During 6 days (06 – 11 September 2017) we had a trip looking for three species of woodpeckers around Malang, East Java with Gerard Gorman (authors of Woodpecker of the World the complete guide). This was our first specific trip focused on separated population of Freckle-breasted Woodpecker, Javan endemic Javan Flameback and Grey-and-Buff “Lilliput” Woodpecker.
On day one, we met at the Juanda International Airport (Surabaya, East Java) around 11.30 AM and headed to Wonorejo Wetland. After walked for 300 meters around fish-pond we managed the first target, one group-family of Freckle-breasted Woodpeckers. We stuck tried to observed the behavior.
At least we saw two families and managed take a photographs. After that, we changed direction to Malang for hotel and managed for the rest of the targets.
In the next morning, we began observe at several sites of Tahura R. Soeryo for Javan Flameback. At 05.30 AM we tried to call the bird until one hour we did not hear and see any responds. So we moved to the next site.
At Watu Ondo waterfall, we waited near a half dead tree. Unfortunately the birding was low, almost quiet. After lunch we moved to Cangar for the same target. The condition was the same as before until the next day. . We didn’t want waste more times. We finished birding here and heading to Kondang Merak on that day.
Kondang Merak is located in southern Malang. Here is where the last of natural lowland rain-forest of Malang still remains. In Kondang Merak, September 08, we will take a couple of nights at home-stay near the beach. Birding will starts in early morning around homestay. Grey-and-Buff Woodpecker and Javan Flameback are our main purpose here.
We must take a fast move, to play the bird calls was the best way to attract them to show up. Sadly we just saw for flash moment of the lilliput. This might be the birds on breeding periods so were not active with calls. We tried in other spots and gave the same poor the result.
Until September 10 the birding was tough for us, at afternoon we drive out to the border of the forest. We called Crimson-winged Woodpecker, and then Afwan saw silhouette of woodpecker at dead palm tree. We surprised the woodpecker was female Javan Flameback, and then the birds flew to another dead palm tree which has many holes.
At the moment we saw female feeding the chick (Me and Afwan) and male perched in the top of next dead palm tree. The female flew followed by male, we waited for four hours and they were not shown up again. We back to the home-stay and tried in the next morning.
At 05.00 AM we arrived in same location as yesterday. While waiting, we played the call of Javan Flameback and Rufous Woodpecker. For a half hour the Javan Flameback finally shown up. A single Rufous Woodpecker came to Ficus tree near us followed by two other ones.
We enjoyed the behavior, sometimes the birds reacted with the call by .drumming’. It's quite difficult to get a photo because it was always hindered by the leaves. At 07.45 AM the birds flew one by one and leaved from our scoped.
Although birding was low and tough, but finally we managed to saw four species of woodpeckers, three of which were targets. We drive for five hours to the hotel near Juanda international airport, the next day our Gerard will continued the search for woodpeckers in Sulawesi and Sumatra. Good Luck!
Participant: Waskito Kukuh Wibowo, Gerard Gorman & Afwan Fitria
On September 17, 2017 I and a few friends revisited to Kondang Merak to document the Javan Flameback in the nest tree. Arrived at around 03:15 PM we direct/heading to the nest tree. A few minutes later, no bird activity was observed. I initiate to approached the nest tree to ensure the existence of the bird. We saw clearly the nest-hole of the Javan Flameback. Most likely the young bird has fledged out. Next we headed to the home-stay for stayed at night. The next morning we tried to find Gray-and-Buff Woodpecker and Javan Flameback around the home-stay and Jungle Trek.
From 6:30 to 9:00 AM our first trail was failed to get the woodpeckers around the home-stay, then we moved to the jungle track. We walked and stopped at some point to play the calls and listen to the respond from the woodpecker. Until reached the end of the jungle track we heard it was pecking. Soon we scoped the sound source.