Black-browed Babbler (Melacocincla perspicillata) since “lost” for more than 170 years was found again by Muhammad Suranto and Selamet in 2020.
For the past two months, our team led by Panji Gusti A. conducted research in the eastern Meratus Mountains area, South Kalimantan to study the ecological and biological aspects that are very close to unknown.
On the first day of the visit, the team got the first photo in nature, along with a recording of the sound of this enigmatic bird.
The search continues to expand to determine its natural distribution. Hopefully in the next few months there will be important ecological information that can be collected by the team.
Kalimantan or Borneo is the third largest island in the world.
On this island there are various kinds of diverse habitats, such as lowland rain forests and the famous peat swamp forest.
Here is located the longest river in Indonesia, the Kapuas river, which reaches 1,143 Km.
For biodiversity, Kalimantan is important for the life of one of the great apes in the world, the Bornean Orangutan, which is increasingly threatened by survival because one of them is the destruction of its natural habitat.
As long as I live, only once have I set foot on the island. Precisely in 2010 with friends from university visiting the province of South Kalimantan in the Karst Meratus area.
The main purpose at that time was not for bird watching, but for research on the diversity of bats that live around the Meratus karst.
Indeed, on the sidelines of the research schedule, I took the time to observe birds. But not so many species of birds that I managed to see.
In late March and early April, I had the opportunity to visit the island of the native Dayak tribe, precisely in the province of Central Kalimantan in the area of Sampit and Tanjung Puting National Park.
The main objective this time was for training bird monitoring in Sampit and then followed by a boat trip in Tanjung Puting National Park for birding and primate tours.
In Sampit, the event is held for 3 days, the location is around the High Conservation Value (HCV) area of one of the oil palm plantation companies.
I share with plantation employees about the techniques of identifying, surveying and monitoring birds, so that they are aware of the diversity and importance of bird species in the wild.
Besides birds, there was also training on monitoring primate and herpetofauna by two other presenters. Before leaving Sampit, we were given the opportunity to share with one of the junior high schools near the HCV area. This is a good activity to introduce awareness to the preservation of birds in the wild to young people.
Students were very enthusiastic to hear stories about bird diversity, primate and herpetofauna in Indonesia, especially on their island of Borneo. After that, I continued my journey to the very popular National Park to see Orangutans along the Sekonyer Kanan river using the “Kelotok” boat.
This trip is managed byOrangutan Applause, a very experienced tour operator taking care of boat trips in the national park. For 3 days and 2 nights guided by Arif who is very professional and knowledgeable about the ins and outs and biodiversity of Tanjung Puting National Park.
Arif had worked for a long time as a research assistant-staff at the research station in the park. Previously, on campus he joined a bird watching club and was involved in water bird surveys for avian influenza.
Armed with this experience, he and his wife opened the Orangutan Applause. For two years 2017-2018 the company received a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor. And of course I saw his skills and professionalism in the field.
Although the main menu is primate, his sharp eyes in finding and identifying birds are still extraordinary. We visited 3 Orangutan feeding places including: Tanjung Harapan Camp, Camp Leakey, and Pondok Ambung. During the trip in the river and trekking it was my chance and Arif searched for birds.
Then on the last night there was an opportunity for a short two-hour night trekking in Pondok Ambung to look for night animals. The next day, after breakfast we visited the last location in the Pesalat area for tree planting. During the journey to Pesalat, there is one species of bird that flies following our kelotok.
This bird is one of the targets that I want to see and clearly as a highlight. A total of 7 Storm Stork flew slowly and occasionally soaring like eagles, then overtook the kelotok and entered the forest. What a great prize for my trip to Tanjung Puting.
For 3 days 2 nights, the following is a list of birds that I noted: