On 7 January 2017 my friends and I visited Ngongap cliff for camping and birding. Ngongap cliff is located in District Girisubo, Gunung Kidul regency, Yogyakarta province. Gunung Kidul landscape is hilly, known as the “Gunung Sewu” (Thousand Mountains), as well as the beautiful southern coastal region. Ngungap cliff is not a sandy beach, but a cliff of rock long, directly adjacent to the deep blue sea and the waves were malignant. Around the Ngungap cliff, green hills covered with natural vegetation and teak. Steep cliffs, blue sea and the cool breeze make this wonderful place to fill a vacation while birding.
Because there is no public transportation to the site, we use a motorbike to get there. We decided to set up tents in order not to lose many moments, both observations and the scenery. Departing at 04:00 pm, the trip takes approximately two hours from the city center to get the location. Along the way, on the right and left of the road looks green hills accompany the trip. It incredibly spoils the eyes.
Arriving at the location, we immediately set up tents in a flat spot near the cliffs. Hot coffees accompanied us for chatting and telling stories on cold nights. From a distance, we hear the night birds shout at each other. It seems Sunda Scops Owl has already started looking for prey. There was the sound of other birds that are very familiar, but not a night bird. Soon we had coffee, picked up a camera and started birding. Behind the dense bushes the sound was very loud and clear, over and over. We point the flashlight at the source of the sound, but not visible form and motion, just its sound. The dense bush blocks us to go deeper, finally we await the appearance of the owner of that sound. The sound was like a Red-legged Crake but we’re not sure because we have not seen it. After an hour we waited, and the bird did not appear. Finally, we recorded the sound for later identification.
The sun was rising on the eastern horizon, a red tinge gradually disappearing. Green Junglefowl heard crowing in the distance. Sooty-headed Bulbul and Yellow-vented Bulbul were seen foraging together near our camp. Our equipment set up and immediately started birding. A hill near our camp where we observed at night, into the first place to explore. From a distance, a flock of Pink-necked Green Pigeons was feeding on a tree. At shrubs below, Island Collared Dove was busy sunbathing and cleaning its feathers. About ten meters to the right, Racket-tailed Treepie foraging noisily. The last two are birds that are not often encountered in Yogyakarta.
Then we move toward a rice field area that is not too wide. We met with Javan Munia, White-capped Munia and Scaly-breasted Munia in considerable numbers, and were eating rice grains that had yellowed. Teak flowers that grow on the edge of rice fields become a favorite place for Olive-backed Sunbird and Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker. Other bird species observed in this area such as Lesser Coucal, Sunda Coucal, Long-tailed Shrike, Common Taylorbird, Plain Prinia, Javan Kingfisher, Collared Kingfisher and more.
After four hours of birding around the rice paddies we went to the cliff edge. Halfway there we met Peregrine Falcon flew past quickly and disappeared behind the hill. Around 10:00 am, we began to observe on the edge of the cliff under the blazing sun. Not long to wait, from a distance White-tailed Tropicbird fly closer to the cliffs to the west of us. These birds use the holes in the cliffs to nest and lay their eggs. It’s not difficult to see this bird, sit on the edge of a cliff while drinking coffee, these birds will be out of the nest hole and fly around the cliffs. The best time to see this bird is in the afternoon when it returns to the nest hole.
These birds will fly quite a long swirled around the cliffs before entering the nest hole. Other birds that use cliff holes for nests are the Black-nest Swiftlet and Edible-nest Swiftlet. Local residents around the coastal region will harvest these bird’s nests every year for sale. These birds also fly around the edges of the cliffs along Cave Swallow, Pacific Swallow, and House Swiflet. We also found Javan Myna and (Indonesian) Spotted Kestrel that were perched on the cliff. Birding closed with the presence of White-bellied Sea-eagle soaring long enough. Landscape and beautiful birds completes unforgettable vacation.