9 Nov 2022

9 Nov 22 - Indonesia - Banda Sea Cruise Day 14 - A Very Early Start On Pantar Island

We had missed one of our main target species on the previous day on Alor: Alor Boobook. Fortunately, Alor Boobook also occurs on our next location: the neighbouring island of Pantar. To maximise our chances of success, Wilbur decided we would leave the Lady Denok at 03:00 to give us a good crack at seeing this recently split Boobook. We had the joy of wading ashore through the shallow water over the mudflats in the dark.
It was a dark night when we left the Lady Denok at 03:00
It was a mile or so walk to get to the site Wilbur had for the Alor Boobook. Initially, we didn't hear any Alor Boobooks calling, but finally we heard one. After a bit of time, we finally got some good views of it.
Alor Boobook: Alor Boobook has been recently split from the Southern Boobook complex
Alor Boobook: Another photo taken using just the light from Wilbur's torch, which shows how good cameras have become to photography in low light situations
As we returned to the road, we heard & then saw a Wallace's Elegant Pitta in the mangrove edge.
Wallace's Elegant Pitta: Elegant Pitta has now been split into three species: Banda Sea Pitta, Temminck's Elegant Pitta (which IOC call Elegant Pitta) & Wallace's Elegant Pitta (which IOC call Ornate Pitta). Wallace's Elegant Pitta is a monotypic species. This individual sang from the mangroves in the early morning light
We had another hour to check some of the neighbouring forest & scrub edge before Wilbur decided we should head back to the Lady Denok. Heading back wasn't a bad decision as we needed to head out to sea as we had a long crossing to our next destination: Kalaotoa Island.
Indonesian Brown Honeyeater: This is the monotypic species that occurs from Bali to Flores & Timor
Zitting Cisticola: This is the fuscicapilla subspecies which occurs in East Java & the Lesser Sundas. It is a very widespread species which occurs in Europe, Africa South East Asia to Australia
Zebra Finch: This is the guttata subspecies of Zebra Finch according to Clements which occurs in the Lesser Sundas from Lombok to Timor, with another subspecies in Australia. IOC have split them as Sunda Zebra Finch & Australian Zebra Finch. This will be another armchair tick when I switch to IOC taxonomy
Indonesian Butterfly sp.
We had hoped to leave from this jetty & avoid another wade off the mudflat, but there was no water in the creek
Indonesian Crab sp.
Indonesian Mudskipper sp.
Indonesian Mudskipper sp.
Returning past the mangrove edge
As we headed back to the Lady Denok, we saw a few Herons & Waders feeding on the mudflats.
Little Egret: This is the nigripes subspecies which occurs from Indonesia & the Philippines to New Guinea, North & Eastern Australia
Little Green Heron: This is the steini subspecies which occurs in the Lesser Sundas. This is a widespread species which is also known as Striated Heron & occurs from Africa to Asia, New Guinea & Australia, as well as, Central & South America
Common Sandpiper
Back into open water
The Lady Denok
We had over one day at sea until we reached Kalaotoa Island. The avian highlight of the crossing was my first Swinhoe's Storm-petrel, along with a single Tahiti Petrel, a couple of Streaked Shearwaters, a few Wedge-tailed Shearwaters & at least fifty Red-necked Phalaropes. But a close Sperm Whale was the star highlight for the crossing.
Sperm Whale: A shot showing the blow hole and the low dorsal fin
Sperm Whale: Sperm Whales have a unique off-centred blow hole on the left side of the head, which is diagnostic if seen well
A local boat
We ended a long day with a reasonable sunset