Birdwatching in West Bali National Park - Testimony
After several trips to Bali, without visiting Bali Barat (West Bali) National Park, I thought it was time to give it a try. I did some internet searching and finally decided on booking a day’s outing with Made Surya (Birding Tours in Bali). By the end of the day, I had confirmed that my choice of guide was an excellent one.
Made arrived punctually at my hotel in Pemuteran at 6am, and off we went, reaching the national park in time to catch the early bird activity, and while it was still very cool.
I had not made a list of target species, though like other birders visiting the park I was keen to see Javan Banded Pitta, and of course the endemic Bali Starling.
It was not long before Made pointed out two of the starlings, perched in the open in good light. As he did throughout the day, Made showed his sharp eyes and experience in picking out these birds, and was amazingly quick at setting up his spotting scope to provide great views. Not long after the starlings we had wonderful views of two (twice, or four) pittas at close quarters.
After spending the morning in various parts of the park exploring differing habitats - and finding lots of birds, we broke for lunch. Lunch is included in Made’s itineraries, and so we drove to his home in a nearby village to enjoy a tasty home cooked meal. The food tasted great, but the highlight of the lunch break was the great views of the Sunda Scops Owl roosting in a tree at the back of Made’s house.
The afternoon saw us spend a few hours looking in nearby areas outside of the national park, and even though it had warmed up, and bird activity had slowed, we still found enough to make it an excellent afternoon. Made had located a Savanna Nightjar roosting on bare ground out in the open at the edge of a mangrove area. It was still there when we got to the site, and we had stunning, close views, unlike those typical for the species, when it is seen flying around at dusk, largely silhouetted.
See also Flame-fronted Barbet
The day’s bird list was just under 50 species, which included all of the species I most wanted to see. Possibly the most striking bird of the day, for me, was the Rufous-backed Dwarf Kingfisher, a tiny, stunningly coloured species that I doubt I would ever have found on my own.
It was a great day out. Terima kasih Made.
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7 days Birding Photograpy arround Bali
Aug 28 - Sept 6, 2018
Made proved to be not only an outstanding birder in finding many species but positioning us so that we were able to not only identify the birds but also to obtain excellent photographs. He was also very kind and considerate in assisting one of us (P) who has walking and balance difficulties.
Professor Peter Mayes and Nicola Mayes
Javan Banded Pitta (by Made Surya)
4 days Birding Tours in Bali
I (Dr. Jimmy) met you, Made Surya through social media, and your interest in birds, knowledge of locations in Bali where we could find them, your capability to transport us to those places, and to a group consensus by our travelling party [the Pantanal 3 comprised of Brother Ian Powell, UK; Jim The Elder aka JTE from New York and Tokyo, & finally Dr. Jimmy aka Jim the Younger JTY] to get in contact with Birding Tours Bali, and eventually led to our meeting up in August , 2018. I volunteered to write up a letter to describe our experiences with your bird guiding service, and so here it is.
You picked us up early from The Puri Mango [Mango Mansion] to take us where there were very good birds but also some very bad smells. This was the major water treatment plant for the city. The water was enriched with nutrients, which fed the plants, which in turn fed small animals like shrimp, tadpoles & tiny fish, which fed the herons, bitterns, terns, gulls and kingfishers which we were interested in observing.
The 20+ hectares of settling ponds in the Nusa Dua Water Treatment facility proved to be good habitat for these aquatic species-groups, but also a good producer of vociferous gases - a small price to pay for avian beauty and cleaner water. It certainly didn't decrease our appreciation of the tasty snacks Made' provided when we returned to our transport, including tiny bananas from his own backyard.
Indonesia Honeyeater (by Made Surya)
You continued to provide us with good birding experiences the next three days. Your commitment to providing us with bird observations that went beyond getting ticks on a list was evident through-out our stay. We appreciated the Oriental Pied Hornbills, Black-thighed Falconets and the Flame-fronted Barbets immensely, and the sense of mutual accomplishment that followed.
Oriental Pied Hornbill (by James)
We could tell that you enjoyed being successful from the smile on your face when you were sure we had all got a good look - usually through your telescope as well as our own binoculars. You managed to give us a good cultural experience as well; I never expected to be bird watching in a sarong at a Hindu Temple; nor did I imagine I would get to try coffee harvested by civets [Wild Kopi Lewak Coffee] - let alone pat the civet that had done the harvesting & processing of the coffee beans.
Our accommodation, and particularly the our food, was an enjoyable and variable experience...The explanation of what we were eating and how it was prepared & presented made it easy to order and appreciate. I really and truly liked the chicken livers and gizzards in spicy yellow sauce - but then I am a country fellow!
You have provided excellent follow-up - particularly the photos of the birds and places we visited. With your permission, I would like to use them in a longer paper on our visit to Wallacia, as well as illustrations for talks to local bird groups here in New South Wales and in the Australian Capital Territory [Canberra].
I see on the social media that Brother Ian Powell is now back in the UK, so you can feel satisfied that stories about your bird trips will be told from New York City, in the USA, to Bristol in eastern England, through to Tura Beach on the far south coast of New South Wales.
Thanks again Made' - you are definitely on the Christmas Wish List.