Wednesday, 28 February 2018

28th February 2018 Keresik Tua to Kuala Lumpur

We left Pak Subandi's homestay at 6am with two of his sons driving us 6 hours to Padang seeing a Collared Kingfisher enroute. It was sad to see caged songbirds in tiny cages outside so many houses  that included a couple of species we'd not seen in the wild in Sumatra being Common Hill Myna and Sumatran Leafbird. Whilst we boarded our Air Asia flight on time it developed a fault on the runway requiring us to return to the terminal for an engineer to be called. We finally arrived in Kuala Lumpur a couple of hours late where we walked to the Tune Hotel.

Eastern Spotted Dove 2
House Swift 8
Plume-toed Swiftlet 20
Collared Kingfisher 1
Asian Glossy Starling 6
(Common Hill Myna 2)
Tree Sparrow 6

farewell to Gunung Kerinci and its surrounding tea plantations
it last erupted in 2004

much of the journey runs alongside the Barisan mountain chain

some decent-looking habitat between Keresik Tua and Padang

many rural landscapes

some property with traditional roofs and less traditional satellite dishes!

more satellite dishes but also a caged bird living its life alongside a washing line

 a lot of colourful traffic on the roads

and some Formula One style buses!

street vendors making the most of the traffic jams

Arriving in Padang

Departing Padang International Airport

Farewell Sumatra

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

27th February 2018 Gunung Kerinci, Sumatra

Out before 5am to the Kerinci trail where a good selection of nightbirds were heard vocalising but unfortunately nothing responded to playback by showing itself. We walked to the hide where the juvenile Schneider's Pitta was still performing. We soon continued the climb and were rewarded by seeing a male Sumatran Blue Robin at Air Minum. Continuing onwards Dwi kept whistling imitating Red-billed Partridge and one eventually called back. We hid behind a large tree and Dwi expertly whistled a party of 3 into view - brilliant! As we neared Camp Cochoa a Sumatran Cochoa was heard calling from a tall tree. It continued to call and we continually scanned the treetop but failed to see it until we saw it suddenly drop out of the 'backdoor' of the treetop and loop away from us up the slope... frustratingly an untickable view. It recommenced vocalising so we quickly made our way up to Camp Cochoa and were sure we had it pinned down to the top of another tall tree. It continued to call for some time, but again, we couldn't see it. This time neither of us saw it leave, but it fell silent, and our motivation to keep looking for it faded not knowing if it was still present. Tsuri arrived with our lunch and he made it just before it started to rain. It was soon torrential rain and I was regretting having left my coat at the hide! A few soaked-through hikers arrived. The trail soon better resembled a waterfall than a trail! After an hour it began to brighten and it eventually stopped raining. A pair of Rusty-breasted Wren-babblers commenced duetting and we were soon watching them doing so - a good lift to our spirits. After views directly against the light of what was probably a Sumatran Rufous-vented Niltava we decided to continue uphill for a while, but the trail soon became very steep and it was proving very muddy and slippery after the rain, so we returned back down. Not far below Camp Cochoa and the Sumatran Cochoa was again vocalising! Hopeful that it might be success in the last chance saloon, that unfortunately didn't prove the case, despite Tsuri and Dwi heading off in different directions in the hope that we could somehow surround it. It again fell silent and what would prove my last chance was gone. Thereafter it proved an uneventful descent, we said our farewells to the Pitta and left the forest at sunset. During the evening we said our farewells to our team who had looked after us so well, it would have been nice to have spent another couple of days on the mountain especially as we had thoroughly enjoyed our time, but our flights to Sarawak were booked... 

Sumatran Green Pigeon h
Sumatran Frogmouth h
Black-winged Kite 2
Mountain Scops Owl h
Schneider's Pitta 1 juvenile
Sunda Minivet 6
Long-tailed Shrike 4
Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 6
Golden Babbler 2
Grey-throated Babbler 2
Sunda Warbler 4
Mountain Leaftoiler (Tailorbird) 2
Pygmy Cupwing h
Blue Nuthatch 4
Siberian Thrush 1 female
Lesser Shortwing 1
Sumatran White-browed Shortwing h
Shiny Whistling-Thrush 3
Sumatran Brown-winged Whistling-Thrush 2
Mugimaki Flycatcher 2
Snowy-browed Flycatcher 1 female

First-winter female Siberian Thrush at Gunung Kerinci

Sunda Warbler at Gunung Kerinci

Male Sumatran Blue Robin at Gunung Kerinci

Red-billed Partridge at Gunung Kerinci

Duetting Rusty-breasted Wren-babblers at Gunung Kerinci

Camp Cochoa

the trail leading down from Camp Cochoa after rain

Lesser Shortwing at Gunung Kerinci

trail down towards base camp

Sumatran Surili at Gunung Kerinci

Black-winged Kite at Gunung Kerinci

Forest edge at Gunung Kerinci

Our team... Andy, Tsuri and Dwi at the forest edge, Kerinci

Sunset at Gunung Kerinci

Monday, 26 February 2018

26th February 2018 Tapan road, Kerinci, Sumatra

We revisited the Tapan road arriving to thick fog. We decided to walk down the road from the ranger station located at the ridge-top. The fog soon started to clear and we were soon watching our first Sumatran Green Pigeons. A little further and our first Sumatran Spangled Drongo was encountered. Dwi explained that only 5 years ago both Blue-masked and Sumatran Leafbirds were both commonly seen species along the Tapan road, but that very sadly, since then they have both been heavily trapped at this site  - we were to see neither - it seemed hard to believe that in what appeared a large area of forest two arboreal species could be so effectively removed from the avifauna. We were more fortunate with a third species that is also being targeted by the trappers, as an Orange-spotted Bulbul was encountered, albeit just the one. A small flock of Swiflets were tentatively identified as Edible-nest Swiftlets using the criteria detailed in Eaton et al. (2016). We then heard a Sumatran Peacock-Pheasant calling from the forest. Playback resulted in the bird approaching to probably roughly halve the original distance from us to the bird. There was a small area of forest floor visible in that vicinity so I focussed there but it was never seen to cross. Much to our frustration, probably the three largest and heaviest trucks of the morning then chose that moment to drive past us. The Peacock-Pheasant fell silent and we never heard it again. Having walked to yesterday's Pitta stakeout I was keen to be the first to walk into the gully just in case my most-wanted species for the morning was present - much to my surprise it was - the only species of Forktail that I hadn't previously seen, albeit if the IOC adopts the Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago's proposal to split Javan, there might yet be another to look for... As I was the only one to see the Forktail before it flew upstream we waited awhile and it eventually reappeared. There was no sign of the Graceful Pittas today - presumably our early morning visit the previous day had been essential. We continued to walk most of the way to the bridge where very heavy rain again commenced around 3pm so we again called it a day.

Little Cuckoo Dove 10
Barred Cuckoo Dove 2
Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon 2
Green-billed Malkoha 2
Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo h
Changeable Hawk-Eagle 1 juvenile
Blyth's Hawk-Eagle 2
Rufous-bellied Eagle 2
Sumatran Trogon 1
Wreathed Hornbill 4
Fire-tufted Barbet 6
Black-browed Barbet 8
Long-tailed Broadbill 2
Black-and-crimson Oriole 2
Grey-chinned Minivet 1
Ashy Drongo 10
Sumatran Treepie 5
Pacific Swallow 2
Cream-striped Bulbul 8
Spot-necked Bulbul 6
Grey-throated Babbler 2
Hill Prinia 2
Mugimaki Flycatcher 1
Tree Sparrow 4
Grey Wagtail 1

Tapan road, Kerinci

Male Barred Cuckoo Dove along the Tapan road, Kerinci

Sumatran Green Pigeon along the Tapan road, Kerinci

Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon along the Tapan road, Kerinci

Sunda Sangkar White-eye along the Tapan road, Kerinci
Whilst Eaton et al (2016), xeno-canto and ebird treat buxtoni as a form of Sunda White-eye the IOC appear to consider it a form of Hume's White-eye pending further investigation.

Juvenile Changeable Hawk-Eagle

Rufous-bellied Eagle along the Tapan road, Kerinci

Blyth's Hawk-Eagle along the Tapan road, Kerinci

Male Wreathed Hornbill along the Tapan road, Kerinci

Female Wreathed Hornbill along the Tapan road, Kerinci

Juvenile Wreathed Hornbill along the Tapan road, Kerinci

Orange-spotted Bulbul along the Tapan road, Kerinci

Edible-nest Swiftlet along the Tapan road, Kerinci
note the combination of the slightly paler rump and notable tail notch 

Black-browed Barbet along the Tapan road, Kerinci

Ashy Drongo along the Tapan road, Kerinci

Our favourite ravine produces two days running ...

Sunda Forktail along the Tapan road, Kerinci

Dwi and his son with our trustworthy vehicle in the background

Pak Subandi's homestay (blue) being our base for six nights

Keresik Tua and its mosque

seeing visiting foreigners still seemed something of a novelty

Kerinci awaiting to be climbed again in the morning ...