Lore Lindu Birdingby Sultan Birding Tours Indonesia
Sultan Birding Tours Indonesia offers a range of private and small group birding tours throughout Sulawesi, Halmahera, West Papua, Java, Bali, Flores and Lesser Sunda allowing birders to select from a variety of destinations.
First time, Sept 2012, Simon, Chien Wei Chen and I visited the Halmehera with Monal team. The target was Wallace’s Standardwing . It was also my first time to learn that there are two beautiful birds namely Ivory-breasted Pitta and Common Paradise Kingfisher. We tried that time, only heard many calls without sighting either of them.
Second time, Aug 2014, Simon and I set the target on these two, and visted the Halmehera again with another “guide” recommended by others. Spent 5 days in the rain with zero-shutter count. Without lcoal knowledge and any useful input from the guide, the trip was fruitless, full of frustration, disappointment, depression and unhappiness. Last day, to avoid ultimate zero shutter count, we relutantly to re-try Wallace’s Standardwing with 9 hours walk in the jungle crossing a few rivers under a heavy rain in between.Sighted the both birds without any usable shots, not even record. For bird watchers, maybe mission accomplished, for us, total failuer. When I showed the screen with a crappy shot that a Ivory high up in the tree blocked by all the leaves, my son asked me:”Where is the bird?”
Third time, we want to go earlier, and engaged Monal again. Right before our flight, the volcanic eruption caused the Ternate airport closed down. Trip postponed till Aug. It seems that everything happend for a reason, we have to make ourselves to believe that. The first one and half day was full of observation, exploration, trail and error with anxiety and despression, and a lot of team work. I even started to think of plan B or revisit next year. We applied our knowledge, experience and any possible field craft could use based on the info we collected. Patience finally paid off, before end of the second day. Pitta confirmed our effort. What a relief! Got to hug each other besides only hand-shake.
The luck changed completely in following days. Instead of waiting for birds, Kingfishers waiting for us without wasting much time. Local knowledge and home work is excellent from Monal team. I used to say that Halmehera is a paradise for birds but hell for photographers. This time, it is completely a paradise for all of us! After 3 years and 3 tries, the challenging quest is finally completed.
Thanks Monal Sulawesi and Arnes! For this chanllenging quest, you accpeted, promised, committed and finally dlivered! Simon Quek, thanks for the great partnership, brotherhood and a lot of fun together. One more target down!
Third time lucky as they say. I say it’s the combined effort of the hard work of Monal Sulawesi and his team with our past experiences with pitta chasing that got us this pitta. The Ivory-breasted Pitta, is a pitta that tends to stay in the trees than on the ground. We managed to find this fella and get it on the ground. Birding in Halmahera is harder than in other countries. You really have to find your own bird. Monal and his team makes it much easier. Thanks Monal for being part of this pitta mission.