Trip Report & Testimonial of Birding in Malang

A total of 5 species of birds in Raden Soerjo Greater Park Forestry successfully photographed by our guest named Muhid on 22 July 2017 in just about 1.5 hours. In one day we had to change location 3 times. The first is the apple plantation area in Batu. There we entered into birdhide starting at 05.30 am to photograph Javan Kingfisher Halcyon cyanoventris.

Our birdhide lies parallel to the tree with a distance of 8 meters, very enough for the 500mm lens to get full frame images. It did not take long for a Javan Kingfisher Halcyon cyanoventris to land at the top of an apple tree in front of us. Quickly our guests photographed the bird and got a picture of Javan Kingfisher’s front body. About 5 minutes later, the bird flies from the apple tree.

The morning weather conditions were less friendly, because the sun was covered by fog. So the birds, especially the Javan Kingfisher which became our target, were too lazy to perch and sunbathe. Until 07.30 am the target has not been seen again, we finally have to move to Raden Soerjo Greater Park Forestry. Arrive at the location at 08.00 am.

We went straight to Sunda Warbler’s Seicercus grammiceps nest in the feeding phase. We take a distance of about 8 meters, so as not to disturb the adult to feed the chicks who has not been out of the nest. A pair of adult birds are seen alternating in and out of the nest and catching insects near the nest to give to the chicks who are waiting for the food.

It did not take a long time to get a photo of this bird. When an adult bird carrying food is brought to the nest, it will surely be near the nest long enough while looking around. That moment is a good time to take pictures. Suddenly the flocks of Sunda Minivet Pericrocotus miniatus and Blue Nuthatch Sitta azurea perched on a tree near the entrance of the location. We guide guests to the place. Easily these two species can be recorded by our guests.

After the flock was gone, we proceeded to the parking lot. Immediately we met two young Indigo Flycatcher Eumyas indigo individuals. The bird perched on a bush about 30 cm above ground level.

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The two young individuals moved from one branch to another branch near the parking lot. 10 minutes later we saw an adult individual perched on a pine tree on a twig as high as 6-7 meters from the ground. We enjoyed the behavior of all three Indigo Flycatchers up to Lesser Forktail Enicurus velatus coming near us. The endemic bird landed on the ground to look for the insects behind the leaf litter.

After getting some photo frames, the bird goes to the small river on the opposite side. A brief bird-photography trip at Raden Soerjo Greater Park Forestry finished.

Thousands of Eastern Cattle Egrets on Ketingan

Have you ever observed thousands of Eastern Cattle Egrets Bubulcus comorandus in a nest tree? If not, Ketingan can be the right choice of location. Located about 12 km to the Southwest from the center of Jogja. Administratively in the area of Tlogoadi village, Mlati sub-district, Sleman regency, special region of Yogyakarta. There you can witness the behavior of Eastern Cattle Egret in the nest trees in the garden of villagers.

Since the inauguration of the village monument by Sultan Hamengkubuwono X in 1997, thousands of birds have come and used the trees around Ketingan as a nesting place. Initially, the residents tried to expel the Eastern Cattle Egrets because they were worried about the decline of garden products, health problems caused by the amount of dirt around the gardens and houses. Since 2000, Ketingan was inaugurated as a tourist village by the Sultan.

Eventually, however, the villagers realized that they began to share space and stop the evictions and instead started building village regulations and put up signs of stop shooting and hunting birds, especially Eastern Cattle Egrets around the village. In Indonesia this species and its family became protected animals based on UU No. 5/1990 and PP No. 7/1999.

Eastern Cattle Egret or Cattle Egret have a size body about 50 cm. In the non-breeding period: white body plumage, except orange stroke on the forehead or lores of some birds. Yellow iris, yellow bill, and black legs.

During the breeding period: head, neck and breast coloured faded orange. Iris, legs and breast coloured bright red. Can be distinguished from other herons because the body is more robust, the neck is shorter, the head is more round, and the beak is shorter and thicker.

With thousands of Eastern Cattle Egret birds in Ketingan, people, especially domestic and foreign tourists, are interested in coming to observe their behavior in nest trees. In certain months such as in early September this bird will leave the nest, but will return during the breeding season, arriving around mid-October to nurture and go away when the chicks are grown.

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Other Attraction on Ketingan

It is a blessing for residents by renting out rooms or home-stays for tourists. The average price of home-stays in Ketingan is Rp. 75.000, – per night (3X meals).

For birdwatchers or bird-photographers, it is very easy and close to observe it with up to 7000 individuals. Simply by going down the village alleys and looking for a fairly short nest tree about 6-8 meters you will get a good view or photo.

Beside that, tourists can follow and enjoy the traditional ceremonies. Try to live a few days before harvest time and participate in Wiwitan (thanksgiving before harvest time) or come before planting time and follow the tradition of Angler (salvation before rice planting). After the peak season of harvest time, the residents will be celebrating with Merti Bumi which is always held in September. At the event, various performances of art and culture such as wayang performances, carnival and kenduri as a form of gratitude to the Creator of the abundant produce can be witnessed.

How to get to Ketingan Village via public transport:

Map direction of Ketingan. source: google map

– From Adisucipto International Airport heading to Ketingan village: go exit to the Trans Jogja Bus Shelter, take a bus going to Jombor Bus Station. Then take a “Angkot” going to Mlati, get off at Pasar Cebongan and call for ojek to the location.

– From Giwangan Bus Station heading to Ketingan village: take a bus going to Tempel, get off at Jombor Bus Station. Then take a “Angkot ” going to Mlati get off at Pasar Cebongan and call for ojek to the location.

– From Jombor Bus Station heading to Ketingan village: take a “Angkot” going to Mlati, get off at Pasar Cebongan and call for ojek to the location. – From Lempuyangan heading to Ketingan village: go to Trans Jogja Bus Shelter and take a bus going to Jombor Bus Station. Then take a “Angkot” going to Mlati, get off at Pasar Cebongan and call for ojek to the location.

– From Tugu station heading to Ketingan village: go to Trans Jogja Bus Shelter and take a bus going to Jombor Bus Station. Then take a “Angkot” going to Mlati, get off at Pasar Cebongan and call for ojek to the location.If you go Ketingan using car or motorbike try to follow this point using google map.

Half Day Birding in Malang

One of the best locations for birding in Malang area, especially to see Javas montane endemic birds is at Raden Soerjo Greater Park Forestry. Read more about the location here. This location is also listed in The 100 Best Bird Watching Sites in Southeast Asia. In July this weather in Malang, Batu and surrounding areas is great for birding, mostly sunny from morning to afternoon. Only occasionally 1-2 times there is a small and short rain in a week. Similarly, on Monday, July 17, 2017 at one birding site Raden Soerjo Greater Park Forestry named Watu Ondo.

The sun was shining brightly when we were arrived around 08.00 AM. We were greeted by 2 Indigo Flycatchers families who were nurturing their already flying chick. The immature have chest and throat spots red-pink, brown-red slices, black beak and legs.

This is surprisingly make us happy after the #Savebirdnest project several months ago and still running. After a while there was a Javan Hawk-eagle soaring above the parking area, followed by a Crested Serpent-eagle whistle then appearing above us. The presence of the two species of eagle indicates our arrival at the site late to see various types of birds, because the birds must have gone to find food. Moving ahead of the regional ticket sales counter, there was the sound of many bird species. There’s a herd of Crescent-chested Babbler and Horsfield’s Babbler on the jungle floor, then on the canopy a family of Snowy-browed Flycatchers is watching the immature descend on the pavement of the highway. Immature spotted birds brown, sliced dark brown, black beak, legs gray to brown. In the upper canopy are two species of endemic birds, a pair of Chestnut-fronted Shrike-Babbler and the Sunda Streaked Bulbul flocks that are eating the remains of fruits and insects in the leaf armpits. After the flocks of the birds disappear, return to the parking lot again. Suddenly a Lesser (Sunda) Forktail flies and lands on the ground. This bird is feeding behind the dried leaves that are around the parking lot. Not so difficult to observe and photograph this bird, just walk slowly and squat to the desired distance.

Lesser (Sunda) Forktail that is observed is male birds because it has a crown and nape of gray to black. Around the area there was Pygmy Wren-Babbler’s voice behind the thick grass. I waited a little longer but the bird did not come up with the form.

At 10:00 AM the area became deserted from the sound of birds, so we headed to the food stalls and waited for the birds to reappear. While waiting for me to try along the creek beside the stall, walk about 100 meters and then a Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker alighted on a small branch of a tree beside the river. When I take the camera that I leave at the food stall, the bird actually disappears. I went back to the food stall.

Until 11:00 AM the condition was still quiet, we were only entertained with a group of Ebony Leaf Monkey who eat young leaves in the trees around the stall. It’s easy to meet and observe Ebony Leaf Monkey around the Raden Soerjo Greater Park Forestry which is Vulnerable status according to IUCN Redlist and only exists in Indonesia.

We decided to go home when the fog began to rise and it would be difficult to photograph the birds in that situation. Back to the parking area we were greeted by a Flame-fronted Barbet who was eating. We try to get close and look at it. We are trying to take pictures but the light is not good and the fog is annoying to get good results. Finally we just took a record shot and went home.

The results are not so disappointing because we get 11 species of birds, and 5 species are endemic birds within a short time.