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Birding in Sandless Beach, Ngungap Cliff

December 30, 2016

Good ambiance of sandless beach, Indian Ocean and White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus. Driving two and a half hours (60 km) to Ngungap in the south-east coast of Jogja, here where Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn (German-Dutch botanist and geologist) in 1856 watched the Indian Ocean and captured landscape of the area onto a painting entitled "Sudkuste bei Rongkop" from this place. the lines of coral cliffs, solid coral grooves waved beautifully on the right and left sides, standing against the giant waves from the Indian Ocean.

 

The administration of Ngungap beach is in District Girisubo, Gunung Kidul Regency, Yogyakarta province. Sand-less, the line of land abruptly changed onto the blue, deep ocean with its ferocious waves. For local people, the location is known for the presence of caves under the corals with caves mouth directly facing the ocean. Homes to Black-nest Swiftlet Collocalia maximus and Edible-nest Swiftlet Collocalia fuciphagus, traditionally people around the area taking swiftlet nests annually, worth millions rupiahs per kg.

 

The beautiful White-tailed Tropicbird is a well worth to catch, at least you did not need to hire expensive boats to see this bird and the others seabirds. You just need standing near the cliff edge and wait for this birds flying acrross the sky in front of you. This pelagic bird known to be breeding in the cliff and during the day can be seen flying around crossed the sea. Most of them come from lepturus race with pure white breast, but sometimes the fulvous-breasted fulvus race from Christmas Island also appears.

 

A colony of the Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana is another seabird that using the cliff for nesting. The birds often have seen catching fish in small flocks. The scenery will entertain your day. Other birds might able seen around the area are the endemic Javan (Sunda) Coucal Centropus nigrorufus, House Swift Apus nipalensis, Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica, (Indonesian) Spotted Kestrel Falco moluccensis, Pacific Reef Egret Egretta sacra, Island Collared Dove Streptopelia bitorquata, Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida and more. If you are lucky Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus, Brown Booby Sula leucogaster, Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor, Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel and Christmas-island Frigatebird Fregata andrewsi can also be seen out to sea.

 

500 meters before the beach area there are several squares of teak plantation and rice paddies. The endemics Javan (Sunda) Coucal, Javan Munia Lonchura leucogastroides and Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker Dicaeum trochileum might able seen here and others birds such as Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis, Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis, Plain Prinia Prinia inornata, Collared Kingfisher Halcyon chloris and more.

 

Sometimes, other species of sea animals such as turtles, dolphins, or even Whale shark, are seen swimming up to the surface of the water, visible enough from the high cliffs. Beautiful birds, Majestic landscape, and various wild animal from the sea and land completely your birding holiday  at one place where Junghuhn falling in love to Indonesia’s nature.

 

BEST TIME TO BIRDING: July – February

 

ACCESS AND ACCOMODATION:

The best way for you getting to the location is rent a car or motorbike, because there are no public transportation to take you here.  The trails can be a bit confusing so you may consider asking a local for assistance as a guide. Stay in city center and drive very early morning or book a hotel around Wonosari (the capital town of Gunung Kidul Regency, c. 45 km / one hours).

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