Indonesia: Bali 19th - 22nd October 2005

Published by Mary Crickmore (crwrcwamt AT

Participants: Mary Crickmore


This trip happened when I added a four-day birding vacation to meetings I attended in Bali. I stayed at the Dhyana Pura Beach Hotel in Seminyak, near Kuta. I highly recommend this congenial and inexpensive hotel with landscaped grounds covered with many kinds of trees and flowering bushes. It has beach frontage, as well as being a very short walk to some rice paddies.

Day 1: I saw four life birds in the first half hour watching from the balcony of my room. The first day (it was rainy) I used just to bird the hotel grounds and recover from jet lag. I had invested in just one book, Photographic Guide to Birds of Indonesia, and soon regretted not having gotten some of the other guides on E-bay, because the photographic guide was not covering everything I saw. There was not a bookstore to be found—much less one with a copy of Birds of Bali. I spent most evenings at a cyber-cafe looking at the Oriental Bird Images site to help confirm some of the ID’s. This was my first exposure to Asian birding and it was not easy without an experienced guide.

Day 2: Because of the terrorist strike that had happened just a few weeks before, restaurants and stores were almost empty and lines of taxi drivers waited for fares almost everywhere I went. This day I rented a minivan with English-speaking driver for $40 for the day and headed for Bedugul and the Bali Botanic Garden. The route we drove was more populated than I had expected, and the lake by Bedugul is a rather built-up tourist area. The Botanic Gardens have a lot of lawns and labeled tree species, fern, bamboo, and medicinal plant collections, and there are temples and statues as well. I did not see a lot of the species mentioned on the “Birding on Bali” website for the garden, however. One would need to be able to ID by ear as I heard a number of different birds singing that I could not spot in the foliage, and for only one of these did I find a sound recording on the internet that matched it. The day was foggy and a little after noon rain began to fall, I was hungry, so I called it quits and went to lunch—very pleased with some good looks at great birds, but also with a neck-ache from trying to follow mixed feeding parties through thick foliage.

Day 3: I went on the Bali Hai Ocean Rafting tour ($73 charge, all day including lunch.) I told the crew of the raft of my particular desire to see the sea eagles and tropicbirds, and fortunately weather conditions permitted us to go by the cliffs where they are. The cruise director knew exactly where the sea eagle nest is—magnificent! In the same general area are manta rays observable close to the surface. The tropicbirds and the scenery were spectacular. The crew noted that on some days they cannot take the raft into the area by the cliffs, (not to be dashed against the rocks by the waves) so I was very glad to have picked a good weather day for this trip. We enjoyed snorkelling in two areas, and saw a group of dolphins on the way home. The last hour would have been a waste sitting at the bar at Bali Hai’s beach resort, if it had not been that a pair of Lesser Frigatebirds happened to pass by.

Day 4: I was trying to find the Sanur Fish Ponds that were listed on “Birding on Bali” but it turned out that my driver did not know where they were and took me to the beach at Sanur—little of interest there except for White-breasted Wood-swallow. I then asked the driver to take me to the Mangrove Information Center, which is a huge area of mangoves with boardwalks and observation towers. This is not to be missed! Little Egrets and Black Crowned Night Herons were displaying their plumes in full view of the tallest observation tower. That was also the area where I saw a pair of Small Blue Kingfishers fly past, and I was able to follow them and get one good view of this jewel of a bird. The only downside of the Center is that it is a bit of a lover’s lane and some of the Balian couples who were out for a Saturday stroll lingered in the observation towers..

The other area listed on the Birding on Bali site is the beach by the airport, and Benoa. By the airport there was one lone curlew and naught else. I could NOT figure out where to find all the shorebirds. I had to resign myself to missing many species that people see who actually pay for birdwatching tours and professional guides.

Species Lists

Phaethon lepturus White-tailed tropicbird RAFTING
Fregata ariel Lesser frigatebird RAFTING
Oceanites oceanicus Wilson's Storm-petrel RAFTING
Ardea purpurea Purple heron HOTEL MANGROVE
Casmerodius albus Great egret MANGROVE
Egretta garzetta Little egret (ssp. w. black feet) HOTEL, Mangrove:colony-breeding display
Bubuculus ibis Cattle egret ALL OVER
Ardeola speciosa Javan pond-heron HOTEL
Butorides striatus Striated Heron MANGROVE
Nycticorax nycticorax Black-crowned Night-heron MANGROVE: colony-breeding display
Haliaeetus leucogaster White-bellied Sea-eagle RAFTING:seen at nest
Ictinaetus malayensis Black Eagle BEDUGUL
Numenius phaeopus Whimbrel MANGROVE
Tringa totanus Common Redshank MANGROVE
Tringa glareola Wood Sandpiper PADDIES BY HOTEL
Tringa hypoleucos Common Sandpiper MANGROVE
Sterna bergii Great crested tern RAFTING
Streptopelia chinensis Spotted Dove ALL OVER
Treron vernans Pink-necked Green Pigeon HOTEL
Tyto alba Barn owl heard HOTEL
Caprimulgus affinis Savanna Nightjar HOTEL
Aerodramus sp. edible or mossy-nest swiftlet BEDUGUL
Collocalia linchi Linchi swiftlet ALL OVER
Alcedo coerulescens Small Blue (Cerulean) Kingfisher MANGROVE
Halcyon cyanoventris Javan Kingfisher BEDUGUL
Todhirampus chloris Collared Kingfisher BEDUGUL RAFTING
Hirundo tahitica Pacific swallow RICE PADDIES BY HOTEL
Pyconotus aurigaster Sooty-headed Bulbul HOTEL
Pyconotus goiavier Yellow-vented bulbul abundant at HOTEL
Aegithina tiphia Common Iora HOTEL MANGROVE
Saxicola caprata Pied Bush-Chat abundant at BEDUGUL
Prinia familiaris Bar-winged Prinia HOTEL MANGROVE
Orthotomus sepium Olive-backed Tailorbird feeding young at HOTEL
Gerygone sulphurea Golden-bellied Gerygone MANGROVE
Rhipidura javanica Pied Fantail HOTEL MANGROVE
Pachycephala pectoralis Common Golden Whistler heard singing, not seen at BEDUGUL
Parus major Great Tit BEDUGUL
Dicaeum sanguinolentum Blood-breasted Flowerpecker BEDUGUL
Dicaeum trochileum Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker HOTEL
Anthreptes malacensis Brown-throated Sunbird HOTEL
Nectarinia jugularis Olive-backed sunbird abundant at HOTEL BEDUGUL
Zosterops montanus Mountain White-eye BEDUGUL
Lophozosterops javanicus Javan Grey-throated White-eye abundant at BEDUGUL Bradypterus seebohmi Russet Bush-warbler BEDUGUL
Lichmera indistincta Brown honeyeater BEDUGUL
Lonchura leucogastroides Javan Munia BEDUGUL
Lonchura punctulata Scaly-breasted Munia abundant at HOTEL
Lonchura maja White-headed Munia abundant at HOTEL
Passer montanus Tree Sparrow abundant at HOTEL
Aplonis minor Short-tailed starling BEDUGUL
Dicrurus macrocercus Black Drongo BEDUGUL
Artamus leucorhynchus White-breasted Wood-swallow HOTEL
Corvus macrorhynchos Large-billed Crow MANGROVE