Sumba – Flores Birding Report; Flores Part
After finishing the 5 days birding in Sumba, now we are going to complete the 6 days in Flores. The experience we learned in Sumba made us have to pay attention to the weather on a schedule. In Flores certainly, we will face more erratic weather, because on average, rainfall in Flores is higher than Sumba. So, we decided to really focus on doing birding in the morning then the rest.
Day 6: Kelimutu – Ende – Bajawa
Departing at 05:30, we drove towards Kelimutu NP. The weather was very sunny and we can see the lake clearly. Only Eveline walked to the top. Our main search is for the Flores Flowerpecker. After trying many times, we finally managed to meet one but very short. We also saw Flores Lorikeet, Brown-capped Fantail, and Flores Minivet around the parking area. At 10:00 am we return to Moni, and have breakfast before check-out. The journey from Moni to Ende only stopped at Detusoko to see the rice field. We stopped for half an hour at the supermarket in Ende to buy some snacks and drinks. Sopped for lunch at Nagapenda, before continuing our trip to Bajawa. Entering Bajawa, it rained heavily.
Day 7: Bajawa – Pocondeki – Ranamese – Ruteng
We left Bajawa at 04:00 am. It takes 2 hours to arrive at Poco Ndeki. In Poco Ndeki, we encountered two targets of endemic birds; Flores crow and Flores Green Pigeon. We also met dozens of individual Timor Zebra finches. We also saw 3 raptors, the Short-toed Snake Eagle, (Lesser Sunda) Variable Goshawk, and Japanese Sparrowhawk. We continued our trip to Borong and enjoyed lunch, before continuing our trip to Ruteng. We stopped for a moment at Ranamese to get our first chance in the Ruteng Nature Reserve. But the rain never stopped, so we decided to end the birding and continue driven to Ruteng.
Day 8: Ruteng Nature Reserve
At 4:00 am we returned to Ranamese to see Flores Scops-owl. We were not lucky, we only heard the call very short. We continue birding around the lake till midday. On the way back to Ruteng, we stopped at the coffee plantation after Nature Reserve, where we encountered Flores Jungle Flycatcher. We returned to Ruteng and had lunch. In the afternoon we headed to Gololusang. Here we only encountered Black-back Fruit-dove. It was heavy rain in the afternoon. We tried to head to the north side of Ruteng, but it was the same. Heavy rain blocked us. Finally, we returned to Ruteng, and gave up for the day.
Day 9: Ruteng – Puarlolo – Labuan Bajo
This morning we tried our last chance to see Flores Scops-owl. We returned to Ranamese at 04:00 am. At the same location as yesterday. On the different side of the road, 3 individuals responded to the playback. After trying for 30 minutes, we finally managed to clearly see it perched just 4 meters above our heads – success! That morning we continued to look for Flores Flowerpecker in Gololusang. It was our lucky day. We met Flores Flowerpecker at two locations. At 11:00 we left Ruteng. At Nteer, 29km from Ruteng, we met a group of Flores Lorikeet in the Eucalyptus trees on the roadside. We get enough opportunities to take photos. Another surprise before Lembor was the Spotted Kestrel perched on the edge of the road, was hunting. We are satisfied taking the photo. We had lunch at Lembor, before continuing to Puarlolo. In Puarlolo we found our main target, the Flores Monarch, although we didn’t get any good photos. But we have other targets, White-rumped Kingfisher, Thick-billed Heleia, Crested Heleia, and Tenggara (Rusty-breasted) Whistler. In the afternoon we continue our trip to Labuan Bajo.
Day 10: Potawangka – Gorontalo
We headed for Potawangka forest at 5:00, where the morning atmosphere was quite crowded with birds. We saw the Black-napped Oriole, Red-Cheeked Parrot, Group of Green Imperial Pigeon, Paradise Flycatcher, Flame-breasted Sunbird. In midday we returned to Labuan Bajo. After lunch, the temperature was very hot. We decided to go to the hotel and take a break before we continued our birding around the mangroves and ponds in the south of Labuan Bajo. Here we meet Cerulean Kingfisher, Common Sandpiper, Great Egret, Black Cormorant, Wood Sandpiper, and Javan Plover.
Day 11: Yard Hotel – Out – Denpasar.
We had one last target that we wanted to find around the hotel. Luckily, a sunny morning provided good chances, we managed to easily meet the last target, Flame-breasted Sunbird. This one was our good-bye party! Before going to the airport we did a last hut for the Small blue Kingfisher. We saw it so many times but it was too fast to take a photo. However, I heard from Eveline, that they finally got a great picture of the Kingfisher in Bali.
In the rain season, the tour was quite difficult. Overall, we managed a great list of targets during our tight birding duration. Eveline and Toni is a wonderful couple. They are not young anymore, but they did what even young people can’t do. They always filled their days with new stories and when they told me about their experiences, I always asked myself, if I can do what they have done? Thank you Eveline and Toni, YOU ARE WONDERFUL COUPLE. I HAVE INSPIRED!