Our birding adventure of the endemic-rich Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra begins on the smaller island of Java. This is a land of great beauty, although densely populated, and is dominated by towering volcanos whose forests support important watersheds for the fertile rice fields, which cover most of the lowlands. Nevertheless, Java still supports some wonderful forests and an impressive list of endemic and near-endemic species, and we will explore the best of these. From our hotel we will make an excursion to the tiny swamp of Muara Angke for the highly threatened Sunda (Javan) Coucal, Javan Pond Heron, White-capped Munia, and Cerulean Kingfisher. A boat trip into the Bay of Jakarta and onto Pulau Rambut should yield the localised Christmas Frigatebird, Javan Myna and Milky Stork, while the lowland forest site of Carita harbours endemic, Black-banded Barbet, Grey-cheeked Tit-Babbler and Steaky-breasted Spiderhunter, as well as Javan Owlet, Javan Frogmouth and Javan Banded Pitta. Thereafter, we take in the famous Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park, better known to birders as Cibodas. Here we will wander enchanting pathways and trails through pristine montane forest in our search for a long list of mouth-watering endemics and specialties such as Javan Cochoa, Spotted Crocias, Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush, White-bibbed Babbler, Sunda Forktail, Mees’s White-eye (Javan Heleia), Sunda (Javan Blue) Robin, Blue Nuthatch, Chestnut-bellied Partridge, Javan Trogon, Javan Tesia, Brown-throated and Flame-fronted Barbets, Javan Hawk-Eagle and the exquisite White-flanked Sunbird among many others.
A short flight from Jakarta takes us to the island of Sumatra, a vast, wild island that is surprisingly poorly explored and yet supports a fabulous range of habitats and many rare, beautiful, and endemic birds and mammals. We will range from the bird and mammal rich lowlands of Way Kambas National Park to the volcanic slopes of Gunung (Mt) Kerinci, Sumatra’s highest mountain. The lowland forests harbour a spectacular array of species including several very little-known and/or endangered species such as the globally endangered White-winged Duck. Way Kambas is arguably THE best place in all of SE Asia to seek out a number of the continent’s rarest and least-seen lowland forest owls, frogmouths and nightjars; and we hope to find Large, Gould’s and Sunda Frogmouths, Malaysian Eared and Bonaparte’s Nightjars, (the latter is currently only known from this site) in addition to a remarkable suite of owls including Reddish Scops Owl and the peculiar Oriental Bay Owl. From Way Kambas we will make our way to the enormous Kerinci Seblat National Park that protects a vast chunk of Sumatra’s Barisan Ranges. We will bird the slopes of Gunung Kerinci amid some of the most exquisite forests on our planet. The birding is certainly not easy; however, the rewards are fabulous and include such rare endemics as Bronze-tailed Peacock-Pheasant, Salvadori’s Pheasant, Red-billed Partridge, the incomparable Schneider’s Pitta, Sumatran Trogon, Brown-winged and Shiny Whistling Thrushes, Short-tailed (Sumatran) Frogmouth, Rusty-breasted and Sumatran Wren-Babblers and if we are incredibly fortunate, the brilliant but ultra-elusive Sumatran Cochoa. We conclude this fantastic Asian birding tour along the famous Tapan Road where Marbled Wren-Babbler, Graceful Pitta, Blue-masked and Sumatran Leafbirds, Cream-striped and Spot-necked Bulbuls, Sumatran Treepie and Sumatran Green Pigeon await us, along with an impressive suite of lowland species such as the regal Rhinoceros and Wreathed Hornbills and the rarely seen White-tailed Flycatcher.
Sunda Coucal; Cerulean, Rufous-collared & Javan Kingfishers; Bar-winged Prinia; Javan Plover; Christmas Frigatebird; Milky Stork; Black-naped & Pink-headed Fruit Doves; Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker; Yellow-throated Hanging Parrot; Trilling & Pied Shrike-babblers; Pygmy Bushtit; Javan Tesia; Javan, White-capped & White-headed Munias; Javan & Sumatran Cochoas; Javan, Sumatran, Scarlet-rumped, Diard's & Red-naped Trogons; Javan, Gould's, Sunda, Sumatran & Large Frogmouths; Brown-headed, Black-banded, Flame-fronted, Red-crowned & Fire-tufted Barbets; Rhinoceros Hornbill; Javan, Shiny & Brown-winged Whistling Thrushes; Sunda Thrush; Mees's & Black-capped White-eyes; Crescent-chested, White-bibbed, Black-throated & Sumatran Babblers; Javan Hawk-Eagle; White-winged Duck (rare); Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon; Oriental Bay Owl; Reddish, Sunda & Rajah Scops Owls; Barred Eagle-Owl; Bonaparte's & Salvadori's Nightjars; Orange-backed & Olive-backed Woodpeckers; Green & Long-tailed Broadbills; Malayan Banded, Bornean Banded, Graceful & Schneider's Pittas; Fiery & Sunda Minivets; White-flanked Sunbird; Red-billed & Chestnut-bellied Partridges; Salvadori's Pheasant; Bronze-tailed Peacock-Pheasant; Orange-spotted, Cream-striped, Spot-necked, Scaly-breasted, Sunda & Ruby-throated Bulbuls; Sunda Warbler; Sumatran, Marbled, Eyebrowed & Rusty-breasted Wren-Babblers; Pygmy Cupwing; Sumatran, Javan & Lesser Shortwings; Rufous-vented Niltava; Sunda (Sumatran & Javan) Robins; Sunda Cuckooshrike; Sumatran Drongo; Sumatran & Blue-masked Leafbirds; Sumatran Treepie; Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush; Spotted Crocias & Sunda Forktail.
Leopard Cat; Asian Elephant; Siamang; Agile Gibbon; Javan Surili (Grizzled Leaf Monkey); Silvery & Javan Lutung (Langur); Malay Civet; Red Giant Flying Squirrel; Yellow-throated Marten; Long-tailed & Pig-tailed Macaques; Greater & Lesser Mouse Deer; Wild Boar; Sunda Colugo; Malayan Porcupine; Sunda Slow Loris; various squirrels and treeshrews
lowland rain-forest, montane and hill forest, grasslands, wetlands, botanical gardens
most days in the lowlands will be hot, dry and sunny, but overcast conditions are fairly frequent and some rain, heavy at times, can be expected. The humidity is often rather high. In montane areas it will range from very cool to warm.
8 with 1 Rockjumper leader & local birding leader
Our Mega tours are very fast-paced birding adventures designed for the dedicated lister and serious birder. The focus of the tour is to see as many of the endemics and area specials as possible in our given time. In order to cover the necessary route to maximise the species list we tend to spend a single night at most sites and travel large distances. There is very little down time aside from that spent driving from one site to the next. These tours are not suitable for dedicated or avid photographers; inexperienced or new birders; as well as anyone with serious mobility or health challenges.
Most accommodations are reasonable to comfortable hotels, some simple lodges (ie: Way Kambas)
Birding can be demanding at some locations. Low density of several key species. Others require repeat efforts.
Photography can be reasonable at times, predominant forest birding.
I was extremely impressed with the organisational skills of all involved in this tour. All the guides Rockjumper and local were highly skilled and completely considerate of the non birding needs of the participants. I would like to say that not having an upset stomach at any point during the tour was a big plus to my enjoyment. There were some safely issues that in such a remote part of the world can only be expected, I was very happy to be part of this exciting tour and not sure that it would be possible to micro manage all the safety issues.
Glen Valentine our leader really delivered. He was ultra-patient making sure everyone was comfortable and that everyone got on the bird.
What a fabulous tour to such a remote part of Indonesia. As always, Glen and Keith Valentine were exceptional guides and great fun to be with. The crew of our boat, Lady Denok, were amazing whether it was in the dining room, making great coffees, getting us in and out of the dinghies or taking us snorkelling. Once we left the boat in the Tanimbars, the local agent was there to meet us and the land-based part of the tour was exceptionally well managed. The local people were very welcoming and could not do enough for us.
Expert guiding by Keith and Glen Valentine, aided by fabulous local talent, ensured we saw the maximum number of endemics and other birds and mammals. Perhaps more importantly, these two brothers enjoyed their time together and provided a warm, friendly and caring environment in which we all had a good time with lots of laughs, and looked out for each other to ensure everyone got on the birds and did not falter on a tough hike or challenging car ride.
I have been on birding trips for many years, but this is the first time with Rockjumper. The trip was easily the best birding trip I have ever been on. In particular, both David and Glen made life so easy and their birding knowledge was remarkable. Other members of the group were very easy to get on with. The birding was quite remarkable and it is difficult to pick out a highlight from the Birds of Paradise, the Chinese Crested Tern or the Madanga. There is no doubt that I will travel with Rockjumper again.
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