John van der Woude
From 26 July to 16 August Nollie and I were on the Birdingbreaks.nl tour to the Indonesian islands Sulawesi (Celebes) and Halmahera. This is the transition zone between the avifaunas of southeast Asia and Australia/New Guinea. The so-called Wallace Line demarcates this transition, and was first placed (and by most still placed) between Borneo and Sulawesi, but in later life Wallace placed it between Sulawesi and Halmahera. In other words, this whole zone of Sulawesi and Halmahera is a transition in steps. I found the avifaunistic difference between Sulawesi and Halmahera remarkable, so I was glad that both islands were combined in this tour.
Tour leader was Laurens Steijn and local guides were Monal and Anis on Sulawesi, and on Halmahera Danny and other guides from the Weda resort. Internal flights in this trip were from Makassar to Palu, Palu (via Makassar) to Manado, Manado to Ternate (for the speedboat to Halmahera) and Tobelo to Manado. Ground transport was in bus and 4WD cars on Sulawesi, and in 4WD cars on Halmahera. Accommodation was in hotels and pensions on Sulawesi, and in the Weda resort on Halmahera. See the map below for the birding sites we visited. These are nearly all forest sites. July/August (our summer) is normally not a period in which we would go to the tropics, but for this destination it seems the best time. We had good weather and the birds were active. I saw 77 Sulawesi endemics (the group 5 more) and 29 Halmahera endemics (the group 3 more).