Bulbul; Long billed Crow; an amazing adult male Wallace's Standardwing spotted feeding in a tree by the roadside (not at a lek); Rusty-bellied Fantail; Black-chinned Golden Whistler; Metallic Starling; White-streaked Friarbird; Dusky Honeyeater & Cream-throated White-eye. That was quite a haul!

Barking Owl.
Photo courtesy of Andy Livermore.

But, we also enjoyed fantastic night birding here: Barking Owl ( a possible future split) gave great views perched up by the roadside; Halmahera Boobook & a crazy Moluccan Owlet- Nightjar, that gave us the run around being heard only. All these birds were very special.

 Forest destruction is rapid & ongoing here.

I think they are looking at a Purple Dollarbird!

The worst photograph ever of 
the endemic Purple Dollarbird?

Oriental Hobby, always a very scarce bird.

The next day (11th October) we had another long drive to Weda. It was a long, tiring day, enlivened by a stop for the endemic Purple Dollarbird (which we eventually saw). 

 The forest above Weda.

 Very scenic.
The resort itself blends very nicely
 into the environment.

We arrived at our destination & quickly realized that we were in a very special place. It was a superbly situated dive resort in fantastic forest & sea setting. it looked like paradise & it wasn't far off! 

 The bird of the trip!
 Wallace's Standardwing.
 The photos are of really poor quality, but I had no flash 
& the light was really bad hence
 the massive over-exposure!

 This female was found later in the morning 
quietly feeding on fruit.

 Photo courtesy of Andy Livermore.
Photo courtesy of Andy Livermore.

The next day was a very early start. We walked in total darkness through the forest to the Wallace's Standardwing lek. At first nothing, then weird insect like calls, then shapes drifting about, then it got light enough the see the birds. Wow! What an amazing experience this was. certainly one of the most amazing things I have ever witnessed. My first true Bird of Paradise & on the other side of the line! 
 Birding on the main access road into Weda.

 Sombre Kingfisher
 Blue & White Kingfisher
Moustached Treeswift.
 I am now ready for the sago swamp!
Yes, it was hard work in there.

 Halmahera Oriole.

 Female Slaty Flycacher
The stunning male.
 Rufous-bellied Triller.
 Gray-throated Goshawk.
also known as Variable Goshawk.
 Slender-billed Cuckoo Dove.
Long-billed Crow.
 One of the big surprises of this trip - 
Kamcatchka Leaf - Warbler.
This psecies is rarely seen away from
 its breeding grounds.
 Moluccan Owlet-Nightjar.
We eventually saw it well in the torchlight!
 Moluccan Scops Owl.
Nice one!
Outside my chalet on the beach in the bay. 
Wonderful accommodation.

We spent four days here,  the days were spent seeing quality birds along the road & by the side of the sago forest/swamp. It was another great birding location & all of us enjoyed ourselves immensely here. The accommodation was also first class. It is nice to come home to great surroundings after long days (and sometimes nights) in the field. I would like to return, as it would be a great destination to have a James family reunion, with something for everyone here. 

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