I had the opportunity for visited Raden Soeryo Greater Park Forestry, Malang. The area is a mountainous forest on the slopes of Arjuno-Wilerang-Anjasmoro mountains. This place is one of the best locations to birding / bird watching and bird photography typical Javan mountain birds I have ever visited. There are two birding site I've visited, Watu Ondo waterfall and hot spring baths Cangar. Visiting this place always makes eyes was struck with the beauty of the landscape and the colorful bird hopping among the leaves.
This second chance visited the area, I was accompanied by a courtier of Birdpacker, Waskito Kukuh Wibowo, Nurdin Setio Budi, Swiss Winnasis, Ahmad Yanuar, Arif Budiawan and M. Hilmi. Thanks are the highest and lift the cap for those who have guided observation wholeheartedly. For nearly a week of observation, 31 species can be observed very well. Of the 31 species observed, I'll tell the highlight from day to day.
Day 1, Monday, December 19, 2016
I arrived at the Watu Ondo waterfall at noon, too bad. Fortunately, my observations at the very special place. Though it was daylight still a lot of birds that can be enjoyed. Flame-fronted Barbet is one bird that is very easily found and photographed in the first day. A kind tree from family piperacea that was bearing fruit became it favorite food and we can found these birds easily very closely. This bird is one of the endemic birds of Java with the dominant color green, very pretty.
Flocks of Sunda Minivet break my focus while observing and photographing barbets. Dominant orange contrasting strongly with green leaves around, makes it such a beautiful flower that broke-fracturing. This bird is endemic to the highlands of Sumatra and Java, very easy to seen in this place.
Later I was invited to the site, not far from the parking lot Watu Ondo waterfall and its location is easy to reach. After waiting a while, finally Javan Hawk-eagle appeared and perched on a tall tree. I tried to take pictures with 400mm lens, but was still very far to reach.
Not long from the first encounter Javan Hawk-eagle, it persistently reappeared. This time perched lower than before. Even had flew right over our heads. Even had flew right over our heads. Finally I succeeded in photographing Javan Hawk-eagles from a short distance. Yeay!
On the first day I was also guided to observe Mountain Leaftoiler’s nest. The Nests laid on top of the plant that is not too high. Several times the birds were seen carrying food into the nest. Most likely the eggs had already hatched a few days ago and now in parenting by both parents. I succeed to shots when the birds return to the nest.
Day 2, Tuesday, December 20, 2016
I was very lucky because the next night to stay in the area, so I could birdwatching and photographing birds earlier than before. Lucky the weather was quite bright despite the night it rained. Some birds appear gathered in the courtyard of pavilion which filled with grass. Interestingly, among the flocks, there are several Common Myna. Its population in several places in Indonesia is the result of the introduction, mainly from domestic birds loose. Distribution of Common Myna is actually in Afghanistan to Western China, Southeast Asia and the Malay Peninsula.
After breakfast, I continue the observations in the park around the hot spring Cangar. Several kinds of small to medium sized birds such as the Little-pied Flycatcher, Indigo Flycatcher, Blue Nuthatch, Ruddy Cuckoo-dove can be easily found here. Even if photographing Ashy Drongo that can be found in the tree behind the public toilet of this hot spring. Similarly, along the small stream close to the hot spring, could meet with Grey Wagtail and Lesser (Sunda) Forktail.
From the park area i continue observations to the jogging track. Footpath through the woods located behind the the hot spring Cangar. The sounds of Lesser Shortwing very loud along the way. However, to observe and photograph it took extra patiences. Besides small size, agile movements, and the color of the body is brown perfect for camouflage in the thick bush.
There are also birds that hide in the bush, but more easily observed and photographed on this path, b. Small-sized brown color with white eyebrows can be found easily along the jogging track. The bushes along the track have become a favorite location for hunting small insects or spiders.
Day 3, Wednesday, December 21, 2016
I was accompanied by Waskito and Nurdin to birding in Watu Ondo waterfall. The three main targets are the Pink-headed Fruitdove, Lesser (Sunda) Forktail, and Lesser Shortwing. For the first target, I headed to a large tree that bears fruit. Waskito and Nurdin said that the tree is visited by Pink-headed Fruitdove every day. A Pair of Pink-headed Fruitdoves foraging on that tree which the fruits drying up. Endemic birds to Sumatra and Java, it seen very pretty with a head purple and green dominate the body. Flame-fronted Barbet also foraging at the same tree. Combo!
The second target is easier than before. The location right behind canteen, a small river crossing on the edge of the canteen is a good habitat for Lesser (Sunda) Forktail. We can wait for the birds arrive while enjoying coffee or tea in the canteen. Camouflage tent did not need to photograph. We can use the the canteen kitchen as a safe place to observing or photographing the birds.
As we were chatting and drinking tea in the canteen, a Pied-Shrike Babbler perched on one of the trees near the canteen, this bird was seen eating a caterpillar. Likewise at the same time, the group of small birds such as Javan Grey-throated White-eye, Blue Nuthatch, Sunda Bulbul, and Sunda Minivet arrive. I get confused to choose which one should be photographed first.
Although already seen Lesser Shortwing on the second day, to photograph these birds need extra effort, patience and smart. Waskito and Nurdin guide me to photograph Lesser Shortwing in the nest. Incidentally they've been monitoring the nest from a few days ago. I was getting lucky to have guided by them. However, I am only able to photograph these birds while in the nest. I succeed get a few frames before the birds left the nest for food. I also able to photographing Sunda Warbler.
Day 4, Thursday, December 22, 2016
There are two kinds of birds are being targeted on the fourth day, Orange-spotted and Sunda Bulbuls. Although both are easy to find but for 4 days of observation have not gotten a chance photograph it from an ideal distance. To fulfill this desire we return to Watu Ondo waterfall.
Shortly after enjoying a coffee in the cafeteria, I heard the sound of Orange-spotted Bulbul and move to the trees near to parking area, where the birds were singing. Several Orange-spotted-Bulbuls were eating the fruits from that Piperacea’s tree. Finally, I managed to get several frames of these endemic birds.