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Observing Migratory Birds from West to East of Indonesia

Celebrating World Migratory Bird Day in October 2023, Burung Indonesia organized a series of migratory bird observations in three locations: Halmahera, Gorontalo, and Java. The first series was held in Kao Village and Gayok Village, Kao Teluk District, North Halmahera Regency, North Maluku Province, on October 7-8, 2023, in collaboration with Halmahera Wildlife Photography (HWP). This activity involved 15 participants who were selected through the selection of the organizing committee. On that occasion, participants not only made observations, but also participated in seabird monitoring training.

At Kao Beach, the group was welcomed by the Green Kaidati Conservation Group. The head of Green Kaidati, Zainudin Hongi, said that the members of this group are the local community around Kao Village who aim to protect the coastal and mangrove areas of their village which are included in the Essential Ecosystem Area (KEE).

Observations were facilitated by Fransisca Noni from Burung Laut Indonesia, Benny Aladin from Burung Indonesia and Akhmad David from HWP. The results of observations in Gayok Village identified several bird species, including 50 individuals of Lesser Frigatebird, 37 individuals of Common Tern, two individuals of Great White Egret, four individuals of Greater Sandplover, two individuals of Grey-tailed Tattler, five individuals of Terek Sandpiper, one individual of Common Greenshank, 60 individuals of Whimbrel, 13 individuals of Great Knot, five individuals of Red-necked Stint, one individual of Common Sandpiper, and five individuals of Pacific Golden Plover.

The second day of observations took place at Kao Bay. A boat was needed to take the participants to Kao Bay. For about half an hour, participants walked along the estuary that leads directly to the bay. Participants were divided into two groups. One group was assigned to monitor migratory birds and seabirds. Based on observations, 30 Lesser Frigatebirds, 19 Greater Crested Tern, 37 Common Tern and one Common Gull-billed Tern were observed at this location.

A few weeks later, on October 27-29, 2023, Burung Indonesia held another similar event. This time the location was in the north of Sulawesi Island, in Pohuwato District, Gorontalo Province. There were three observation sites: Panua Nature Reserve, Tanjung Panjang Nature Reserve, and Dudewulo Village mangrove area.

Burung Indonesia collaborated with a number of journalists, nature-loving communities, environmental activists, local government representatives and academics. Their presence is expected to inform the wider community about the importance of wildlife and habitat conservation. In Panua Nature Reserve, participants managed to observe a number of individuals of Great White Egret, Little Egret, three individuals of 12 individuals of Little Ringed Plover, five individuals of Common Sandpiper, and three individuals of Whimbrel.

Meanwhile, at Tanjung Panjang Nature Reserve the next day, participants observed various species of waterbirds - some of which were migratory birds - on the move in the aquaculture area. On the same day, they moved to the mangrove area of Dudewulo Village. In this area, participants again met various types of water birds, some of which were migratory bird species. The activity concluded on October 29, 2023 with a discussion on the importance of mangroves and the biodiversity within them held in Torosiaje Village.

Microplastics, River Estuaries and Mountains

Bird Migratory Watch 2023 was conducted on October 28-29, 2023 in Muara Gembong District, Bekasi Regency and Puncak Sempur, Karawang Regency. In this activity, ten species of migratory birds and 38 species of resident birds were identified.

Birdwatching in Muara Gembong began with a river walk along the Citarum River. During the river walk, 20 members of Burung Indonesia managed to record a migratory bird flying around the boat, the White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus). While exploring the mangrove area at the mouth of the river, Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) was also recorded.

In addition to monitoring migratory birds, the Bird Migratory Watch 2023 participants were invited to see the mangrove ecosystem which is the habitat of birds and Javan langurs (Trachypithecus auratus) who are faced with the problem of plastic waste. The presence of plastic in the area can be a threat to biodiversity. For this reason, after monitoring birds, all participants had a discussion with the Muara Gembong Sub-district Government, represented by the Head of the Government Section, Hasan Basri. Hasan explained the conservation effort program in the area.

Moving to Sempur Peak in the Sanggabuana Mountains in Karawang Regency, dozens of participants began to climb the hill of Sempur Peak to see the "sky travelers" who were passing through the sky. Based on observations on Sunday, October 29, 2023, three species of migratory raptors and one migratory bird were recorded. Among them were Chinese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter soloensis), Japanese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter gularis), Oriental Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus), and Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus).

In addition to seeing the attractions of migratory birds, the monitoring process was also spoiled by the appearance of a pair of Changeable Hawk-eagle (Nisaetus cirrhatus) perched in the trees across the hill. This of course made everyone present immediately run to see and get the best position to capture the extraordinary moment.

The observation activity ended with a discussion of the results led by the Java Program Village Facilitator, Rakha Santika Fadhillah. The discussion was conducted in a relaxed manner and accompanied by the occasional strong breeze.

Imas Siti Masitoh was one of the participants who was doing birdwatching for the first time. According to her, birdwatching is very exciting and fun. Although she didn't know the name of the bird species she was watching, this didn't stop her from scrutinizing every corner of the hill using her binoculars. "I was the first person to realize when a raptor passed by, so I immediately shouted loudly because I was so happy," he said excitedly.