Monday 30 January 2012

Back from Indonesia

Went on a quick weekend trip with some Canadians who are also in Singapore. I wasn't really pursuing birds - only stopped to look at the ones that I couldn't help but notice. Despite the terrible habitat (polluted waterways, very few trees, garbage everywhere...) I still came across 5 new birds of which 4 I identified: Javan Pond Heron, Common Tailorbird, Pgymy Cupbird/Wren-Babbler and Sooty-headed Bulbul. The first two I should already have in Singapore so it's only a matter of time before I get them here.

Most birds that I did see were caged birds like this Long-tailed Shrike:

And heard a few Gerygones singing from their cages:

It's understandable why this species is endangered - the song is so beautiful that it is highly desirable as a cage bird in SE Asia.

This trip involved almost no planning whatsoever. We searched for the cheapest flight from Singapore to any other city. Jakarta was the winner and we found ourselves walking around the slums, bathing our feet in sewage, watching people dig through garbage, the rats are numerous, saw that clubs are open "24/7 Thursday-Monday" and the drivers have a car-honking language.

But things aren't all bad there. The people are insanely hospitable. Walk around anywhere, look any bit like a tourist and someone is bound to walk up to you and show you where to go. And not only that we had 2 people pretty much become volunteer tour guides for us as we roamed around the streets. One person ended up taking us on a short hike up a volcano to see a waterfall and we ended up sleeping at his place that night.

Some people care about the wildlife around them:

Others want to keep it on their doorstep at all times:

 Hens grow strong with a diet supplemented by cigarette butts:

Waterfall on a volcano:

Wooden ship in the filthy water: