In 2017, just like the previous year, individuals and group birdwatchers began to visit Flores in the period of March to November. Their levels of skills were also varied, from beginners to professional birdwatchers.
Beginner birdwatchers were usually observing the birds directly using binoculars with no recording activities. Professional birdwatchers, conversely, need preparation and supporting equipment. Most professional birdwatchers escorted by Uncle Sam were usually bringing along telescopes, binoculars, tripods, monopods, field guides, cameras, and voice recorders with them.
“Professional bird watchers often keep records of every species they encounter and stay longer in certain locations. They also usually have listed their targets on criteria such as endemic birds, those with limited distribution, and birds that are considered critical in nature," he said.
In the Flores area, observations generally took more than five days to be carried out due to the long distances from one location to another. Komodo Island was the most frequently visited by ABI Birding’s guests during 2017. In this national park, encountering the Yellow-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea), which was declared as Critical, was effortless.
Apart from Komodo Island, Labuan Bajo city and its surroundings are excellent areas for bird observations. When uncle Sam brought his guests to Gorontalo and Nanga Nae villages, they successfully encountered birds with limited distribution namely Elegant Pitta, Moluccan Scops-owl, Yellow-spectacled White-eye, Indian Paradise-flycatcher, various water birds and Flores Crow. There are interesting bird observation spots that you cannot find elsewhere but in Flores.
Located thirty minutes away from Labuan Bajo, Pota Wangka is a sure place to find the Common Hill Myna, Flores Green-pigeon, Flores Crow, Flores Lorikeet and Red-cheeked Parrot.
Although located close to Trans Flores Road, Puar Lolo is a perfect place to observe the Endangered species Flores Monarch. The observers can also enjoy the present of birds with limited distribution namely Chestnut-capped Thrush, Chestnut-backed Thrush, Black-backed Fruit-dove, Brown-capped Fantail, Rufous-chested Flycatcher, Crested White-eye, Thick-billed White-eye, Russet-capped Tesia and Flores Hawk-eagle.
Danau Sano Nggoang
ABI Birding recommends Sano Nggoang, the largest volcanic lake in East Nusa Tenggara, as a favourite place to observe birds. Uncle Sam usually escorts his guests to this lake to find Flores Scops-owl and other birds with limited distribution. The migratory birds can also be observed when the migration is in season.
The accommodation in this lake is pretty decent. For those who want to spend a longer time to enjoy endemic birds and beautiful scenery, they can choose to get a homestay program managed by the locals. homestay yang dikelola oleh penduduk setempat.
“There’s a spot in Sano Nggoang where we can find three species of Scops-owls altogether. They are very active on rainy afternoons,” Uncle Sam revealed his discovery.
To observe the birds in this area, visitors have to purchase an entrance ticket of IDR 100,000/person because it is part of Ruteng Nature Park. The ideal time for bird observation is in the morning, about 06.00-10.00 AM. The Bare-throated Whistle, Brown-capped Fantail, Mountain White-eye and Black-backed Fruit-dove can be found in the area, along with the Flores Hanging-parrot which is usually identified when flying.
Bird species in Ranamese are almost similar to those in Golo Lusang. However, the Ranamese’s less challenging topography allows visitors to explore deeper into the forest. It’s a good location to find Flores Scops-owl and Wallace's Scops-owl, although Little Minivet, Sunda Cuckoo, Ruddy Cuckoo-dove, Short-tailed Starling, Russet-capped Tesia, Great Tit and Brown-capped Fantail can also be spotted.
The bird diversity is similar to that of Ranamese and Golo Lusang, except for one species that has never gone unnoticed by birdwatchers: the Javan Shortwing. In Poco Ranaka, this species can only be found at high altitude. In this area, Uncle Sam usually shows his guests the Flores Lorikeet.
Situated around an hour from Ruteng, Pagal is the most potential location for Flores Hanging-parrot observation. The Pagal area consists of ficus and other trees preferred by Parrots. So, the chances to find Flores Hanging-parrot, Red-cheeked Parrot and Great-billed Parrot are bigger.
Birdwatchers who explore with ABI Birding were always impressed with Kisol. No one wants to miss visiting this location because of its huge opportunities to get an encounter with Flores Hawk-eagle, Flores Crow, Wallace’s Scops-owl, Large-tailed Nightjar and Dark-backed Imperial-pigeon.
To tourists, Kelimutu is renowned for its tri-coloured volcanic lake. But to birdwatchers, Kelimutu is a promising place to see Flores Hawk-eagle, Bare-throated Whistler, Wallace’s Scops-owl and Flores Scops-owl. Uncle Sam said that the two Scops-owl species are very easy to find in this area.
ABI Birding is a business unit dedicated for tourism activities on bird and wildlife observations in the working area of Burung Indonesia. Since its establishment in 2016, this unit aims to support the conservation of birds and its habitats in Indonesia. Contact for further information: Email: email@example.com, Handphone: 0812-382-465-47