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Monday, August 19, 2013

Birding in Bali

Visitors who go birding in Bali will always hope to find Bali Myna (Leucopsar rothschildi). It has got white feather all over its body with blue lores and black tips on its tail and primaries. According to IUCN, this starling is considered as critically endangered species. The conversion of forest areas into human settlements and farming lands as well as hunting and pouching caused rapid decline in the population of birds and other wild animals. To see these myna birds, visitors need to travel to Nusa Penida or Bali Barat National Park.
As a matter of fact, Bali Myna is not the only attractive birds that birdwatchers can see in Bali and its surrounding islands. There are other beautiful birds that can be seen and are common in sub-urban areas too. 
When traveling in Bali, I was able to see various species of birds such as Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis); Scaly-brested munia (Lonchura punctulata), Yellow Vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier).
During my birding trip in Bali, I stayed in Ubud. The town is a famous art and culture center of Bali island. I could see paintings, carvings in every corner of the town. Ubud is surrounded by rice fields and farming villages. In the mornings Spotted Doves like to perch on an avocado tree at the courtyard of the guesthouse where I stayed.
Forest are not the only places where visitors can go to watch birds. Rice fields that are being plowed by farmers are often crowded with cattle egrets that come to eat small fish or perhaps worm that are exposed from the turned soil. 
Bali is the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia. It is also a nice island to watch birds. Visitors who plan to visit Bali for watching birds. Balinese people practice Hinduism that always emphasizes the importance of living in harmony with nature. Green trees can be seen in urban areas. They provide shades to passers by and also home to tropical birds and insects.
Every morning the Balinese put daily offerings in the front of their houses. Most often birds land on to the ground to eat the rice. So, it is surprising to see that even in urban areas of Ubud and other small town in Bali, visitors can see birds without having to walk further into the jungle.
Birding Gears
Avid birdwatchers need to bring digiscoping system to watch distant birds. This system consists of spotting scope, digital camera that can be installed on the eye-piece, and a tripod. Professional photographers usually use D-SLR camera with telephoto lens with a range up to 400 or even 500 mm. Birdwatchers who are traveling on budget can buy such point and shoot cameras as Nikon Coolpix P520, Canon SX50HS and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200.
Birding Books
There are several books that birdwatcher can buy at Periplus bookstore in Bali or Jakarta. One that I recommend is A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Indonesia by Morten Strange.
For more information about birding in Indonesia please, do some research on the internet. For information about birding in West Papua, you can contact me (Charles Roring) by E-mail to:

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Streaked Weaver

Here is a picture of a bird  from Bali island. On a New Year day last year, I was visiting a resort in the morning. While I was walking to a building at the back area of the resort, I saw a bird in bamboo trees. He was weaving his nest. Perhaps he was preparing it to attract female bird for mating. Because I could not take picture of his face I could only guess that it was a Streaked Weaver (Ploceus manyar).
In Indonesia we call it burung manyar. The front and back yards of the resort were filled with trees that attract birds to stay and even build their nests there. The bird eats grains such as rice that is abundant at the rice fields around the resort complex area. Bali is a nice place for birdwatching. There are a lot of birds to watch.
While guests of the resort were enjoying their breakfast, the weaver bird was busy building his "home." He was not afraid of the presence of humans just a few meters below his nest. by Charles Roring/ E-mail:

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Scaly Breasted Munia

When I was traveling in Bali island, I was able to see Scaly Breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata). This bird was perching on a tree inside a resort. The resort was surrounded by rice field. It means that birds that live in the trees inside the resort have got abundant food. I was surprised to see birds were quite common in residential areas of Bali. I also saw some other species inside the resort but I was not able to identify them. They eat rice on the streets that were put by Balinese during their daily offerings to the gods and the spirits. Also the main reason for the abundance of birds in Bali residential areas was the abundance of trees. The Balinese treat trees with great respect. They believe that there are spirits living in the trees. So, they will not cut trees easily. If they have to, they need to perform certain rituals to respect and inform the spirits living in the tree that they will cut it. I really admire this local wisdom because it protects the trees that grow in residential areas. by Charles Roring/ E-mail: