Bali - mainly southern, July-August 2003

Published by John Furse (firstreesjohn AT

Participants: John Furse



This 3-week trip (26 July to 15 August) was organised partly as recuperation after an illness and, thus, was not intensive birding. However, a few single days were spent in ‘up-country’ visits. Despite a couple of attempts to connect with waders, tides and light proved almost insurmountable and this aspect was disappointing. I fully intend to return, after experiencing the remarkable beauty of the island and the gentle friendliness of the Balinese.

I stayed in Seminyak, just north of the tourist-ridden Kuta, at a perfectly adequate 2-star hotel with swimming-pool and small restaurant, 5 minutes walk from the beach. The suite (yes) had air-conditioning, TV, huge lounge area, kitchenette, and separate bathroom and bedroom. The staff were wonderfully helpful. Cost: £17 per night! Breakfast was usually taken at a fabulous (and cheap) beach restaurant after (and during!) a spell of sea-watching.

Flights were Singapore Airlines (v.good) via Singapore, with a stopover. A highly efficient and accommodating airline, to the extent of confirming window seats on the ‘phone days before flying.

Reference books

“A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali”: MacKinnon & Phillipps (adequate-good), OUP
“Birding Indonesia”: Jepson, Periplus
Photocopies of plates from several other field guides proved helpful, particularly with some seabirds.


26,27,28,29 July & 5,6,7,12,13 August Beach fronting Kuta Bay at Seminyak (B)
28th Suwung Fish Ponds (SFP), Merta Sari mangroves (MS)
30th Celuk Bird Sanctuary (CBS) & Lagoons, Uluwatu (U)
31st Bedugul Botanic Gardens (BBG), Tamblingan (T)
3rd Pulau Serangan (PS), Merta Sari, Suwung
8th Kokar (K), Pasar Burung, Denpasar (PB)
12th Tanah Lot (TL)
15th Batukaru (Btk)

Comments on locations

B A good selection of seabirds was seen from here. Particularly pleasing were the Boobies and Frigatebirds (males of each of 3 species).
SFP Good for more ‘common’ species.
U A beautifully located temple- the only place I saw Tropicbird.
BBG A ‘must’ location, up-country in the ‘mountains’. Recommended for a several night stay. Good hotels nearby. The morning I was there was partly spoiled by dense mist- the top of a fruiting tree, with many birds, became invisible and some flowerpeckers were ‘lost’.
T A lake- with another temple. Forest walk. Shortwings were completely invisible- until I realised they were around my feet.
PB The bird market. Distressing, with many rarities on view and for sale- pittas, thrushes, pigeons, flycatchers, parrots, Crested Jay, Green Magpies.
Btk Another mountain temple- highly recommended.

Selected bird list:

Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopos macei CBS, BBG, SFP
Flame-fronted Barbet Megalaima armillaris BBG, Btk
Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus CBS
Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus TL
Grey-cheeked Green-Pigeon Treron griseicauda BBG
Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus B, TL
White-tailed Tropicbird Phaeton lepturus U
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster B
Masked Booby Sula dactylatra B
Great Frigatebird Fregata minor B
Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel B
Christmas Island Frigatebird Fregata andrewsi B
Indonesian Honeyeater Lichmera limbata BBG
Golden-bellied Gerygone Gerygone sulphurea PS
Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis BBG
Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus Btk
Orange-headed Thrush Zoothera citrina Btk
Lesser Shortwing Brachypteryx leucophrys T
Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis BBG, Btk
White-crowned Forktail Enicurus leschenaulti Btk
Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata T, Btk
Mountain White-eye Zosterops montanus BBG
Mountain Tailorbird Orthotomus cuculatus BBG
Horsfield’s Babbler Malacocincla sepiarium T
Chestnut-backed Scimitar-Babbler Pomatorhinus montanus T, Btk
Orange-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum trigonostigma Btk
Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker Dicaeum trochileum TL